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May 31, 2013

Excerpt Reveal - King’s Crusade by AD Starrling

Excerpt Reveal

King’s Crusade by AD Starrling

Seventeen series Book Two

The perfect immortal warrior. A set of stolen, priceless artifacts. An ancient sect determined to bring about the downfall of human civilization.
The exciting, action-packed follow-up to Soul Meaning and the second installment in the supernatural thriller series, Seventeen.

When a team of scientists unearth scriptures older than the Dead Sea Scrolls in a cave in the Eastern Desert mountains in Egypt, a mystery lost to the tides of time is uncovered. Heading the expedition is Dimitri Reznak, the Head of the Crovir Immortal Culture & History Section. But the monumental discovery is spoiled by evidence of looting and half the priceless artifacts Reznak has been seeking for centuries have disappeared.

Alexa King is a covert agent for the Crovir First Council. When she is approached by her godfather for a mission that could help elucidate the enigma of her lost past, she finds herself delving into the dangerous and shadowy world of secret religious societies. Assigned by Reznak to assist her is Zachary Jackson, a gifted human and Harvard archaeology professor.

In their search for the missing artifacts, King and Jackson stumble upon the existence of a deadly sect whose origins are as mystifying as the relics they are searching for. From North Africa to the doors of Vatican City itself, they unveil a centuries-old plan that aims to shatter the very structure of civilized society.

With the help of Reznak and a group of unexpected allies, King and Jackson must stop the enemy and uncover the astonishing truth behind the missing artifacts and King’s own unearthly origins before all is lost.

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: May 6, 2013
AD Starrling


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Given that he was an immortal who had witnessed countless wars and conflicts over the five centuries of his existence thus far, he knew he should have been immune to the spectacle of blood and gore that surrounded him. … Reznak could not help but feel overwhelmed by sadness at the needless loss of human life. Which was why he headed straight for the little girl when he saw her standing on the knoll in the middle of the battleground.

Although he hadn’t expected to see a child in the midst of the war zone, Reznak was not surprised. Some civilians had still been trying to reach the safety of the fortified city when they were caught between the advancing armies, and those who had not succumbed to the fierce blizzard perished in the subsequent crossfire. He could only presume that the child had become separated from her parents during the ensuing chaos. The chances of finding them alive, he knew, would be slim at best.

When he got within twenty feet of her, the little girl finally looked up. It was not the panicked, wild movement he had been anticipating. Instead, it was a slow and measured gesture. Reznak froze.

Her eyes were a clear gray, the irises wide and almost silvery in their sheen. Her skin, where it was visible beneath the dirty yet elegant ivory dress she wore, was an alabaster white. Thick, dark curls crowned her head and fell in waves to her shoulders, framing a surprisingly slim face and neck. She looked to be about eight years old and was without a doubt the most shockingly beautiful being he had ever seen.

Yet it was not her startling appearance that stopped him in his tracks; it was the look on her face that sent a sharp chill through his bones and a shiver down his spine, immobilizing his legs.

There was only one word to describe the expression in her eyes: fearlessness.

Pure and unadulterated, the feeling seemed to seep through her pores and emanate from the very core of her being, an almost palpable energy focused in a lance-like beam projected from her dark pupils.

That was when Reznak knew she was not human.

The little girl blinked. Reznak suddenly found that he could move again. His gaze drifted down to her right hand, where the handle of an ugly knife was clasped firmly between her slender fingers. Red droplets still gleamed wetly on the edge of the blade and dropped into an expanding pool by her bare feet. His eyes followed the crimson trail to the dead man lying inches from where she stood. There was a deep, linear wound on the left side of the soldier’s chest; by the looks of it, she had stabbed him in the heart.

It would have taken the man less than a minute to die.

Reznak’s gaze shifted to the girl. ‘Hello,’ he said gently in German, conscious of the weight of the sword at his waist. ‘My name is Dimitri. What’s your name?’

The little girl remained silent. He hesitated. Certain he would not get a reply, he repeated the question in the local Estonian dialect. He was shocked when, in a clear and low voice that was oddly devoid of emotion, she said, ‘Alexandria.’

Reznak took a cautious step forward, his eyes never leaving hers. Her chin tilted as she stared up at him. ‘Where’s your mother, Alexandria?’ he continued quietly in the same vernacular.

A faint frown dawned on her face at his words. ‘I don’t know,’ she said.

Less than two hundred feet from where they stood, scores of soldiers fought to the death, their swords and daggers carving through the flesh and bones of their enemies. The harsh breaths of their nervous horses misted the cold air, while musket rounds peppered the ground around them.

Reznak took another step forward. ‘Can you tell me where you came from?’

The little girl’s frown deepened while she considered the question. ‘I don’t know,’ she repeated.

It was then that he noticed the fresh blood matted in her hair. She had suffered a blow to the side of her head. His gaze dropped to the red finger marks on her arm. His eyes narrowed.

‘Did that man hurt you?’ Reznak asked stiffly, indicating the dead soldier at her feet.

Her chin dipped in a brief nod.

He stared at her for a moment before slowly squatting down. With his face level with hers, he carefully extended a hand. ‘Would you like to come with me, Alexandria? It’s not safe here.’

The little girl gazed at him silently. Undaunted, Reznak stood up and waited. She turned on her heels and stared through the thin veil of snow at the river and the city beyond it. The wind picked up and ruffled her hair.

He peered at the back of her neck curiously. Imprinted a scant inch beneath her hairline, in the very middle of her delicate spine, was a triangular mark—a trishula. Although generically shaped like a trident, the more intricate details of the design reminded him strongly of the weapons he had seen wielded by fearsome Asian warriors in battles past. It was not a tattoo. It looked more like a birthmark.

The knife thudded softly in the deepening snowdrift when the little girl opened her fingers. Still gazing at the battlefield before them, she raised her bloodied hand toward him. Reznak clasped it in his own and was surprised at how warm her skin felt.

‘Are you my father now?’ she asked calmly.

‘No,’ he said with a weak smile. He glanced at the top of her head. The dark curls shivered slightly in the wind. Beneath them, the child’s body was as still as stone. ‘Can I call you Alexa? Alexandria is a bit of a mouthful.’

She gave this some thought. ‘Yes,’ she said finally with a curt nod.

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Other titles by AD Starrling:
Soul Meaning

Find AD Starrling at:
Twitter: @adstarrling
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