New publisher Damnation Books is set to open its doors on September 1, 2009. They have a bevy of releases to help usher in their debut, one of which is ARMAGEDDON BOUND by Tim Marquitz. The novel takes place fifty years after God and Satan have decided to put aside their differences and ride off into the sunset, leaving the angels, demons, and humanity to fend for themselves. In the following years, the angels and demons have largely fallen into two categories Ė the pro-Armageddon group which is hell-bent on bringing about the end of the world, and the anti-Armageddon group which is seeking to preserve life on Earth. And it might surprise you to find out who falls into each campÖ

Our protagonist is Frank Trigg, a mercenary of sorts who is helping to fight against the pro-Armageddon forces. The story opens with one of Luciferís top lieutenants, Asmoday, attempting to gather enough power to usher in the end of the world and reign supreme during the ensuing chaos and destruction. As Frank tries to foil Asmodayís plans, he comes up against demons, angels, wizards, psychics, and a pissed off ex-wife, all of whom are trying to take a bite out of his ass.

ARMAGEDDON BOUND is bursting at the seams with action, moving from one frenetic battle to the next. The reader is rarely allowed to catch his breath before moving on to the next showdown. Marquitz has also injected humor throughout the novel, some of which falls flat, while some of the lines are pretty funny. The combination of action and humor actually had me wishing that ARMAGEDDON BOUND would have been released as a graphic novel, as I think it would be the perfect medium to tell this story.

All that being said, there were some things that did not work for me. Frank, our main character, incessantly thinks about sex while heís going about his business. Talking to his cousin? Frankís thinking about having sex with her. About to be killed? Frankís thinking about how he hasnít been laid in a long time. Finding a pair of manacles that were used to contain an angel? Frankís thinking about shackling his cousin and all the things heíll do to her. Off to fight the climactic battle? Frank lets his cousin walk in front of him so he can ogle her ass before the fight. Almost every page is dripping with sexual innuendo of some kind, which might have been funny during the first couple dozen pages, but quickly got old as the story progressed.

Another thing that jumped out at me was how empty the world was. While the angels and demons know that God and Satan have departed, humanity is still under the impression that everything is normal. So where is everyone? The two forces battle in warehouses, churches, residential areas and more, but we never come across anyone. I realize both sidesí plots and headquarters are secret, but what about when theyíre travelling around? Or battling in public places? No humans notice the battles or become involved in any way (willingly or unwillingly)? No passers-by stumble across these scenes? With the exception of a couple hired goons and a newspaper article mentioned in the last few pages, we never even notice that humanity is still in the picture.

And so Iím left a little flat with ARMAGEDDON BOUND. While thereís plenty of action and some clever humor, itís hard to get past some of the juvenile commentary and the lifeless atmosphere. I also canít get past the idea that this story would be better served as a graphic-novel adaptation, playing off the humor and battles (which would lend itself well to illustrations) while eliminating some of the aforementioned problems.

ARMAGEDDON BOUND will be available as an e-book when Damnation Books opens on September 1, 2009. The pricing for the e-book is quite unique (something Iíll be interested in following as Damnation Books goes live). When the book (as well as the rest of their catalogue) becomes available at midnight, the first person who orders the book will receive it for free. Every subsequent order will see the price go up by $.05 until it reaches its cover price. Damnation Books is referring to this methodology as ďVariable Priced Books,Ē an idea thatís sure to get early-buyers to pull the trigger and give Damnationís books a shot. Itís a different way to handle their sales, and I commend them for trying something new in an attempt to draw people to their e-books.

Damnation Books also mentions that novellas and novels will be available as trade paperbacks, but the release date and price is not yet available for ARMAGEDDON BOUND.

(6 out of 10)

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