I am overjoyed to finally share this exhilarating project I’ve been working on for just about 10 years!
The first novel in the “Masks” series is underway for publishment: Masks, The Unmercenaries
Welcome to Nymphis…
A city of sin under seige from a faceless threat. Rampant crime has given rise to a pantheon of gods and monsters, heroes and villains, all who don masks to shape the face of the city. Driven to find his missing daughter, one such hero, Charles Hail, assumes the mantle as a vigilante to crackdown on the city’s unpunished criminals.With his band of Unmercenaries, these vigilantes set out to save their city from being undermined by Nymphis’ festering cabal: the Den. Outgunned and outnumbered, the Unmercenaries lean on nothing more than their tenacity and principles in order to not only halt the looming threat of the Den, but to quell their own personal demons along the way.
What began as a “what if your average joe put on the mantle of vigilante’ has evolved into a dark and gritty story of saints and monsters fighting for the fate of a broken city. In Masks, we are thrown into a city that celebrates Halloween a little longer than most places. Its citizens don’t take off their masks after the feast of All Hallows Eve, but rather continue to don them for different reasons.
The masks in this book have little to do of the masks we see being worn around the world. Rather, the masks relate to the masks you and I have been wearing long before that. Some of the masks are the veils of anonymity to cover our shame or weaknesses, others the mouthpieces of persona to embolden our voice or identity. They are also the helmets and visors we have worn to mold our inner weaknesses into the person each of strives to become.
‘The Unmercenaries’ refer to a category of wonderworking saints that accepted no pay for their services of healing. Our heroes, the Unmercenaries, embody this title by giving freely of themselves to aide their ailing city, without thanks or profit. As the “saints” of their city, these heroes observe vigilance true to their role of vigilante, and hold to a narrow code while subjecting themselves to Harrowing and unseen warfare.
While I enjoy seeing the “superhero” genre continue to thrive in media, I’ve longed to see the Christian culture recapture this genre of storytelling. Superheroes belong to the Gospels with their self-sacrificial and miraculous qualities that mimic the supernatural and awesome feats of the early Church’s saints and martyrs. While this particular novel doesn’t necessarily feature the “supernatural” component of “superheroes”, the story does feature run-of-the-mill characters who are relatable enough that spurs the audience towards personal spiritual rigor, introspection, and responsibility.
This book is unapologetically “gritty” but perhaps no more gruesome than the harrowing stories we read in Scripture, let alone than what we read in the Lives of the Saints. That being said, the book is also not over the top without purpose. This book hopefully sparks the creative endeavor to infuse the deepest truths of faith that don’t come across as campy or naive. Modern media is successfully selling flash, gorey stories that captivate the masses attention…now I wonder if we can offer something that actually possesses meaning beyond superficial motifs such as “punch the bad guy”.
This is a book about masks. So long as we are all fine putting on a mask in front of others, let’s just make sure it’s a good one, something that doesn’t merely protect and project, but compels us to act with distinction and nobility, not something that will blend us against a crowd, but will catch the eyes of others to convey a hard but noble walk that we commit ourselves to.
Stay tuned through subscribing to this blog for updates on the book. In the coming weeks, you can check out my weekly blog to get an inside scoop on the process of writing this book as well as some backstory content so as to begin dipping your toes into this harrowing city of Masks!
Lastly, I want to give a big thank you to Lexie Takis Art for the illustrations you see! I will be featuring more illustrations as we approach the publishment date.