The term “mercenary” not often found in conjunction with the word “honourable,” while the band led by Brother Indigo and Brother Cerulean, better known to each other as Corrigan Blight and Cade Ombra, are not typical mercenaries in that they are wonderists, fighting with magical powers rather than swords, in some way that might actually mean they are worse, accepting payment to violate both the laws of nature and the bodies of whomever has offended their employer, leaving behind corpses and scorched earth.
The one rule to which they abide being that a contract must not be broken, their current engagement is undertaking a siege ordered by Lucien, Ascendant Prince with an ego and temper to match, who has done just that to their agreement, the difference being that as the man to whom they answer Cade has little comeback other than to go off-book and murder Lucien rather than the innocents people who have just offered their surrender, a change of plan which sets Cade at odds with Corrigan and the others in their group and would also have left Lucien none too pleased had he not already been murdered by parties unknown.
With Cade the prime suspect regardless of an alibi which exonerates him, having been at that moment tied up and suspended upside down by his furious magical associates who took exception to him stepping beyond what they felt was an appropriate response to the changing conditions of their employment, his escape and subsequent accepting of a commission previously refused when presented by his equally dishonourable Infernal agent Tenebris form the opening of The Malevolent Seven, the new standalone novel of chaos, deception and depravity from Sebastien de Castell.
Cade Ombra making it clear from the outset that he is not one of the good guys, the disdain he has for the world, for those around him, is only an overflow for the disdain he has for himself, a witness to the worst of the world and participant in much of it, once possessed of a higher calling but cast out of those lofty illuminated heights to the blood and mud of the mortal plane, bartering for power with said demoniac, inhabitant of another realm, answerable to a very different set of rules and always looking for the upper hand in any bargain.
Unsurprisingly, Cade has few friends and those that there are don’t really like him, and even for the few he genuinely tries to help, the innocents caught in a war broader in scope than their small lives, pawns bartered as flesh to warm the night, it doesn’t end well; not Cade’s fault, not by direct action at least, but it is likely that neither teenage Galass nor her younger brother Fidick would have been in that situation in the first place had it not been for him.
The right circumstances able to corrupt even an angelic, The Malevolent Seven is the very definition of a page-turner, every chapter ending with a revelation which demands further disclosure as it becomes apparent that every action Cade has supposedly taken of his own volition has been planned and manipulated for reasons unknown, though the puppet master extraordinaire behind it all is of course de Castell himself, who with wicked intent and delightful prose makes his characters dance and jump and bleed and weep as they find the worst that can be learned of any situation is the truth.
The Malevolent Seven is available now from Jo Fletcher Books