The Pawns

The Bucharest Witches, #2

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Pub Date 13 May 2022 | Archive Date 3 Jul 2022

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Description

A psychologist uses witchcraft to treat an abused boy, and finds himself in a race with the Devil—literally—when his magic inadvertently exposes his patient to a demon.

Travis is a witch practicing psychotherapy in modern day Bucharest. He’s devised an orb that siphons human trauma to replenish his power. The sphere induces patients to share deep secrets, much like hypnosis, and repressed pain is extracted without any harm done. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work.

The doctor cannot resist testing his magic on two patients who will not share themselves otherwise. His technique seems to work until it turns wicked. Although nothing in the spell invites it, a demon hijacks everything.

Forced to stand against the evil that powers him, Travis must face long-held delusions about his virtue, his origin, and his hope of redemption, even as supernatural forces terrorize those already exposed to his magic.

A psychologist uses witchcraft to treat an abused boy, and finds himself in a race with the Devil—literally—when his magic inadvertently exposes his patient to a demon.

Travis is a witch practicing...


A Note From the Publisher

Hardcover (9780997944952)


ebook (9780997944976)

Hardcover (9780997944952)


ebook (9780997944976)


Advance Praise

“In this paranormal sequel, an immortal witch’s past and present collide as an old enemy seeks revenge….Gabriel’s story moves at an impressive pace. Despite abundant dialogue tying this narrative to the first installment, scenes and conversations are effectively concise. Even readers new to the series will easily follow the mostly linear plot….The engaging story boasts gleeful twists and betrayals….The ending opens intriguing doors for further installments. A brisk, enjoyable supernatural tale of black magic and powerful spells.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Fans of horror and the occult will enjoy this urban adventure with magical battles, an intricate mystery, and travels around the world….A suspenseful urban horror sequel with magic, devilry, and inspired surprises. Great for fans of: T.J. Payne’s Intercepts, Wendy Webb’s The Keepers of Metsan Valo.”
Booklife

“The pacing is relentless…and make no mistake: there are moments of real horror here. In particular, the death of a side character leads to a disfiguration that is gorgeously disturbing. His investment in developing the witches’ social structure and abilities is clear and ultimately satisfying. The Romanian elements in particular are well-researched enough to create a Gothic vibe that scaffolds the dark atmosphere. And his grasp of psychological dynamics is outstanding when it comes to describing Travis’s newfound occupation.”
IndieReader

“In this paranormal sequel, an immortal witch’s past and present collide as an old enemy seeks revenge….Gabriel’s story moves at an impressive pace. Despite abundant dialogue tying this narrative to...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9780997944969
PRICE US$16.00 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

The Pawns Review – Robert Goldstein

A Chilling and Thought-Provoking Book

The Pawns is the second installment in the “Bucharest Witches” series about a coven of witches in Bucharest, Romania and a group of mortals in Burlington, Vermont who are unwittingly ensnared in a battle between two of the witches. The Pawns takes place after the events of the first book (“The Banished”) and reintroduces many of the characters from the first novel. I highly recommend reading The Banished first, but the story in The Pawns stands on its own and can be enjoyed even if you haven’t read The Banished.

Without giving too much away, the primary character in The Pawns is Travis, a powerful witch living in present-day Bucharest, Romania. Travis is a member of a coven of witches who survive by feeding from the energy generated by mortals, often killing the mortals in the process. Travis, a trained psychologist, uses his magic to develop an experimental therapy that extracts past traumas from his mortal patients’ psyches and uses the energy from those traumas to provide fuel for witches — a win-win for witches and mortals, at least in theory. Travis’ well-intentioned experiment goes awry, with devastating results. As Travis struggles to figure out where his treatment went wrong and how it can be corrected, he falls victim to a plot launched by another witch seeking revenge against Travis for a past grievance. Travis’ adversary lures him to Burlington, Vermont, where most of the events in The Banished took place. That is where a group of unsuspecting mortals become the titular “pawns” in the battle between Travis and his adversary.

The Pawns is one of those rare books that is instantly captivating, transporting the reader to a world where magic (both good and bad) exists all around us. It is extremely well written and advances the story at a brisk but steady pace. The book also effectively creates an atmosphere of dread and foreboding and includes several jaw-dropping twists that made it hard for me to put the book down.

The Pawns is also notable for its realistic dialogue and its thoughtful portrayal of each major character. I particularly love how the book describes the mortals’ reaction to the sinister forces that controlled them and their struggle to make sense out of behavior that was utterly inexplicable. I was equally impressed with The Pawns’ character development. There are no cliches here. The Pawns’ characters are complex and nuanced. The Pawns recognizes that few people (or witches) are all good or bad. While there is never any doubt that Travis is the protagonist of the story, he is far from perfect. The antagonist is equally well developed and raises some very valid objections to Travis’ experimental treatment and the harm he caused, albeit unintentionally.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Pawns and recommend it without hesitation. I also agree with another reviewer who thought The Pawns (as well as The Banished) would make a great movie or min-series. Netflix, are you listening?

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