by Richard Hacker

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Addison and Jules, members of the League, a secret alchemist society of Inkers who protect the time continuum, believe they defeated their enemy, Cuthbert Grimwald, known to them as Kairos. When he resurfaces filled with vengeance, intent on destroying the League, and acquiring the Alchimeia, a book of such power the League has hidden it for millennia, Grimwald leaves a path of destruction across centuries. As he quests for absolute control of reality, Addison and Jules pursue him through time and death in a desperate struggle to save the world from his vengeance.

“You’ve done well my friends. A bit of a shaky start, but in the end, I am pleased with the result.”

Jules glanced to Addison, who was also pulling himself up to stand. “What are you talking about? You could have killed us.”

“If I wanted you dead, we wouldn’t be talking.” Boggy raised his hands as if to parry their blows. “Today’s lesson is partnership. Do you see?”

Addison slowly rotated an arm with a grimace. “Keep talking.”

“Inking is a dangerous enterprise. You find yourself in a foreign world in an earlier time, often fighting to survive long enough to complete your mission. But the physical dangers of inking do not hold a candle to the emotional and psychological dangers. Your consciousness, the essence of your being, occupies the mind of another. With each passing moment, a small part of who you are slips out of your grasp unless you master the relationship between Inker and host. You must die to live, right? But all living creatures naturally gravitate toward life and away from death. The world of an Inker is therefore a paradox of conflicting realities. Without a partner, you struggle alone against insurmountable odds. Partners have each other’s backs, keeping the hosts alive and the mission viable. And upon completion, partners ensure their hosts die. Because we never leave an Inker behind. Never.”


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-What inspired you to become a writer?

I think it’s a number of things. As a kid I was captivated by storytelling, to the point that while other kids were bringing bunnies to school for show and tell, I’d read my short stories to the class. My Dad, who was a voracious reader, communicated a great respect for the written word. We’d go to the library every Saturday and I always remember my Dad with a book on the table by his den chair. He communicated a great respect for books and it made an impression on me. Then in high school I had an English teacher, Mrs. Seal, very old school, and a great writing instructor. She laid the foundation of good writing skills for me.

-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?

Oh my. The Die Back thing is pretty scary. You’re consciousness is going into the mind of someone who has lived and died in the past. And the only way home is to die. Maybe it would be inking someone whose death is shrouded in mystery, like Emilia Earhart. I’d be able uncover when and where she died on her last flight across the Pacific.

-It’s two in the morning. What does your protagonist reveal in confidence? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)

Yeah, I’m up. Couldn’t sleep. I just can’t stop thinking about Jules, you know, the Jules I lost in 16th century Peru? I didn’t get a chance to tell her, but I loved her. And I think she loved me. But now she’s trapped in a time shift and I’m in a different time continuum with a different Jules who doesn’t love me.

-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?

Nikki Babineaux. She’s the leader of the League. Smart, quick, fun. And she appreciates good food and good cocktails. Definitely Nikki.

-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do you do?

In the real world, I’d talk the dwarf down, try to understand the dwarf’s perspective and buy a round of drinks as a peace offering. In the fantasy world, I’d try the real world strategy, which wouldn’t work since it’s the fantasy world, then smash a flagon of ale across the dwarf’s head, leading to an all-out tavern brawl, where I’d be aided by an elf named Vlandyn Ellowryth I befriended when he was about to be killed by a band of roving orcs. We’d vanquish our attackers and have one more for the road.

-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?

I imagine I could write in any fiction genre. Now do I want to write in the genre? That’s the issue. Horror is low on the list. I think I wouldn’t want to be haunted about the horrible things I would have to keep in my mind while writing in the genre!


Richard Hacker, lives and writes in Seattle, Washington after living many years in Austin, Texas. In addition to the science fiction/fantasy novels of The Alchimeía Series, his crime novels ride the thin line between fact and fiction in Texas. Along the way, his writing has been recognized by the Writer’s League of Texas and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. As a judge in literary contests shuch as PNWA and ChicLit, and as a freelance development editor, he enjoys the opportunity to work with other writers. In addition, he is the Sci-Fi/Fantasy editor for the Del Sol Review. DIE BACK was his first novel in the Alchimeia series.

Del Sol Press books by Richard Hacker are available at Amazon

The Alchimeía Series

Other books by Richard Hacker:

Nick Sibelius Crime Series

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