by Ryan Madej
ISBN 978-1-9996964-6-7. 120 pages. Paperback. Publication date: September 2021. Equus Press: London & Prague. Price: € 8.00 (not including postage)
Ryan Madej’s Assassin is an experimental novella with a deep esoteric background. In a dead city, a woman with a weapon that can erase its victims from time searches for prey. Lifetimes away, a man searches for a lost manuscript that will give him power over her. In an untouched paradise, an acolyte must choose to walk the path of enlightenment or destruction. Outside the linearity of time, their paths converge and threaten to destroy each other.
Read an Equus interview with the author here.
Excerpt: “So here I am: rested or perhaps restless, in a sphere of my own making. Plumbing the depths of a remote past altered by my own epoche on the concept of linearity, coaxed onward by tiny disturbances that just didn’t look or feel right. Mother and Father, non-existent. No synaptic sparks conjure their images, and I have always wondered how my origin was spawned in this deep, desolate place…a princess of the sands, but more like a lone scorpion whose only true home was ruling over what crawled or slithered. Somehow the shape and significance of numbers and symbols dictated my fate, or at the very least my path toward retirement (murder).”
“At times, the ghost of Jerry Cornelius seems to hover like some desiccated Pierrot over this tale of assassin Jade Palace cutting her way through the decaying reality of a darkening future continent while losing herself in drugs, sex, alternate realities, arcane mysticism, and, finally, writing. Madej’s evocatively jewelled metafiction is about impossibility of sign-becoming-thing and the seductive noose this nonetheless affords the narrator: that of a kind of gnostic auto-asphyxiation or self-digestion. The Wolf Solvent—Jade’s preferred weapon—is thus both resolver and dissolver, and she a feral guide to an afterlife where only ghosts remain to recapitulate the traces of a long-dead civilization.”—David Roden, author of Snuff Memories
“Section Three. One. A recommendation in the terra incognita for those of a solitary nurture. The literary map curling in on itself like a Möbius strip made of exits. What will be born of these bloody orgies? An Edmontonian unafraid of himself, or a lycra clad murderess with the sexual appetite of a jungle cat fed on the outer sanctum’s promise of even more ultra violence. By circulation of light we shall gradually know the Godhead rehearsing for this show.”—Michael Rowland, author of Infinity in Bits
“The literary love-child of Aleister Crowley and William Gibson, Ryan Madej’s Assassin is an occult thriller. Visits to Budapest, Chicago, and Prague reveal a heroine’s quest filled with alchemical lore, blood-caked lust, and secret archives. In a world where social, cultural, and political barriers have collapsed, a journal is found and a past life is reconstructed. A hidden biography worth of Sade, bloated to excess with sex, violence, and ritualism.”—Driftless Area Review