RAGNAROK–The End of Everything?

Today is the day.

RAGNAROK is here!

Ragnarok

No, not the actual Norse End Times, but the new novel from Jeremy Robinson and Kane Gilmour. The book is available in all formats, from all places, today. If you step into your local bookshop and don’t find one, get on their case and have them order it for you.

Here’s the description:

It starts with a thunderous crack and a flash of light. Screams come next. Then the hunters. With a staccato flicker, the light disappears and everything within a hundred yard radius goes with it. A massive crater is all that remains where a chunk of the world has gone missing.

As the deadly phenomenon repeats and expands amidst the world’s most densely populated cities–carving apartment buildings in half, scooping away entire city blocks, and claiming thousands of lives–Jack Sigler, Callsign: King, and his black ops team take action. But the team is broken, spread across the globe and vulnerable. Scrambling to make sense of the violent disappearances and fighting to reunite, the team comes face-to-face with an otherworldly enemy capable of making the fearless…terrified.

Taking the battle to the ends of the Earth–and beyond–the team combats a savage enemy whose centuries-old plan for mankind has nearly reached fruition. If they fail, the planet will become little more than a fully stocked food cache for a creature whose presence heralds the beginning of Ragnarök–and the extinction of the human race.

Pretty great, right?

So who the heck is Jack Sigler and what’s this team? Jack Sigler is a Black Ops specialist with a team known as Chess Team (each member has a callsign related to a chess theme: King, Queen, etc.). Their handler is named Deep Blue (also a chess reference). The team started out as a normal military fighting unit, but quickly found themselves engaged in bizarre threats such as battling a bio-tech company-resurrected Greek Hydra, finding a cure for a weaponized strain of a genetic disease linked to a previously unknown race of neanderthals, and stopping a madman with an ancient language that could animate inanimate objects into engines of destruction. From werewolves to elephant graveyards, and from ghost cities to genetically enhanced giant salamanders, Chess Team always finds these threats and eliminates them.

Here’s the trailer for the new book:

How about it, huh?

Is this book part of a series? Yes. Could you jump into the series right here and follow along? Probably. Is it worth going back and reading the earlier books in the series? Hell yes. These books are all a wild ride. For those looking for reading order, I present the following list:

1. PULSE (Jeremy Robinson)

2. INSTINCT (Jeremy Robinson)

3. THRESHOLD (Jeremy Robinson)

3.a CALLSIGN: KING (Jeremy Robinson & Sean Ellis)
3.b CALLSIGN: QUEEN (Jeremy Robinson & David Wood)
3.c CALLSIGN: ROOK (Jeremy Robinson & Edward G. Talbot)
3.d CALLSIGN: BISHOP (Jeremy Robinson & David McAfee)
3.e CALLSIGN: KNIGHT (Jeremy Robinson & Ethan Cross)
3.f  CALLSIGN: KING–Book 2–UNDERWORLD (Jeremy Robinson & Sean Ellis)
3.g CALLSIGN: DEEP BLUE (Jeremy Robinson & Kane Gilmour)
3.h CALLSIGN: KING–Book 3–BLACKOUT (Jeremy Robinson & Sean Ellis)

4. RAGNAROK (Jeremy Robinson & Kane Gilmour)

Confused yet? What’s the deal with all those CALLSIGN books? After three novels (PULSE, INSTINCT, and THRESHOLD), Jeremy knew he had too much on his plate for 2011, and it would be a while before he got back to Chess Team. So he joined forces with several top-notch thriller authors and got each of them to put together a novella (a short novel ranging from 30,000 words to 60,000 words in length). Each novella would tell a story about one of the team members. King has three novellas though. His story lent itself to a small trilogy, which can also be purchased as an omnibus. CALLSIGN: KING THE BRAINSTORM TRILOGY, collects all three King stories. Also, he’s the team’s field leader, and the star of the show. Only right he should have more novellas than everyone else.

You’ll also notice a little novella in there called CALLSIGN: DEEP BLUE. I co-wrote that one with Jeremy. It follows the team’s handler when he gets trapped in the team’s new underground headquarters in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, stuck between an armed enemy force and creatures that had been lying quietly in the bowels of the fortress, but who are now coming out of their dark holes. And they’re hungry.

So. How much of RAGNAROK is really tied to all the previous stuff? If you read PULSE, INSTINCT, and THRESHOLD, can you really just skip all the novellas and dive right into RAGNAROK? Well, you could…but I wouldn’t.

The KING novellas introduce a new villain to the franchise, and we see a bit more of a supporting cast character in the series who sometimes acts in his own interest. If you liked that character in the first three novels, you’ll want to see more of him in the novellas. He doesn’t make an appearance in RAGNAROK (although he does make his presence felt), but he will be showing up in a starring role in the next full-length novel in the series.

