Saturday, October 13, 2012

Axe: Stem-Winder

I'm three books away from a clean writing plate–one more in the Cutter's Wars series and two Matador novels, so naturally, as is wont to happen, another one that has been rattling around in the back corridors of my mind has chosen this time to arrive.

Last night, while watching the news, bam! the potential book kicked in the door and presented itself, pretty much all of a piece, a nasty, mean-looking urban fantasy. 

Hey. Listen up. You got to tell my story, writer-man ...

And here it is: 

Reilly "Reach" Wells is a blues guitarist and singer who plies the small venues in the Shift Circuit–clubs on Earth, in Faerie, and in Between. Not many humans can travel the Shift, which allows transit from one world to the other; not many humans even know it exists.

For a dozen years Wells has played the smoky bars and pubs, mostly in the Between, where he has a reputation as somebody who can get into a groove and hold an audience rapt with his performance, be they human or fay. 

Some of those who know that Faerie exists in an alternate reality next door have been tasked with maintaining some kind of legal equilibrium between that world and this. There are criminals on both sides who prey upon their own and each other's people. Fairies get taken and forced into various kinds of slavery by humans; humans are kidnapped and made to serve likewise in Faerie.

On Earth, there exists a secret organization called the Apposition Bureau, usually referred to as "Abby." Essentially a combination FBI-CIA, with dashes of NSA and ATF, Abby fields spies, agents, analysts, and ambassadors.

On Faerie, the counterpart to Abby is called Wisp. While these two organizations are often at odds with each other, they sometimes work together. 

For seven years, Reach Wells (code name "Axe") has been an agent of the AB. Mostly, he gathers information and passes it along, but now and again, he has been pressed into more active service. 

He is a reluctant operative who does the job only because Abby can effectively deny him access to Between and Faerie, and he needs to be able to go there. Fay blues are, to the susceptible, psychologically-addictive, and Reach needs to hear them, sing them, play them.

There is, of course, a tragedy in his past about which he has never spoken, and the otherwordly blues help keep him going.

Over the years, Wells has run into one of Wisp's field ops a few times, the fay femme, code name "Scar." She is so-named for a slash on her face that, when not hidden by glamour, disfigures her otherwise jaw-dropping beauty. She doesn't talk about that, either.

They have an ... interesting relationship ...

"Reach, if you call me 'Tinker Bell' one more time, I am going to shrivel your manhood to the size of a dwarf flea's dick!"

Magic exists in Faerie, of course, but it is not all-encompassing, nor is it effortless,  save for a few powerful adepts. The mundane chores of daily life have to be done manually, and in Faerie, there's no electricity, no batteries. Devices that make things easier are mechanically-operated, and mostly powered by springs. 

Somebody has to charge these springs, and this is considered unskilled labor and low-paying work, so stem-winders are not held in high regard. But even though these workers are cheap, there are those who would avoid paying them, and these folk sometimes kidnap and enslave humans to do the job.

Wisp has an investigation going seeking missing fay femmes, and she bumps into Reach after he has been assigned to track down missing humans.

Together, they come to realize that the two assignments are entwined in ways they have to uncover to find out who is doing what and why. Naturally, this turns out to be a nest of worms, complex and twisted, and those responsible really don't want to be outed, so Reach and Scar's lives are going to be at serious risk ...


Jim said...

Gonna epub this one or go the paper route? And how long to wait -- cause it sounds really cool!

Steve Perry said...

Not sure yet; I might try to go traditional probably depend on how it feels as I get into it.