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"Crime. It is the unfortunate byproduct of modern civilization. And as our city has expanded in the past decades, so the crime rate has expanded tenfold, far exceeding the abilities of law enforcement. It seemed that there could be no stopping the criminal element in Sundance City from conquering the streets, and one day our homes, schools, and workplaces. But in the last few months, a new force has arisen to combat crime."—Drake Ellison, Sundance City News at Noon
A series of urban fantasy adventure books about eight people with special abilities whose lives become intertwined as they come together to fight evil in Sundance City. As the series progresses, their roles in the team become more solidified, and they learn more about the forces that brought them together, until the finale, when they learn how truly interwoven their lives are.
The eight characters are (in order of appearance):
- Dale Maxwell, aka the Specter. A little guy trying to gain some self-confidence, he tried out some free counseling, but the counselors turned out to be keepers of an ancient order dedicated to fighting evil. They gave him a pair of magical gloves, giving him the ability to manipulate darkness, and a pair of bracers to give someone else, whoever that might be.
- Jacob Maskelyne, aka the Wizard. On his twenty-first birthday, his father introduced him to his family's tradition of using magical illusions to fight for good. He can control what people see and hear, and he can also heal people's wounds, and in some cases, bring them back to life.
- Dr. Sarah Winchester, aka Trigger. The founder, owner, and CEO of INH Engineering. She invented a special multi-function rifle than can fire any small-arms ammunition on the planet. Her technical expertise and leadership abilities serve her well as the brains of the team.
- Jennifer Klein, aka Kilowatt. She invented a pair of boots that enable the wearer to leap several stories into the air, which Sarah now wears. An expert in electrical engineering, she was electrocuted one night in her lab, and Jacob saved her life. She now has the ability to manipulate electrical charges and generate bolts of lightning and electrical force fields.
- Timothy Landerman, aka Echidna. He can heal from injury much faster than normal. He has superhuman endurance, enabling him to run as fast as he can for miles without getting tired or wearing out. He could have been a star athlete, except for his skin, which is dark red and rigid like a lobster. Also, he can inject people with neurotoxin using the spines that extrude from his flesh on command. Didn't make friends well in high school.
- Natalie Beckett, aka Golem. A friend of Timothy's, ever since her skin turned to rock. She can cause mineral matter to swirl up around her and form shapes, like massive boulders around her hands, or a club as big as she is. Also didn't make friends well.
- Alex Maxwell, aka Shade. Dale's little brother, although he stands a full head above him. When their parents were murdered in front of them, Dale gave him the bracers he'd been given, empowering Alex to fight at his side. The bracers allow him to enhance his already decent fighting ability with dark energy, letting him drop people unconscious with a single hit, surround himself with a dark shield, or draw the energy from other people to heal himself.
- Caleb Strong, aka Grizzly. A falling out with his brother and the world in general caused him to flee to the woods, where he has lived for 25 years. No one knows the woods and its creatures better than him. When his brother is murdered, apparently by Timothy and Natalie, he reenters the city to seek justice.
So far, the series includes nine books: Confluence, Frateri Noctis, Bear Country, (Â¥βâ‚¬Â®1@, Balance, Der Kriegmagier, Electricity, Sanguis Nova, and Ascension.
Not affiliated with the Sword of Truth series.
This work provides examples of:
- Ancient Tradition (the Maskelyne family, the Ordo Noctis Sanctae)
- Applied Phlebotinum (Jennifer's power cell, a box the size of a deck of cards with the storage capacity of three car batteries.)
- A Wizard Did It (Specifically, the Wizard. I like to think that's the explanation whenever any criminal in Sundance City sees anything weird.)
- Badass Bookworm (Sarah. Jennifer also qualifies, but Sarah's abilities derive from her bookworm status, while Jennifer is a superhero who also happens to be smart.)
- Badass Normal (Sarah and Caleb)
- Bash Brothers (Dale and Alex)
- BFG (Sarah's rifle, referred to as such when it is introduced. The special polymer barrel can expand and contract, allowing the weapon to fire any round 40mm in diameter or less. It also has a flamethrower, a high-pressure water cannon, and a digital scope with built-in bullet drop compensation.)
- Cheap Costume (everyone but Jacob, and his could have come off a rack but for the hat)
- The Chessmaster (the Artificer)
- City of Adventure (Sundance City, CA)
- Cyberspace (the climax of (Â¥βâ‚¬Â®1@, the abilities of Jennifer and Dale's daughter, Helen, aka Trojan.)
- Dark Is Not Evil (as such)
- Evil Gloating (big time)
- Famous Ancestor (Jacob and his grandfather, real-life War Magician Jasper Maskelyne.)
- Freak Lab Accident
- Functional Magic (The Artificer uses Device Magic. Dale, Alex, Jacob, and Alex's son Gabriel use Theurgy of sorts.)
- Gentle Giant (Caleb)
- The Grotesque (Timothy and Natalie)
- How Unscientific (when Sarah shows Jennifer and Jacob the inside of the robot. Gotten out of the way pretty quickly, since Jacob's right there.)
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot (the whole series)
- MacGuffin Delivery Service (The first act of Frateri Noctis)
- Meaningful Name (INH Engineering stands for Insert Name Here. It served as a place holder until a better name could be created, but the longer it stuck around, the better it started sounding. Maskelyne is not meant to evoke the word "masculine," as it was the name of a real person. Sarah Winchester was named after the rifle, but being named after the builder of the Winchester Mystery House was a coincidence.)
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast (Caleb Strong, Damien Quinn)
- Not Wearing Tights (They may be superheroes in every other aspect, but if they ever put on tights, they're either hanging a lampshade or Jumping the Shark so hard they enter orbit.)
- Plot-Powered Stamina (Timothy)
- Plot Tailored to the Party (Bear Country, (Â¥βâ‚¬Â®1@)
- Put on a Bus (Dale and Alex at the end of Frateri Noctis. They come back later.)
- Seeker Archetype (well, obviously)
- Sinister Shades (Dale)
- Storming the Castle (Usually what they end up having to do.)
- White-Haired Pretty Girl (Jennifer)
- Wrench Wench (Jennifer and Sarah designed all of Sarah's gear, and anytime the Seekers need a new bit of tech, those two get the job done.)
- Yakuza (the villains of Bear Country)