R. S. Belcher, the acclaimed author of The Six-Gun Tarot and The Shotgun Arcana, launches a gritty new urban fantasy series about the mysterious society of truckers known only as The Brotherhood of the Wheel.
In AD 1119, a group of nine crusaders became known as the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon - a militant monastic order charged with protecting pilgrims and caravans traveling on the roads to and from the Holy Land. In time, the Knights Templar would grow in power and, ultimately, be laid low. But a small offshoot of the Templars endure and have returned to the order's original mission: to defend the roads of the world and guard those who travel on them.
Theirs is a secret line of knights: truckers, bikers, taxi hacks, state troopers, bus drivers, RV gypsies - any of the folks who live and work on the asphalt arteries of America. They call themselves the Brotherhood of the Wheel. Jimmy Aussapile is one such knight. He's driving a big rig down South when a promise to a ghostly hitchhiker sets him on a quest to find out the terrible truth behind a string of children gone missing all across the country. The road leads him to Lovina Hewitt, a skeptical Louisiana State Police investigator working the same case and, eventually, to a forgotten town that's not on any map - and to the secret behind the eerie Black-Eyed Kids said to prowl the highways.
©2016 Rod Belcher (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
Following on the heels of Nightwise, this second novel in Belcher’s new series is a pleasant departure from the formulaic Wizard-Detective story depicted in the first book. This sequel expands upon the minor battle between good and evil begun in Nightwise.
Here we learn of the international network of good guys that have been fighting the forces of evil for generations and their equally organized nefarious foes. I now see the first book, Nightwise, in a different light. The first two books feel like Belcher is still introducing the cast for a grand showdown much later. I feels like the early chapters of Stephen King’s The Stand where the stage must first be set—with all the various characters fully operating in their pivotal roles—before the real story can even begin. The characters in The Brotherhood of the Wheel are much more entertaining than the ones in Nightwise, making this a much more engaging and entertaining novel. Other than a strong sense that something big is brewing I don’t know where this series is heading. I eagerly anticipate the next volume.
Bronson Pinchot’s efforts here surpass even his own stellar standards— putting forth one of the best narration performances I have ever heard. He was wonderful narrating Matterhorn. He was fantastic narrating the Grimnoir Chronicles. And he was amazing in the Dead Six books. His effort here is the equal to any of these. Pinchot’s sense of drama and pacing is amazing. He reads this book better than I could possible imagine it in my own head. One brief example: In the middle of the book there is a minor character, an old woman that has maybe two minutes of air time. Pinchot gives her a voice that made me rewind to hear it again. Later I played this scene to a group of friends and all were left slack-jawed when hearing the authentic voice of an old black woman come out of Bronson Pinchot’s voice box. This kind of dramatic involvement is why I love audiobooks. An audiobook is a collaboration between the author and the narrator. R.S. Belcher has given Pinchot a cast of characters on which he can play with. Pinchot’s performance will be the reason I listen to this again; just to remind myself how good an audiobook can be.
Extremely well written. Character development was very good, even for bit parts. The plot itself is so well thought out that it wouldn't surprise me a bit if it were based in fact. Great book.
A reviewer on Nocturnal Book Reviews since 2011. Love fantasy of any kind, contemporary fiction, kick butt heroines & antiheroes.
What an awesome, gritty urban fantasy, peeps!
R.S. Belcher is an unknown to me author, but I remember that Six-Gun Tarot did get really good reviews from the blogs I trust, so I decided to give this book a go. In many ways it's UF at its purest: hard-driven, packed with elements of horror and really rich on details. God, at some point it reminded me of Buffy so much!
Jimmy is a slightly overweight, middle-aged tracker. An average man who is also a Paladin entrusted to keep the roads of America safe. He drives a rig to pay the bills, but from time to time misses his pick up and drop off times because he needs to stop a serial killer or bring a ghost of a hitchhiker back home. When aforementioned ghost leaves him with a cryptic message and a plea to stop The Deer Man, he gets involved into an investigation which spans across US and involves multiple disappearances of kids.
At some point he is joined by Heck, a young MC member whose destiny is to become his Squire, and who has his own secret powers; Lavina, a fiery state trooper, who tries to find a missing child; and Max (an equivalent of Watcher to Jimmy's Paladin) who looks like a bookish librarian, but totally kicks butt with her mad knowledge skills. *grinning maniacally*
The villain in The Brotherhood of The Wheel is superbly done. He is pure evil, and even the way he talks in the audio version makes you shiver. By the way, great narrator! Really well done.
The whole book is rich with great characters, breathtaking races and fantastic fights. The atmosphere is also terrific.I am totally fascinated by the world-building and will be reading next instalment in this series. This is my type of urban fantasy. Recommended.
I purchased this book because of how much I enjoyed the author's other book Nightwise. In my opinion, this book is even better.
Right from the start this book jumps right into the action and it doesn't quit for the remainder of the book. The plot is original, well-developed, and exciting. Additionally the character development is excellent and I felt like I came to know all of the unlikely heroes in the story. As in Nightwise, there is a generous dose of magic and the supernatural but I didn't feel like I was being clubbed over the head with it.
The narration is excellent and I strongly recommend this one for fans of the genre.
I really like the idea of guardians of the road we the were introduced in his book Nightwise so when I saw this book released I was excited to read it. I wasn't disappointed, the story was good and the narration by Pinchot was first class.