In the end of THRESHOLD, Rook is separated from the rest of the team. In the CALLSIGN: QUEEN novella, Queen goes looking for Rook. Along the way she finds danger and a new villain (who we’ll probably see more of in the future), in the unlikely locale of Pripyat–the radioactive ghost town on the edge of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. If you didn’t read this one, you wouldn’t understand how or why Queen shows up where she does in RAGNAROK.

In CALLSIGN: ROOK, Rook stumbles across a strange lab in a remote wilderness…and that lab becomes a major setting in RAGNAROK.

In CALLSIGN: BISHOP, Bishop goes back to his ancestral homeland to meet his birth parents, and you’ll see him deal with life after the loss of previous abilities. Bullets fly as a result.

In CALLSIGN: KNIGHT, Knight gets called in to deal with a genetic experiment gone wrong in one of China’s massive ghost cities–giant towns of glass and concrete built in anticipation of people eventually moving there. But no one has come. Well, someone has, and it might mean the death of everyone in China. Plus, the return of a minor (but very popular) character who hadn’t been seen since the end of PULSE.

In CALLSIGN: DEEP BLUE, we expanded the support team for the field operatives with several new characters, we mapped out the headquarters (and yes, blew some of it up as well), and the aforementioned minor character from PULSE that made a reappearance in CALLSIGN: KNIGHT moves into a major role. Many of the supporting characters get significant air time in RAGNAROK, and you’ll want to know who they are. Plus, a chance to see Deep Blue in action on his own against armed intruders and giant mutated creatures? How can you go wrong?

RAGNAROK is certainly not the end of everything, but the book wraps up several loose ends in the series and brings the scattered team members back together again. But after facing what awaits them in this book, will they ever be the same?

PulseInstinctThreshold

Callsign: KingCallsign: QueenCallsign: Rook

Callsign: BishopCallsign: KnightCallsign: King - Underworld

Callsign: KnightKing 3King Trilogy

and then finally, the biggie:Ragnarok

5 Responses to “RAGNAROK–The End of Everything?”

  1. Shannon Marshall says:

    Wow, nice summary, Kane! I’m so glad I’m re-reading the CS books now because I totally followed the logic in your write-up. I ordered RAG and it should arrive just as I finish them. I purposely left QUEEN and ROOK for last.

    So does this mean you’ve already been “contracted” to work on the next Chess Team installment?

    Any developments on future CS novellas? I was thinking it would be kind of cool, in the spirit of DEEP BLUE, to do a story on the other prominent supporting characters, like Aleman and Keasling and Boucher, although they don’t have callsigns, so I don’t know what you’d call it. I bet Ale could still kick some ass if necessary!

    Well, I’ll give you a holler again once I finish reading RAG. Looking forward to it!

    Thanks,
    Shannon

  2. Kane says:

    Hey Shannon,

    I haven’t been contracted yet…we’ll see how well RAG fares. But I’m still privy to some inside info. No news on future novellas, but there’s something else in store for fans in 2013. I won’t let the cat out of the bag yet though, because nothing’s firm on it. But if it happens, you’ll like it.

    Your idea for more stories with the supporting characters is a good one. I’ll pass it up the chain of command. ;)

    Good call leaving QUEEN and ROOK for last. Should be a good setup for RAG. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of it.

    Thanks for getting in touch.

    -Kane

  3. Shannon Marshall says:

    Hi, Kane,
    Straight from the source (Jeremy): “Next for the Chess Team will likely be a “Origins” novella about how the team was formed and then novel #5 next fall, once again with Kane.”

    Yea! Great news! Congrats! Will you also be co-writing the “Origins” novella, or will he be getting one of the other CALLSIGN collaborators (maybe Sean Ellis?) to work on it?

    Best,
    Shannon

  4. Kane says:

    Hi Shannon,

    Thanks for this info. Jeremy and I had been discussing doing Book 5 together, yeah, but this is the first public revelation of it that I’m aware of. We’ll be hanging out all Sunday at the New England Book Expo in Danvers, MA, signing copies of RAGNAROK, so I suspect we’ll hatch a plot at that time. :) The origins novella might end up a full novel–not sure yet. Yes, the awesome Sean Ellis (who I had the chance to meet in Phoenix back in May) will be co-authoring that one with Jeremy. I’ll be editing it.

    Regards,

    -Kane

  5. Shannon Marshall says:

    Awesome! I like that Jeremy is relying on you and Sean to write multiple Chess Team stories because it just increases your own comfort level with the material and the knowledge to get the characters portrayed correctly. I’ve also read Sean’s Nick Kismet stories, so he’s a great choice as well.
    Good luck!

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