Pocket Full of Tinder
Noon Onyx, #4
by Jill Archer
Publisher: Black Willow
Cover Artist: Rebecca Frank
Noon Onyx is back! In this long-awaited fourth installment, Jill Archer returns readers to the dangerous world of Halja, where demons, angels, and humans coexist in an uneasy state of détente.
Maegester-in-Training Noon Onyx feels like she’s done it all – mastered fiery magic, become an adept fighter, learned the law, killed countless demons, and survived having her heart broken by both love and an arrow, but now she’ll face her greatest challenge yet…
Far to the north lies an outpost famous for its unrest – Rockthorn Gorge. The town’s patron has specifically requested Noon’s help. Her assignment? Help the neophyte demon lord build his fiefdom and keep what’s his. The problem? Lord Aristos – Noon’s new employer – is her erstwhile lover, Ari Carmine, the aforementioned heartbreaker. And the number one thing he wants is her.
When Rockthorn Gorge’s viaduct is destroyed by Displodo, an enigmatic bomber, killing a dozen settlers and wounding scores more, Noon sets off early to aid in the search and rescue. Ari is listed among the missing and the suspects are legion. But Noon’s search is just the beginning. Her journey forces Noon to confront not only those she loves, but also enemies hell-bent on destroying them.
He’d been traveling for weeks, following the river westward. A great aerial beast with a broken wing trying to follow the curving lines of a bigger, blacker beast on terra firma. Beneath him, the Lethe River twisted and writhed. Every left turn was agonizing. The wing, bent at an unnatural angle, caught wind where it shouldn’t. The drag was enormous. He often felt as if he were drowning, his wings clasping at the edges of a whirlpool whose edges grew taller and steeper as it closed in on him. And then he’d have to push, soaring up into the air again with labored breathing that sounded louder than a blue whale’s blowhole.
As he neared New Babylon he kept a keen eye on the water, searching for boats and sails and men. Men who may not have seen a drakon in decades, perhaps longer. Men who would sound an alarm and alert others to his presence. It was the type of homecoming he wished to avoid.
So he’d flown at night and timed his arrival with the new moon. All below was black and gray. Far off there were tall ships lit by lanterns, but closer (thank Luck closer) was his goal – Bradbury’s docks.
A man without fire or an electric torch would have been blind. But to a drakon, the world seemed drawn with charcoal and smudged with starlight. Another night, with a different wing and the company he sought, he might have thought it beautiful.
He smelled the river and the city, the scents of men and the rich food they liked to eat. Loud, boisterous voices rose from the waterside inns, saloons, and taverns. He clenched his jaw and banked left across the water toward Etincelle, straightening again – or at least trying to – before he got too close. With a last, desperate push up he rose above the Lethe, beating his inefficient wings against the midnight sky, until he found warm air to ride down, circling… waiting… watching for anyone who might still be at the docks. He did not want to be seen in drakon form.
He landed less gracefully than he would have liked, skidding to a halt just before hitting a crate that would have tumbled into the Lethe had he not finally found purchase on the dock with his claws. With a last glance around, he shifted.
Wings collapsed. Snout, jaws, and teeth were reabsorbed. Claws disintegrated, turning to dust. Tail wriggled and twisted, curling inward, like a snake eating itself. Lungs and heart halved. And then halved again. Head pounding, body shaking, Ari fell to his knees, his right palm pressed against the dock, his left arm cradled uselessly against his side.
He was home.
Noon Onyx, #1
by Jill Archer
Date of Publication: September 25th 2012
Cover Artist: David Palumbo
Armageddon is over. The demons won. And yet somehow…the world has continued. Survivors worship patron demons under a draconian system of tributes and rules. These laws keep the demons from warring among themselves, the world from slipping back into chaos.
Noon Onyx grew up on the banks of the river Lethe, daughter of a prominent politician, and a descendant of Lucifer’s warlords. Noon has a secret—she was born with waning magic, the dark, destructive, fiery power that is used to control demons and maintain the delicate peace among them. But a woman with waning magic is unheard of and some will consider her an abomination.
Noon is summoned to attend St. Lucifer’s, a school of demon law. She must decide whether to declare her powers there…or attempt to continue hiding them, knowing the price for doing so may be death. And once she meets the forbiddingly powerful Ari Carmine—who suspects Noon is harboring magic as deadly as his own—Noon realizes there may be more at stake than just her life.
Noon Onyx, #2
by Jill Archer
Date of Publication: May 28th 2013
Cover Artist: Jason Chan
Lucifer and his army triumphed at Armageddon, leaving humans and demons living in uncertain peace based on sacrifice and strict laws. It is up to those with mixed demon and human blood, the Host, to prevent society from falling into anarchy.
Noon Onyx is the first female Host in memory to wield the destructive waning magic that is used to maintain order among the demons. Her unique abilities, paired with a lack of control and reluctance to kill, have branded her as an outsider from her peers. Only her powerful lover, Ari Carmine, and a roguish and mysterious Angel, Rafe Sinclair, support her unconventional ways.
When Noon is shipped off to a remote outpost to investigate several unusual disappearances, a task which will most likely involve trying and killing the patron demon of that area, it seems Luck is not on her side. But when the outpost settlers claim that an ancient and evil foe has stepped out of legend to commit the crimes, Noon realizes that she could be facing something much worse than she ever imagined…
Noon Onyx, #3
by Jill Archer
Date of Publication: May 27th 2014
Cover Artist: Jason Chan
Since Lucifer claimed victory at Armageddon, demons, angels, and humans have coexisted in uneasy harmony. Those with waning magic are trained to maintain peace and order. But hostilities are never far from erupting…
After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race—an event that will not only earn her the respect of her peers but also, if she wins, the right to control her future.
However, Noon’s task is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse—and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again…
Jill Archer writes dark, genre-bending fantasy from rural Maryland. Her novels include Dark Light of Day, Fiery Edge of Steel, White Heart of Justice, and Pocket Full of Tinder. She loves cats, coffee, books, movies, day tripping, and outdoor adventuring.