by Mat Nastos
Sequel to the fan-favorite WW2 action-adventure thriller, MAN WITH THE IRON HEART.
In the heart of war-torn Europe, the Nazis continue their insane bid to force the world into humanity’s final twilight: Ragnarok and the unending hunger of their other-worldly masters, the Jotnar.
Ordered by Odin himself to hurry to Germany, the marble-skinned warrior, Donner Grimm, must face off once more against the mystic might of the Jotnar’s human servants, the Edda Society, and the arcane machinery under their command. With the fate of mankind in his hand Grimm and his Scottish-born ally, Ian MacAndrew, return to the site of Donner’s creation and where his family were murdered in an effort to save the last of the Norn from the grip of Himmler’s undying army.
Will the mystic-forged blade of Balmung and the belt of Thor be enough to stop the Jotnar’s latest plan to release eternal winter across the globe or will darkness finally fall on the time of Man? Find the answers in this latest installment of the Donner Grimm Adventures.
Nazis, Norse Gods, and Lovecraftian monsters: what more could you ask for in an action & adventure novel set in the midst of World War 2? “Man With the Iron Heart” is perfect for fans of Hellboy, Indiana Jones, Supernatural, Robert McCammon, Lovecraft, or Inglourious Basterds.
Check out what critics are calling “a thrilling alternate history action & adventure,” “an occult thriller done right,” and “the sort of men’s adventure story that keeps readers on their toes from page 1.”
The Unweaving: A WW2 Action & Adventure Thriller.
Release Date: MARCH 2015
Cover By: Mat Nastos
Review: “Nastos continues to show why he is the next great voice in sci-fi. —Rob Liefeld, Creator of Deadpool, Cable, Youngblood and X-force, and founder of Image Comics
“Mat Nastos is one of the most exciting writers working in the field of adventure fiction today. Every page is an adrenaline rush and by the end of the story, you’re left breathlessly anticipating the next. If you’re not reading Nastos, you’re truly missing out.” -Barry Reese, Award-winning author of The Rook, Lazarus Gray and Gravedigger
“It was the best 80’s action movie I’ve read in a long time.” -Derrick Ferguson, New-Pulp author of Four Bullets for Dillon and The Adventures of Fortune McCall
“It’s rare when a book takes both the front line experience as well as the supernatural elements so readily associated with World War II and the Nazi party and turns them into something seamless and intriguing. “Man with the Iron Heart” does that exceedingly well and the characters live, scream, fight, and die right off the page, not content with just leaping.” , – Tommy Hancock, Award-winning author and publisher of Pro Se Press
“The Man With the Iron Heart’s tight and snappy prose takes grounded supernatural mysticism, a charming cast of very human characters and then hurls it all into an adventure that revels in the unapologetic grandiosity of classic action movies!” – David A. Rodriguez, Writer of Finding Gossamyr and Lead Writer for Skylanders: SWAP Force
June 9, 1942. 6:45 P.M. Železná Ruda near the Bohemian-Bavarian Border.
“Drop the spoon and come with us,” commanded a voice that spoke German with a strong Bavarian accent.
The thick, red bristles of Ian MacAndrew’s mustache twitched. His tongue could almost taste the spoonful of thick, savory goulash—what had the server girl called it? Dršťková?—that hovered mere centimeters away from his awaiting mouth. It had been weeks since the Glasgow-born captain in the Scottish Guard had eaten a good, hearty meal made by skilled hands. As it was, he had to stretch his memory to the breaking point to recall the last time he’d had more than cold beans or hastily boiled potatoes in his belly.
Sighing to himself wearily, MacAndrew wondered if he could go ahead and take the bite, pretending he hadn’t heard the harshly barked order. One sideways look around the room snatched the idea away.
Six soldiers, dressed in the gray-green uniforms of the Ordnungspolizei—the Order Police—surrounded the small table at which MacAndrew sat alone in his aborted attempt at an early dinner. In the hands of each of the men were KAR98k rifles, gripped tight and aimed squarely at the dining man’s midsection. The Scot thought their selection of weapons odd. In the close confines of the ramshackle tavern they’d stumbled onto him in, the Walther P38 pistols holstered on their sides would have been far more practical choices. Still, the burly veteran of two wars wasn’t one to argue with which gun his enemies planned to shoot him with.
