A Chronicle of Chaos
Chaos Ensures Light And Shadow Hits The Ground Running
This opening book in DM Cain’s epic Light and Shadow fantasy series certainly plunges us in at the deep end.
A Chronicle Of Chaos sets the scene for a centuries-long battle for dominance between The Children of Light and The Brotherhood of Shadow, introducing us to a number of humans, angels and demons.
The premise behind what will become DM Cain’s multi-book story spanning thousands of years, is that each novel tells the tale of one character – and its unique aspect is that they can be read in almost any order. Each one will be self-contained, with the underlying story arc flowing through it, as the protagonists choose which side to take, building the tension towards one final Armageddon.
Throughout much of this first one, our hero, Chaos Lennox, is seen as more of a petulant anti-hero as the reader comes to terms with his immaturity and stubbornness (despite his great age by our standards and the success he has achieved before we meet him).
While it begins as a classic opening for traditional good versus evil, it quickly develops into a book of two distinct threads. The first introduces us to Callista, the matriarch whose family dynasty rules the land of Alcherys; to a group of demons who are freed from Hell to give the Brotherhood of Shadow a helping hand; and to the angels who turn up to level the playing field. The second thread graphically describes a series of battles with horrendous consequences, while interweaving a dangerous love story – dangerous because it is not only same sex love, but between different species. While there is nothing explicit or graphic in the sex aspects, DM Cain masterfully sets the ultimate dilemma for the two lovers – should they sacrifice everything for each other?
The characters in this novel are finely written, both those representing the good side and evil – you’ll wonder how Callista rose to her position of supremacy, and who the malevolent Bavelize is. You’ll marvel at the wonderful power and goodness of the angels while weeping at the fate of some of them. You’ll gasp in horror at the ruthless brutality of the demons as they unleash their horrors upon hordes of innocent villagers, as well as on the angels and Children of Light. And you’ll be perplexed at Mikhail’s stunning ability. Don’t expect to find all the answers in A Chronicle Of Chaos. We’ll have to wait for each character’s own novel to tie up the loose ends.
But the heart of this first book – its true essence – is prejudice and love, persistence and stubbornness. The love aspect is certainly not for the faint-hearted, showing just how blind that most powerful and raw of emotions can be. I was left wondering all the way through how it could possibly end – it has to end badly for one or both of the lovers, doesn’t it? Sorry, I’m giving no clues as to the outcome, other than saying you’ll have to wait until the very last sentence to find out.
Roll on The Shield Of Soren – book number two in what promises to be a fascinating and awe-inspiring series.
Stewart Bint – author of ‘Timeshaft’, ‘The Jigsaw and The Fan’ and ‘In Shadows Waiting’.
In her second novel, D M Cain introduces us to a deep and immersing new world and to a struggle that has been raging for hundreds of years. Told through the experiences of a young man trying to earn his place in the world, and a monster struggling against his bonds, it is an intriguing glimpse into the nature of friend and foe, and into the fragility of absolutes.
Once again Cain manages to subvert our expectations, forcing upon us surprising pathos for the sociopathic, and unreasoning anger against decisions that can only objectively be described as just. I for one eagerly anticipate the next book in the series.
Mathew Gregory, reader
The first book from the Light and Shadow Chronicles series called A Chronicle of Chaos sets up a fantastic world of fantasy and adventure. The main character, Chaos, is a young man in a group called Nightfall. He is destined to be a great fighter and is eager to fulfil his destiny.
He meets Anathema, a young man who is also feeling he needs to prove his value to his group. The story continues as Chaos and Anathema become closer and closer neither realising they are enemies and that Anathema and Chaos are on opposing sides.
The descriptions of the landscape and villages are breathtaking and are so good you can see the scenes in your mind. There are many battles that are tense and really pull at your nerves. The Children of Light call the angels to help fight the group Anathema has after them. All the while Anathema has demons at his disposal leading to some unimaginable battles. A Chronicle of Chaos has a lot of mythology and history that keeps your attention and will set the scene for many great tales in the books in this series.
A Chronicle of Chaos is a story of love, loss, and coming of age all within a wonderful fantasy world. I was thrilled, excited and heartbroken all at the same time. The range of emotions brought me back to D.M. Cain’s first book The Phoenix Project. I’m excited to see the final book and the next book in the series.