Iam a 51 year old truckdriver I listen to Audible every day the books on sale makes the time fly and the miles roll on by
enjoyed it very much a different twist on the world of trucking. .btw i have heard of the "black dog" never seen it myself but its out there
I really liked this story and also listened to Nightwise (which was a great story but had a weak conclusion). This story was much more cohesive and the conclusion on this story was better.
I really liked the narrator when he read Nightwise (he does a great southern accent and his old southern lady voice gives you the chills) but his Scottish/southern accent wasn't great, and one of the main characters is Scottish/southern so you hear that narrative voice a lot. That would be my main critique. Other than that, a fantastic story and great narration. Well worth a listen.
Ears picking up the slack so my eyes can work.
This novel confirms me as a big fan and supporter of RS Belcher after just discovering for myself the similarly wonderful Nightwise. I took a shot at Brotherhood out of curiosity to see if I dare hope that Belcher really was what I thought he could be. And I dare say now he is. Belcher is the best new writer I’ve come across on a long while. Certainly the best I’ve come across who didn’t already have a huge following, several books deep in a series, or movies made of his work. That’s part of the exciting thing. He feels fresh.
Belcher seems like he could go either way from here -- become a strong voice like Stephen King or sorta coast on easy genre expectations like Charlie Huston (sorry, C.H. fans, don’t mean to be rude, but Huston feels like a guy who doesn’t try very hard anymore if he ever did). Brotherhood feels like it could take place in the same world as Nightwise (in fact there is a passing mention of NIghtwise’s protagonist), but it’s FAR from a cut and paste/Mad Lips recreation. So many genre writers feel to me like they they have a template where they just switch out character names or remix plots of other novels. I get the feeling we won’t get that from Belcher. He’s too good a writer. These ideas are too strong and bold (even if the influences are fairly obvious many times).
Take a shot, guy. The story is a little off center. If may leave you hanging in terms of showing you what’s going on longer than you normally like. But in the end, you will probably be very happy you rolled the dice.
Story (fantastic), Characters (great), Original
So many great moments to choose from. The standoff between Jimmie and a legion of serial killers at a desolate roadside cafe as they fight over the fate of an innocent family who stopped at the wrong place at the wrong time. Jimmie desperately trying to save the family as he he outnumbered and in a hopeless situation. This scene is also memorable because it introduces two of the main characters to each other Jimmie and Heck. Great scene. So many other great scenes though, the book is full of them.
Too many to choose from. Read or listen to the book. You will not be disappointed!
Big wheel keep on turning
Fantastic book with great narration from Bronson Pinchot (as usual)
Wow... Just... Wow!
I lack the superlatives to do true justice to this book/performance. R.S. Belcher is to “weird fiction” what William Gibson and Walter Jon Williams are to cyberpunk. At times his prose transmogrifies into pure poetry, and his word-paintings are as vivid, evocative and delightfully disturbing as anything penned by Lovecraft, Ashton Smith or REH. He is a member in good standing of that august lineage now, in my humble estimation, and I don’t accord that honor lightly or often.
In The Brotherhood of the Wheel, the brutal, gritty, unforgiving world of monsters and magic introduced in Nightwise takes on breadth, depth and scope in a “pulse-pounding thrill-ride” that ricochets across the US and into strange, brooding alternate realities that haunt the borderlands of Serling’s Twilight Zone. Modern “urban myths” and ancient, bloodthirsty cosmologies copulate to spawn living nightmares that impinge upon our fragile existence, threatening to rend the very fabric of space and time, to bring the whole whirling panoply of our universe to a savage, gibbering, gore-spattered conclusion.
But amidst the creeping, festering, unnameable horror, a light of epic heroism shines forth from the hearts and deeds of stalwart heroes who are nonetheless everyday folk, with jobs to lose, bills to forget, babies on the way and responsibilities they neither asked for nor are comfortable with. Outlaw bikers, latter-day Knights Templar, obsessed and disillusioned cops band together with an eccentric, improbable and thoroughly enchanting cast of supporting characters to fight the good fight, no matter the cost.
And the cost runs very high.
I can count on the fingers of one hand after a chainsaw accident the number of times I’ve actually jumped up and cheered during the performance of an audiobook. Damn few authors, in my opinion, can generate and sustain the gripping tension and head-long momentum of a good Hollywood actioner. It ain’t easy to do with the written/spoken word, but Belcher, with the more-than-able assistance of Pinchot, pulls it off with panache.
Nor can I say enough about Bronson Pinchot’s performance. He blew me away in Nightwise, and leaves me positively “gob-smacked” in Brotherhood. His voice slides effortlessly, seamlessly, from one character to another, and he rarely if ever drops a stitch. He brings Belcher’s characters to even more vivid life with intonation, accent, heart and soul. I find myself forgetting, quite often, that there is only one narrator behind all these many clearly delineated, individual voice characterizations. To reiterate what I said about his performance in Nightwise: He is a god! Or at the very least, a skilled and powerful “vocomancer”. “Aaron” may have risen from Hell, but Bronson is the rightful King here!
In Brotherhood, and its predecessor Nightwise, Belcher has set one Hell of a stage, and populated it with enough diverse characters, interrelationships, backstories and otherworldly settings to generate and perpetuate a modern myth-cycle the likes of which we have not seen since The Chronicles of Amber. Latham Ballard (still the single most bad-ASS anti-hero of modern weird fiction), Jimmy Aussapile, their kith, kin, associates and pursuers are the living warp and weft in a new current of modern myth and legend, a raw, unflinching mirror held up to our chaotic, neurotic, pain-wracked world by one of the new Masters of weird fiction.
As Jimmy would say: Come git some!
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