Read Angel Souls and Devil Hearts Online

Authors: Christopher Golden

Angel Souls and Devil Hearts

BOOK: Angel Souls and Devil Hearts
6.61Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 

Praise for THE SHADOW SAGA

‘Christopher Golden has reinvented the vampire myth into non-stop action, suspense, and fascinating dark fantasy. [He’s] an imaginative and prodigious talent who
never lets genre boundaries hold him back’

Douglas Clegg, author of the
Vampirycon
series

‘Filled with tension, breathtaking action . . . and a convincing depiction of worlds existing unseen within our own’
Science Fiction Chronicle

‘Harrowing, humorous, overflowing with characters and plot contortions, abundantly entertaining . . . a portent of great things to come’

Douglas E. Winter,
Cemetery Dance

‘Golden combines quiet, dark, subtle mood with Super-Giant monster action. Sort of M.R. James meets Godzilla!’

Mike Mignola, creator of
Hellboy

‘A breathtaking story that succeeds in marrying gore and romance, sex and sentiment. A brilliant epic’

Dark News
(Paris)

‘The most refreshing books in the vampire genre since Anne Rice wrote
Interviw with a Vampire
, [Golden’s novels] are completely in a class by
themselves’

Pathway to Darkness

‘Passionate . . . excellent . . . and a surprise explanation for vampires. Brilliant’

LitNews Online

‘Wildly entertaining . . . like mixing Laurell K. Hamilton with the dark ambivalence of an H. P. Lovecraft story. The pacing is always pedal-to-the-floor, the main
characters are larger than life and the demons and other assorted monstrosities give Lovecraft’s Cthulu mythos a run for their money’

Barnes & Noble Online

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN is the bestselling author of such novels as
The Myth Hunters
,
The Boys Are Back in Town
, and Strangewood. He co-wrote the lavishly illustrated
novel Baltimore, or,
The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire
with Mike Mignola, and the comic book series spin-off. With Tim Lebbon, he has co-written the Hidden Cities series, the latest
of which,
The Shadow Men
, hits in 2011. With Thomas E. Sniegoski, he is the co-author of the book series
OutCast
and the comic book miniseries
Talent
. With Amber Benson, Golden
co-created the online animated series
Ghosts of Albion
and co-wrote the book series of the same name. He is also known for his many media tie-in works, including novels, comics, and video
games, in the worlds of
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
,
Hellboy
,
Angel
, and
X-Men
, among others.

Golden was born and raised in Massachusetts, where he still lives with his family. His original novels have been published in more than fourteen languages in countries around
the world. Please visit him at
www.christophergolden.com

The Shadow Saga

Of Saints and Shadows
(July 2010)

Angel Souls and Devil Hearts
(October 2010)

Of Masques and Martyrs
(December 2010)

The Gathering Dark
(February 2011)

Waking Nightmares
(May 2011)

 

 

First published in the USA by Berkley, 1995 and by Ace Books, 1998
First published in Great Britain by Pocket Books, 2010
An imprint of Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
A CBS COMPANY

Copyright © Christopher Golden, 1995

Excerpted material from Robert Service’s poem ‘The March of the Dead’ from
The Best of Robert Service
copyright © 1907, 1909, 1912, 1916, 1921,
1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953 by The Putnam Publishing Group. Copyright © 1940 by Robert Service

This book is copyright under the Berne Convention. No reproduction without permission. ® and © 1997 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved. Pocket Books &
Design is a trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

The right of Christopher Golden to be identified as author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act,
1988.

Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
1st Floor
222 Gray’s Inn Road
London
WC1X 8HB

www.simonandschuster.co.uk

Simon & Schuster Australia
Sydney

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN: 978-1-84739-925-0
eBook ISBN: 978-1-84739-948-9

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual people living or dead, events or locales, is entirely coincidental.

Printed in the UK by CPI Cox & Wyman, Reading RG1 8EX

 

For my son, Nicholas James Cody Golden.

I now have a measure by which to judge myself:

his eyes.

Nothing will ever mean so much.

 

Acknowledgements

As always, thanks to my lovely wife, Connie, whose understanding truly baffles some people, and whose enthusiasm for the work often equals my own. Thanks, also, to . . .

Lori Perkins, who worked tirelessly to prepare me, emotionally and financially, for fatherhood.

Ginjer Buchanan, who
asked
for a sequel.

Everyone who read the first book, and still wanted to read this one.

And finally, of course, to my family and friends, who have continued to support and encourage me, often against their better judgement, and some of whom believed from the beginning.

 

“The world is full of other things. Some are friendly, some aren’t”


JONATHAN CARROLL
,
Outside the Dog Museum

“While the camp fire held out to burn, the vilest sinner might return.”


WILLIAM F. CODY
,
The Life of Buffalo Bill

 

Prologue

The cruel war was over—oh, the triumph was so sweet!

We watched the troops returning, through our tears;

There was triumph, triumph, triumph down the scarlet glittering street,

And you scarce could hear the music for the cheers.

And you scarce could see the house-tops for the flags that flew between;

The bells were pealing madly to the sky;

And everyone was shouting for the soldiers of the Queen,

And the glory of an age was passing by.

