God’s War starts with an intriguing first line, preparing the reader for a brutal ride:
“Nyx sold her womb somewhere between Punjai and Faleen, on the edge of the desert.”
Local author Kameron Hurley tells a dystopian tale of female assassins set in a terrifyingly harsh world of bugs, magicians and religious wars.
Nyx, a female bounty hunter, finds herself in too deep when she takes an assassination note for a missing alien who might be the key to ending the perpetual war in her land.
The inventive and dark story is Hurley’s first published novel and the first of a planned trilogy.
Bel dames are the thread for the ambitious story. Most people envision a strikingly beautiful woman, but Hurley borrowed the term from ancient Assyrian/Babylonians, which actually means blood avenger. God’s War follows Nyx unflinching through a world of intense, ongoing religious wars, where bugs are both technology and food.
“A lot of what I researched is driven by fascination. There is some terrifying imagery in the Bible. Those Old Testament Bible stories are utterly violent. Heads are chopped off and they are burning people…and as I’m reading, I’m thinking, this is awesome!”
“I really wanted an Old Testament feel for God’s War. I read a lot of accounts of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Ancient Babylonia and Assyria—really getting into a different world view than my own,” said Hurley.
The bug research came from real world experience as well, since Hurley lived in South Africa for a year and a half, in a home overrun with bugs.
“I thought, what if this was normal? How could you leverage them? They use hornets to sniff out explosives in some places. What if bugs could be controlled and utilized in otherworld technology? I took these little nuggets of what happened in the real world and extrapolated it out.”
Publishers Weekly calls Hurley’s world-building “phenomenal, with casual references to insectile technology and the world’s history that provide atmosphere without info dumps.” As weighty as the book is, the sensory feel is rich, deep, and at times overwhelming. The main characters—deeply scarred and caustic—can be brought to mind long after the book is finished.
Hurley has mentioned Zuleikha Robinson (Ilana in Lost) as an appropriate choice to play Nyx in a movie version of God’s War.
“Then when I saw Isaiah Mustafa [from the Old Spice commercials] I thought, he could play Rhys. Absolutely!”
It would be fascinating to see two traditionally beautiful people abused and scarred as Nyx and Rhys. The entomophobics among us would cringe at the idea of millions of CGI created bugs populating the movie—but using the real thing would both break the bank and freak people out.
With one book under her belt and more slotted, Hurley has three full time jobs—a marketing and advertising writer in Dayton, promoting and marketing God’s War, and writing and editing her next books.
“I’m not a plot person. It’s on my list of things to do. I start with the different characters and settings and the rest is the process of discovery. I also don’t let myself play World of Warcraft online until the draft is done.”
A self-defined late adopter, Hurley doesn’t own an e-reader yet, but her fans clamored for God’s War in a digital format. Sci-fi and fantasy readers are often ahead of the curve in technology, so it’s no surprise that the book is in demand for e-readers.
“I’ll always have printed books. They are definitely a good thing. But digital publishing will be great in the long run.”
Book two and Hurley’s next novel, Infidel, is slated for a December 2011 release. Building on its success, she is hopeful Night Shade Books, her publisher, will pick up the third book, Babylon.
Visit Kameron at www.KameronHurley.com. God’s War can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Borders.