David Spell, Reader
The sky lit up in a radiant burst of red and yellow sparks which shot outwards then crackled gently to the floor in a shower of fire. The courtyard was filled with whoops of delight and murmurs of appreciation. Children squealed and yelled, allowed to run the gardens freely. They charged after one another, waving wooden swords and ducking and dodging around the adults who strolled, carefree, across the vast palace gardens.
It was late evening and the sky was an inky black sheet, peppered with pricks of light, and the occasional burst of fireworks illuminating the darkness. The courtyard and gardens of Nazaki palace were lit with oil lanterns and dotted bonfires, billowing waves of smoke filling the air. Mixed in with the smoke was a tantalising aroma of roasting meat from food carts that sat amongst the well-pruned bushes and trees. The winding shale path led between stands, set up by local townspeople, selling all manner of delicious treats – sweetbreads, fruits, nuts, skewers of roasted meat and vegetables.
Chaos Lennox walked slowly through the crowds, enjoying the warmth of the summer evening. His keen dark eyes flickered over the gardens appreciatively, and he addressed his brothers, who walked beside him.
“The people have done well – the grounds of the palace have never looked finer. This must be the largest turnout we’ve had in many a year.”
Mercury and Seifer Lennox nodded in agreement, stepping aside to avoid two children who thundered past them wielding toy bows and arrows.
“Yes, Callista has outdone herself, hasn’t she?” Seifer said, adjusting the high-necked collar of the loose orange shirt he wore.
Mercury’s eyes landed on one of the food stalls and he wandered over, unable to resist the smell of meat juices sizzling on the fire. He turned back to his brothers, “Come on – Chaos, Seifer – let’s get something to eat.”
They ordered skewers of roasted lamb and onions, salivating at the thought of such rich food when usually they dined on comparatively bland meals.
The three young men continued to walk the grounds, tearing chunks of tender meat from the skewers with their teeth, and eyeing the stunning dancers who performed in the courtyard. The gardens of the palace were one of the largest open spaces in the city of Nazaki and tonight they were filled with a dazzling range of bright colours. The noblemen – the elite members of the Children of Light who ruled the nation of Alcherys – spent the year dressed in black and grey uniforms. It was only during festivals and celebrations such as this that they were able to don the designs and fabrics they chose. Constrained by such dull uniforms the entire year, most took advantage of the event to clothe themselves in beautiful flowing dresses and robes of vibrant and vivid colours.
Seifer and Mercury wore orange and purple respectively, but Chaos wore a perfectly tailored black suit, despite the heat of the evening. His thick, dark hair was neatly styled, resting on his collar, long at the back, but tidy and smart. He drew the eyes of women as he passed but paid them little attention. As a member of the royal family, and an elite soldier of the Children of Light, he didn’t often mix with the public and they were awed to be in the presence of him and his family.
His reputation for arrogance preceded him however and few attempted to speak with him. This suited Chaos perfectly and he spent his time at festivals such as this mingling with his friends and family and steering clear of the public.
The three young men passed a band of musicians, playing a beautiful melody on a series of drums and flutes. Chaos stopped in the centre of the path and allowed the music to wash over him. He closed his eyes to drink in the luxurious sounds but was pulled from his reverie by sniggers from his two brothers. His eyes snapped open and he fixed the twins with a dark glare, “What?”
Seifer smirked, “Look at you, lulled into a dream world by a flute. What great soldiers listen to flute music?”
The edges of Chaos’s mouth curled into a joyless sneer, “When you’re as successful as I am, you can tell me what ‘great soldiers’ are supposed to enjoy.”
The quip wiped the smile off Seifer’s lips but Mercury eased the tension with a loud laugh, throwing an arm around each of his brothers’ shoulders.
“Come – our father has already taken a seat.”
They headed towards the great stone amphitheatre at the back of the palace. With a capacity of 5000, it was large enough to contain a good proportion of the people of Nazaki. Seats at the front were reserved for the Children of Light noblemen and soldiers – the highest ranking sitting closest to the front. The remaining 4500 seats were free for the public to use.
