Flashback: Siren Song by James A. Hunter
Welcome to Saturday Shorts, where we feature short stories and novellas. Siren Song, set in wartime Viet Nam, shows readers how an ancient power, corrupted by human influence and awakened during the war, forces Yancy Lazarus to come to terms with his emerging power. So far, this is Hunter’s best writing yet, so don’t miss it! Pick it up along with ten highly-rated urban fantasy novels in the bundle called A World of Shadows.
Publisher’s Description: The year is 1969. Yancy Lazarus—bluesman, gambler, future world-class mage and fix-it man—is just a dumb, unlucky kid serving with the 3rd Battalion 3rd Marines in Vietnam.
With just a few weeks left to go until Yancy gets shipped back to the States, he’s just trying to keep his head down and avoid a body bag—no mean feat in Nam. But when his squad is tasked with conducting a routine patrol deep in enemy territory, everything goes to nine kinds of hell, and he quickly sees his chances at survival slipping away.
When the radio operators start to pick up some funky, dirty ol’ blues all the way out in the backcountry, it’s a nice change of pace. At least until the men in Yancy’s squad start losing their minds, turning on each other with murderous intent as the music works its deadly power within them. Convinced it’s some kind of new psychological warfare initiative, the squad leader forces the men to push deeper and deeper into the Vietnamese jungle, obsessed with locating the music’s source. What they find, however, isn’t some new technology, but an ancient spirit awoken by the terrible war. Even worse, the music is changing Yancy too, awakening something buried inside of him. Only one thing is certain, nothing is ever going to be the same.
See how it all began …
“Flashback: Siren Song” is a novella available in a new bundle called A World of Shadows. In addition to the Hunter novella, this collection contains 10 first-in-series full-length novels that introduce you to new worlds and deliver kick-ass stories. Featuring eleven heroes and heroines – PIs, cops, mages, witches, wizards, elite units, shapeshifters, and more – not to mention more monsters and villainous horror shows than you can shake a stick at!
Books in this bundle include:
- Justice Calling by Annie Bellet (Twenty-Sided Sorceress series)
- Red Hot Steele by Alex P. Berg (Daggers & Steele Mystery series)
- The Seventh Sons by Domino Finn (Sycamore Moon series)
- Flashback: Siren Song by James A. Hunter (Yancy Lazarus series)
- Till the Sun Breaks Down by Tom Leveen (Deviant Aeon series)
- The Fixer by Jon F. Merz (Lawson Vampire series)
- The Heretic by Joseph Nassise (Templar Chronicles series)
- London Macabre by Steven Savile (Greyfriars series)
- The Long Way Down by Craig Schaefer (Daniel Faust series)
- Elemental Arcane by Phaedra Weldon (Eldritch Files series)
- Half-Made Girls by Sam Witt (Pitchfork County series)
Buy the bundle: Kindle
Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!).
“As tight lipped as a frozen clam.”
Author James A. Hunter does it again, except this time with a novella that lends some insight about what kind of man developed from a boy sent to Vietnam on his senior trip. We see his friend Greg and Yancy’s unit be overcome with (you guessed it) Siren Song. Wait! There’s more! This Siren Song has a different origin than what you would expect. It’s a revengeful “Tree King of Old”, a Leshy of the Fae Court that likes – of course – blood. His name is Xuong Cuong and he was peaceful and caring at first until stupid humans had to ruin everything. They decided they needed to conquer the jungle and to do that, they needed to kill Xuong Cuong. It kinda pissed the tree spirit off so when his spirit should have moved on, it was reborn with revenge on his scary mind full of rage.
I do not like war stories. Vietnam is a real and scary place for a lot of soldiers that were put there to fight a war that was not even named a war. With that being said, Mr. Hunter totally struck gold with the descriptions, the war like maneuvers by Yancy’s unit and I even got some interesting historical education about the Dac Cong who were serious players in the Vietnam People’s Army in 1968. Yancy was yet a green, wet behind the ears, brand spankin’ new, we-watch-him-become a glimmer of the mage he is now, young man. I liked Yancy after the first book, Strange Magic. Fell a little in love with him in the second book, Cold Hearted, but this novella showed me his roots and I gotta love him for his courageousness.
I whole heartedly recommend this read. It won’t take long – it’s a novella- and you can try Yancy and his world on for size. I think it’s going to be a rival for Harry Dresden someday.
If you’re a frequenter of this site, you know that we here at One Book Two love James A. Hunter and his protagonist, Yancy Lazarus. So when James told us that not only was there a Yancy origin story, but that it was part of an exciting new bundle of awesome, kick-ass series starter novels, we lost our heads for a little while. This is a great bundle of highly-rated novels; you really need to pick it up. Now. Go ahead, go get it now. I’ll wait. 🙂
Okay, back to the story. “Flashback: Siren Song” is the Yancy Lazarus origin story – how he became a mage and first learned of the Vis. As with many heroes, Yancy’s origin starts in tragedy. His Marine squad encounters a deadly supernatural threat in the jungles of Viet Nam. Yancy has to use his newly-emerging power, about which he knows jack-all, to defeat the threat and save his squad if he can. Not all of his squad makes it out alive. In fact, what happens to his squad-mate, Rat, about breaks my heart.
In “Siren Song”, we not only learn more about Yancy, but we also get to meet his best friend, Greg. Greg and Yancy have been friends since their school days. Greg talked Yancy into joining the Marines, which explains a lot the nature of their relationship in Strange Magic. We also get to witness Yancy meeting James Sullivan for the first time, just as he’s about to recruit Yancy for the Guild.
Hunter’s writing is getting better and better with each publication. There was a lot of improvement in the clarity of the writing between Strange Magic and Cold Hearted, but the writing in “Siren Song” is even better. It is clear, tight, and direct – essential qualities for a novella since word count is limited. I think “Siren Song” is Hunter’s best writing yet. And that means Yancy Lazarus Book 3 is going to be spectacular!
Seriously, you have 11 stories in this bundle, from 11 amazing authors. Do you really need me to recommend any more? 🙂