Gehenna, Book 2
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Creative Edge Publishing LLC
Publication date: February 3, 2022
Number of pages: 493
Word Count: 143,000
Cover Artist: Amanda Tomo Yoshida
With the death of Lucifer, Queen Lucinda assumes control of Hell, ordering her soldiers to prepare for a doomsday war with Heaven. Craving eternal power, she devours the souls of gifted demonic beings, acquiring their abilities to destroy her perceived political enemies.
Meanwhile, the Black Crows meet with the Knights of Darkness in their hidden headquarters, plotting against Lucinda in their efforts to maintain peace and the balance of power. Consumed by hatred over Crighton Daemonium’s unrequited love, Lucinda is unaware of the secret conspiracy brewing, or that Lucifer’s spirit has returned to Hell inside the body of a soul–trapped demon.
Reclaiming his throne, Lucifer punishes his daughter for her act of treason. However, his obsession with Samara, Crighton’s beautiful daughter, leaves him incapable of controlling his stolen body. After forcing her into submission, he names Samara the new Queen of Hell yet continues his authoritarian rule. When an insurgency breaks out on Earth, he becomes distracted long enough for her to be kidnapped by Nexus rebel forces, believing her to be the prophesied savior of their planet.
Is Samara the Phoenix, destined to destroy Lucifer? Or is she his soulmate and the true Queen of Hell?
“Annihilation, the sequel to Kaylin McFarren’s award-winning Soul Seeker, is a decidedly Shakespearean thriller. Amidst the supernatural world, the novel is essentially a classic story about love, betrayal and power between and among royal families. McFarren’s blatantly “human” portrayal of Samara Daemonium’s youthful obsessions set her up to be both victim, royal and a star in a wholly compelling coming-of-age story. To get this most out of Annihilation, readers are highly encouraged to read Soul Seeker first.” — Bella G. Wright, BestThrillers.com
“Get ready for the steaming, twisted plot of Kaylin McFarren’s Book 2 in the Gehenna series – Annihilation—where nothing is as it seems, and enemies are closer than anyone may think. Recommended!” – Chanticleer Reviews
“Simply couldn’t put this book down, even when every hair on my neck was raised. It’s that good!” — Angela Fox, Publisher, Clackamas Review/Oregon City News
“This story is dark and decadent, and fans of such fare should find it largely entertaining.” — Blue Ink Reviews
“Hell has a new ruler, Queen Lucinda. A thrilling venture into the depths of Hell offers unrelenting intrigue and fearsome characters, including timeless stories of love, friendship, sacrifice, and identity… plot twisting toward an epic battle.” – RECOMMENDED, The US Review of Books
“Annihilation is truly absorbing, shocking at times, and virtually impossible to put down!” – Theodocia McLean, Book Marketing Global Network
“Left on a cliffhanger and ready for the next book in this fiery series, Annihilation is an intense, dramatic power struggle and like a jigsaw puzzle, lots of different pieces hide the bigger picture until the end. We are happy to add this book to the Indie Books We Love section of the LoveReading website.” – Charlotte Walker, Love Reading
Chapter One – Annihilation by Kaylin McFarren
Two regiments of ram-horned, cloven-hoofed demons marched through the blazing corridors of Hell in preparation for the Red War against Heaven. Their stomping feet and thumping spears shook dust loose in the solid rock tunnels leading to twenty massive cellblocks, each identified by their cardinal direction: north, south, east, and west.
Confined in one of the cells on the lowest level was Hecate, the Woodland Goddess and Queen Lucinda’s loyal friend. Within a month of assuming control of Hell, word had reached her that Lucinda’s new regime was responsible for numerous beheadings, boiling demons to death, and implementing monstrous atrocities against woodland creatures and outspoken opponents within her own council.
Believing their friendship would make a difference, Hecate arranged a meeting with Lucinda two weeks earlier and pleaded with her to abstain from cruel acts against mankind.
“Think of your legacy…the positive impact you could make.” The briskness she put into her voice was belied by the unshed tears glistening in her eyes. She shifted her position in the high-back chair and drew a deep breath. “Lucifer was brutal throughout his rein…up until the day he died. You’ve always made brilliant choices, Samara. I know that better than anyone. Lucifer made the worst decision of his life by sending Crighton to England, and only the Sovereign Sector is responsible for the consequences that followed. I’m just grateful that Lucifer didn’t survive after that nasty battle with his brother, Castiel. If he had, who knows what would have happened?”
The Queen rested her chin on her fisted hands. “Indeed. But you need to remember that my name is now Lucinda. I changed it after meeting with the Knights of Darkness and taking control of Hell.”
“Yes, of course. I’ll never forget the day before that happened. I was in the old arena when Crighton’s mother stabbed your father repeatedly,” Hecate said somberly. “I understand she was welcomed into Heaven along with her soulmate, though I don’t understand why…” She let her voice trail off, shaking her head. “I guess we should thank them for your justly-deserved position.”
“I already have…thanked Crighton, I mean. I offered him a more substantial token of my gratitude as well, but he turned it down.”
“Politely, I hope?”
“I was afraid to sit on the throne,” she admitted. “That’s why I waited so long to make changes. Tyrus helped Crighton escape from Hell, and Lilith played a large part in saving Ariel. But I was responsible for saving them all by agreeing to take my father’s place.”
