Angel Stakes first chapter

I’ve been asked to put a teaser up. This is the first chapter, which is a real teaser 🙂

It follows directly on from Cool Hand. I originally planned to write Cool Hand and Angel Stakes as one book, with the flight to LA being the mid-point, but only authors like GRR Martin can get away with huge books at such long intervals.

If you want more of a teaser, ask and I’ll email you the first 3 chapters. Be warned, Amber’s situation is not resolved in those chapters, so it would be just another cliffhanger.




Floating down the river of night toward the city of dreams…

Our Lady, Queen of Angels. Where the long dragon spine of San Gabriel sprawls over the trembling San Andreas Fault and four million people cluster in its shadow. Bad Feng Shui, the Chinese mutter, and spit to clear their luck.

Los Angeles. Where glittering streets of plenty cut like knives through the desperate barrios. Where gangs and cults, earthquakes and hill fires, riots and despair and madness, all simmer just beneath the surface, waiting, like the abiding desert, to erupt out through the drains and engulf the city.

LA. The laconic arrogance in the initials of the city that lives, full of myth, pulsing with tales. The city that feeds on dreams, leaving nothing but dust and nightmares. And we are such stuff as dreams are made. Or nightmares.

I knew I was on a plane, flying to Los Angeles, because Skylur had called us, and my oath bound me to him, as tightly as Diana or Bian were bound to him, or my House was bound to me. And I knew that I was teetering on the brink of insanity. That I’d been over the edge. That I’d gone rogue—become an unthinking, instinctive killer, consumed by rage and blood lust. And that I’d been brought back by my kin. Brought back as Were by Alex’s dominance. Brought back as Athanate by Jen’s Blood. And whatever part of me was Adept had been torn and stunned by grounding all the energy that the whole Taos community of Adepts had poured into a lock to hold Diana prisoner on that cold hillside up in Carson National Park. The energy that Kaothos, Tullah’s dragon spirit guide, had reversed somehow.

They’d told me the Athanate would drive my Were rogue, or the Were would drive the Athanate. That the Adept would drive them both rogue. It hadn’t happened like that.

You are none of the things they will think you are.

My great-grandmother, Speaks-to-Wolves, had said that to me in a vision, and she’d been right. My paranormal sides balanced each other. I’d escaped that nightmare, only to emerge into the same one—with a different face. The tide of darkness in my mind wasn’t caused by my competing paranormal instincts, but by the meddling of Colonel Petersen’s psychologists, as I’d lain defenseless in Obs after being bitten by rogue Athanate in the jungles of South America. I saw it as a storm in my head, sweeping in across the cold, high plains, threatening to obliterate me under towering clouds and cracking lightning. My body twitched and jerked with every electric strike.

My kin had saved me, but they hadn’t cured me. The darkness was returning.

And yet, it was as if there were two halves of me. A half that lay shaking and muttering feverishly on the floor between my worried kin, and a half that floated through the cool cabin, granted a clarity of vision that was painful. I’d bound my eukori tightly into my head so that the stain of my madness could not spread, but I was listening to Diana and Bian.

There was a crisis ahead. An opportunity and a danger twisted around each other like mating snakes.

We were going to LA, a place where you could toss away your old life like a bad hand and get a new deal. But also the place where the hollow-bellied god of fame lured dreamers to the great light, only to let it flicker and fade, leaving them blind and starless in the stone jungles, unable to tell truth from artifice. And still believing, still believing, as they offered the last things they had left. Their passion. Their health, heart, soul and youth. Finally, even their children. And the place where Basilikos and Panethus might end their shadowy battle, consuming each other utterly, that a new hope might rise from the ashes.

So close.

Floating down the river of night toward the city of dreams…


As they touched the cool, gray asphalt of Van Nuys airfield, the plane’s tires began screaming, and I went into convulsions.

Tags: , , , , ,

About Mark Henwick

I was born in Africa and left out in the sun too often. An early interest in philosophy and psychology was adequately exorcised by tending bars. And while trying to enroll in a class to read Science Fiction full time, I ended up taking an engineering degree which splendidly qualified me to move into marketing. That in turn spawned a late onset career in creative writing. When not working, I get high by the slightly less conventional means of a small light aircraft. My first books are available on Amazon at

29 responses to “Angel Stakes first chapter”

  1. Alex says :

    Thank you sooo much for sharing this with us ahead of the release.
    I soooo love your books and checking your blog hourly (outing my self as hopeless nerd ^^ ).

    I know it will only increase my suffering, but I’d like to take you for your offer for sending the next chapters.

    Any idea how long we will have to wait?
    Days (hopefully), weeks (somehow survivable) or months (omg kill me now)???

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Weeks, I *hope*!

      3 chapters on their way. 🙂 But I’m not sure about your email address — could you email me at the usual contact address Mark (at symbol) Athanate (dot) com

      • Alex says :

        Thank you Mark.

        I read it during my lunchbreak and totaly loved it *thumbsup*

        But as I feared: Now I totaly want to read the rest …..

        SoI have to do the only thing I can do to get me through the time until it is finally released: Read the other books again. For the 10th time. Or is it 15th time? Lost cout.

  2. Cynthia L. Craig says :

    I hv no will power. I would love the 3 chapters.

    Thank you.


  3. Art Batista says :

    I’d live the first 3 chapters.


  4. Art Batista says :

    I hate autocorrect. I meant “love”


  5. Carrie says :

    Please email me the first 3 chapters, I also have no willpower – can’t wait. Thx

  6. Faustine says :

    Can you email me the 3 chapters, please, i can’t wait. Thank you

  7. Jon. says :

    I’ll wait ’till I can buy the whole book so I can read it all at once.

  8. Tara says :

    Love, this series and can’t wait for the next book. Please send the three chapters.

  9. Dominik says :

    I think it’s a great offer, but I’ll wait until the book is out and just take a day off work. =) Thanks for continuing this great series!

  10. Paul Goodrich says :

    Love the 3 chapters as well, thanks

    Paul Goodrich

  11. Justin says :

    I can feel the tide. I would love the opportunity to torture myself with your work.😂

  12. Mark Henwick says :

    Thanks Paul, Justin

    First 3 chapters are on their way to you. 🙂


  13. Jimbo says :

    I have really enjoyed the serious so far. I love the way you have developed the characters. After reading the teaser first chapter I feel like I am going into withdrawal. I would love to read the first three chapters hopefully that will give me a fix till it becomes available to order. Have you ever thought of doing Advanced Ereader Copies to see through your website?

    • Mark Henwick says :

      On the way, Jimbo.

      I have a beta reader group, and I know I should be doing more with the website. It’s just I seem to have no time! 🙂

      I’ll have a think about a formal ARC system.

      Hope you enjoy the teaser.

  14. Matt says :

    Hi Mark,

    I would love a copy if you are still prepared to email it!

  15. Micha says :

    Hello! Mark me down as a request for the 3 chapter request, please!

  16. Mark Henwick says :

    Thank you Micha and Matt! The files are on their way.

    First indication from my editor is that there are not too many problems with the current draft and I hope to release the book this month.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: