The Holver Alley Crew Author: Marshall Ryan Maresca Series: A Streets of Maradaine Novel Publisher: DAW, March 7, 2017 Format: Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages List Price: US$7.99 (print and eBook) ISBN: 9780756412609 (print); 9780756412616 (eBook)
The exciting debut to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Streets of Maradaine series, blending fast-paced heists with epic and urban fantasy across interconnected series of novels
The Rynax brothers had gone legit after Asti Rynax’s service in Druth Intelligence had shattered his nerves, and marriage and fatherhood convinced Verci Rynax to leave his life of thievery. They settled back in their old neighborhood in West Maradaine and bought themselves a shop, eager for a simple, honest life.
Then the Holver Alley Fire incinerated their plans. With no home, no shop, and no honest income—and saddled with a looming debt—they fall back on their old skills and old friends.
With a crew of other fire victims, Asti and Verci plan a simple carriage heist, but the job spirals out of control as they learn that the fire was no accident. Lives in Holver Alley were destroyed out of a sadistic scheme to buy the land.
Smoldering for revenge, burdened with Asti’s crumbling sanity, the brothers and their crew of amateurs and washouts swear to take down those responsible for the fire, no matter the cost.
With his newest book, Marshal Ryan Maresca continues to develop his fantasy world, Maradaine. His first two novels focused on the criminal side of the world while his second two looked at the constabulary, those individuals catching the criminals. With The Holver Alley Crew, Maresca looks at the commoners who live on the streets and often are caught in the middle.
The story opens in the midst of a horrific fire, catching Verci Rynax, his brother Asti, his wife, and their daughter in their home by the flames. They rescue themselves and some of their neighbors, while waiting for the fire crews, but the firefighters appear too late. The fire eventually takes out not only their building, but a huge chunk of the neighborhood, including the shop the brothers had planned to open in their efforts to leave the criminal life.
Because of the debt they owed on the building, Verci and Asti are forced to seek criminal work once again. However, when it becomes apparent that the fire was set intentionally, the boys vow to find those responsible and hold them accountable using a ragtag team of their fellow victims.
Maresca excels at this type of rollicking adventure. His writing exemplifies showing, rather than telling. While he gives hints in the beginning about his characters’ backstories, the story itself reveals more about their personalities and problems. Maresca hints early on that Asti’s work as a spy had not ended well, but he leaves the nuts and bolts of the story and its aftermath for later. For example, the reader immediately sees that Asti is having problems controlling his violence by his reaction to seeing a shopkeeper attacked by thugs. It seems obvious that this is related to his past.
In addition to developing his characters, Maresca also outdoes himself with action. From the opening scene until the close, there always is some type of action taking place. Maresca does not use much introspection or dialogue when an old-fashioned brawl will do. His action scenes, such as the opening fire, go on for pages. He offers lots of fights, chases, and crashes, and he does so joyfully.
It is obvious that Maresca has a lot of fun writing his stories. He genuinely likes the characters that he is describing, even the so-called “bad” guys. While the Rynax brothers are technically thieves, they steal because circumstances force them to do so. Ultimately, they believe in a concept of justice, which is why they choose to go after those who set the fire. The same is true of Veranix, who is a vigilante fighting against a major crime lord. In Maradaine, very few people are ever solely good or wholly bad. Just as in real life, Maresca’s characters have a humanity that allows for shades of grey.
“Julien!” he called. The big man pushed his way through the crowd, Asti meeting him partway.
“You all right, Jules? Your house all right?”
“No,” Julien said, his wide, sad face covered in ash and soot.
“I’m sorry, Julien,” Asti said. “Win Greenfield and his family are still trapped.”
Julien nodded, and charged without further prodding. Verci scrambled out of the way as
Julien smashed his shoulder into the door. It splintered and cracked.
“Asti Rynax, what in the name of the blasted saints do you think you’re doing?” Helene Kesser, Julien’s cousin, had come up right behind him, grabbing his wrist tightly. Her face and nightclothes were covered in ashes, black hair a tangled mess, and bare arms scraped and bleeding. “I barely got Jules out of our house. Don’t you dare have him—”
“I just need the door open,” Asti said. He glanced over at Raych, still crying at Verci to come away from the burning building. “Keep everyone else out, Hel. Especially Verci.”
“How the blazes—”
“Just do it,” Asti said. He took off his pack and handed it to Helene. Without another word, he pulled a cloak out and took it to the well spigot nearest Greenfield’s shop. He pumped it hard, but only a trickle of water came out. While he was doing that, Julien broke the door off its hinges with a loud crunch. Smoke poured out through the open frame.
Asti took a deep breath, put on the damp cloak, and ran into the shop. He could hear Helene yelling from outside, telling Julien not to go in after him.
Asti couldn’t see anything; thick smoke filled the shop. Eyes shut, cloak over his face, he went by memory to the back counter. He didn’t need to see to find his way; it was five steps straight, and then three to the right to the door leading to Win’s workshop.
“Win!” he called out. He could barely hear his own voice over the roar of fire. Blindly he found the door to the back room, and gave a silent prayer that it would be unlocked. He pushed his way in and tripped over something on the ground.
The fire blazed throughout the workshop, but on the floor the smoke was thinner. He had tripped over Green- field’s body. Winthym lay flat on his face, breathing shallowly.
Asti shook him. “Win, come on.” Asti shook him again, but he didn’t wake.
Through the smoke, a hand touched Asti on the shoulder. Verci came crawling in, stopping right in front of Win’s body.
“What are you doing?” Asti shouted at his brother. “Same as you,” Verci said. The ceiling crackled and creaked above them.
