Authors: Reginald Cook
|The Hammer of God|
### Product Description
For centuries, deep inside the bowels of the church, hidden from all except a few, a hauntingly evil cancer has spread like a murderous plague, destroying everything and everyone in its path. No one is exempt from its lure, and it will go to the depths of hell to accomplish one single goal at all costs. Global domination through a new world order. This cancer has a name: The Order of Asmodeus.
Under a binding cloak of secrecy, a brother and sisterhood of handpicked servants have been chasing down The Order of Asmodeus for as long as the demonic sect has existed. Their mandate, root out the cancer and destroy it at every turn. Their name? Il Martello di Dio. The Hammer of God.
When Robert Veil’s godson, Samuel, is kidnapped, he and his bounty hunting partner, the indomitable Nikki Thorne, delve deep into a cesspool of wickedness so diabolical, neither may make it out alive. All to save a boy from a fate worse than death, and to save the world from itself.
If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that
this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to
the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received
payment for this stripped book.
This is a work of fiction. All incidents and dialogue, and all characters, with the exceptions of a few well-known historical figures, are product of the authors’ imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental. Where real-life historical figures appear, the situations, incidents, and dialogues concerning those persons are entirely fictional and are not intended to depict the actual events or to change the entirely fictional nature of the work.
The Hammer of God
A ThunderHouse Press Book
ThunderHouse Press First Edition/2011
All rights reserved. Copyright © 2011 by Regional Cook This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part, by mimeograph or any other means, without permission.
For information address:
ThunderHouse Press, a division of ThunderHouse Entertainment, LLC
8306 Wilshire Blvd. #375 Beverly Hills, California 90211
E-Mail: [email protected]
This book contains an excerpt from the forthcoming book BLOOD by Reginald Cook. This excerpt has been set for this edition only and may not reflect content of the forthcoming edition.
Printed in the United States of America
THIS NOVEL INCLUDES PREVIEW
REGINALD COOK’S NEXT GREAT SUSPENSE
THRILLER IN THE VEIL SERIES
OIL, MONEY, & POWER
Special thanks to my editor, Kathleen Jackson, for her insight and skill. Thanks to my good friends Ronald Jones and Michael Agee for their much valued encouragement and support. As always, the fruit of my loins, Nicholas and Briana, are a constant inspiration to me. I love and appreciate you both more each day.
And finally, thanks to my muse and love of my life, Stacy Arnell. Our mutual love of the arts, especially good storytelling, is a unique and special joy in my life. Your confidence and unwavering support of me and my work is a blessing I am thankful for, and will cherish all my days.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.
1 Peter 5:8
ope Pius IX, as was routine when in Rome and not traveling, knelt in front of his chamber window at sunrise for prayer. Seven years removed from the start of his Papacy in 1846, and the anxieties of the church had not waned an inch. In fact, as time edged forward, the mire under his feet deepened.
Riot led to riot, and the Pope was pronounced a traitor to his country.
Palma, a papal prelate, was shot to death while standing near an open window. On the steps of the Cancelleria, where he’d gone to open parliament, his Prime Minister, Rossi, was stabbed to death, and Pius had been pressured to promise a democratic ministry. Then, draped in a homemade disguise, with the assistance of the Bavarian Ambassador, Count Spaur, and the French Ambassador, Duc d’Harcourt, Pope Pius escaped from the Quirinal, where his enemies had surrounded him.
Pope Pius returned to Italy, April 1850, after the French restored order to Rome. But cancerous opportunists, who struck down his authority, had terrorized the citizens and committed untold atrocities, all in the name of democracy.
However, nothing vexed the Pope’s soul like the vision he’d been wrestling with for the past two weeks. Every morning since it started, he rose before dawn and entreated the Lord with the prayers of an earnest man, begging for the nightmare to pass. This morning, he closed his eyes and moved his lips with wisps, and the heaviness came faster than usual.
Sweat flooded his face, burning his eyes, soaking the neckline of his white vestment.
Asmodeus and his band swept into the Pope’s chamber unnoticed and encircled the man on his knees deep in prayer, sneering and snorting their delight. Asmodeus towered over the Pontiff. The eleven others formed a semicircle around them both.
Pope Pius continued to pray, squeezing his eyes tight, his murmurs unintelligible. Asmodeus knelt down and whispered in his ear. Tears bled from under Pius’s eyelids, and he clenched his teeth and sobbed, “Why, Lord, why?”
Asmodeus and the others watched the Pope pray harder, this time stretching his hands toward heaven, begging for relief, and they laughed.
The windows of the chamber swung open and a brisk wind swept through. Michael and eleven of God’s strongest angels breezed into Pope Pius’s chamber, pushing back Asmodeus and his band of demons.
Michael recognized each fallen angelic being and took note.
Asmodeus, Chief of Demons, Balan, Prince of Hell, Buer, Commander of Fifty Legions of Devils, Hecate, Queen of Witches, Jezabeth, Demoness of Falsehoods, Naamah, Demoness of Seduction, Philotanus, Demon of Pederasty and Sodomy, Python, Prince of Lying Spirits, Ronwe, Demon Commanding Nineteen Legions of Devils, Semiazas, Chief of Fallen Angeles, Sonneillon, Demoness of Hate, and Vetis, a devil who specialized in the corruption and tempting of the holy.
