Date Published: 23 April 2019
Publisher: Black Spot Books
It’s Dark in the Old Country.
Where do goblins come from? Why do they only turn up in the Old Country, and why do they like swearing so much? In the second book of Terribly Serious Darkness, Sloot Peril—a “hero” who’s staunchly averse to heroics—goes searching for answers. Much to his chagrin, he finds them.
Everything changed after the Fall of Salzstadt, but try telling that to the people of the city, whose capacity for denial is unmatched. They have yet to acknowledge that Vlad the Invader cut a bloody swath through their city, that the dead are walking the streets, or that the Domnitor—long may he reign—has fled to wherever despots go on very long vacations while goblin infestations take care of themselves.
The worst of villains holds all of the power, unspeakable dark forces are on the rise, and everyone wants to kidnap the Domnitor—long may he reign—for their own nefarious ends. If all of that weren’t bad enough, Sloot’s got the fate of his own soul to worry about.
Can his girlfriend help him save the Old Country from annihilation? Is Myrtle really his girlfriend? If all goes well for Sloot—which it never does—he might just sort it all out before the Dark swallows them all up.
Life After Afterlife
There is a common misconception among the living that death is the end of it. Go vigorously onto the business end of a sword, wear the colors of a west-end boulderchuck team into an east-end pub, or simply hang around long enough for your organs to start switching off, and that’s the end of the line.
On the contrary, there is such a thing as death for the dead. No one is really sure how long it takes, but eventually, each and every ghost withers away and ceases to be.
“So that’s it then,” said Sloot after an indeterminate amount of time. “I’ll be a ghost until I’m nothing.”
“Well, not nothing,” said Hans. “Not necessarily.”
“Something else, then?”
“Well, there’s considerable debate on the topic. Especially among the philosophers.”
As if things weren’t already bad enough, thought Sloot. He knew it was coming. It was only a matter of time before—
“Did someone say philosophy?” Arthur appeared in the doorway, his moustaches standing on end.
Oh, no, thought Sloot. “Please, nobody say any—”
“Hans was just telling us that no one knows whether ghosts are really gone after we fade away.”
Arthur’s eyes were wild, like a lion who hadn’t eaten in a week. Geralt must have resembled a porterhouse.
“Portnoy the Sacrilegious once chained himself to the doors of the cathedral to prove the impossibility of life after death! He was wrong, obviously, but his arguments are sound if applied to life after death after death.”
“Well said, Arthur,” Sloot blurted. “I think that’s all that anyone can—”
“Malarky,” said Hans. “You’re saying there’s nothing beyond the Hereafter, based on a theory that there is no Hereafter?”
“I’ve still got a few more questions—” Sloot began.
“It’s not that simple!” Arthur was pacing around the room and gesticulating wildly. Myrtle had always refused to indulge him in that while he had her possessed. “It makes sense in light of his Treatise on Bedtime Disobedience—which he wrote when he was eight—but only if you understand the finer points of Mauler’s Unticking Clock. I can solve this in … seventeen moves!”
“I’m sure you can,” said Sloot, “but I really need to ask Hans about—”
“I studied Mauler in college,” said Geralt. “The Unticking Clock is a metaphor for the struggle between hunger and apathy. I hardly think it applies—”
“That’s where you’re wrong!”
Sloot wandered off. He could never stomach philosophy for this very reason. Even if you didn’t know anything about Nutter’s Hungry Clock or whatever, you could join in the conversation with your angriest voice. Philosophy, as far as Sloot could tell, was the art of determining who could have the loudest opinion while not doing anything useful.
Sam Hooker writes darkly humorous fantasy. He is an entirely serious person, regardless of what you may have heard. Originally from Texas, he now resides in southern California with his wife, son, and dog.
3 signed copies of Peril in the Old Country, the first book in the series.