Around the grand amphitheatre, flags blew gently in the wind. The crest of the Children of Light – four daggers with their points touching in the centre, around the knot of infinity – was emblazoned in striking silver on an enormous deep purple canvas. It hung in the centre, and beside it two other symbols flew proudly – the shield of Avalanche and the dagger of Nightfall. These were the two elite factions that operated within the Children of Light, and Chaos felt his heart fill with pride as he looked upon Nightfall’s banner. To have his unit’s sigil hanging so closely to the Children of Light’s and Avalanche’s was an honour he had always dreamed of.
At the front of the amphitheatre, a man dressed in black trousers and a casual vest waved them over. His eyes were dark and brooding, even when his lips curled into a smile, and his strong, toned shoulders flexed when he crossed his arms.
“Good evening father,” Mercury and Seifer said, casting their father smiles and embracing him. Chaos hung back, smiling wryly at the show of affection between his father and his siblings. When his brothers pulled away, his father’s gaze fell on him and a smile broke out on his lips.
“It’s good to see you, Chaos. We don’t get many opportunities to meet socially these days.”
“We must schedule a training session soon, father,” Chaos said, offering a business-like hand for his father to shake.
Raven cast his eyes down to Chaos’s hand, laughed and batted the hand away, pulling his son into his arms. Chaos returned the embrace, trying to ignore the sniggers from Mercury and Seifer.
When he pulled away, Raven smiled and pointed to the flags above them, “Do you see that, son? The Nightfall banner flying alongside Avalanche? I persuaded Callista to allow it.”
Chaos’s heart sank with the realisation that Callista had not chosen to honour his unit herself – she had been swayed by his father’s request. Raven caught the flash of disappointment in Chaos’s eyes.
“Success is success, Chaos, however it comes about. Tonight is your night, remember. Once the ceremony is over, Callista will assign missions and Nightfall will be honoured with new freedoms. I’m sure of it.”
Chaos gave no response and looked away, trying to stem the prickling nerves in the pit of his stomach.
A loud bell began to chime, the crisp, clear tones echoing throughout the gardens and courtyards. It was the call for the citizens of Nazaki to proceed to the amphitheatre, and within minutes people began pouring into the semicircular structure.
Chaos, his father and brothers took their places in the front row as the bell chimed again and silence fell across the crowd. Every pair of eyes focused upon the central stage.
A beautiful woman walked out onto the stone platform and, as one, the people bowed their heads, drawing their eyes away from her long, silver-blonde hair and wide green eyes. Callista Nienna, commander of the Children of Light and ruler of Alcherys walked to the centre of the stage and held both arms out wide,
“Sons and daughters, grandchildren and heirs, people of Alcherys. As the head of the family that guides our nation, I welcome you to the palace of Nazaki.”
There was a universal cheer and a roar of applause from the crowd and Callista smiled as she looked upon her people. She ruled the nation of Alcherys with a firm hand but it was a fair one and the people adored her. She provided for them, ensured their livelihoods flourished and protected them from constant attacks by their enemy, the Brotherhood of Shadow. In return, she had earned their undying affection.
“Tonight, we celebrate a joyous occasion. Another young warrior joins our ranks and the Children of Light’s army grows ever stronger. Shousuke Nitaya, please step forwards.”
She gestured to the edge of the stage and a young boy of 16 years stepped forwards. He wore a long white gown with a hood over his head, but his rich, brown skin and deep eyes could still be seen.
Chaos watched him closely as he stepped onto the stage and nervously joined Callista, his grandmother. Shousuke stood facing the crowd and Callista placed a hand on each of his shoulders.
“Shousuke Nitaya, look upon the people of Nazaki, your brethren, your kin, your subjects. As a descendant of the Nienna bloodline it is your right and your honour to receive the elixir of youth, so that you may serve the people of Alcherys for all time.”
She gently turned Shousuke by the shoulders and they stood, hands locked, face-to-face before the crowd. Callista continued, “The elixir is not a gift, nor a privilege. It is the symbol of our undying dedication to protect our land and our people. It is our pledge to uphold our responsibility at all times, forsaking our own desires, our own goals and, if necessary, our own lives.
“Do you accept the burden of our people and promise to protect our borders for the rest of your days?”
Shousuke squeezed Callista’s hands tightly and began to speak, but his voice caught in his throat. He gave a croaking cough, “I do.”
Callista gave him a warm, reassuring smile then dropped his hands and took a step over to a small wooden table beside the stage. Upon it rested a metal goblet containing a liquid that gave off an aroma so rich and luxurious every member of the audience could smell it. Callista held it carefully in both hands and walked over to Shousuke. She stopped before him and fixed him in a serious stare.
