“All who threaten me die.”
These words made Morgan Stormrider’s reputation as one of the Phoenix Society’s deadliest IRD (Individual Rights Defense) officers. He served with distinction as the Society’s avenger, hunting down anybody who dared kill an Adversary in the line of duty. After a decade spent living by the sword, Morgan seeks to bid a farewell to arms and make a new life with his friends as a musician.
Regardless of his faltering faith, the Phoenix Society has a final mission for Morgan Stormrider after a dictator’s accusations make him a liability to the organization. He must put everything aside, travel to Boston, and prove he is not the Society’s assassin. He must put down Alexander Liebenthal’s coup while taking him alive.
Despite the gravity of his task, Morgan cannot put aside his ex-girlfriend’s murder, or efforts to frame him and his closest friends for the crime. He cannot ignore a request from a trusted friend to investigate the theft of designs for a weapon before which even gods stand defenseless. He cannot disregard the corruption implied in the Phoenix Society’s willingness to make him a scapegoat should he fail to resolve the crisis in Boston without bloodshed.
The words with which Morgan Stormrider forged his reputation haunt him still.
Matthew Graybosch is the author of Without Bloodshed, a near-future science fantasy thriller set in the Starbreaker universe. Without Bloodshed is published by Curiosity Quills Press and will be available on 17 November 2013. His other works include “Steadfast”, a novelette published in five parts at curiosityquills.com; Tattoo Vampire; and “The Milgram Battery”, which was included in the Curiosity Quills Primetime charity anthology.
According to official records maintained by the state of New York, Matthew Graybosch was born on Long Island in 1978. Urban legends in New York suggest he might be Rosemary’s Baby, the result of top-secret DOD attempts to continue Nazi experiments combining human technology and black magic, or that he sprang fully grown from his father’s forehead with a sledgehammer in one hand and a copy of The C Programming Language in the other — and has given the poor man headaches ever since.
The truth is more prosaic. Matthew Graybosch is a novelist from New York who lives in central Pennsylvania. He is also an avid reader, a long-haired metalhead, and an unrepentant nerd.
This is where we first meet Naomi Bradleigh, one of the principal characters in Without Bloodshed, and the Starbreaker series in general. Her scarlet eyes are not a product of albinism, or of the genetic condition that gives her slit pupils and some other feline characteristics. Instead, her eye color is a result of her ancestry, which will be revealed later. Her condition is called "congenital pseudofeline morphological disorder", and is common to a great many people in the Starbreaker setting. Naomi was originally intended to be a single-scene character, somebody I added to the story to please a woman I was dating at the time. After we broke up, I kept the name and used it on a new character inspired by prog rock musicians Annie Haslam (Renaissance) and Keith Emerson (ELP), somebody who sang like Haslam, played like Emerson, and could teach D'Artagnan a thing or three about swordplay.
The front door of the adjacent house opened a crack. The house reflected its owner, mostly white with crimson accents. Scarlet eyes with feline pupils blinked from behind the red door as the house’s mistress peeked out.