What: One copy of The Holver Alley Crew by Marshall Ryan Maresca from the publisher. US / Canada Only
Send an email to theqwillery . contests @ gmail.com [remove the spaces]
In the subject line, enter “Holver Alley“
In the body of the email, please provide your name and full mailing address. The winning address is used only to mail the prize and is provided to the publisher and/or The Qwillery only for that purpose. All other address information will be deleted once the giveaway ends.
Who: The giveaway is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US or Canadian mailing address.
When: The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on March 17, 2017. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.
*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*
Marshall Ryan Maresca grew up in upstate New York and studied film and video production at Penn State. He now lives Austin with his wife and son. His work appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced and has worked as a stage actor, a theatrical director and an amateur chef. His novels The Thorn of Dentonhill and A Murder of Mages each begin their own fantasy series, both set in the port city of Maradaine. For more information, visit Marshall’s website at www.mrmaresca.com.
The Thorn of Dentonhill
A Novel of Maradaine 1
DAW, February 3, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
Veranix Calbert leads a double life. By day, he’s a struggling magic student at the University of Maradaine. At night, he spoils the drug trade of Willem Fenmere, crime boss of Dentonhill and murderer of Veranix’s father. He’s determined to shut Fenmere down.
With that goal in mind, Veranix disrupts the delivery of two magical artifacts meant for Fenmere’s clients, the mages of the Blue Hand Circle. Using these power-filled objects in his fight, he quickly becomes a real thorn in Fenmere’s side.
So much so that soon not only Fenmere, but powerful mages, assassins, and street gangs all want a piece of “The Thorn.” And with professors and prefects on the verge of discovering his secrets, Veranix’s double life might just fall apart. Unless, of course, Fenmere puts an end to it first.
A Murder of Mages
A novel of the Maradaine Constabulary 1
DAW, July 7, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
A Murder of Mages marks the debut of Marshall Ryan Maresca’s novels of The Maradaine Constabulary, his second series set amid the bustling streets and crime-ridden districts of the exotic city called Maradaine. A Murder of Mages introduces us to this spellbinding port city as seen through the eyes of the people who strive to maintain law and order, the hardworking men and women of the Maradaine Constabulary.
Satrine Rainey—former street rat, ex-spy, mother of two, and wife to a Constabulary Inspector who lies on the edge of death, injured in the line of duty—has been forced to fake her way into the post of Constabulary Inspector to support her family.
Minox Welling is a brilliant, unorthodox Inspector and an Uncircled mage—almost a crime in itself. Nicknamed “the jinx” because of the misfortunes that seem to befall anyone around him, Minox has been partnered with Satrine because no one else will work with either of them.
Their first case together—the ritual murder of a Circled mage— sends Satrine back to the streets she grew up on and brings Minox face-to-face with mage politics he’s desperate to avoid. As the body count rises, Satrine and Minox must race to catch the killer before their own secrets are exposed and they, too, become targets.
The Alchemy of Chaos
A Novel of Maradaine 2
DAW, February 2, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
Veranix Calbert is The Thorn—the street vigilante-turned-legend—and a danger to Willem Fenmere, the drug kingpin of Dentonhill. Veranix is determined to stop Fenmere and the effitte drug trade, especially when he discovers that Fenmere is planning on using the Red Rabbits gang in his neighborhood. But Veranix is also a magic student at the University of Maradaine, and it’s exam week. With his academic career riding on his performance, there’s no time to go after Fenmere or the Red Rabbits. But when a series of pranks on campus grow deadly, it’s clear that someone has a vendetta against the university, and Veranix may be the only one who can stop them…
An Import of Intrigue
A novel of The Maradaine Constabulary 2
DAW, November 1, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
The neighborhood of the Little East is a collision of cultures, languages, and traditions, hidden away in the city of Maradaine. A set of streets to be avoided or ignored. When a foreign dignitary is murdered, solving the crime falls to the most unpopular inspectors in the Maradaine Constabulary: exposed fraud Satrine Rainey, and Uncircled mage Minox Welling.
With a murder scene deliberately constructed to point blame toward the rival groups resident in this exotic section of Maradaine, Rainey is forced to confront her former life, while Welling’s ignorance of his own power threatens to consume him. And the conflicts erupting in the Little East will spark a citywide war unless the Constabulary solves the case quickly.
The Imposters of Aventil
A Novel of Maradaine 3
DAW, October 3, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
[cover not yet revealed]
Blending vigilante justice with epic fantasy, this third Maradaine novel finds student Veranix Calbert returning to fight crime • “Veranix is Batman, if Batman were a teenager and magically talented.” —Library Journal
Summer and the Grand Tournament of High Colleges have come to the University of Maradaine. If the heat and the crowds weren’t enough to bring the campus and the neighborhood of Aventil to a boiling point, rumors that The Thorn is on the warpath—killing the last of the Red Rabbits—is enough to tip all of Maradaine into the fire.
Except Veranix Calbert, magic student at the University, is The Thorn, and he’s not the one viciously hunting the Red Rabbits. Veranix has his hands full with his share of responsibilities for the Tournament, and as The Thorn he’s been trying to find the source of the mind-destroying effitte being sold on campus. He’s as confused as anyone about the rumors.
When The Thorn imposter publicly attacks the local Aventil constables, the Constabulary bring in their own special investigators: Inspectors Minox Welling and Satrine Rainey from the Maradaine Grand Inspectors Unit. Can Veranix find out who the imposter is and stop him before Welling and Rainey arrest him for the imposter’s crimes?