After “the Decline,” religions are licensed and monitored; there is an entire unit of government that is responsible for investigating supernatural claims and making sure that no faith-based movement gets a powerful following.
Justin March was a successful government investigator who saw something he couldn’t explain, except through unwelcome words that hinted of a higher power. He included his experiences in a formal report, then was exiled from The Republic of United North America (RUNA) to technology-starved Panama. He desperately wants to return home, but has no clue as to how to get back in the government’s good graces.
Mae Koskinen is a praetorian, an elite, enhanced soldier of RUNA who is reassigned from her usual security duty following an unfortunate incident at the funeral of her lover. Her new assignment is to help bring an exile back to RUNA for a special case. Of course, that exile is Justin March.
Justin and Mae are given a limited amount of time to investigate a series of five ritualistic murders. Despite the efforts of the best technicians to explain the situation with science, it looks like someone materialized out of smoke and killed unrelated victims. Justin’s skill and his willingness to explore the supernatural possibilities make him the perfect person to lead the investigation. In the course of the investigation, Justin and Mae develop a grudging respect for one another.
There are a lot of elements to keep your attention in this book: the hints of what happened to cause this anti-religion environment, the supernatural involvement of gods in the mortal world, the back-story of the main characters, and the developing relationship between Mae and Justin. I must say it took me a little while to get hooked, but when I did I couldn’t put the book down.
If you want everything tied neatly together at the end, don’t start this book yet. The mystery of the serial murders is solved, but there are many issues left hanging – you’ll just need to keep reading the “Age of X” series to understand it all. Next in the series is The Immortal Crown due out in May, 2014.
Check the WRL catalog for Gameboard of the Gods