Pope Pius relaxed a bit, the crying abated, but the prayerful murmurs increased.
“What business have you here?” asked Asmodeus, his voice deep, commanding.
“Our task is as always,” answered Michael. “One you know well.”
“We have permission to be here,” bellowed Asmodeus. “Granted by
“For what purpose?”
A hideous, scaly smile spread across the face of Asmodeus. He reached inside his smoldering cloak and pulled out a thick, metallic sword. The others in his band followed suit.
Michael looked around at those with
. Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, Anael, Raquel, Raziel, the Archangels. Malakim and Dunamis, both associated with heroes, known to instill courage, also known as “The Shining Ones”. Camael, who wrestled with Jacob. Remiel and Tarshishim, who guide the soul.
Michael turned back toward Asmodeus, placed a hand inside his glowing robe, and pulled out a large mallet-like hammer, with a long, worn, sturdy oak handle. The other angels did the same.
Asmodeus took a deep breath and blew a smoldering orange flame from his nostrils. The fire wrapped itself around the swords of each of those who followed the demon.
Pope Pius cried out, “No Lord! No! Do not abandon thy servant!” A light, brighter than the essence of the sun, flashed through the room and when it faded, Asmodeus and the demons lay prostrate on the floor. Michael and the Lord’s host stood strong, their hammers glowing with the Holy Spirit.
Asmodeus and the others scrambled to their feet, violently waving their swords and slashing the air, spewing sulfuric fumes. They floated above the room, flames pouring from their nostrils like angry demonic bulls.
“Il Martello de Dio,” whispered Asmodeus.
Michael and the holy hosts rose to the ceiling, each hammer at the ready. Both groups charged forward, clashing into an explosion of fiery thunder. Outside the Pope’s window, the sky turned black, and lighting clawed the sky. A hard, dense rain pounded everything in sight, and the window shutters slammed against the building until they were torn from their hinges and sucked up into the sky.
Pope Pius jumped to his feet and summoned his aide. He sat behind his desk, dictated a decree, and made a list of twelve priests to be called to him at once. When the aide left the room the Pope fell back to his knees.
“Bless oh Lord, Il Martello de Dio, The Hammer of God.” Pius wept.
azing down into dazzling blue eyes, Charles Tolbert marveled at the milky softness of his lover’s skin. Women had rejected him over the years, casting him aside like a half eaten candy bar, but now he was in love.
Charles stroked dirty brown hair, soft and billowy, like cotton freshly plucked from an aspirin bottle. He closed his eyes, took a whiff of just washed skin, the scent of clean, with a hint of soap lightly engulfing his nostrils.
When he lifted his eyelids, the beauty before him enticed him to tears, but he gently bit his bottom lip, fending off the surge of feral emotion. Without invitation, Charles pressed his lips against a mouth he could no longer resist, the moist touch of which sent his heart a flutter, his senses a blur. He pulled back, sporting a smile that could shame the angels in heaven. But as quickly as it came, his joy dissipated like steam rising from the sea.
“What’s wrong?” Charles asked. “Have I done something wrong?”
“I can’t do this anymore,” his lover answered. “I’m sorry, but this is wrong.”
Fear washed over Charles. He fell to his knees. “Please, I can’t bear the thought of losing you. I know we’ve both been under a lot of pressure, but I promise it’ll get better.” Picking up the white satin robe that lay across a beaten antique couch, Charles slipped it over velvety arms that caused him to lust over the head he’d kissed more than a few times, and the body he’d held with great admiration and envy. He took a few steps back, and admired his
“You always say we’ll stop, but we don’t,” his angel said.
“I know, I know,” said Charles. “But let’s not talk about it now.
We’ll talk later. You have my word.”
No answer came, just wet eyes and red cheeks. Charles cleared his throat.
“I’m sorry if I hurt you. I love you.”
There, I said it
. “We’ll talk more in a few days, until then let’s continue to keep it quiet.”
Still no answer came, just a wounded stare.
His lover turned the doorknob and left the room. Guilt washed over Charles. He’d broken his vows again, caught up in an affair he knew would destroy his relationship.
He fastened his ice white, high collar shirt, and slipped into his favorite suit, dark and slightly wrinkled. A wood framed full-length mirror, as old as the building he worked in, caught his attention and forced him to look upon the ugliness he so abhorred. He turned away, chest heaving, mouth dry, and plopped down in a blue leather swivel chair behind his desk.
Losing a love that brings me such childlike joy is
not something I’m prepared to do
I’ll start with
chocolates, then a shower of gifts. It’s a bit pretentious, but it’s a start.
Charles smiled at himself in the mirror, his jet black hair and boyish good looks overriding the monster that now retreated within. He checked his watch.
He grabbed the tools of his trade and headed for the door, the monster in the mirror right behind him.
trikingly exquisite, the ten foot stained glass image of the Assumption of Our Lady, surrounded by twenty-three angels in a montage of red and multiple shades of blue handcrafted glass impressed Robert Veil. Church was not his favorite place to be during the middle of baseball season, but sitting there in a spiritual ports-of-call that had played host and home to Chicago’s eighteenth century Northern Italian immigrants, Robert’s heart pounded and his palms moistened. He was about to lay eyes on his godson, Samuel, for the first time in almost six months.