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Blades of Winter (Shadowstorm -1) by G.T. Almasi

Blades of Winter (Shadowstorm #1) by G.T. Almasi

Shadowstorm series by G.T. Almasi. 

Genres and Sub-GenresEdit

Alternate History / Urban Fantasy / Sci-UF

Series Description or Overview Edit

BOOK ONE BLURB: In one of the most exciting debuts in years, G. T. Almasi has fused the intricate cat-and-mouse games of a John le Carré novel with the brash style of comic book superheroes to create a kick-ass alternate history that reimagines the Cold War as a clash of spies with biological, chemical, and technological enhancements.

Nineteen-year-old Alix Nico, a self-described “million-dollar murder machine,” is a rising star in ExOps, a covert-action agency that aggressively shields the United States from its three great enemies: the Soviet Union, Greater Germany, and the Nationalist Republic of China. Rather than risk another all-out war, the four superpowers have poured their resources into creating superspies known as Levels.

Alix is one of the hottest young American Levels. That’s no surprise: Her dad was America’s top Level before he was captured and killed eight years ago. But when an impulsive decision explodes—literally—in her face, Alix uncovers a conspiracy that pushes her to her limits and could upset the global balance of power forever. ~ Goodreads

Lead's Species Edit

  • Super-enhanced human

Primary Supe Edit

  • Enhanced Special Ops

What Sets it ApartEdit

Narrative Type and Narrators Edit

  • First person narrative told by Alixandra "Alix" Janina Nico.

Books in Series Edit

Shadowstorm series:

  1. Blades of Winter (2012)
  2. Hammer of Angels (Feb, 2014)

World Building Edit

Setting Edit

  • Washington, D.C.: ExOps headquarters is located here.
  • Globe hopping

Alternate History World—1980's.

  • Bk-1: U.S., Paris, Middle East: Riyadh
  • Bk-2:

Places:

  • New York, NY: The story opens with one of the characters on a mission in New York City.
  • Manhattan, NY: Alix goes on a mission to get information from a CIA agent in Manhattan.
  • Paris, France: Where Alix and Patrick are sent on a mission.
  • Baghdad, Iraq: This is where Philip Nico was planning for his last assignment.
  • Greater Germany: One of the countries categorized as an enemy of the United States.
  • Chrystal City, Virginia: A residence of Alix in her younger days.

Supernatural Elements Edit

✤ Super-Enhanced Humans, clones, threat of nuclear Armageddon, technologically enhanced human spies,

Glossary: Edit

  • Interceptor: carries out "short and medium-length insertions, usually on foreign soil. An Interceptor typically works with an intelligence-enhanced partner known as an Information Operator [IO]." (Blades of Winter, p. 21)
  • Information Operator [IO]: intelligence-enhanced partner to an Interceptor
  • AGOGE: Authentically Gifted Operatives General Education
  • Superspies: covert agents who are highly trained and technologically enhanced. These superspies are called Levels.
  • Levels: There are seven common types of specialists within the Levels: Infiltrator, Protector, Interceptor, Vindicator, Malefactor, and Liberator.
  • "Mods: generally are hardware, like the electrohydraulically accelerated joints or the nano ligaments that hold the limbs together while leaping tall buildings.
  • Enhances: tend to be soft upgrades centered around the augmented nervous system. The heart of this system is called a neuroinjector, which manages the flow of drugs that help an Interceptor react quickly and deal with stressful situations.
  • Neuroinjector: manages the flow of drugs that help interceptors react quickly and deal with stressful situations."

Groups & Organizations:Edit

  • ExOps: An agency that shields the United States from its three great enemies: the Soviet Union, Greater Germany and the Nationalist Republic of China,
  • Blades of Winter: Middle Eastern organization seeking to overthrow German oppression.
  • Blades of Prussia: An organization out of Baghdad which opposes ExOps.
  • Darius Covenant: A scholarship fund designed to train agents against ExOps.

World Edit

In this alternate history, four world powers (called the Four) emerged victorious from World War II and divided most the world amongst themselves: the U.S.A., Greater Germany, National Republic of China, and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (aka Russia). Germany rules all of Western Europe (including Great Britain) and parts of the Middle East. China has power over South Asia and Indonesia, except for Japan and South Korea, which are ruled by the U.S. Russia controls Eastern Europe, Northern Asia, and the rest of the Middle East. Here is the Map Key:

    * Dark Blue: U.S.A.
    * Light Blue: U.S.A. Allies
    * Dark Green: Greater Germany
    * Light Green: Germany Allies
    * Red: National Republic of China
    * Pink: China Allies
    * Brown: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
    * Orange: Independent

In real-life history, the Cold War existed between Russia and the U.S. in the decades after WWII, but in this mythology, that period—from 1948 to the present—is called the Shadowstorm, a time of insidious covert and overt spying among the Four powers. Each country has its own elite forces who have become a shadowy, but violent, part of life. In each book, information related to the world-building is occasionally inserted into the story line in the form of historical summaries, pertinent reports and memos, and sections from a technical manual of defense technology.