“Shousuke Nitaya, once you drink of the elixir of youth, your fate and your future are sealed. You hand your life over to the Children of Light in exchange for everlasting youth. We extend your years so that your skills and knowledge can benefit our people and aid our cause, so the battle may be won and the world free of the Brotherhood’s tyranny. But do not take this elixir lightly – it promises not immortality. Your body is fragile as all of mankind’s and you must treat it with respect.”
Shousuke stared up at his grandmother with wide, sincere eyes and nodded.
“Now, drink,” Callista said and passed him the cup, which he took carefully in both hands. Callista turned to the crowd, “Join me, people of Alcherys, as we recite the Eternal Verse from the book of Alcherys.”
The people of the stadium rose to their feet as one, locked their hands together before them, closed their eyes and began to chant in unison.
“Let the ancients guide your actions. Let the elements nurture your soul. Let eternity be yours to hold, for the good of Alcherys and all beyond, join us as one, in the arms of the light.”
The crowd opened their eyes and watched Shousuke closely. He took a deep breath to steady his nerves and drank the bitter liquid in one go. When finished, he held the empty goblet aloft and grinned as the amphitheatre erupted into cheers of joy.
Callista held a hand high in the air and the cheers halted abruptly. “Shousuke, you are now a fully integrated member of the Children of Light, a servant of Alcherys.”
Another immense cheer.
“Tomorrow, we discuss your future. You must decide whether you wish to be considered for apprenticeship to a master, or whether you will join the Academy. Take your time to think and choose wisely as it will affect the path your life takes you on. But tonight, celebrate! The night is yours, Shousuke Nitaya!”
The crowd leapt up and down with glee and Shousuke’s friends and family rushed forwards to smother him with kisses and congratulations.
Chaos clapped, but refrained from the overzealous jubilation of some of those around him. Shousuke was a nice enough young man but although they were half cousins, Chaos had nothing to do with him. He hadn’t displayed any remarkable talent and Chaos only had time for those strong enough to join Nightfall.
Callista walked over to Chaos and his father, “Raven, the council meeting will begin soon. It’s unfortunate it has to happen during this time of celebration, but I need everybody together and that opportunity is rare.”
“Needs must, mother,” Raven replied with a wry smile. “Ready whenever you are.”
Beside him, Chaos snapped to attention, arms resolutely by his side, “Callista, should I attend, as commander of Nightfall?”
Callista hesitated and cast a sideways glance at Raven who raised his eyebrows, “Yes, Chaos. It would be beneficial for all factions to be represented.”
A wide smile spread across his face, “Thank you for the opportunity.” He gave a low bow but Callista said nothing in response.
Gathering two other commanders along the way, they wound their way back through the revelling party-makers and up to Nazaki Palace, where the tactical room awaited them.
Chaos, a soldier in The Children of Light, basks in the glory of being the highest ranking fighter of his generation, but his arrogance and impulsiveness prevent him from being given the opportunity to prove himself. He believes himself beyond the law, superior, a God amongst his people, but a fateful coincidence puts him at the mercy of the demon, Anathema.
The two warriors, a demon and a human, strike up an intense rivalry, but their obsession to destroy one another only leads them closer together. They must decide which side they belong on before all existence is sucked into one final Armageddon.
‘A Chronicle of Chaos’ is the first book in the ‘Light and Shadow Chronicles’ – a huge fantasy series spanning centuries.
The first event on the schedule is the family tree of The Children of Light. In this fantasy series, the world is torn apart by two warring nations who have been enemies for thousands of years. One of the nations, Alcherys, is run by The Children of Light – a matriarchal society with the fabled warrior Callista Nienna at the helm. The Children of Light army is almost entirely comprised of Callista’s family and, as such, it is difficult to keep track of who everybody is! So, I had a family tree made by the wonderfulLittle Green Eyed Press. (See below). Bear in mind that the family is actually far larger than this, and that these characters are merely the ones mentioned in A Chronicle of Chaos. Each novel from the series will have a similar family tree with the characters of that novel.
Check out this interview I did for the countdown to the release of A Chronicle of Chaos – I talk about my writing process, my inspirations and and the difference between The Phoenix Project and A Chronicle of Chaos.