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Authors: Diego Valenzuela

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The Armor of God

BOOK: The Armor of God
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The Armor of God

 

Diego Valenzuela

 

 

“The Armor of God”

Copyright © 2014 by Diego Valenzuela.

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, contact the author.

 

[email protected]

 

Cover & Logo Design by: Álvaro de Cossio

Edited by: Gabriella West

“Labyrinth” Art by: Meister

 

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

 

www.diegovalenzuela.org

Acknowledgments

 

 

This is my debut novel, so I feel like every single person who has ever read or influenced my writing in any way deserves a shout-out. Sadly, if I actually named everyone to whom I owe the existence of this book, I would probably have to publish this section in a really boring separate tome.

So here’s the abridged list:

First, my teacher and friend María Amaparo Escandón. If I ever know what success feels like, it will be thanks to her unconditional support, mentoring, and the hopefully warranted faith she has in me.

My parents, for absolutely everything. They also sincerely believe I have a future as an author, and never pestered me (too much) about the “quirks” that come with the craft.

My brother Santiago, who convinced me to give young adult fiction writing a try, and read every word I wrote as I wrote it, giving prompt feedback. My sister Mariana, who read an unedited manuscript in the span of three days, and was enthusiastic enough to boost my confidence. My eldest brother Rodrigo; he may not read much (though I expect he will read this!), but I’ll be damned if I haven’t learned a lot about “older brother” characters from him.

Every author who has directly or indirectly inspired my writing. The great Piers Anthony, who always took time to give my work a read, and never failed to give great advice. Scott Williams, who read the gargantuan first version of my first novel and taught me the meaning of the word “clarity” in writing (all while comparing me to a caped superhero!). Laurie Lamson, who is responsible for my very first published work. Maya E. Bo, without whom I would still be writing fantasy fan-fiction at an eighth grade level. Thank you for everything.

My editor, Gabriella West. She assures me the manuscript was very clean to begin with, but she needs to be thanked for making absolutely sure it passes as serious, professional fiction. Same goes to Alvaro de Cossio, whose phenomenal work helped market and give a handsome face to this book, and its sequels.

A definite thank you to Elizabeth Vargas for streamlining a process that could have been a bureaucratic nightmare, and would have done my crappy temper no favors.

Of course, Rodrigo Xoconostle, Alejandro Serrano (the wisest of raccoons), and Densho S. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for their invaluable lessons about the horrifying and uncharted world of marketing (uncharted for me, of course;
they
are cartographers). If this book has any initial success, a big chunk of the credit is theirs. If to a lesser capacity, the same goes to Humberto Cervera, who came in last second to bitch-slap me with some important tips that may have helped put this book in your hands.

Cris; she may not be in my life anymore, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t still have an important effect in it, and in my writing by extension.

Gina T. Arrufat, Beatriz Rivera, Ana Adame, Bea Harper, Hunter Bishop. I
never
expected that kind of enthusiasm from alpha readers, and I need to give them a lot of the credit for keeping me writing with reasonable discipline (even if some of the twists included in this book earned me a couple of probably deserved insults in caps).

Oh and while we’re at it, I’d like to thank all the anonymous alpha readers who first read this story on
Wolf in a Gorilla Suit
. I don’t know your names, but you are the cat’s pajamas, and deserve to be a hipster about this book if it is successful.

I’ll be ‘this guy’ and thank Devin Townsend. I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t listen to his stuff 24/7.

And because I’m not afraid of the occasional cliché—as you’ll find when you read the novel—I want to thank you, the reader, for giving this book a chance. I know investing a few dollars and a few hours to read the novel of a total unknown is too much to ask, so I’m glad you took that risk. I hope you enjoy what follows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Armor of God

Diego Valenzuela

 

 

 

Not every labyrinth has a way out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For mom and dad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

The Armor Of God

Acknowledgments

 

Prologue: For Every Body a Soul

Chapter 1: A Matter of Blood

Chapter 2: Looking Up

Chapter 3: The Outsider

Chapter 4: Zenith

Chapter 5: To Each His Own

Chapter 6: Assimilation

Chapter 7: The Minotaur

Chapter 8: A New Skin

Chapter 9: One Last Day

Chapter 10: When the Stars Weep

Chapter 11: Faces on the Wall

Chapter 12: What the Dead Leave Behind

Chapter 13: Inside and Out

Chapter 14: Outside and In

Chapter 15: A Lifeless World

Chapter 16: The Golden String

Chapter 17: The Shattering

Chapter 18: Tomorrow Comes

Chapter 19: A Tower of Fire

Chapter 20: No Return

Chapter 21: Flight

Epilogue: For Every Creux a Pilot

 

A Word from the Author

About the Author

Prologue

For Every Body A Soul

Onno’s foot was bleeding
.
Somehow, the iron spike had been sharp and sturdy enough to cut through the sole of his sandal. Had he been a heavier person, or had he been running, his entire foot would have been impaled. With the sun at the edge of day, it was a good thing such an accident had been avoided.

He looked at the spike again and began cleaning the blood off his foot. The three-inch barb poked through the dirt like an iron claw pointing the way to the heavens.

Only one thing was obvious: it wasn’t natural—someone had put it there.

But
who
? This was still his father’s land, and Onno thought he knew every inch of it; if it served some kind of function, he didn’t know what it was.

His curiosity got the best of him, so he limped his way closer to the blue spike. His blood still crowned the tip. About five feet away from it, a small mound of dirt and rock promised to be a comfortable place to sit on to rest his foot and examine the mysterious spike.

It wasn’t. The moment he pressed his hand on the dirt to test the mound’s structural integrity, he felt a prick on his palm.

He dug and found another spike, identical to the one that had rendered his left sandal useless. Onno began to dig, removing dirt, grass, and rocks. A minute later, he considered the two spikes he had unearthed: they curved subtly toward one another like an animal’s horns. Could they be connected beneath the ground?

He hurt his hand by digging further, tired his shoulders from the strain, and when he was finally out of breath, hit something else. The two spikes went on for another six feet, growing thicker on the way down and, just as he had suspected, they were connected by a large base made of the same incredibly hard material.

Onno grabbed onto the horn-like spikes and tried to move them, but they didn’t budge. He tried to pull them out of the dirt, but this thing was deeply rooted.

So he kept digging.

An hour later, night was upon him. There was a hole, six feet deep and about the same in diameter, around the horns (which is precisely what they turned out to be). What Onno found buried in this apparently random location in his father’s land made no sense:

It was a horned head belonging to some kind of giant iron creature. It had no discernable nose or mouth, but it was definitely a face under those horns. It could be some kind of mask, or helmet, but it was far too large—and probably far too heavy as well—to be worn by a human being. Could this head, this helmet, be part of a full suit of armor? What kind of creature could even wear it? It would have to be taller than the buildings in the city!

Onno looked at the metal giant’s head. Its eyes seemed to look at him under an angry brow. It was horrifying to stare this thing down. Onno took a deep breath and looked away before running back home to tell his father.

Would this discovery be a blessing upon his family, or a curse?

BOOK: The Armor of God
11.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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