An innate sense of self-preservation had caused the eight Czech border peasants—who had all enjoyed a few rounds of drinks paid for by the Scot’s coin while he waited on his mean—to huddle in a tight group against a sidewall as far away from the drawn weapons as the cramped space would allow. Even the increasing friendly serving wench—Helga? Olga? Something with a ‘ga’ in there…MacAndrew was horrible with names—tried her best to keep her heavily lashed eyes averted from the group. They were terrified. Not that the Scottish soldier could blame them. Since Hitler had declared the Czechoslovakia a ‘protectorate’ of Germany a few years earlier and reformed it into Bohemia and Moravia, the Third Reich’s rule over the people had grown increasingly harsh. What had begun as a benign alliance had quickly devolved into a police state whose only guarantees were hardship, oppression, and cruelty, especially for the ethnic Czechs, gypsies, and Jews. A peasant’s life was best spent avoiding notice by the Germans and their Orpo enforcers for as long as possible.
Such avoidance, unfortunately, was not part of the broad chested Scotsman.
“I beg your pardon, lad?” replied MacAndrew in German tinted with more than a touch of his homeland brogue. His command of the language was nearly flawless, but he’d been unable to get enough of the old Scot out of his tongue to pass for a native.
“Drop the spoon, English pig!”
Pain exploded on MacAndrew’s left side. A bruise in the shape of a rifle butt began forming almost immediately. It hurt, sure, but not nearly as much as being called English. The only thing worst was being mistaken for a Welshman. Narrowed green eyes peered out from beneath a broad brow overhung with a tangled growth of fiery red hair and locked on to the gangly towhead who struck the blow. MacAndrew added a mental note to make sure and give the over-zealous Orpo private some quality Scottish payback.
Gesturing theatrically with his hands, MacAndrew made great show of placing the offending spoon down in the least threatening manner possible. With a thick bloop, the utensil plopped into the wide-rimmed bowl he had been eating from…almost eating from.
Keeping his hands raised to show he held no weapons—and no other dangerous implements of dining—MacAndrew said, “It’s down…it’s down! The spoon won’t hurt any of you.”
“Check his arm!”
A mass of hands seemed to lash out all at once to restrain MacAndrew’s arms in their upright position. His sleeves were pulled down, revealing the dark blue runic symbol etched just below his right wrist.
“The mark is here. He is the one!”
The symbol was called Tiwaz in the old language of the Norse, the mark of Tyr, and had been placed onto MacAndrew’s arm by the All-Father, Odin. It branded MacAndrew as a member of Odin’s elite, the Einherjar—a warrior destined to battle the Jotnar during Ragnarok, the Twilight of the World. Unfortunately for the Scot, he was pretty sure he was the only still around. If things didn’t change, the only ones fighting for the fate of humanity would be an aging Scotsman and his new traveling companion.
“Where is your friend? The giant?” The most senior-ranking member of the group asked, as if in response to the Scot’s thoughts. The Orpo officer pressed the point of his gun’s barrel hard into MacAndrew’s burly side to accentuate his request. An embroidered Siguren patch on his breast pocket marked the man as the only member of the Allgemeine-SS in the unit. MacAndrew would be sure his death would be the most painful. “We know you arrived in town with him. We have seen the Reichsprotektor’s stolen auto outside. Tell me now!”
That damn car, thought the Scot to himself. He’d warned his absent companion that it was far too conspicuous of a machine to be traveling around in. They might as well have arrived in town naked and singing ‘God Save The Queen’ at the tops of their lungs. It wouldn’t have been any more attention-grabbing than the long, sleek, black Horch 853A Sport Roadster Grimm had liberated in Prague a week earlier. With its sweeping curves, massive eight-cylinder engine, and highly-polished convertible frame, the automobile resembled nothing less than a land shark roaming the back roads of the newly formed Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. It was a unique vehicle and not something a common peasant would forget seeing.
“Whoa, mate. I’ll tell you what you want to know.” MacAndrew swept the thick, dark-blue wool cap from his head and gestured towards the rear of the twenty-foot square room that made up the inn’s only dining hall. “He stepped out back for a bit of tobacco and to make use of the loo. If you go now, you’ll catch him before he finishes.” Smiling, the Scotsman added, “Should be no trouble for a group of strapping lads like yourselves to handle. Right out back…go go!”
A nod from the elder Orpo man sent four of the sharply uniformed officers steaming out the inn’s back door, weapons at the ready. After apprehending the Scotsman so quickly and easily, they were confident his associate would be captured the same way.
Poor deluded bastards, MacAndrew to himself. Aloud he said, “I’ll just sit here and finish my meal…”
MacAndrew reached down towards the promised land of meat and savory sauce only to have his hand smacked away by the hard metal of a rifle barrel. He glared up into the eyes of the Orpo Lieutenant in charge of the squad—eyes that fired back with hatred and evil.
“Be silent, Englishman. Once we have your cohort, you will both be sent back to Berlin in chains. The Reichsführer has ordered your executions be done in front of all the Fatherland.” The German barked out a humorless laugh. “Herr Himmler will be pleased to see you again.”
