May 23, 2013

Spotlight on: King's Crusade by AD Starrling

King’s Crusade
Seventeeen Series Book 2
AD Starrling

Genre: Supernatural thriller

The perfect immortal warrior.
A set of stolen, priceless artifacts.
An ancient sect determined to bring about the downfall of human civilization.

The exciting, action-packed follow-up to Soul Meaning and the second installment in the supernatural thriller series, Seventeen.

When a team of scientists unearth scriptures older than the Dead Sea Scrolls in a cave in the Eastern Desert mountains in Egypt, a mystery lost to the tides of time is uncovered. Heading the expedition is Dimitri Reznak, the Head of the Crovir Immortal Culture and History Section. But the monumental discovery is spoiled by evidence of looting and half the priceless artifacts Reznak has been seeking for centuries have disappeared.

Alexa King is a covert agent for the Crovir First Council. When she is approached by her godfather for a mission that could help elucidate the enigma of her lost past, she finds herself delving into the dangerous and shadowy world of secret religious societies. Assigned by Reznak to assist her is Zachary Jackson, a gifted human and Harvard archaeology professor.

In their search for the missing artifacts, King and Jackson stumble upon the existence of a deadly sect whose origins are as mystifying as the relics they are searching for. From North Africa to the doors of Vatican City itself, they unveil a centuries-old plan that aims to shatter the very structure of civilized society.

With the help of Reznak and a group of unexpected allies, King and Jackson must stop the enemy and uncover the astonishing truth behind the missing artifacts and King’s own unearthly origins before all is lost.

Hello and thank you for having me on your blog!

Today, I’m pleased to present an interview with Zachary Jackson, the second main protagonist in King’s Crusade, the second book in my supernatural thriller series Seventeen. This interview takes place in Rome.

AD: Hello and welcome! How are today Mr. Jackson?

Zachary: *sits down heavily in the opposite chair and wipes a sliver of blood from the corner of his mouth* Call me Zachary. I’m not too bad, thanks. *a smile flashes across his lips*

AD: *stares*

Zachary: You okay there?

AD: *startles* Hmm, yes, yes I’m fine. That’s a, er, killer smile you got there.

Zachary: *grins* Why, thank you.

AD: *clears throat and surreptitiously fans herself* Right, let’s get on with this. So, Zachary, tell us a bit about yourself.

Zachary: I was born and raised in Montana. My parents died in a car crash when I was six. I lived with my aunt and uncle until I left for college.

AD: Oh I’m so sorry to hear that. Do you have any relatives still alive?

Zachary: Yes, I have a cousin in Montana. 

AD: You’re touted as one of the most intelligent humans alive today. How do you feel about that?

Zachary: *shrugs and winces slightly* I don’t think of myself in those terms.

AD: But it is true that you became the world’s youngest professor when you were just 17 years old?

Zachary: Yes. It was a means to an end though.

AD: Is it true that you have an eidetic memory?

Zachary: Yes.

AD: You’re currently an archaeology professor at Harvard University, correct?

Zachary: Correct.

AD: So, how is it that you got dragged into this adventure?

Zachary: *grimaces* I’ve worked for Dimitri Reznak before, on one of his previous digs. He sent Alexa to hire me for another mission.

AD: This is Alexa King we’re talking about?

Zachary: Yes.

AD: What are your thoughts on Miss King?

Zachary: Thoughts?

AD: Yeah. Do you, er, dig her?

Zachary: *smiles drily* I saw what you did there. *smile fades* She is...different.

AD: Good different or bad different?

Zachary: Scary different.

AD: Ah. I kinda know what you mean there.

Zachary: As a boxer, I’ve been in fighting rings before, but I’ve never seen anyone like her. She’s...

AD: Deadly?

Zachary: *sighs* Yeah.

AD: I hear you tried to stop her from pursuing the mission on her own when you threatened to leave after the incident in Port Said.

Zachary: Ah-huh.

AD: That was rather brave of you. What happened?

Zachary: She kicked my ass.

AD: You don’t seem to mind that she’s stronger than you.

Zachary: *shrugs* I’m officially the brains of the outfit. Besides, I find her strength oddly...titillating...*smiles wickedly*

AD: Gah! *wipes a sliver of drool hastily from the corner of her mouth* ... Where were we? Oh, yes. It appears that you’ve suspected the existence of ‘other intelligent beings’ besides humans for some time now. What aroused your suspicions?

Zachary: Well, I was initially just plain curious about the organization behind Reznak’s digs. After all, it was strange that I had never heard of this group before, considering the field I work in. But then, I discovered something a few years ago that really sent alarm bells ringing in my head.

AD: What did you discover?

Zachary: A photograph. One of my old professors left me some stuff in his will. It was among his belongings.

AD: I bet the immortals weren’t pleased about that.

Zachary: No. Alexa was pissed. *grimaces* She mentioned shooting me.

AD: Yes, I do apologize for her trigger-happy tendencies. So, why are you here, in Rome?

Zachary: *expression sobers* Reznak received some intel from one of his old friends. The man has information on the sect who looted the cave in Egypt. We came to meet him.

AD: And how did it go?

Zachary: *frowns* Not well. It was a bit of a disaster, to say the least.

