Monday, 21 January 2019

Mask of the Gods by Karen Furk

Title: Mask of the Gods
Series: The Mask Chronicles Book 1
Author: Karen Furk
Genre: YA / Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: 8th January, 2019

Soul Demons live off the souls of the living.

When Haydan’s home world is invaded by a soul demon seeking an item shrouded in myth and legend, his father evicts him and sends him to safety. His chosen one and warrior should provide reassurance and sanctuary, but neither appears to be working very well. Just when he thinks matters cannot get any worse his scheming grandmother arrives. She has her own plans that appear to involve him, none of which bodes well.

Diego feels confident he has the soul demon under control. Overlooking his devious mother’s involvement, he fails to appreciate that he is not only storm rider elder, but also an elven prince and certain debts are about to become due.

Lavinia worries about her grandson, but also who she left behind in the elven realm a long time ago. Tallin thinks she abandoned him and he is livid. She has everything under control, including Tallin…at least that is what she thinks.

They all need to learn afresh who to trust. With a soul demon on the rampage, an unleashed, angry and betrayed elven king and a long-forgotten mask surfacing, what could possibly go wrong?

The past is about to catch up with all of them. Nothing is going to go as planned because the mask and the gods have other ideas.


Diego and the soul demon that invades his realm have history and unfinished business. In this section from Mask of the Gods, Diego (the father of main character, Haydan) has finally given in to his inappropriate urge to exact revenge and he has entered the containment field that he created to resolve things with his fists.

      Looking elated, the creature pulled its shoulders back, twisting its neck from side to side as though stretching. The movement amplified its pale bare chest.
      A snort of displeasure left Diego’s mouth before he could stop himself, as he let his coat and top vanish. Bare chested he delighted in the creature’s puzzled look. Storm riders never revealed bare flesh on their torso to anyone other than their chosen one. “Yeah, I’m not like the rest any more,” Diego said, fixing the creature with a challenging glare. “You only just figuring that out, freak show?”
      The creature gave another evil little smile, its skin distorting and darkening as it tried returning to its original form.
      “No you don’t!” Diego threw power out, watching in satisfaction as the creature’s skin returned to its human form.
      It roared in fury.
      “But come and get my soul, seeing as you like it so much.”
      The creature lunged for Diego, reaching for his throat. Diego knocked its arm away and swung his other fist around. Finding contact with its jaw, he took satisfaction as the creature staggered backwards, its hand flying up to rub its face. The pain in his fist didn’t bother him, he had experienced worse.
      It took the demon a moment to recover from the shock, before it charged towards Diego, trying to knock him over as it barrelled into him. Pain exploded in Diego’s shoulder as they made contact. Its chest felt surprisingly warm for a demon creature. Demons were usually colder to the touch. This one felt as though it was burning up, or using a lot of power to maintain its current form, which was even more odd.
      Diego swung his fist again, aiming for the creature’s ribs. A crack, followed by an explosion of pain in his knuckle indicated he had succeeded. The creature doubled over, but it swung its fist upward and caught the side of Diego’s chin. The force sent him reeling backwards. The tangy sweet, metallic taste of blood filled his mouth, giving him a small modicum of satisfaction. “Is that the best you can do? It’s here, right here.” Diego waved his altera arm in front of the creature.
      Its stare followed his every move before, with another roar, it launched at him again. Diego flung his arms out. “Come on then, soul demon, let’s have this out.”

      The creature’s knuckles once again made contact with Diego’s ribs. He doubled over, welcoming the explosion of pain in his side even more than he expected to. This was his punishment for failing to protect Sasha in her moment of need; penance felt good. Sweating and breathing heavily, he dropped onto his knees. Although they had been fighting each other for the last ten minutes, the creature barely looked like it had got going as it walked towards him, all arrogance and confidence. He hated it as much now as he had then, when it forced his chosen one to make a decision that there was no going back from.
      “See I’ve never understood why, if their souls mean so much to you, you let them out of whatever the hell that thing is on your wrist? Why not keep them close?” the demon asked, looking confused. “If you truly loved her, you’d have called her back to wherever it is your souls hang out, no?”
      Diego sneered, the creature was stupid if it didn’t think he would figure out its games. “I know why you ask that. That’s what you wanted to happen, isn’t it? You think I’m stupid enough to let you follow her back, to show you where we go? I’m not stupid. I’m as calculating as they come and I’ve got the measure of you, my friend.”
      The creature took another step closer. It kicked at Diego’s head, aiming for his temple. Ducking, Diego reached for its ankle and with a push upwards and a rapid twist of his body, he flung the creature up into the air, bringing it down hard on its back. Whilst the demon fought for breath, he lunged for it, taking advantage of its predicament. Slamming the full weight of his body down on top of the demon from the side, he thumped his knees against its head and waist. Diego leant down hard, ensuring its body was caged to the ground beneath him. He grabbed its wrist tightly with one hand, whilst his other arm snaked around the wrist he had hold of, pinning the demon firmly to the floor. Now it couldn’t attempt any kind of escape. Maintaining downward pressure on its wrist with one hand, Diego pushed the creature’s elbow up with his other arm, using so much force he nearly shattered its shoulder blade.
      The creature let out an ear-piercing shriek, followed by various yelps of pain. “I yield, I yield. What do you want?” Its voice still sounded like crackling flames, but now it sounded pathetic and broken.
      “I want to know who you sold her to and where I can find her in the dark fae’s realm,” Diego said. He maintained the pressure he applied, there was no way he was letting the demon try any of its tricks…
      “Tell me or I will shatter your shoulder blade. It’ll take a lot of magic to fix that and you won’t find any willing volunteers around here.” The creature hissed, the sound could have been in anger, or pain. Diego didn’t care which.
      “I sold her to a healer, Leylani,” the demon said, with a hint of reluctance in its voice. “She had plans for how to use the power.”
      Diego looked up to find Teeam standing on the other side of the barrier shaking his head. Disappointment glittered in his mysterious gold-rimmed stare. “Bad idea, Diego. Let the soul sucker go, get some clothes on and get out of there. This is undignified behaviour.”

Author Bio:

Karen Furk loves fantasy stories. She has done ever since she was a small, lonely child with an over active imagination. She’s particularly fond of stories that are crammed full of magic, mayhem and magical creatures. Karen’s background in marketing laid the foundations for her writing career which began after a serious bout of depression. No longer able to contain her over active imagination, the stories finally flowed onto a page. She aims to surprise and delight with the characters and worlds she creates. She lives in the North West of the UK with her husband, two boys and a hamster called Rufus (Yes, a girl hamster with a boy’s name. Don’t ask, she just embraces the crazy!). Visit her at or find her on social media and say hello – she’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest under the user name karenfurkauthor.

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