Leaning back in his chair, ready to watch the fireworks begin, MacAndrew chuckled back. “I wouldn’t bet on it, boyo. Seeing us didn’t turn out too cheerful for old Heinrich last time. Can’t imagine another go-round would be any better, eh?”
Another blow from the lieutenant’s rifle-butt slammed into MacAndrew, this time nearly cracking the back of his skull. Stars filled his eyes and sent his vision white as pain overloaded his senses.
“You are lucky Herr Himmler ordered you be taken to him alive.” The sound of the German police commander’s voice in MacAndrew’s ear helped him focus on the world around him again. He longed to break the arrogant man in half, but knew the time was not yet right. Soon. “And unluckly he did not care how much life was left when you arrived.”
Splintering wood and the grunts of conflict stole away the Scotsman’s chance at a clever retort. The audible sound of thunderous fists pounding into soft German flesh returned a smile to MacAndrew’s face. Ah. The Orpo must have found what they were looking for. Poor bastards.
In response, the Orpo leader stood up, forgetting the prisoner before him. “Vas?” he asked, trying to divine what was happening beyond the walls surrounding him.
The answer accompanied the screams of his men.
Bursting through the inn’s rear door in a shower of red oak splinters was a giant who appeared to be carved from pure-white marble. With his head topping out in the neighborhood of six-foot-eight-inches in height, Donner Grimm was a monster with arms as thick as tree trunks. Muscles like steel cables played just beneath the pale, nearly translucent skin, and a shoulder-length shock of hair the color of undriven snow encircled the man’s head like a crown as he pummeled the four Orpo men clamped on to his limbs and torso. The quartet of Nazi servants held on for dear life, mere riders on a raging bull whose every move threatened to crush the life from their fragile human bodies.
Odder even than the titan’s appearance was his dress. Beneath a tight, knee-length leather duster coat, MacAndrew’s companion wore a cloth vest, open to the navel, tucked into a belt the likes of which came from the pages of a storybook. The girdle, an enormous thing more suited to an earlier age, had been made of hand worked leather and hammered iron plates, and trimmed with the fur of a gray winter wolf. Megingjord, the belt of the dead god Thor, he’d called the thing. It covered Grimm’s midsection from groin to ribcage. Nine ancient Germanic runes were beaten into the surface of the metal plates, runes which matched those tattooed along Grimm’s powerful right arm, and seemed to possess an inner light that pulsed in synchronisity with the beat of his heart. Strapped just off-center of the main plate was an equally ancient Viking sword, the mystic Balmung—a weapon capable of slicing through a Panzer’s thickest armor as if it were butter.
Still, MacAndrew had to admit to himself, the most striking feature of his companion—beyond even his size, unusual dress, or statuesque appearance—was his eyes. Blazing blue and resembling the the clearest of ice, lighting seemed to dance through the colored irises, flashing with electricity as Grimm raged against his foes. They were the eyes of a hunter and of a god given human form.
Looking to the pair of German soldiers standing just over his shoulders, each as captivated by the spectacle playing out before them, MacAndrew suggested, “Best go and help your friends. I’ll just sit here and finish my food.” The three men had to leap out of the way of a body tossed across the room by Grimm with the ease one might throw a loaf of bread. The Scotsman whistled as he sat down to resume his meal. The massive German would have gotten an earful if he’d have knocked over MacAndrew’s stew. “Won’t leave until you’re done. Promise.”
Watching the Nazis get thrown around and beaten to a pulp by the man-mountain gave the British soldier the sort of warm feeling inside normally inspired by puppies or flirting with a lass back home. After all, MacAndrew had traveled thousands of kilometers from his home in generally peaceful Scotland to kill the Nazi head of Czechoslovakia, so what not sit back and enjoy the show? It wasn’t as if Grimm needed the help with four—or even six—human soldiers. During the brief time the pair had known each other, MacAndrew had seen the man stand toe-to-toe with three-headed necrogolems, battle a horde of berserker werebears, and take on a demon-possessed Reinhard Heydrich. Throwing MacAndrew’s own six-foot-two, two-hundred and twenty pound frame into the mix would have been overkill.
Besides, chuckled MacAndrew to himself between bites of hot Czech goulash, it was all just fun-and-games unless the lads were dumb enough to…
The retort of high-powered KAR98k rifle tore through the room, followed by the guttural choking of a woman.
“Oh, no,” said MacAndrew. He jerked to his feet, woodenly, knocking the small chair he’d been seated upon over onto its side. “You fools…”
Release Date: MARCH 2015