The Shadowstorm is not a war of armies; it is a war of stealth. Led by the Germans, the Four have used biotechnology to develop teams of superspies, covert agents who are highly trained and technologically enhanced. These superspies are called Levels. There are seven common types of specialists within the Levels: Infiltrator, Protector, Interceptor, Vindicator, Malefactor, and Liberator. (Brief descriptions of each level can be found on page 21 of Blades of Winter.)

Each Level has had a number of Mods and Enhances. Here, Alix explains: "Mods are generally hardware, like my electrohydraulically accelerated joints or the nano ligaments that hold my limbs together while I leap tall buildings in a single bound. Enhances tend to be soft upgrades centered around my augmented nervous system. The heart of this system is called a neuroinjector, which manages the flow of drugs that help me react quickly and deal with stressful situations without losing my mind." (Blades of Winter, p. 9) Here, Alix describes her knees: "My knees look perfectly normal if you only take a quick look. A closer inspection reveals that there isn't any skin there, only flesh-colored metal and plastic. My ankles and elbows are the same way…" (Blades of Winter, p. 10) Alix carries a smart—almost sentient—gun that can adjust the caliber and speed of bullets depending on her situation.

In the U.S., the Levels work for the Extreme Operations Division (aka ExOps). As Alix explains, ExOps "is a non-public-facing U.S. intelligence agency that specializes in, well, extreme operations. Missions range from high-security black bag jobs to whacking well-protected people. When one of the aboveground U.S. agencies needs an especially nasty job done, it calls us." (Blades of Winter, p. 7) ~ Fang-tastic Fiction

Protagonist Edit

✥ The series heroine is Alixandra "Alix" Janina Nico (aka Scarlet—her field name), who begins the series at age nineteen as an ExOps Level 4 Interceptor, but by the end of book 1, she has been promoted to a Level 8. An Interceptor carries out "short and medium-length insertions, usually on foreign soil. An Interceptor typically works with an intelligence-enhanced partner known as an Information Operator [IO]." (Blades of Winter, p. 21) Although Alix is small in stature, she is a quick learner and a tenacious fighter and has risen through the ranks of the Levels very quickly. As Alix says, "I took to guns the way a senator takes to interns." (Blades of Winter, p. 129) She has spent the past eight years in Expo's youth training camp, Authentically Gifted Operatives General Education (AGOGE, nicknamed Camp A-Go-Go). Alix's father (Philip Nico, field name—Big Bertha, nickname—the Beast) was the highest ranked Level (20) at the time of his capture and presumed execution by the Germans eight years ago. Now Alix is poised to match or even exceed her father in skill and courage. As the series opens, Alix lives in Crystal City, Virginia (near Arlington) with her mother, who works in Administration at ExOps. ~ Fang-tastic Fiction

Alix Nico is an up-and-coming, yet still low level, super agent of ExOps (Extreme Operations Division) who conned her way into an operation way above her pay grade. In what seemed to be a routine surveillance mission, Alix Nico gets thrust into an operation with dire consequences filled with assassination attempts and a hunt for a traitor; an operation linked to a mission in which Alix's father died years ago. ~ Goodreads Reader

✤ Alix is kind of like a superhero from the X-Men pantheon with her powerful weaponry, enhanced senses, and prosthetic limbs. She leaps; she slashes; she shoots; she jumps off buildings; and she blows things up—all with astonishing speed and accuracy. Nearly every assignment ends with Alix being hospitalized for horrendous injuries, some of which require new prosthetics to replace human parts that get mangled or blown off. Through it all, Alix is like the iconic Energizer Bunny: she just keeps going and going and going.

