Welcome to my worlds!

I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), numerous superhero novels including Nobody Gets the Girl and the Lawless series, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collections, There is No Wheel and Jagged Gate. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public. If you'd like to get monthly updates on new releases, as well as preview chapters and free short stories, join my newsletter!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Covenant is here! Rejoice!

At long last, Covenant is here! This is the third and likely final book in the rather loose trilogy of superhero novels that began with Nobody Gets the Girl. All three books really stand alone, though if you have read the earlier books then the political background of Covenant will make more sense. In the first book, in a battle between superheroes and supervillains, a major world city gets ground to dust by one of the heroes who loses control of her powers. Or, more precisely, loses control of her temper.

This leads to all superheroes being outlawed, not that there were hundreds or even dozens of them running around to start with. Three were active at the time of the destruction of the city, and by the time the law is passed one is dead and the other two are missing.

Things changed when two supervillains came out of hiding seven years later in Burn Baby Burn. These two villains are far too powerful for ordinary police to fight, so a team of superheroes presents themselves to the government volunteering to help. Unlike the previous superheroes, these heroes who claimed to work for the good of mankind but did so outside the law, the heroes seek to be authorized by the state to work as special deputies of law enforcement. They present themselves as a new type of superteam, taking the name Covenant to remind the world that they've make a promise to serve them.

Also reinforcing this is the fact that the most powerful member of the team operates under the code name of Servant. Servant is a devout Christian who thinks of his powers as a gift from the Lord and feels he has a moral obligation to use his powers to help anyone in need. But, he wouldn't be a protagonist in a James Maxey novel if he didn't have a least on dark secret. In this case, before he found the Lord, Servant was a notorious supervillain known as Ogre. If he reveals his past, he'll likely go to prison, and if he goes to prison, how can he use his powers as the Lord intended? His struggle to reconcile his past and his present provide most of his ongoing personal drama.

The most famous member of the team is App. He's the world's first open source superhero, able to download superpowers on demand into a teleportation belt that can take him apart and put him back together in new configurations. He's a social media superstar, young, funny, and having the time of his life as a superhero. Unfortunately, since he's not bulletproof, he does have a habit of getting killed on a lot of his missions. Which is no big deal, since the servers that house his data can just reboot him if they see he's been killed again. By the time the novel starts, he's been killed and rebooted ten times, and is starting to question whether he's even himself any more, or just a copy of a copy of a copy.

The newest member of the team is Steam-Dragon. She's an army vet who lost her legs in the middle-east, and to get past the VA wait list for new legs, she and her boyfriend used a 3d printer to just make new ones. Her talent for design and her access to advanced 3d printers capable of printing in carbon composites harder than steel lead to her designing a steam-punk inspired weaponized suit that looks like a dragon. She uses this suit to avenge her murdered boyfriend, then has to choose between joining the Covenant or going to prison for her vigilante actions. So, she's part of the team, but not necessarily joining with the best attitude.

Also new to the team is Chimpion. As her name implies, she's a chimpanzee, one of the super-intelligent Pangeans introduced in Burn Baby Burn. She's a martial arts expert who has joined the team to show the world that Pangeans can be trusted. Of course, she has a dark secret as well, but if you want to learn that you'll need to read the book, since it's kind of a major plot point.

Finally, there's Skyrider. She's living under the name Sarah Buchanan, but she used to be Sarah Knowbokov, the Thrill from Nobody Gets the Girl. She's one of the superheroes outlawed following the destruction of the city, and still public enemy number one, even though she really had nothing to do with the destruction. She came back under the new identity of Skyrider to help capture Sundancer in the second book, but she really wants nothing to do with being a superhero. She's happily married, living a quiet life in a small town where she's married to the deputy sheriff. Unfortunately, when she met him, she was living under an assumed name in was certain she'd put her old life behind her, so she never got around to mentioning to her husband that she could fly, and he still doesn't know that while he's at work she's suiting up and going out to fight crime with the Covenant. Now, she's finding it increasingly difficult to turn her back on her responsibilities as a superhero and having a harder and harder time coming up with excuses for why she sometimes goes missing at odd hours and often shows up covered in bruises. If she doesn't tell him the truth, it will likely destroy her marriage. Of course, if she tells him the truth, it will also destroy her marriage, she it will show how it was all built on a foundation of lies. Is there any way she can reconcile her two lives?

This is the first time in my superhero novels I really tackle the trope of the secret identity. In Sarah's case, I think I give her an excellent reason for wanting to have one, which gives me a real excuse to dig into the consequences of trying to live a double life that I don't think most comic books tackle any more. (Classic Spider-Man comics probably did the best job of exploring these themes, but these days superheroes seem to blurt out their secret identities to everyone they meet.)

Mike MEZ Phillips once again provided artwork for the new cover. It's not yet showing up on Amazon in the print edition but it should pop up there and at other retailers soon, and is now available as an ebook on Kindle here. I don't yet have the epub edition uploaded to other retailers, but I'll tackle that next week and it should be available almost everywhere by next weekend.

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