The Wyrd West Chronicles
A post-apocalyptic weird western serial with a dash of steampunk
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Showdown Cover by Diane Morrison
In Queenstown, an untried youth is the only one who can face down a notorious Desperado. But Graeme Walsh is not a Gunslinger: not yet. Will his training and his secret sorcerer's powers be enough to get the drop on the Outlaw, before the Outlaw gets the drop on him? The Desperado spat. “You ain’t goin’ to start something you can’t finish, are you, boy?” he sneered in a cold rasping baritone. His eyes were darker than coal-black. No apprentice then; this man had sold his soul to Hell and leased it back at compound interest. “You’re so wet behind the ears I don’t reckon you can sprout a beard yet.” Graeme turned his head just slightly so that the Desperado could get a glimpse of the pointed ear sticking out of his hair under his hat brim. The Desperado’s eyes narrowed. “Fuckin’ faeries,” he growled, almost under his breath. “Well, guess I got no real idea how old you are. But you smell like children to me. Why don’t you go back to your farm and leave the grown-ups to do their business?” Graeme thought about the Gunslinger this man had cut down. He could still hear the gurgle and wheeze of her struggle to breathe. He could smell the iron of her blood seeping into the dust. “I don’t think so.”
Pete Woodhouse doesn't like to get involved. Too many complications, too dangerous to his person. But when the young half-elven Gunslinger who just saved his town finds himself standing alone against a gang of killers and slavers, the goads of Pete's conscience might just be too much to ignore. Will he finally find himself putting his skills as an alchemist and inventor -- and his prosthetic pneumatic shotgun -- to work for the cause of Light? The men at the saloon door raised their weapons. Woodhouse braced his gun on his other arm. Before he could fire, a deafening crash thundered out – ka BAM! – and to his amazement, the rifles flew from both their hands. One shorted out. Visible bolts of electricity crackled over its surface as it jerked and buzzed on the ground. The Apprentice Slinger stared them down with gunmetal eyes. There was a revolver in each hand, barrels smoking in the still air. “The Good Book says killin’ is a sin,” he growled, “and the Lady don’t have any likin’ for it. So this is your one chance to stand aside, and maybe live. I ain’t goin’ to offer twice.” He cocked the hammers back. “Kill the one on the right if they don’t,” he said to Woodhouse. Woodhouse shifted the double-barrels to the gunman to the right.
It's a dangerous time for the Apprentice Gunslinger Graeme Walsh. Before he is initiated into the Gunslinger Order, he must undergo the ordeal of a Spirit Quest. Will he succeed in meeting the spiritual challenges he must now face? Or will the forces of darkness be able to turn Graeme from his chosen path? And what implications will his visions have for the future of the Wyrd West? It wasn’t long before Graeme was stripping off everything but his jeans and splashing in the inviting green river. The shock of the cold was startling and refreshing all at once. He laughed aloud. A green canopy of willows and poplars crested above him, while golden sunlight filtered through the spaces to cast sparkling golden diamonds on the green and white water. He didn’t deliberately drink any, and he was careful not to get his forehead wet (though he had to admit this was probably a pointless exercise by now,) but he scrubbed the sweat off his body, leaned back, and carefully dipped the back of his head beneath the surface. He felt the cool moisture leeching the extra heat from his body and he sighed with contentment. Something grabbed him by the ankle and pulled him under.
While the Walsh Gunslingers hunt down a necromancer, Piper Walsh and her mother, along with Courtesan Emma Winters, are left alone at the ranch. But trouble comes knocking when members of the Pale Riders gang decide to take the ladies hostage in an attempt to bargain for their freedom. None of the Gunslingers are present to save the day. Can Piper prove her right to be an Apprentice Slinger by acting in their place? Crouching behind a hay bale that was doing double-duty as a target, Piper cranked her gun’s amperage up as high as she ever had with a shiver. It wasn’t a lethal dose, not usually, but it might cause permanent nerve damage at that setting. But what else was she going to do? She had to make sure they stayed down once she’d shot them. “But what do you—” the first one said, but that’s when Piper fired. An electric bolt zapped out and coiled around his body. He bucked and kicked as it arced around him. She saw the whites of his eyes before he fell forward on his face. The horse-handler brought his own rifle up to bear, but Piper was already in motion. Knowing it was the last thing he would expect, she charged him. Her gun butt hit him in the face as he was about halfway turned around. He spun like a weather-vane. Blood splattered Piper’s face as he rolled into the dirt. Before he had a chance to get up she fired again. He convulsed, gurgled, and lay still.
