a kaiju novel
by Francisco Duarte
From underneath the waves, a terror from ages gone arises, ushering in a reign of devastation that will change the world forever.
Francisco Duarte is a Portuguese author, who wrote dozens of short stories for video and tabletop games. Heather is his debut novel – an homage to the giant monster movies that marked his childhood. Across its pages, he instills the same sense of awe and excitement that permeated those classics, entwined with the thrills of urban fantasy and military fiction. A genre-bender that brings a fresh new spin to the kaiju genre.
Cover art by Chris Sumner.
About The Book
The gods from ancient times are real, and engaged in a shadow war that will decide the fate of every human being in the face of the Earth. As their conflict reaches the boiling point, they summon their last, desperate weapons – gigantic entities from eons long forgotten.
Heather Muir is an Irish teenage girl tackling with the stresses of high-school and the important life choices that will soon follow. Unbeknownst to her, she has within her the power to awaken a Shard. Chosen to summon the Shard of the Oceans, Heather is thrown headlong into a war she knows nothing about and would prefer not to partake into.
But her choices are few, as NATO launches a desperate campaign to purse and contain her. Moreover, other Shard may be already afoot. As the battle escalates, a path of destruction is carved across Europe.
While Heather struggles to retain what remains of her humanity, her brother Keenan leads a desperate investigation to discover the forces behind this new threat. Moreover, Lieutenant Tara Winchester of the RAF is at the forefront of the battle against the colossal monsters. With desperate fights coming one after the other, the question lingers – will humanity survive? And will Heather manage to control her powers or succumb to the lust for destruction now running through her very soul?
The monster itself, though, was the worst part of it all. Looking at stats and pictures was one thing but seeing it with one’s own eyes was another matter entirely. Even at that distance, the monster seemed eerie, like an unreal apparition in some half-forgotten nightmare. A deep and uncontrollable terror crept from the depths of his mind. The commander knew the feeble Scorpion light tanks could do nothing against that thing. But he had his orders. So, he commanded his men to open fire.
the sacrificial lamb
The confrontation started at the same time as usual. It was still dark, shadows of impossible beasts looming against the walls, proclaiming threats that would never come to pass. A veil of silence had covered the lieu for hours, but everything changed in a single instant when the minutes turned, and the infernal high-pitched buzzing burst as if it had come out of some otherworldly void.
A flash of pure white pulled her out of her slumber, as the eldritch noise assaulted her senses, leaving her dizzy, overwhelmed by vertigo. She reacted, raising her arm from her warm cocoon to defend herself against the unholy sound, flailing aimlessly, knocking down the silent monsters standing in the dark. Their fall was silent, as the buzzing enveloped everything and consumed all.
But she would not give up. Her arm kept stomping on her surroundings, the cocoon unweaving as she moved. And then she felt it, the entity responsible for the shrieking onslaught, her thumb scrapping on the soft plastic skin. The open palm came crashing over it with a loud clatter. The silence that followed was deafening as if the whole world had suddenly become empty.
But even the darkness wasn’t complete. A thin beam of sunlight peered through the blinds, pouring a soft brightness into the room, and with it came a cacophony of sounds from the outside. The chirping of birds, the thunderclap of the ocean, the growling of passing cars, the muffled voices of her neighbors, all conspiring to pull her out of the dazzle of those first few seconds of her day.
With a moan, followed by a yawn, Heather Muir pushed her blanket away and rolled over her bed. For a moment she stared at the ceiling, still hidden in the shadows, and realized that, once more, there was a day of school at hand. Worse than that, it would be the first of the final few. In just a few months she would officially be an adult.
The mere thought made her moan yet again. To dispel those emotions, she extended her arm, reaching for the light switch on the wall. The sudden brightness forced her to close her eyes again. Still blinded, Heather sat on the edge of her bed, only for her foot to step on something sharp, forcing a cry out of her mouth.
Still rubbing her eye, Heather grabbed whatever it was. She found herself looking at a small plastic toy, a gray lizard with big feet and small hands, a mouth filled with jagged teeth and spiky plates along its back. The strange, yet familiar, toy confounded her for an instant until she noticed all the others spread around her feet. Old playthings that her brother had left her before going away. She had unwittingly knocked them down while she struggled to shut down the unholy alarm clock.
Nostalgia hit her all of a sudden, emptying her mind from any thoughts except for the strange desire to be a child again, reminiscences from her past popping and vanishing in quick succession. For a second, there was calm. Then the alarm clock came alive again, making her hop to the ground with a loud yelp.
“Can you still fathom the days when we could gather the power to make true miracles? Make the ground tremble and the skies crackle with lightning? And make these ungrateful children awe at all of that?”
About the author.
Francisco Duarte is a Portuguese science-fiction and fantasy author. During his decade-long career, he wrote the novella Dreams of Realities Forgotten, the RPG modules Sword in the Jungle Deep and Soul for the Ocean Dark, as well as dozens of short stories.
Born in the ancient Coimbra, Francisco took his degree in Anthropology at that very city, before moving on to apply his knowledge in the creation of his tales. Involved in the game industry from the very start of his career, he has written for several videogame and tabletop game settings, always finding the right angle to explore the worlds therein.
Currently, Francisco lives in Aveiro, Portugal, using his late-afternoon jogs as the source of inspiration for late-night writing sessions. He likes to craft thrilling combat scenes and visceral emotional moments, where the lives and the very souls of his characters hang in the balance.
Heather is his first novel, ushering with it a new and exciting world where magic hides at the shadow of the mundane and perils from long-forgotten eons wait for the right moment to rise above the waves and end the world in a single fell swoop.
Follow the podcast
Heather: a novel’s chronicle
A podcast series narrating the twists and turns behind the creation of Heather – a project six years in the making.