“True enough, Lucinda.” Hecate felt her eyes burn once more. She drew another deep breath before adding, “I’m sure your generosity will never be forgotten and will be celebrated for years to come.”
“Since I managed to keep them alive, I suppose it’s time for the three of us to assume our rightful responsibilities.”
“Three of us?”
“That’s right. Crighton, Tyrus and myself. We have a lot of unfinished business to resolve.”
“Of course, Your Majesty.” Hecate smiled at her, believing she was making progress.
“But first,” Lucinda said, “I’d like to discuss your view on the way
Tyrus’ allies are likely to respond to our meeting. Especially with them opposing me at every turn. Then I’d like your personal impression on how the loyalists in my council will interpret your views on diplomacy in the woodlands. After that, there are a couple of treasury issues I promised to investigate. It’s past time that my advisors and I established a tax structure and common currency. And now that we have the Imperial chambers remodeled and relaxed rules in place regarding horns, tails, and bat wings, we can start thinking about other things like enforcing appropriate punishment where it’s due.”
“Since you brought it up, don’t you think it’s a bit extreme…the way punishment is being handled? I thought you wanted to be a just ruler…the exact opposite of your father. If that’s true, then why are you taking extreme measures with outcasts, human souls, and defenseless creatures? They would sing your praises if you allowed them to– “
“–run rampant and refuse to obey my laws?” Lucinda growled. She stood up with her eyes blazing red hot and her thin lips frowning. “So, that’s why you’re here. Not to support me but to oppose me like the rest of the ingrates in my kingdom. Leave and never come back here again! Your deception will not be forgiven or forgotten. Is that understood? I want you out of here…NOW!!” she screamed.
1. What inspired you to write this book?
Actually, I believe that corrupt politics greatly inspired me to write this book. I envisioned the Underworld in Hell as a chamber of feuding politicians and Satan as the ruler dictating the future of our planet.
2. What, if anything, did you learn when writing the book?
I learned that I could write about the darkest time in any history and give it a positive spin with the right characters and motivation.
3. What surprised you the most in writing it?
That my thoughts could go to the dark side while writing about Satan and his daughter, and what they were both capable of in regard to tormenting souls.
4. If it’s not a spoiler, what does the title mean?
Annihilation is the ability that Satan possesses by turning all worldly beings into dust.
5. Were any of the characters inspired by real people? If so, do they know?
Samara Daemonium represents a combination of friends—occasionally naive but smart, dependable, and trustworthy. They don’t know that they inspired me to write this story.
6. Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?
A lesson. Trust is a very important part of healthy personal relationships. When trust exists in a relationship, you feel comfortable expressing yourself because you recognize what you share will be safe. On the other hand, the lack of trust creates misunderstandings, arguments, and frustration, which can hurt your relationships, leading to stress and anxiety. Trust is the glue of life. It’s an essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s also the foundation and principle that holds all relationships together.
7. What is your favorite part of the book?
When Samara finally stands up for herself at the end. This begins the new chapter in her life and gives hope to the strong woman she is becoming.
8. Which character was most challenging to create? Why?
Satan. I wanted to write him as a cruel and twisted being, but when it comes to Samara, he is lost in his feelings and doesn’t know how to handle his love for another creature.
9. What are your immediate future plans?
I’m continuing the Gehenna Series and Samara’s re-awakening in her troubled world in the next book, Requiem for a Queen. If you visit the following Pinterest page, you’ll have an advance look at what to expect.
Kaylin McFarren has received more than 60 national literary awards, in addition to a prestigious RWA Golden Heart Award nomination for FLAHERTY’S CROSSING – a book she and her oldest daughter, New York Times/USA Today best-selling author Kristina McMorris, co-wrote in 2008. Prior to embarking on her writing journey and developing the popular THREADS psychological thriller series, she poured her passion for creativity into her work as the director of a fine art gallery in the Pearl District in Portland, Oregon; she also served as a governor-appointed member of the Oregon Arts Commission.
Her award-winning time-travel adventure, HIGH FLYING, asks challenging questions that will linger long after the final twists are revealed. Jumping to the supernatural-horror genre, Kaylin’s clever GEHENNA series leads readers into the pit of Hell, through the mechanisms of secret societies, and across the Earth’s crust, ever raising the stakes for her leading duo—a wicked demon and guardian angel presented with shocking revelations.
With each story she writes, this author delivers unexpected twists and turns and keeps her readers on the edge of their seats, leaving them guessing and thoroughly entertained. When she’s not traveling or spoiling her two pups and three grandsons, Kaylin enjoys giving back to her community through participation and support of various charitable, medical and educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest, and divides her time between her homes in Portland, Oregon and San Diego, California.
Kaylin is proud of the fact that her great aunt Bessie B. Cordell, an evangelistic missionary during WWII, was instrumental in opening an orphanage in Tientsin, China and also wrote two published novels, Precious Pearl and Blossoms of the Flowery Kingdom, documenting her dangerous, harrowing experiences.
She keeps a glass of wine close by while writing love scenes, Kleenex on her desk while writing heart breakers, and has been known to empty a box of chocolates when she’s completely stumped.
A consummate “pantser” and perfectionist, she writes and edits as she goes, and uses photographs of models and actors from tabloid magazines to visualize her characters.
She loves her husband of 48 years dearly. However, if Josh Holloway, Hugh Jackman or Ian Somerhalder came knockin’, well… their marriage just might be put to the test.