BOOK TOUR: Hell Holes Book IV – A Slave’s Revenge by Donald Firesmith #SciFi #Horror

A Slaves Revenge

Hell Holes Book 4

by Donald Firesmith

Genre: SciFi, Paranormal Horror

An epic story of love, loss, friendship, and survival under the most hellish of conditions, Hell Holes: A Slave’s Revenge is the award-winning prequel to the Hell Holes series of alien invasion novels.

After killing his father, alien demons teleport a fifteen-year-old boy, his mother, and his sister to Hell, a desert world in the Demonic Empire. With survival far from certain, they have just two choices: to live as useful slaves or die as demon food. As the boy becomes a man, he must decide just how much he must collaborate with his demon masters to survive. But can he live long enough to take his revenge and regain his freedom without losing his humanity and his very soul?

Winter 2022 Pinnacle Achievement Awards – Winner – Science Fiction Category
2021 Top Shelf Magazine Book Awards – Runner-up – Fiction/Fantasy Subcategory
July 2022 BooksShelf.com Book Awards – Finalist – Fiction Category
2021 The Wishing Shelf Book Awards – Finalist – Adult Category
ReadFree.ly – 50 Best Indie Books of 2021

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EXCERPT

Prologue

My name is Paul Chapman. When I was just fifteen years old, a band of demonic aliens murdered my father and captured my mother, sister, and me. These vicious creatures — the source of humanity’s myths of devils, imps, and hellhounds — took us through a hidden portal to Hell, the nearest planet to Earth in their vast empire. I spent the next twenty-three years there as their slave.

I was rescued during the Armageddon War and became the only captive human to ever escape from Hell. Over the following months, members of the US military and various specialists spent countless hours interviewing and debriefing me to learn everything I knew about Hell and the demons. They provided a therapist to help me recover from my horrendous experiences and adjust to my new life back on Earth. She recommended I document my life as a slave. This book is my story: the autobiography of my life as a slave on Hell.

1 – The Hunt

My parents, Robert and Mary Chapman, met while first-year students at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. He studied wildlife biology while she studied anthropology, concentrating her studies on the history and culture of the native Inuit. Although they had grown up in the Lower 48, they fell in love with Alaska and decided to remain after graduating.

Dad had hoped to obtain a job as a wildlife biologist, but such jobs were rare and paid little. Mom had an even harder time finding suitable work. So, when my maternal grandfather died two years later, my parents decided to use her modest inheritance to buy a dry cabin and live a subsistence lifestyle. They would hunt caribou and moose, trap small game for furs and food, and fish for salmon during spawning season.

Mom and Dad eventually bought a cabin on the north shore of the Kobuk River. Only seven miles upstream of the tiny town of Kobuk, the house was close enough to make buying provisions easy. The town’s simple landing strip also made visiting relatives practical and would enable evacuation in case of a medical emergency.

Miles from their nearest neighbors, the cabin was also isolated enough to offer all the seclusion a family could ever want. Nestled between the nearby river and the Brooks Range a few miles to the north, my parents had found the home of their dreams.

My twin sister, Sarah, and I were born a few years later, and we grew up in some of the most beautiful land imaginable. The chores were many, the work was hard, but the rewards of freedom and the wilder-ness’s majesty made the hardships well worthwhile. I loved the life and couldn’t imagine ever leaving it.

This story begins when Sarah and I were fifteen. It was early August, and the Chinook salmon were running up the river to spawn. After breakfast, Mom and Sarah were going fishing. Dad and I had built a fish wheel, an ingenious tool that automatically catches the salmon. An underwater fence forces some of the fish towards the wheel that the river’s current turns. Baskets attached to the wheel’s rim scoop up the fish and dump them into a box. Mom and Sarah were going to carry the salmon back to the cabin, clean them, and hang them up over a fire in our smokehouse. Their work would ensure we would have plenty of smoked salmon to eat during the long Alaskan winter.

While they were fishing, Dad and I would hunt moose and check our traps for small game. We took our rifles and headed upriver away from town. We left our dog, Sergeant, behind so her barking would warn Mom and Sarah of any bear that might be attracted by the smell of our fish.

We started by checking our traps, but they were empty. Not a single one had been tripped. And we didn’t spot any small game even though we didn’t talk, and we walked carefully to avoid making any unnecessary noise.

When it was nearing lunchtime, we turned around and headed back to our cabin. This time, instead of following the river trail, we hiked up towards the nearby mountains forming the southern edge of the Brooks Range. As before, the area seemed completely devoid of animal life, which was pretty unusual. We’d typically see something, even if it was too far away or on the far side of the river.

About halfway home, we spotted the remains of a bull moose that had been recently killed. Because the bears were busy with the salmon, we initially thought it had been brought down by wolves. But it wasn’t. Enormous chunks of flesh had been removed in single bites, and the bites’ edges were too clean to have been made by wolves or bears.

It was strange that we couldn’t identify the tracks in the soft ground around the carcass. There were many large and small hoof prints, but they were shorter and rounder than moose and elk tracks.

Stranger still were the giant paw prints from the carnivore that had brought down the moose. Easily twice the length of wolf prints, they had only three toes, and the separate claw marks were much longer than wolf or even bear claws. Dad, the biologist, was stumped. The prints didn’t seem to belong to any Alaskan wild animal or to any animal for that matter. The only tracks he could think of that were even somewhat similar were those of ostriches, emus, and cassowaries. But the claw marks were too short for ostrich and emu tracks, and the cassowary only has one claw that long, not three.

