Residual Belligerence is the first book in the Thieves’ Guild series of fast-paced action adventure military sci fi novels.
The almost mythical Thieves’ Guild has no qualms about playing both sides of the line, manipulating and exploiting the ever-present rumblings of discontent between Earth and Winter. No one messes with the Thieves’ Guild. Except someone just did.
Zach Hilyer is in trouble. Taking a package from A to B always gets more complicated when A doesn’t want to lose it and C will pay and do anything to get their hands on it. Hil is good, one of the best field operatives in the guild. Problem is, he can’t remember when it all went wrong.
After crash landing on a planet with no memory of his last assignment, Hil discovers that his handler is dead and someone’s put a price on his head. Injured and alone, he has no choice but to go rogue from the guild, fight to clear his name and wreak revenge on the people who set him up.
Blackmail, murder, betrayal and the highest bounty in history set the Thieves’ Guild at the centre of a conflict that threatens to spark a galaxy-wide war. And this is just the beginning…
Residual Belligerence is available free in all eBook formats, or you can read all seven Thieves’ Guild novels so far FREE on Kindle Unlimited.
Targeted Age Group:: General audience
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I love all the possibilities that science fiction gives you, as well as the freedom to have total control over your own universe. I’m a very impatient reader, and that’s the way I write – fast, no nonsense, lots of intrigue and mystery, and a real sense that there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.
I’ve been writing fiction in one way or another since primary school, and I’ve been writing about these characters for over 25 years. The stories began to take form and turn into the first book, Residual Belligerence, just over ten years ago when I was having a tough time personally and Hilyer turned up out of nowhere, took me by the scruff of the neck and gave me a way to deal with a lot of hurt and anger. The rest fell into place from there.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
We came up with the crew in the second book over an anniversary dinner a long time ago, thinking it would be fun to write a story we wanted to read and couldn’t find in books at the time. Those five characters were LC Anderton, Sean O’Brien, Hal Duncan, William Gallagher and the pilot who later turned into DiMarco. And that story became the basis of book two, Blatant Disregard.
I was always, and still am, totally in awe of and intimidated by LC. There’s just something about him. Early on, it didn’t matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the story right but it was always there or thereabouts. It only started to work when Hilyer turned up and started to tell it. LC was supposed to be in Residual Belligerence but when it came to it, I couldn’t do it. I finally did get to write him in book two and later had a lot of fun with him in the Origins series when he was a kid on Kheris.
NG and the Man were two characters I played about with right back at the beginning, and I loved the idea that they dabbled and pulled strings. NG also always had a lot more to him than there seemed, and he too is a character that gives me the freedom to deal with a lot of issues going on in the real world.
I talk to my characters a lot and I use MBTI personality profiling to get to know them more. LC, Hil and NG are all extroverts (total opposite to me) and I love figuring out how they react in different situations, how different they all are to each other, and how best to give them a hard time.
He reached the main street, glad it was dark, trailing a finger of his left hand against the walls and windows of shops to keep a grip on his balance, grounding himself against the old brickwork. He kept his right arm cradled up against his chest and concentrated on walking.
There were enough people on the street that he had to hustle his way through a few times. Someone bumped into his arm with enough force to make him gasp and cringe away, and as he moved he felt a sharp jab in his ribs, the hum of a gun powering up, and the someone moved with him, pushing him forward and grabbing hold of his arm in a grip that sent hot needles of pain shooting into his elbow and fingers.
“Keep moving,” a voice whispered harshly.
Pure instinct kicked in and Hil reacted, dropping his shoulder and throwing a wild backswing, using the full weight of the brace on his wrist, ignoring the heat of the pain that erupted in the joint as his clenched fist made contact with the guy’s face, blood spurting from the nose. Hil twisted round and pushed, hooking a foot behind the man’s ankle so that he fell awkwardly backward. The gun discharged, sending a bolt close enough to Hil’s shoulder that it tingled with the charge. He ducked, caught his balance and followed up quickly with a kick, catching the guy in the centre of the chest and sending him sprawling into the road.
He was vaguely aware of people shouting and bodies closing in. And as he turned to run, an arm grabbed his neck from behind and squeezed, pulling him in tight, punches landing hard against his kidneys. His knees buckled and as he pulled the second attacker to the floor with him, he curled up and rolled his shoulder, throwing the weight of the body behind him up over his head to slam into the pavement in front of him. He staggered to his feet, coughing, and turned to push his way roughly through the people standing watching.
He ran blindly into the nearest alleyway, hearing footsteps behind him. If they hit him with an FTH round, he was done. He veered into an open doorway and clattered through the back rooms of an electronics chopshop, components scattering as he crashed into tables and shelves. He ran through and into the front of the shop, ignoring yells to stop. The adrenaline rush fuelled by the last remnants of Martha’s drugs caused a pounding in his head that drummed out the pounding of footsteps closing in. Whoever they were, he wasn’t interested in stopping to talk. No one was going to get their hands on him that easily.
He swerved past the counter and was running for the door when he was tackled by a massive body slamming into him from behind. The momentum sent them both crashing through the glass door, shards exploding out into the street.
Hil curled up and tried to protect his arm as he hit the road, the shock of the impact almost jarring him senseless. Splinters of glass rained down. Cars swerved to avoid them and drivers yelled obscenities, the harsh glare of the headlights sending spikes lancing into the back of Hil’s eyes. He rolled with it and almost managed to stagger to his feet when a hand grabbed his ankle and twisted hard. He was thrown around onto his back. The heavy weight of the gun inside his coat banged against his ribs. He kicked out at the hand holding his leg but it held firm and pulled.
No way were these assholes going to get him. He fumbled inside his coat, and as a figure loomed over him, kneeling and pinning him to the road, Hil managed to pull out the massive pistol and stuck it in the face of his assailant.
A hush fell around them.
He held the gun steady and said softly, “Back off. You’ve got the wrong guy,” trying to focus the blurry image of the man in front of him. The gun was heavy but he aimed it without shaking, taking its weight with his left hand and shutting out the agony yelling at him from his other wrist. He was very aware that there was a second guy somewhere and he couldn’t move, abs tensed in the half sit up position he was holding.
“The bounty said dead or alive, Hilyer,” the guy hissed, “the only reason you’re still alive is that I can’t be arsed to carry your deadweight back to my ship.”
“You’ve got the wrong guy,” he said again quietly, slowing his breathing to ease the pressure in his chest. “Back off.”
There were people watching and this guy’s partner could be anywhere.
“We know exactly who you are,” the man said, pulling his silver ID badge from a chain around his neck. He held it out for Hil to see then flashed it to the crowd. “I’m licensed and you’re coming with us, pal.”
Hil smiled and waved the gun slightly. “Get off me.” He dropped the smile. “Now.”
The bounty hunter looked around, for his partner probably, or expecting help from the crowd. But the atmosphere around them had changed. Hil used the opportunity to shift his weight and sit up, relaxed but keeping the gun pointed. The guy backed off, rocking back on his heels, fury sparking in his eyes. No one would help a bounty hunter on Aston. He’d made a mistake by identifying himself and he knew it. He stood up and took a step back.
Hil kept the gun’s aim steady and got to his feet. He stared the bounty hunter in the eyes for a brief second, then backed away and pushed his way through the crowd.
No one tried to stop him and he didn’t look back.
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