The Gunslingers have tracked a necromancer to the Yorktown Country Harvest Fair. But her plans are even worse than they anticipated. The horror that awaits young Gunslinger Graeme Walsh and his posse is beyond anything he could have imagined. What can a Gunslinger do when his guns aren't enough? The girl was dying; that much was clear. Graeme steeled himself. He was just now a Gunslinger. The Slingers had healing powers; not all the time, and there were limits. He had never tried it; didn’t really have the slightest idea how. But what choice was there? “Stand back,” he said, and he laid his hands on the convulsing child’s sweaty head. Please, he begged. O Lord and Lady, if you’re listenin’, this little girl don’t deserve this. Take this from her. Without a conscious effort of will he realized he was suddenly seeing into the Spirit-Realm again. There were dark clouds coursing through the girl’s body and veins. Her bewildered and frightened spirit sat on the edge of the picnic table and looked at him with horror in her young eyes.
The Widow Brinks, leaving a trail of death behind her, has fled to the city of Saskatoon to catch a train. The Gunslingers and their posse are hot on her trail. But she has acquired some of Graeme Walsh's blood, and now works dark magic against him. Can the posse find her before she escapes? Can they do it before she drives Graeme mad? It was then that his eyes caught on something. It might have just been a moon-shadow, but it seemed to block the glow of the city lights just above the edge of the parapet. It was gone in an instant, and perhaps anyone else might have mistaken it as a dust-mote or a hair in the eye. But Graeme was a trained Gunslinger, and before he was conscious he was doing it, he had dismounted to climb the rampart steps. His hackles rose when Sandy, sniffing the air cautiously, suddenly lowered her ears and let out a threatening snarl. Then she was bounding up the battlements at his side. “Sound the alarm!” Graeme called out. The watchman clanged the bell and the Outpost sprang to life. The ones on guard duty “stood to” at their posts, looking around in all directions. Clearly they had seen nothing. For a moment, Graeme wondered if he was visually hallucinating, but Sandy was still snarling. Graeme peered through the battlement. He smelled it before he saw it. There was a dead man making its way up the hill, still in the remnants of the suit he’d been buried in. He was armed with a machine gun. “Sandy, down!” he commanded, and dodged behind the ramparts.
In a post-apocalyptic Saskatchewan, the Gunslingers are a holy order of Law empowered to keep the peace and protect the common people. They have supernatural powers to back it up. The Walsh siblings are about to find themselves entangled in the nefarious schemes of a necromancer! But they're not Gunslingers -- not yet. Graeme and Piper will need all of their training and courage, and all the support of their newfound companions, to put a stop to the villain's plans. Fortunately, Graeme has an ace up his sleeve. Nobody but his family and his teacher know that he's a sorcerer.
This novel contains the Wyrd West Chronicles #1-6, all in one volume!
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The Wyrd West Chronicles
Generic article | Jun 7, 2021
Check out all the published books in the Wyrd West Chronicles so far!
#3 The Vigil
#5 The Reaping
Once Upon a Time in the Wyrd West (Wyrd West Chronicles #1-6)
Gunsmoke & Dragonfire (featuring The Teeth of Winter (Wyrd West Chronicles #7)
Once Upon a Time in the Wyrd West
"Saskatchewan gunslinger elves in a world vividly real and detailed. Morrison shows us a rarely explored Weird West landscape."
"A book friend told me about this world of gunfighting elves and I knew I was hooked! Then the writing was great, and that was a bonus!"
"I had no idea what to expect when I started 'Showdown'.I was initially put off by the capitalizations of what I took for time worn stereotypes: the Desperado, the Gunslinger, etc. Then Graeme let us see his elven ears and I was THERE. From that point on a black hole couldn't have sucked me out of the story. Horses with opinions? A Gnome pitching a line to a Gunslinger's sister? A ghost offering advice to that same Gunslinger? Oh, yeah, I'm definitely into this world.
"I loved this book. It was like Fallout meets Firefly meets Supernatural meets Shannara. . . I found myself wanting to know much more about the world the author has created . . . It is packed full of good characterization, a steady plot, and worldbuilding you can really sink your teeth into."
"A+ world-building in this one. The Wyrd West is set in the post-apocalyptic Canadian prairies-a new wild west only with magic. Alongside the traditional gunslingers, desperados, First Nations people, saloon owners and courtesans, there are also necromancers, elves, gnomes, Mantis-folk, and some steampunk technology. Even the common elements have been tweaked to be just a little different-the courtesan's guild runs a spy network and the saloon owner has a prosthetic hand. I especially enjoyed the gunslingers' magic and code of honour: the Mark of Cain they wear after killing a bandit, the vigil to the Lord and Lady, the blessed ammunition."