Alix and Patrick are not only partners, but lovers. They are extremely close and have even developed their own sign language that they use during their various capers. On and off the job, they "comm" (communicate through surgically implanted phones) each other constantly. Patrick is the brains—the tech wizard, so to speak. He frequently stays off-scene, guiding Alix through cities and/or buildings by using schematic information so accurate that it shows blueprints of every building Alix enters. He follows her GPS signal through the building and directs her where to turn, where to hide, and where her target is located. ~ Fang-tastic Fiction

Sidekick Edit

  • Name: / What: / Sidekick-to: / About: / Book First Seen:

Characters Chart Edit

Characters What About
Alixandra Janina Nico; aka Alix, field name: Scarlet ExOps Level 4 Interceptor petite redhead 19 year-old million dollar killing machine
Patrick Allan Owens, aka Trick IO partner; lover; clone field name—Solomon; brains—the tech wizard; developed their own sign language;
Raj Level 9 Vindicator carries some major weaponry
Patrick Brandon Owens Clone; new partner
Patrick Charles Owen
Purity League anti-Semitic group thuggish group—long for the days when Hitler was in control
Li'l Bertha gun speaks in her father's voice, field name: Big Bertha

To expand the table, in Edit–Visual mode, right-press on a Row of the table (Control-press on a Mac)—choose add Row or Column. Or, in Source Mode: copy-paste rows.

G.T. Almasi long

G.T. Almasi — Author of Shadowstorm series

Author Edit

G.T. Almasi

Bio: G. T. Almasi graduated from RISD and moved to Boston to pursue a career as a graphic designer. While he built his design portfolio, he joined a band as the bass player, and wrote and designed the band’s newsletter. Once his career as an art director took off, he continued to supplement his design talents by writing copy for his clients.

As a novelist, his literary influences include Robert Ludlum, Neal Stephenson, and Hunter S. Thompson. He also draws inspiration from John Woo’s movies and Todd Howard’s videogames. Almasi lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts, with his wife, Natalie, and their lovably stubborn dog, Ella.

Cover ArtistEdit

Artist: Tony Mauro — Source: Bibliography: Cover: Blades of Winter and Bibliography: Cover: Hammer of Angels

Publishing InformationEdit

  • Publisher: Del Rey
  • Author Page:
  1. Blades of Winter: Paperback, 356 pages, Pub: Aug 28th 2012—ISBN 0440423546
  2. Hammer of Angels: Paperback, 336 pages, Pub: Feb 25th 2014—ISBN 0440423562

Book Cover Blurbs Edit

BOOK ONE—Blades of Winter (2012): In one of the most exciting debuts in years, G. T. Almasi has fused the intricate cat-and-mouse games of a John le Carré novel with the brash style of comic book superheroes to create a kick-ass alternate history that reimagines the Cold War as a clash of spies with biological, chemical, and technological enhancements. Nineteen-year-old Alix Nico, a self-described “million-dollar murder machine,” is a rising star in ExOps, a covert-action agency that aggressively shields the United States from its three great enemies: the Soviet Union, Greater Germany, and the Nationalist Republic of China. Rather than risk another all-out war, the four superpowers have poured their resources into creating superspies known as Levels. Alix is one of the hottest young American Levels. That’s no surprise: Her dad was America’s top Level before he was captured and killed eight years ago. But when an impulsive decision explodes—literally—in her face, Alix uncovers a conspiracy that pushes her to her limits and could upset the global balance of power forever. ~ Goodreads

BOOK TWO—Hammer of Angels (2014): In G. T. Almasi’s thrilling alternate reality, the United States, the USSR, and the Republic of China share a fragile balance of power with Greater Germany, which emerged from World War II in control of Europe and half of the Middle East. To avoid nuclear Armageddon, the four superpowers pursue their ambitions with elite spies known as Levels, who are modified with mechanical and chemical enhancements. Nineteen-year-old Alix Nico, code-named Scarlet, is a kick-ass superheroine with killer Mods and an attitude to match. She’s considered one of America’s top Levels, even though her last mission nearly precipitated World War III. So now Scarlet and her new partner, Darwin, have been sent to Greater Germany to help sow the seeds of anarchy and prevent Germany’s defection to Russia and China. But where Scarlet goes, chaos follows—and when her mission takes an unexpected turn, she and Darwin must go ever deeper into enemy territory. As Scarlet grapples with a troubling attraction to her new partner, explosive information comes to light about the German cloning program and one of its prisoners—a legendary American Level who just happens to be Scarlet’s father. ~ Goodreads

First Sentences Edit

  1. Blades of Winter (2012) — Nothing pisses me off more than being shot at while I'm eating.
  2. Hammer of Angels (2014) — Insanity isn't nearly as crazy as people make it out to be.

Quotes Edit

Read Alikes (similar elements) Edit

See Category links at bottom of page

Awards Edit

Trivia Edit

Notes Edit

See Also Edit

See Category links at bottom of this page

External References Edit

Books:

Special site for series

Excerpts and Freebies:

Summaries:

Trailer

World, Characters, etc:

Reviews:

Interviews:

Author:

Community, Fan Sites:

Gallery of Book Covers Edit

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