Magic is real…and some books have teeth. This September, urban fantasy is getting new blood with Bookburners, the first serial from Serial Box. Following a black-ops anti-magic squad backed by the Vatican, Bookburners is a 16-episode story, released weekly in digital and audio versions. Magic is real, and hungry—trapped in ancient texts and artifacts, only a few who discover it survive to fight back. Detective Sal Brooks is a survivor. Her brother wasn't so lucky. Freshly awake to just what dangers are lurking, she joins a Vatican-backed black-ops anti-magic squad—but the demons she's hunting may be hunting her in turn. Written by a team of authors including Margaret Dunlap (Eureka and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries), Mur Lafferty (The Shambling Guide to New York City) and Brian Francis Slattery (Lost Everything), the group is lead by rising genre star Max Gladstone (Three Parts Dead and the Craft Sequence). Bookburners wanders from police procedural to New Weird, dabbling in most genres in between, and will keep you hungry for more, week after week. While the series officially launches on September 16 the with the release of Episode 2, we have the first Episode up for all to enjoy on SerialBox.com.
Here's the blurb for episode 1, which you can read here.
NYPD Detective Sal Brooks is no rookie—but even the most hardened cop would think twice when they see their brother open a book and become…well…something entirely not their brother. When her attempts to solve the case cross paths with a mysterious team led by a priest, she starts to realize that the world is far more than what is seems, and, just maybe, magic is real—and hungry.
If you enjoy the excerpt, here's a teaser from the second episode:
If I could be anyone else now, he thought, anywhere else, I’d be happier.
His bedroom was at the end of the long hallway. He went in and sat at the desk at the window. He put the book in front of him on the desk and opened it. It was written in a language he didn’t recognize, with letters he’d never seen before. Were they even letters? Was it some kind of code? It was impossible to tell. He started leafing through the book, thinking there might be some diagrams or pictures, something to tell him what the book was about. There weren’t. It was just page after page of indecipherable characters.
Then, under his fingers, the book got even warmer. The ink on the pages wriggled. The lines moved, rearranged themselves into words Gabriel knew, sentences he understood. He was in the middle of a story, a vast one, full of characters and action, too much to comprehend at once, too compelling to ignore. He flipped back to the beginning of the book, the first chapter, and read the first sentence.
“Gabriel,” said a voice close by.
His mother was standing right behind him. She put her hand on his shoulder. His father stood on his other side, smiling, hands in his pockets.
“How are you here?” Gabriel said.
“Just keep reading,” his father said.
The walls of the room began to glow, as if they were made of paper and there was a warm light behind them. They wavered. A ripple passed through them. The floorboards heaved and settled, heaved and settled. Gabriel could hear more people behind him, friendly voices and laughter. He looked up at his father. His father wasn’t his father anymore. He was someone Gabriel didn’t recognize, but knew was a friend, a good friend. His mother had changed, too, into someone else, someone Gabriel felt he had known for years. They had traveled the world together.
He looked up, into the darkened window. It was a mirror now. It was a vertical pool of water, still and unbroken. It carried his reflection. And he could see that he was not himself.
He had changed into a younger man, tired after a long trip but satisfied with what he had done. No. He was an older woman, flooded with memories of decades spent with her partner, two women living on the edge of a knife. She wouldn’t take any of it back. Now he was an artist at the end of his life. He’d made a series of paintings that he already knew would outlast him. Two hundred years from now, they would fill people with awe. Now he was a girl, with all her life in front of her, nothing but possibility. She was surrounded by crowds, family, friends, people who would soon change her life.
The water on the wall became a waterfall, and it unfurled into a river that flowed between his feet. The walls gave way and the ceiling opened up. The floor broke apart into a rich soil. Trees shot from the ground, climbed into the night sky, and spread their limbs above Gabriel’s head until they covered the stars. Gabriel looked down at the book on the desk, the open page. The ink was moving faster and faster, words flashing by, sentences shooting across the paper like arrows. He knew it was all going more quickly than he could read, but somehow he understood it all. He was ecstatic, breathless. So carried away that he didn’t notice at first that his fingers had sunk into the book itself. His hands had melted into the paper, until it was impossible to say where he ended and the book began.
This second episode will be released on September 16th and you can pre-order it here.