The Oath of Fire: a pact with the archdemon Ezrakul that grants its earthly signee great fortune, but allows the passage of Ezrakulís terrible minions--beasts thought only to exist in legend--into our world.
Anyone can take the Oath. Anyone might have taken it already. Everywhere, Oath-takers may live among us, living under a pact that may
destroy civilization itself.
Americaís defense against Ezrakul and his Oath is the Trust Corps. Feared by innocent and guilty alike, they seek out Oath-takers by any means necessary, and use deadly force against the demons that have entered our world already. Their bloody work requires them to turn schools, parks, and neighborhoods into war zones, and to interrogate even those they love the most.
The will of the Trust Corps is about to be tested in Powell County, Pennsylvania, as evidence points to Sergeant Anderson Marchís own family. His duty torn between the Trust Corps and his own children, he must prove his son innocent of Oath-taking while doing battle with a host of demons that threaten to kill thousands.
OATH OF FIRE
" You may call me the Devil if you wish, although I would rather you called me Lord Ezrakul. "
The Oath of Fire... Sometimes the claws of calamity grip with such tenacity, it becomes conceivable to call upon Lord Ezrakul, conqueror of the Lower Realms, as did Bruce Carlson. And so it was that his deathbed at Carlson Manor in Powell County, Pennsylvania, became a nest for the hatching of an unworldly creature, one that inherited body after body upon death, time after time.
Trust Corps officer Anderson March has seen it all, the rise upon rise of otherworldly minions and the wave of their destruction, as they claimed victims trapped in a primordial scream before sudden silence fell. Andersonís work in the Trust Corps did not spare his wife, Stacey. Nor did it Henry, his son.
Evil born and nurtured from a cult of human sacrifice spread upon Earth tentacle monstrosities endowed with agility, speed, intelligence and perpetual blood thirst. But sometimes a pact with the devil does not seem such a bad idea after allÖ
Good progression, plentiful action: Oath of Fire blends the morphing of the dead with endless adventure that keeps pages turning.
(Eugen M. Bacon, TCM Reviews)
Lieutenant Anderson ďAndyĒ March of the Trust Corps, was a police officer before he joined the TC. The sole purpose of the Trust Corps is to track down and destroy demons. Part of their duties is also to find those who have taken the oath with Ezrakul so when they die, more demons wonít be unleashed. The existence of Ezrakul was brought to light by someone on the radio, who managed to get out, on the air, how to call the demon to take the oath. Those who take the oath are promised what they want in return for Ezrakul gaining control of their bodies once they die. No downside to the person taking the oath, however, to those left, definitely not good when demons sprout out of their bodies. And itís Andyís job to track those demons down and destroy them. The fact Andyís own wife was a oath taker has been mostly forgotten by now, especially with his service record.
While tracking down and destroying a demon, Andyís partner is killed and so he gets a new guy from another city. Right off the bat, Andy isnít especially fond of his new partner. Heís way too gung ho about getting potential oath takers off the streets and since most civil rights no longer apply to the TC, this can be very dangerous. So when his new partner invites Andy and his three sons to dinner, Andy decides to try and get along with the man. The two families become close.
Things start looking up when Andyís oldest son is admitted to Harvard. His middle son, Sean, is finally getting better grades at school and the youngest is still young enough to act like a child. When thereís a school dance, Andyís two older sons are both attending. His youngest is spending the night at a friendís house, so Andy goes to a poker game with other TC officers. Well imagine Andyís surprise when he finds out his oldest son was killed in a car race and a demon came out of his body. Not an ordinary demon either, but one of Ezrakulís head priests. And the demon walked right by Sean and didnít kill him. Now Andyís new partner is on a crusade to name Andyís other two sons as oath takers and get Andy kicked out of TC. And this particular demon has met up with three others, leading the TC to believe something is in the works.
Will Sean be safe, or will he be named as an oath taker? Will Andy be able to save his youngest son from his new partner? What of the four demons? Can they be stopped before their plan comes to fruition?
OATH OF FIRE is a very thought provoking story. Matthew Schramm does a fantastic job of pulling us into the story and not letting up throughout. The action is nonstop from the first page through the end of the story. While this is a classic
You may call me the Devil if you wish, although I would rather you called me Lord Ezrakul. That is my name, while "the Devil" is only a description. You have referred to many of my friends and associates by that title, and so I cannot take credit for all devilry on Earth. Frankly, you place far too much blame for the terrors of your world on the lords of the Outer Realms. No being outside your own dimension can hope to create evil, but merely to give it a voice.
I am not the lord of all the evil, just of my own. You have seen many things in your history that have claimed to be the devil, but only I have decided not only to visit your world, but also to possess it. Others of my kind have questioned me for devoting so much effort on such an insignificant people in an insignificant universe, but I have my own reasons. And honestly, they donít know what fun theyíve been missing. I am the greatest conqueror the Lower Realms has ever seen, and the few minutes of my time spent with your universe on my crusade to the Higher Realms have been most entertaining.
To acknowledge the obvious question, you can ask me about God, the human soul, heaven, hell, whatever, but do not expect a clean and easy response, and do not expect me to give the same answer to every interrogator. I prefer to let you squirm for now. It is simply too amusing to see your "great minds" gather and express such nonsense with such conviction. Suffice to say that if I were to give you the answers, your people would be ashamed of themselves for missing the obvious. Perhaps, in time, I will tease you with some revelations, but for now, you need not concern yourselves with other entities and planes of existence. You need only concern yourselves with me, and you do not need to wait for death to see your lord, for I have come down to you.
In your dimension, I exist in what you would call "chance," and I work through the subtle manipulation of inconceivably small factors. I can decide the landing place of a ball on a roulette wheel. I can tilt the tide of a difficult decision in a powerful manís mind. When I focus my energies, I can even jam a faulty firearm, just as its trigger is pulled. Still, my power is in subtleties, and I will admit that I cannot enact gross manipulations of your world. If a man chooses to kill another man, it is difficult for me to stop it. My power is great enough when it is used in secrecy, when my work is allowed to compound in changing lives over the course of years.
That is the extent of what I can do alone, for as long as the vast expanses between realities separate us. However, when one of your people cooperates with me, I can do much, much more.