Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Armageddon Bound - Tim Marquitz

Armageddon Bound is the first book in the Demon Squad series. The author kindly provided me with copies of this book and the sequel Resurrection. I'll be reviewing the second book sometime next month. Both are available as paperback and e-book in various format from publisher Damnation Books. Without any prior exposure to this author, or publisher for that matter, I had no idea what to expect. Armageddon Bound turned out to be a testosterone-driven and absolutely action-packed novel.

Imagine a world where God and Lucifer have decided they've had enough. After a brief chat they both decide to walk away from the mess that is our world and leave it to sort out its own problems. A bit of a let down if you've spent eternity serving either one in the capacity of Angel or Devil. Some of them feel Armageddon can't come soon enough. Time to start over. Not everybody agrees with that vision however. Frank Trigg, also known as Triggaltheron in the many circles of Hell, is one of those who'd rather stick with the old world. Part of an organization known as Demonic Resistance and Containment (DRAC), he actively tries to prevent Armageddon from occurring. A job that becomes a lot more dangerous when a powerful Angel decides to side with the pro-Armageddon forces. As if that isn't enough, Trigg also has to deal with a vengeful ex. Life is going to be interesting for Trigg for a while.

Trigg is quite an unusual hero. His uncle is Lucifer, the big man himself, and once, he was even offered the job of Anti-Christ. For reasons not made clear in this novel, he turned down this offer. Still, his heritage offers some benefits. He is immortal for one thing but as Devils go, not particularly powerful. Perhaps not entirely surprising, Trigg is drawn to the darker side of life. He spends most of the novel in the bad part of town and is not one to walk away from a good brawl. In fact, he takes a lot of punishment in this novel.

One of Trigg's qualities not all readers will appreciate is his tendency to describe the assets of just about every female character he comes across, and his physical reaction to them, in detail. He is single, apparently a fan of Jenna Jameson and, although currently in a dry spell, has had a turbulent sex life in the past. I thought Trigg's trouble with his ex-wife, and really, he should have seen it coming, to be entertaining but for the most part, the rather crude descriptions employed don't really add to the bad boy image Trigg likes to cultivate. Then again, lust is one of the seven deadly sins.

Except for a stray vampire most of the creatures we come across are biblical. We don't get to see heaven but hell appears to be mostly modelled after Dante's vision of the place. Interestingly, we don't get to see any of the souls spending eternity there. It's a rather quiet place when Trigg gets there. The author chose to tell the story from a character who is part Devil but clearly not all evil. It's interesting to see how he transforms the eternal battle between good and evil into something of a power struggle were both parties do things they ought to be ashamed of. There is something ironic about a Devil preventing Armageddon and Marquitz uses this to full effect.

Another striking feature of this novel are the action scenes. Marquitz has his characters engage each other with an explosive mixture of magic and fire arms. These are intense scenes of mayhem and destruction and are the main attraction of the novel. Truth be told, Trigg has quite a bit of trouble holding his own in the company of more powerful Devils and Angels. It makes for a very fast paced novel, especially since Marquitz does not forget to to make Trigg aware of the fact that time is running out.

Armageddon Bound is an entertaining but somewhat light read. The concept of God and Lucifer raises some interesting questions that could have given the novel a bit more depth. How does the knowledge that nobody is listening to your prayers any more influence religious communities for instance? We see angels and devils trying to bring about Armageddon but no ordinary humans seem to have any role in the conflict. It seems to me there is material for some interesting social developments and perhaps a cult or two here. That being said, as the fast-paced, action-packed novel it aims to be, Armageddon Bound works very well indeed.

Book Details
Title: Armageddon Bound
Author: Tim Marquitz
Publisher: Damnation Books
Pages: 155
Year: 2009
Language: English
Format: E-book
ISBN: 978-1-61572-001-9
First published: 2009

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