Dark Season V: The Life, Death, Life, Life and Death of Martin Keller is released on Thursday 29th December (just a few days away), and I should warn you: someone dies in the book.
The person who dies is someone who has been in most (maybe all) of the books so far. This person will die, and will stay dead. No resurrections. No magic returns. This will be a real, final death that will affect the other characters deeply and for some time to come.
This person is one of my favourite characters, and I really didn’t want to write the death scene. I’ll really miss writing this character, but the death is necessary for the overall story arc. You’ll see what I mean. And it’s really probably not the person you’re thinking…
In the meantime here’s the prologue. Hope you enjoy it:
My eyes open themselves.
How long have I been sleeping? It feels like… many, many years. Perhaps it has been decades. Even now, I’m still not quite awake. I have to clear my mind, I have to remember where I’m supposed to be. Didn’t I leave myself a clue somewhere?
I turn to look across the room. That’s good: I can still move my body. I was scared that… Wait, what was I scared of? I remember now… I was scared that the operation would destroy my body, that I would wake up crippled or that I wouldn’t wake up at all. But I seem to be alive.
The question is: was the operation a success?
I feel something rising up through my body. Something familiar. What is it? It’s a sensation I’ve known before, many times. It’s flooding my body, but I can’t remember what it is. Does it have a name? Yes! I remember now: pain. I’m feeling pain. The most intense, excruciating pain I could ever imagine, all through my body.
I scream, and my voice is so loud that it scares me. It sounds as if there has been no noise in this room for so long. I keep screaming and screaming, aware that this is the only possible response to the agony that has taken hold of my entire body.
What have they done to me?
I hear a noise nearby, the sound of someone running over to my bed. I stop screaming and look down, just in time to see a large syringe rammed into my arm. After a moment, the pain starts to subside. I look up at the nurse and see her back away in shock.
What do I look like? What have they done to me?
“Mr. Keller,” says a voice. I turn to see Dr. Graves standing by my bed. “I’m sure you have a lot of questions,” he continues. “The most important thing is that the operation was a complete success. You…” He pauses and looks at the rest of my body. “You have exactly what you wanted”.
I try to speak, but I can only nod.
“The wound are healing,” Dr. Graves continues, “and there are no infections so far. I anticipate that you will be able to leave the facility within five or six weeks. Until then, you will need lots of rest and some therapy to help you regain the use of your body. As we discussed previously, none of this is going to be easy. And the pain will be extreme. Even morphine…” He seems nervous, almost scared. “Even morphine will not be able to hold it back for long. You will spend at least the next two weeks in unbearable agony. But you will survive”.
I nod again. I know all of this. We discussed the operation extensively for months before he agreed to start cutting me up. He insisted over and over again that he had ethical concerns with carrying out such a procedure. I simply raised the price I was willing to pay him. One million dollars, then five million, then ten million. Eventually I offered him thirty million dollars and his ‘ethical concerns’ were miraculously eased. I was under his knife the very next day, just as soon as the money had cleared into his offshore account.
All of that seems so long ago.
I feel the pain starting to come back, starting to fill my body once again. It’s like a wave heading for shore, ready to break at any moment.
“I can’t help you,” says Dr. Graves, clearly seeing that I am starting to tense my body against the oncoming agony. “You’ll just have to accept the pain for the next couple of weeks. I’ll monitor you twenty-four hours a day, and we’ll talk when you are ready”.
The pain is stronger than ever. Although I clench my teeth, eventually I have to scream. But as the scream fills the room and Dr. Graves retreats, my mind is filled with a single, clear image: the last vampire, Patrick, with his neck being crushed in my hands, before I sink my teeth into his veins and suck out every drop of blood in his body. I have waited so long for victory; I can wait a few more months. But I finally have what I need: I finally have the weapons that will destroy him.
My name is Martin Keller. I have killed thousands of vampires. Once the pain is over, I will kill one final time.
This is an important book in the series for a number of reasons. First, it brings about a change in a key relationship between two of the characters. Second, it sets in motion the events that will lead to the next book, Gothos. Third, there’s the death I mentioned earlier. And finally, this is the book that reveals the final truth about Vincent: Who is he? Where did he come from? And what does he really want with Patrick?