Authors: C. Robert Cargill
BUT THEN, THEY'RE ALL FOR
y editor, Diana Gill, once told me that the second book is the hardest of them all to write. She wasn't lying. The book you hold in your hands now comes after the longest, hardest literary slog of my life. It isn't the book I set out to write, but it is the book I wanted to write all along. And it couldn't have fought its way to you without the efforts and support of a number of amazing people. Everyone should be so lucky as to be surrounded by the likes of these, each of whom I would like to thank now.
First and foremost, I have to thank Diana, whose near psychic ability to steer me in the right direction without directly telling me where to go continues to mystify me. She is my Mandu. And I never would have found this book without her. She also knows how to find the very best food in the world, regardless of what city she finds herself in. So trust her on that if you ever get the opportunity. And, of course, I have to thank Simon Spanton, my Diana across the pond. His passion for the written word and his faith in me always give me something to aspire to when I find myself on the darkest, toughest nights. I've said that before, but it bears repeating.
Thanks to my tireless publicist, Jessie Edwards, who I learned, only hours before this writing, fought for the chance to work on my books. That requires a level of thanks that I do not yet quite have the words to express. Her patience and devotion to answering e-mails within minutes helped guide this first-time author through the terrifying trial of a first release and book tour. And to the Weirwolf Jon Wier, who did the same for me with gleeful abandon overseas. Thanks to the outstanding team at Voyager: Kelly O'Connor, Shawn Nicholls, Dana Trombley, et al. And with equal measure thanks to the team at Gollancz: Sinem Erkas, Charlie Panayiotou, Jenn McMenemy, and all the rest. All of you folks make this more fun than it has any right to be.
Thanks and much love to my agent, Peter McGuigan, who continues to be a rock star, doing things that you think only half-crazed, angry agents can do, but with swagger and a genuine smile that earns the trust he so richly deserves. He's the real deal. As are Kirsten Neuhaus and the amazing team at Foundry. Thanks to my manager, David McIlvain, whose voice guides me through the hardest decisions, but who always seems to call with good news. He was the first person in my career who believed in me before he really knew me, and I'll never, ever forget that. And, of course, his confidant, Mac Dewey, another early believer.
Thanks to my readers: Jason Murphy, Rod Paddock, Will Goss, Paul Gandersman, Peter S. Hall, Luke Mullen, and Brian Salisbury. The value of your brutal honesty is matched only by the warmth of your friendship. I love you guys. So drinks. Friday. Salisbury and Mullen's house. I'll bring the scotch.
Thanks to Lee Zachariah, my man from Oz, who helped with the lingo and the research on the little bits that were vital to get just right. Thanks to all my friends in the industry, too numerous to name, who have ever sat me down, gifted me with advice, shown me the ropes, and tweeted or talked about my work. You know who you are. Thanks to Tim and Karrie League and the staff of the Alamo Drafthouse who not only supported my book and movie but have also provided the venue for many of the greatest nights of my life. And thanks to my partner in crime, Scott Derrickson. He makes me a better writer every day. The world has yet to see the full extent of his talent. But it will. It will.
Thanks to my wife, my life, my breathâJessica. She believes even when I no longer have the strength to. Every love story I write is really all about her. And for good reason. She is everything.
Thanks to everyone who came out for my first tour, who bought the book sight unseen, or who followed me from my previous endeavors. Thanks to those amazing people who have approached me at signings with copies of the book they bought after having borrowed it first from a library or on loan from a friend. Thanks to everyone who reviewed, tweeted, or blogged about it, and especially to the booksellers who put it in the hands of their customers with an eager gleam in their eyes. All of you make my heart swell with joy with every kind word you share.
And you. Yes, you. This is a second book. If you're reading this, then odds are good that you read the first one. Taking a chance on a first-time author is a grand thing, particularly to the author. But giving them a second chance is something else altogether. You are the people this book was written for. So thank you. I hope I don't (or didn't) let you down.
And lastly, thanks to Deputy So-and-So of the local police department, whose research made this book possible.
eronimus Cornelisz didn't believe in the Devil, but the Devil sure as hell believed in him.
How he, an apothecary by trade, found himself working as an undermerchant aboard the
in the first place was something he cared not to discuss. It was a tale of woe involving a dead child, bankruptcy, and the jailing of a close confidant whose radical ideas had taken root in a few too many prominent hearts. But Jeronimus did talk. A lot. He was of fair complexion, with dark hair and darker eyes that, coupled with his charisma, made it hard to break loose of his gaze. So when he talked, you listened, whether you cared for what he had to say or not.
“God does not mock us,” he said, staring off into the crystal blue sheen of the sea. The sun was high, the sand warm across the top of his feet as he and six of his fellow sailors shuffled across the beach. The seabirds cawed in the air around him, the waves lapping the shore. It was as beautiful a day as ever there was. He nodded, squinting in the sun. “He smiles upon us. Loves us. Wants us to be happy. He demands not servitude, but experience. Gifts us with urges. Rewards us with pleasure. Satisfaction. Wholeness. Why is it that a man feels no ecstasy when he prays? There, on his knees, in congress with his maker, he feels nothing but what he pretends to. But a man on his knees, in congress with a woman, feels more alive than ever. Every inch of his body sizzles with joy, and when he explodes, he becomes one with the whole. In that moment, and only that moment, a man knows absolute peace, free of want, free of fear.