And then there came a shadow, swift and sudden, dark and drear;

The bells were silent, not an echo stirred.

The flags were drooping sullenly, the men forgot to cheer;

We waited, and we never spoke a word.

The sky grew darker, darker, till from out the gloomy rack

There came a voice that checked the heart with dread:

“Tear down, tear down your bunting now, and hang up sable black;

They are coming—it’s the Army of the Dead.”


ROBERT SERVICE
, “The March of the Dead”

Humanity is jaded, that is true. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the capacity of human society to accept the extraordinary, the incredible, the fantastic, has
reached almost infinite proportions. Less than five years ago, aided by a nearly omniscient media, the world discovered the existence of the Defiant Ones, known in the western lexicon as
vampires.

Of course, humanity’s initial reaction was fear, and rightly so in many cases. But one of the Defiant Ones is a master showman, a legend named Will Cody, known to millions around the
world as Buffalo Bill. Cody’s natural rapport with the media, and the CNN news reports and video footage clearly showing the vampires as victims in the terrible conflict that destroyed the
city of Venice, turned things around. Though these beings continue to refer to themselves as vampires, Cody has engendered within the world press the use of the term “shadow.” Once used
by the Church to describe all supernatural beings, the word is now the politically correct referent for a vampire.

A United Nations probe guided by myself and the de facto leader of the shadows, Meaghan Gallagher, exposed to the public eye an ancient Roman Catholic conspiracy to destroy the shadows, as
well as Catholic control of other supernatural elements through the use, incredibly, of magic. Rome, of course, denied all charges, putting the blame on international terrorists and a small sect
within the church. But that was mere fantasy. In the wake of the Pope’s murder and the Venice Jihad, human governments and religions had no choice but to ignore Vatican claims. The UN ordered
its own investigation.

Vatican City shut its doors. Threats of force were empty, and Rome knew that. Regardless of what might have been suspected, the Roman Catholic Church was a monolithic figure, against which
any open aggression would have been reviled the world over. Military solutions were, of course, ruled out.

Still, the damage was done. The first to splinter, to nobody’s surprise, was the United States. Declaring themselves the American Christian Church, the formerly Catholic U.S. clergy
avoided the use of the word “Catholic” altogether. Around the world, diplomatic ties were cut, Vatican ambassadors sent home. In time, Vatican City became an island unto itself,
impregnable yet alone. By the time the smoke rose declaring a new Pope, few noticed. The church will have to build itself anew, drag itself kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century, or
die an excommunicant dinosaur.

Religions that worshipped the shadows themselves sprang up around the world, many quite naturally based on blood rituals, many rising from the ashes of the worldwide network of volunteers who
had given their lives for centuries in a fanatical worship of some of the darkest elements of vampiric society.

It was a PR nightmare.

Alexandra Nueva, one of the heroes of Venice, testified in Congress and before international governments, spearheading efforts to create a justice system to control errant shadows. Today, all
shadows must obey the laws of the countries in which they declare primary residence. Many of them are excessively wealthy, but those that are not must make a living, and all must pay taxes and take
responsibility for their actions.

What little analysis has been allowed by the shadows has shown that some of them are nearly indestructible, making it very difficult, and often nearly impossible, for human authorities to
apprehend a shadow alone. Though loyalty to one another had prevented such things in the past, the necessity of living in the sunlit world of humanity requires that the law be enforced upon shadows
by their own kind. The force charged with this mission is, of course, the Shadow Justice System. In the days before Venice, when the checks and balances of myth still held sway, a simple stake
through the heart may have done the trick. Today, the more time that passes, the more invulnerable the vampires become, the more truth there is in the word “immortal.”

Murder is not tolerated under any human legal system, but many shadows once survived through the murder of human beings. Fortunately that is no longer a necessity. As news of the shadows
spreads, and more information becomes available about the effects of their bite, there seems to be no end to the number of new volunteers, new donors. Many seek the “gift” of death
under the fang, to become shadows themselves, but apparently very few have received it. Of course, certain shadows were determined to live as they had in ages past, but in the new century, with
satellite tracking and instant media, these rebels, criminals now, cannot avoid justice.

Those were the developments of the first year after Venice, and it is easy to see how much they have affected us already. In the four years since, shadow culture has adapted to its new
strictures, woven itself into the fabric of human society, and moved from front-page news to the Lifestyles section. As they used to say, back when I was a very young man, they’re all the
rage.

Will Cody said to me that “humanity has slowed its vehicle down as if to observe a terrible car wreck and now it’s moving on.” In truth, the squabbles are incessant on
Capitol Hill and in the laboratories on every continent. Humanity has learned a new excitement, a new fascination. We’ve been wishing for centuries for such a revelation, and now that it has
come true, we have thrown wide the door to the unknown with a sense of daring adventure born of fear and fear alone.

BOOK: Angel Souls and Devil Hearts
6.61Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The First Lie by Diane Chamberlain
The Last Praetorian by Mike Smith
Amanda Scott by Highland Treasure
Born Wrong by C. M. Stunich
A Useless Man by Sait Faik Abasiyanik
Pohlstars by Frederik Pohl