AD: Oh. I’m sorry to hear that. And where are you going now?

Zachary: I don’t know. We need to examine the documents we found in Rome. *pauses* By the way, is there a reason why we’re having this interview in the basement of the airport?

AD: Yes. My interview with Alexa didn’t end so well. Some ass threw me—

*A man with a silvery scar on his cheek strolls down the steps of the basement and leans over the banister*

Man: Hey, you’re about done here? We need to— *spots AD and grins slowly* Why, if it isn’t the little lady from before.

*AD blanches*

Zachary: Oh, hi there Carrington. Yes, I believe we’re pretty much done. *stares at AD* Hey, you okay?

AD: *points at the man called Carrington* That’s the guy! He’s the one who threw me—

Carrington: *looks at his watch* Seriously, we need to haul ass. God knows when the cops are gonna get here.

Zachary: *rises from his seat* I’m coming. *turns to AD* Well, it was nice to meet you. Goodbye.

AD: Gah!

Well, that’s how it went folks. Yet again, that dude called Carrington stumped me. And that Zachary! I swear, if I knew Alexa wouldn’t shoot me dead, I’d have a go at him myself. And I apologize about the ‘dig’ joke. It was cheese-tastic but I couldn’t help it.

There’s more bonus material on the website if you want to come check it out!

Happy reading, writing, and blogging!

AD Starrling

This book is an honest to goodness page turner!  I could not put it down from start to finish!  It reminds me a lot of Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" in that there are uber-secret fanatical sects searching for historic artifacts to use against organized religion, and the Immortals that are hunting for them have to follow their trail and unravel clues and riddles to figure out where to go next.  (I know that's not exactly like The Davinci Code, but you get my point)  Very fast paced, very well written, and highly entertaining!

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series, but this one (the second one) is even better.  I loved the main character of Alexa.  She is one of the toughest alpha female warriors I have ever read about.  And the fight scenes that Starrling writes that feature Alexa are breathtaking.  Plus, I appreciated the fact that unlike a lot of movies and books these days, there were a lot of bullets that actually missed the intended target.  I don't think people really appreciate how hard it is to hit a running target with any shot that's not point blank!  I find myself rolling my eyes every time I read a book where the hero or heroine gets shot by the first round that the bad guy squeezes off, or vice versa.

I also loved the interaction between Jackson and Alexa, and how over time he thawed her frozen exterior.  The following excerpt was probably my favorite scene in the book, and it made me laugh out loud.  It may have a tiny spoiler in it, but it's one you can see coming from a mile away.  Or at least I could :)
Alexa scowled.  "I want everyone out.  Now," she ordered icily, holding the sheet to her breasts.
Jackson straightened when her gaze fell on him.  "What, you mean me too?" he said incredulously.  "Don't tell me you're feeling shy, not after everything we did last night?" he added.
Reznak rose from the chair and headed stiffly for the door.  Schmidt turned and followed her godfather, his stance rigid.
"I mean, there was some stuff I can honestly say I've never done before," Jackson continued drily.
Schmidt grimaced and slammed the door behind him.
Alexa could not help feel that Jackson had deliberately been taunting the immortal.
"It was the best night of my life," continued the Harvard professor.  "My hips are still sore --"
A sai thudded into the wall next to him.  The smile never left Jackson's face.  He strolled toward the door at a leisurely pace and opened it.  He walked out, stopped, and peeked his head around the corner.  "By the way, would it be terribly wrong to say that you look very sexy this morning and that I want to crawl into that bed with you again?"
His laughter sent a quiver along her spine.  The second sai hit the wood inches from his face.  He grinned and left the room, his bag in hand.
Alexa glanced at the deck.  The monk had disappeared.  Despite her best attempts to suppress it, she could not stop the smile that crossed her lips.
Also, if anyone read my first review of "Soul Meaning," Book One in this series, you will know that I had an issue with the over use of adverbs and descriptors in the dialogue.  I am happy to say that while there were still quite a few in this book, it was not too many to be distracting, and I was able to thoroughly enjoy the story without any interruptions.
I definitely recommend this series to anyone looking for an action packed suspense adventure.  I can't wait for Book Three!

About the Author:
AD Starrling was born on the small island nation of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and came to the UK at the age of twenty to study medicine. After five years of hard graft earning her MD and another five years working all of God’s hours as a Paediatrician, she decided it was time for a change and returned to her first love, writing.
Soul Meaning is her debut novel and the first in a supernatural thriller series entitled Seventeen. She currently lives in Warwickshire in the West Midlands, where she is busy writing the second novel in the series while drinking gallons of tea. 
She still practises medicine. AD Starrling is her pen name.


  1. Thank you so much for having me on your blog today Jessica! I'm glad you liked King's Crusade and thanks for featuring the interview with Zachary (...drool...). I know, the adverbs and descriptive adjectives! ;) My main editor has sworn that if I don't use the search/find function several times in the next book so as to cure my repeated instances of adverb/adjective diarrhoea, he will personally come over from Boston and kick my ass! ;) I will try harder to get over my love affair with the dastardly things!

    AD xx

    1. Lol! I'm so glad I was chosen to be a part of this blog tour! Love both books in your series so far, and can't wait for the next one (adverbs/adjectives or not). :)


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