Hexcommunicated (Agent Tepes, #1)

Hexcommunicated (Agent Tepes, #1) - Rafael Chandler Nick Tepes is a Vampoule – a synthetic vampire created by the government to fight terrorists after the destruction of Providence by tentacled monstrosities in Y2K. It’s a new world, one with arcane terrorist attacks whipping out cities and he, along with Zheng, a Fearwolf, are agents travelling the world to stop it.But there is an attack due far closer to home and some rogue FAE, enhanced beings, that don’t make any sense. He can follow orders and be decommissioned, let the attack go ahead and accept his new, questionable boss – or he and his team can go rogue and figure out what’s really going on and try to do what they were made for – save livesOn the run from CIA, they have to investigate this new massive scale attack – but quickly find themselves neck deep in complexities – not least of which is their own agency’s illicit testing of a weapon that should never have been created and the involvement of FAE agents from 2 foreign governments – with their own super-weapons, ready to deploy.This world has an excellently unique premise. Terrorist organisations and world governments are using weapons of mass destruction, but not conventional explosions. These are created to cause as much terror as destruction – using lovecraftian horrors, zombie plagues and other scourges out of humanity’s nightmares. After the destruction of Providence at Y2k, governments pushed the envelopes in their experiments to change their best and their brightest into super soldiers.Unfortunately, super soldiers tended to become non-functional, unable to deal with the changes in their bodies – their best and their brightest didn’t work well either. But picking people with the right mental profile (frequently mentally ill people) and then changing them not into super heroes, but into the monsters of legend was far more functional and had the advantage of being extra frightening for their opponents.So we have the super strength, speed and healing – but also Nick, the Vampoule, with detachable fangs he can load up with different chemicals for injecting and the red-filtered nictitating membrane for night vision. Zheng, a Fearwolf, with metal claws and fangs and bristling fur that launches a hallucinogenic drug causing fear. The Soultergeist telekinetics and the Frankenstitch with his massive synthetic muscles – all the creatures of legend and Urban Fantasy produced through artificial means. It’s pretty unique and really well done.The story is excellently paced, full of action, character growth and with enough red herrings, questions and twists to keep me riveted and excited throughout the book. There was nothing that needed to be edited out and equally nothing that needed to be developed further – it was perfectly balanced. The characters are very real and endearing – I liked all of them, Zheng, Nick, Else, they were all very real, very engaging and very relatable characters.I started this book and I was worried. We had a cast made of people who had fled persecution in foreign countries, Nick as a Rroma fleeing Ceausescu Romania and Zheng fleeing China, both to become US government agents, fighting Middle Eastern-sounding terrorists in foreign countries across the world to save the nation for all good and true people. I cringed, I worried, I had visions of “Team America World police” and prepared for the snark I would have to write.But, thankfully, the book didn’t go that way. For a start, Al-Hazared seemed to be made up of monsters – pale, white monsters at that – and wasn’t the primary foe anyway. There was far more of a Cold War feel to the book that “noble true westerners face evil terrorists” with world governments using ever more dangerous and devastating technology to throw at each other in ever more sinister and ever less ethical means. The enemy governments are cruel users of people seeking to create the perfect mass weapon – and so are the western governments as well. Ultra-patriotism is linked to, at best, naivety and just as often cruelty, callousness and down-right evil; the architects behind these atrocities are considered evil no matter which side they’re on. Blinkered loyalty is presented as both foolish and immoral, obeying your orders without question is similarly condemned and the excuse of “just following orders” or “it’s for my country’s safety” is firmly stamped down.Read More