Just as they made it to the ancient, stone abbey, high in the mountains, the slashing snow-storm locked them in with no way out. The travelers are expected and welcomed by the few priests residing there. They politely offer them food and shelter from the freezing weather.
The storm had taken them all by surprise, save one. The same one knew it was an unnatural storm, meant to hem them in and immobilize them for a supernatural dark purpose. He’d encountered such storms before. He didn’t fear the deadly possibilities and purpose within this one for himself, but his concern for his fellow travelers was acute. He knew the dangers that would unfold inside the abbey would be intense, but he maintained casual, friendly, and quietly en garde. It was his hope to not alert his companions sooner than necessary. Frightened people are harder to help, harder to protect.
He’d spent centuries fighting his way in and out of these situations. He was in magnificent shape. His skills were razor-defined. But, although he was more than two thousand years old, he wasn’t immortal, and he wasn’t invincible. To keep himself and those with him alive, he had to proceed with great caution, calculating every move, risk and possibility. Beyond his own expertise, he relied on the guidance, love and wisdom of his Master and Maker to see them through the challenges about to unfold.
He revealeth the deep and secret things; He knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with Him. Dan 2:22 (KJV)
Evil delights in darkness--physically, spiritually
The abbey priests are gracious and accommodating. Their guests are provided with delicious food, comfortable, warm and enchanting quarters. Displays of ancient works of art, armor, books and weapons make for a perpetual air of discovery and fascination to those view them for the first time and those whose interest is sparked anew with each thoughtful reviewing.
Guests could spend weeks in the abbey and not have enough time to view all of its treasures. They could live in it for years and not discover all of its secrets. Yet, there is one among them who is familiar with all of them. He designed it and helped build it. A thousand years later, it still stands as both an abbey and a fortress.
Unknown to at least most of their hosts, and the guests, the fortress has been breached. The enemy is moving with deadly intent, just out of sight, just out of reach, setting up its strike zone.
It’s evil more ancient than the abbey. Even more ancient than it’s warrior-builder, but they know each other well. They have fought across countries, continents and oceans, but the warrior is determined for this to be their last battle. The enemy has hemmed them in, but it’s also closed many of its own options for escape. It’s confident in its skills and strength to deal death where it will. The warrior is confident in a strength provided by another source, flowing through him, healing and reviving him according to his Maker’s will.
Over mountains, valleys and oceans
The abbey houses and protects a treasure from far and away. No man, or beast, can own it, yet many, who hope in its existence, search for it. It represents death and life. It’s beautiful and ugly. Just the sight of it can evoke passionate hatred or humility and love.
Many have died trying to steal it. Others have died to protect it. The war between those factions has continued through the centuries. Same fight. New faces.
Those in the abbey who know of it, will either die to protect it or die trying to steal it away. Those who don’t know it exists will be hard-pressed to steer clear of the melee about to erupt around them. Their enemy feeds on fear and death and the unknowing guests are its fodder. It believes the warrior’s compassion will be his downfall. He can’t protect everyone at once, yet he serves and fights for One who can.
A continuing fav!
I first read and wrote a review of Nightbringer back in 2013. It published it on another blog, the contents of which I’ve been migrating to this one. However, because I seriously love this story, I re-read it and this is a brand new, fresh review.
This was one of the first two books I’d read by what became one of my favorite authors, James Byron Huggins. My thanks to my sister, Nee, of On Story Street, for introducing me to his work. He’s one of her favorite writers as well.
Beyond his literature, it’s believed by many that Mr. Huggins’ personal, real-life history is even more fantastic than those in the riveting novels he produces. I’m in agreement. The man’s history is awing.
I hope you’ll add Nightbringer to your own library and even consider gifting it to friends who love an intense adventure-thriller.
I re-read this one same as I did the first one, all the way through with steaming coffee to keep me company. Yup... It was just as enjoyable the second time, even though I knew what was coming.
It’s my hope that Mr. Huggins will be inspired to produce a sequel to this story. If that happens, I’ll be among many celebrating the return of one of the best heroes ever to grace the pages of a book.