Oh my got that title and cover. How can you pass by and not pick it up???
The Raven and the Pig Book 2 (Celwyn) by Lou Kemp released in November in the Magical realism genre.
As the music dies, the magician Celwyn is mortally wounded. His darker, immortal brother Pelaez brings him back, barely, with his magic. The party of protagonists travel on the Nautilus to the Cape Verde Islands and the healer of immortals. During the journey, Professor Kang and Bartholomew can not tell if Pelaez will keep his brother alive. Captain Nemo is ready to evict Pelaez forcibly, and keeping Celwyn alive is the only thing that restrains him.
After Celwyn is saved, the healer requests payment for his services. This sends the adventurers to the catacombs in Capuchin where their experience is one they will not forget. Before it is over, several of the protagonists question why it seems everyone from warlocks and vampires to witches, seem to be congregating in their world. Before it is over, some of them become surprising allies, and a few of their allies turn against them.
In part II, work on the new flying machine begins in earnest bringing attention from the Mafioso and a cherub-like warlock called Duncan. After a final battle with Duncan, the flying machine is destroyed and everyone at their compound is murdered by one of their own.
Instead of trotting left down the hallway to the cabins, Kang detoured as quietly as possible into the study. As he feared, he found Pelaez standing over Celwyn; he was also sitting at the Captain’s dinner table. The man in front of him was the real one.
Pelaez had Celwyn’s arm in a vise-like grip, his voice too low to hear anything but the menace in it. Kang saw the pain on Celwyn’s face, and his wide-open eyes.
“Leave him alone!” Kang cried. “Get away from him!” the automat flew at Pelaez who laughed and backed up, literally into the air. Qing squawked from atop the library shelves.
Celwyn’s face relaxed, and he whispered, “Don’t…let him hurt Qing,” before closing his eyes.
Bartholomew arrived with the Captain close behind. Nemo’s face darkened when he saw the tableau.
“What is going on?” he barked as he stalked into the room.
A half-dozen of the crew thudded to a stop behind him.
Like a feather on an air draft, Pelaez drifted to the floor. “Nothing.”
Kang shouted, “He was twisting Jonas’ arm when I came in!”
Bartholomew lowered his head, and took a step toward Pelaez. Of a sudden a wall of flames surrounded him.
“Not on my ship —-” Captain Nemo gestured to his crew who drew their side arms.
The flames disappeared and Pelaez executed a short bow. “Please, this is a simple misunderstanding.” He leaned against the sofa, yawning.
“No, —it is not,” Kang ground out. Despite the threat of flames or worse, he came within inches of Pelaez, so close he could have smelled his breath. “I know what you want.” He tapped Pelaez’s chest. “In case you need an incentive to leave Jonas alone. You won’t get anything from us if you hurt him. And nothing anyhow: Bartholomew has made half of the flying machine so far, and keeps in it his memory —- without a written copy. There is nothing to steal.” Kang pointed at his forehead. “I have the rest of it, and we will only give it to Captain Nemo.”
Bartholomew glared at Pelaez.
“I am not after your information.” Pelaez’s smile sent a cold hand up Kang’s back.
“Yes, you are!” Bartholomew’s outrage rattled the bottles on the bar.
“How can you abuse Nemo’s hospitality in this manner?” Kang stomped to the aquatic window and back, sparking with anger. He glanced at the guard Nemo had left in the room as he got to his feet and shook his head, seeming unaware of what had happened.
Nemo still clutched a dinner napkin in his hand. With a wave, he dismissed his crew and eyed Pelaez. In a voice full of menace and certainty, he said, “If you weren’t keeping Mr. Celwyn alive, you would be expendable, Sir.”
Pelaez opened his hands in supplication. “Again, this is a misunderstanding—”
Captain Nemo glared at him.
Bartholomew sighed. “It seems we’re all dependent upon each other.”
Pelaez had no limits on boldness, going from provocateur to questioning them.
“What do you receive from this besides the flying machine, Captain?” Pelaez asked, his voice casual, which raised another flag of suspicion in Kang.
“I am repaying a debt. And, I too, respect Mr. Celwyn.”
The automat suspected that if they saved Jonas, with Celwyn helping him, Nemo would have no problem dealing with his brother and his malicious magic. Until then, he had to wait. As they filed out of the room to return to the dining room, Pelaez asked Kang, as if it didn’t matter, “How did you know I wasn’t actually with you?”
The automat nearly laughed. Let him wonder.
He would remember to tell both Nemo and Bartholomew later what he’d surmised. Pelaez could disable the Nautilus just as easily as Celwyn, or he could do other things; he was playing with them, pretending to behave. There was something he wanted, and the Professor would bet it had just as much to do with Thales, as the flying machine.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Early work was horror and suspense, later work morphed into a combination of magical realism, mystery and adventure painted with a horrific element as needed.
I’m one of those writers who doesn’t plan ahead, no outlines, no clue, and I sometimes write myself into a corner. Atmospheric music in the background helps. Black by Pearl Jam especially.
More information is available at LouKemp.com. I’d love to hear from you and what you think of Celwyn, Bartholomew, and Professor Xiau Kang.
2009 The anthology story Sherlock’s Opera appeared in Seattle Noir, edited by Curt Colbert, Akashic Books. Available through Amazon or Barnes and Noble online. Booklist published a favorable review of my contribution to the anthology.
2010 My story, In Memory of the Sibylline, was accepted into the best-selling MWA anthology Crimes by Moonlight, edited by Charlaine Harris. The immortal magician Celwyn makes his first appearance in print.
2018 The story, The Violins Played before Junstan is published in the MWA anthology Odd Partners, edited by Anne Perry. The Celwyn series begins.
Present The full length prequel, The Violins Played before Junstan, to the Celwyn book series is published on Kindle. The companion book, Farm Hall is also published where Pelaez, another immortal magician and Celwyn’s brother, makes his first appearance. The remaining books in the series: Music Shall Untune the Sky, The Raven and the Pig, The Pirate Danced and the Automat Died, will be available beginning in August 2021.
What was the inspiration for this book?
The Celwyn series is based upon the story The Violins Played before Junstan included in the Mystery Writers of America anthology, Odd Partners, edited by Anne Perry. The character’s first appearance in a story called In Memory of the Sibylline was in the Mystery Writers of America anthology, Crimes by Moonlight, edited by Charlaine Harris.
The character Jonas Celwyn is the inspiration for the book and the series. He is a part of my personality, my dreams, and my fears. The first story explored his motivations and displayed his altruism, if not his sense of morality. His personality became defined as he grew into the series and it wrapped itself around him, guiding him, and giving him a purpose with his new friendship with Professor Kang, and then with Bartholomew. By the time he reached the climatic scene in The Raven and the Pig, Celwyn had become exactly what I wanted him to be.
This post is part of a tour. The tour dates can be found here:
- a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC