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Authors: Kelly Mccullough

Tags: #Computers, #Fantasy, #General, #Fantasy Fiction, #Fiction


BOOK: Spellcrash
3.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page




















More praise for


“A smooth, flowing tale that entices the imagination.”

—Huntress Book Reviews (4½ stars)


“A hint of cyberpunk, a dollop of Greek mythology, and a sprinkle of techno-magic bake up into an airy genre mashup. Lots of fast-paced action and romantic angst up the ante as Ravirn faces down his formidable foes.”—
Publishers Weekly

“One long adrenaline rush, with a few small pauses for Ravirn to heal from his near-fatal brushes with the movers and shakers of the universe, all while trying to figure out how to survive the next inevitable encounter.”—

“Imaginative, fascinating, with a lot of adventure thrown in . . . Mr. McCullough has followed his first two books with a worthy sequel.
will keep the reader on edge.”

Fresh Fiction

“This third book featuring hacker extraordinaire Ravirn is every bit [as much] of a fast-paced, energetic page-turner as its predecessors. Ravirn continues to be a fascinating protagonist, and the chaotic twists of the plot carry the reader through to the end.”—
Romantic Times

“McCullough has true world-building skills, a great sense of Greek mythology, and the eye of a thriller writer. The blend of technology and magic is absolutely amazing, and I’m surprised no one has thought to do it quite like this before.”

— []

“This is the second book in McCullough’s series that fuses hacking culture with ancient gods, and it’s every bit as charming, clever, and readable as its predecessor.”—
Romantic Times
continued . . .
“It’s smoothly readable, vivid, and fun . . . highly recommended.” —


“McCullough has the most remarkable writing talent I have ever read . . . Not satisfied to write a single genre or to use a subgenre already made, he has created a new template that others will build stories upon in later years. But know this: McCullough is the original and unparalleled.”

Huntress Book Reviews


“The most enjoyable science fantasy book I’ve read in the last four years . . . Its blending of magic and coding is inspired . . .
has all the qualities I look for in a book—a wonderfully subdued sense of humor, nonstop action, and romantic relief. It’s a wonderful debut novel.”

—Christopher Stasheff, author of
Saint Vidicon to the Rescue

“Inventive, irreverent, and fast paced, strong on both action and humor.”—
The Green Man

“[An] original and outstanding debut . . . McCullough handles his plot with unfailing invention, orchestrating a mixture of humor, philosophy, and programming insights that gives new meaning to terms as commonplace as ‘spell-checker’ and [as] esoteric as ‘programming in hex.’”

Publishers Weekly
(starred review) “A unique first novel, this has a charming, fresh combination of mythological, magical, and computer elements . . . that will enchant many types of readers.”—
“McCullough’s first novel, written very much in the style of Roger Zelazny’s classic Amber novels, is a rollicking combination of verbal humor, wild adventures, and just plain fun.”


contains a lot of humor and a highly inventive new way of looking at the universe, which combines the magic of old with the computer structures of today.”—

“Complex, well paced, highly creative, and, overall, an auspicious debut for McCullough . . .

well worth reading for fans of light fantasy.”—
Sci Fi Weekly

“[A] fascinating world, somewhat redolent of Zelazny’s Amber universe . . . The interface between magical and computer technology definitely tickles my inner geek.”

MIT Science Fiction Society

“This fast-paced, action-packed yarn is a lot of fun . . . weaving myth, magic, IT jargon . . . into a bang-up story.”

“McCullough has done a fantastic job integrating technology and mythology, and Ravirn is a wonderfully sympathetic protagonist.” —
Romantic Times

“Kelly McCullough has the hacker ethic and the hacker mind-set down pat . . . The combination of mythos, magic, and technology is great fun . . . Ravirn is the literary grandnephew of Corwin of Amber . . . If you like the Amber books, you will certainly enjoy

“It has finally happened. Someone crossed the genres of sci-fi and fantasy to create a magical world that has modern (futuristic) computer hackers . . . McCullough has taken characters out from the darkness of mythology and brought them into the light of this modern digital age . . .

out-freaking-standing.” —
Huntress Book Reviews

“The action kept me reading way past my bedtime . . . gripping and imaginative.”—


“This is a wild, fun ride. It is perfect reading for any time.” — []
Ace Books by Kelly McCullough







Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)

Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.


An Ace Book / published by arrangement with the author


Ace mass-market edition / June 2010

Copyright © 2010 by Kelly McCullough.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

eISBN : 978-1-101-18775-3


Ace Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014. ACE and the “A” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.


For Laura,

who holds my heart


Extra-special thanks are owed to Laura McCullough, Stephanie Zvan, Jack Byrne, Warren Lapine, and Anne Sowards.

Many thanks also to the active Wyrdsmiths: Lyda, Doug, Naomi, Bill, Eleanor, and Sean. My web guru: Ben. Beta readers: Steph, Ben, Sara, Dave, Sari, Karl, Angie, Sean, Laura R., Norma, Warren, and Angela. Keith Spears for his comments on introducing hands. My extended support structure: Bill and Nancy, James, Tom, Ann, Mike, Sandy, and all the rest. My family: Carol, Paul and Jane, Lockwood and Darlene, Judy, Lee C., Kat, Jean, Lee P., and all the rest.

I also want to thank some of the many people who have worked on these books at the Penguin end of things and made me look so good in the process. My fabulous series copy editors: Robert and Sara Schwager. Cover art I love: Christian McGrath. Likewise, cover design: Judith Lagerman. Anne Sowards’s assistants: Cameron Dufty and Kat Sherbo. Publicists past and present: Maggie Kao, Valerie Cortes, and Rosanne Romanello. Interior text design: Kristin del Rosario. Production editor: Michelle Kasper. Assistant production editor: Andromeda Macri.

Finally, I’d like to give a big thank-you to my readers of this series. I wouldn’t have gotten very far without you.


Pop quiz, multiple choice: When is having a gorgeous naked woman coming after you a major
problem? (A) When she’s your ex-girlfriend. (B) When she’s there to tear your arms off. (C)
When she’s a Fury.

Why do I always have to be an “all of the above” kind of guy?

It can’t be Fate, the family I left behind. I’ve been off Fate’s roster ever since the goddess Necessity decided to transform me from a sorcerer of the hacking-and-cracking variety into an aspect of the Trickster. The Trickster . . . Yeah, that’s probably it. Nothing is ever simple for the Raven.

Which is why my involuntary vacation in the land of the Norse gods had ended with an equally involuntary deportation back to my MythOS of origin, the Greek pantheoverse. The process ended with my rather abrupt return to the Garbage Faerie Decision Locus, carrying my clothes rather than wearing them. I was accompanied on my trip by one small sarcastic blue goblin, one giant god-wolf recovering from an unfortunate piercing, and one disembodied but very perky hand. Dignity and grace in all things, that’s my motto.

I’d just managed to get my leather pants and one boot on, and was struggling with the next boot, when the unmistakable sound of someone tearing a hole in the universe announced the imminent arrival of one of the Sisters of Vengeance.

Since I was none too sure of where I stood with the Furies at the moment, I dropped the boot and reached for my shoulder holster. Not that I believed a .45 was going to do anything against one of the baddest goddesses on the block—I just wanted something vaguely threatening to hang on to by way of a security blanket. My magic sword, Occam, would have made a better choice if I hadn’t recently managed to break it. Sigh. They don’t make them like Excalibur anymore.

BOOK: Spellcrash
3.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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