“Dad, how about a really big dog?” I asked. “Maybe a Newfoundland had lost a toe.”

Dad shook his head. “Can’t be. See how the toes are arranged symmetrically? And besides, why would a dog have the same toe removed on each paw?”

“What about a dinosaur?” I suggested jokingly.

Dad actually considered it for a second before answering, “You know, it does look a little like a theropod footprint. It might have been a reasonable hypothesis if it weren’t for the little fact they’re all extinct except for the birds. No, this has to be a hoax. Someone’s trying to start a rumor about a strange beast roaming the Alaskan wilderness. Probably wants to draw tourists hoping to catch sight of the mythological creature.”

“But Dad, what about the bite marks?”

“My guess is that they used a curved knife to make them. Still, whoever did it did a good job. They had me going for a bit. Come on, let’s head home and tell the girls about our mysterious find.”

So, we hiked back to the cabin and had lunch with Mom and Sarah. They told us about the baskets of fish they had caught and cleaned. We told them about the moose kill we’d stumbled on, the strange tracks, and the huge bite marks. Mom agreed with Dad that it would probably turn out to be a hoax, but Sarah wasn’t sure what to think.

After lunch, Dad and I headed out again to see if we’d have any better luck hunting. We didn’t. The animals, both big and small, were still missing, and we were once more forced to come back empty-handed. I did, however, carry my camera with me and took some pictures of our find. For a laugh, I figured I would upload them onto Facebook the next time I was back in town where I could get internet service.

2 – Demons in the Dark

Sergeant, our three-year-old German Shepherd, woke me from a pleasant dream by barking her head off and scratching at the cabin door. I glanced at my alarm clock. It was just after three in the morning, and much too early for her to need to be let out to do her business. She was also far too excited for that to be the problem.

“What is it, girl?” Dad called. “Are the raccoons back again?”

Sergeant ignored him and continued barking.

I thought I heard a deep growl coming from outside my window. “I think it’s a bear, Dad.” I groggily dragged myself out of bed, stepped into my slippers, and headed downstairs.

Dad was already there, taking his hunting rifle down from its home over the fireplace. He checked it to ensure it was loaded while I pulled Sergeant back from the door.

Grizzlies occasionally break into empty cabins looking for an easy meal. Still, I’d never known one to bust into one that was occupied, and a dog could usually be counted on to keep them at bay. Besides, it was late summer when their food was plentiful.

“What is it, Robert?” Mom asked. She was halfway down the stairs with Sarah just behind her.

“Probably just a bear,” Dad answered.

We had a thick solid door with a strong lock, so I wasn’t too concerned. I just hoped that it wouldn’t break a window because I’d be the one Dad would send into town to buy the glass to replace it.

Boom! The door rattled as something massive struck it. Sergeant growled, jerked her collar out of my hands, and bounded to the door. She pawed at it, barking like mad.

I was just about to run forward and grab her when there was a deafening bang. Ripped right off its heavy hinges, the door flew across the room, knocking Sergeant sideways and narrowly missing me before crashing into the dinner table.

Dad raised his rifle and fired just as a huge, wolf-like creature charged into the room. The bullet struck it squarely in the middle of the chest, dropping the monster to the floor.

We all gawked at the nightmarish beast lying at Dad’s feet. We’d never seen or even imagined such an animal. Easily four times the size of a timber wolf, the beast had neither fur nor anything you could call skin. Its massive brick-red muscles and yellowish bones and tendons were clearly visible as were the finger-long fangs and large, triangular teeth in its gaping mouth. Its yellow eyes with horizontal pupils stared blankly up at us while it bled blood the color of crude oil.

“What the hell is that?” Dad exclaimed as a second such beast burst into the house and bounded over the body of the one he had shot. Before he could react, it sank its teeth into Dad’s neck and shook him like an orca shaking a seal.

Several things happened almost simultaneously. Mom and Sarah screamed. The gun flew out of Dad’s hands and slid past me into the kitchen. Sergeant whined and bolted out the door as I sprinted to retrieve Dad’s rifle.

Grabbing his gun, I started to turn back to face the monsters when someone yanked the rifle right out of my hands. No, not someone. Some thing!

A grotesque, little, ape-like monster no more than three-feet-tall stood in front of me holding Dad’s rifle in one hand and a sword to my neck with the other. The imp had short little horns and stared at me with yellow, goat-like eyes. Like the hellhound, it was totally naked and seemed to have no skin covering his heavily muscled body.

Perhaps those huge muscles were what made me feel certain he was male despite his lack of any obvious indicator of his sex. The imp grinned, flashed an impossibly wide mouth full of shark-like teeth, and shook his head. His intent was unmistakable.

Wresting my gaze away from the imp’s hideous face, I looked up to see a second, sword-carrying imp motioning for Mom and Sarah to come down from the stairs. They, however, were transfixed by the sight of the hellhound feasting on Dad’s body. The one he’d shot had staggered to its feet, the wound in its chest miraculously healing before our eyes. The hellhounds snarled and growled at each other as they bit off softball-sized chunks of flesh and swallowed them whole.

I was having a nightmare! The worst nightmare of my life. I was asleep. I had to be.

The imp in front of me poked my stomach with the tip of his sword. It hurt! What? It shouldn’t hurt. You don’t feel pain in dreams. I glanced down and saw a little circle of blood staining my pajamas.

I wasn’t dreaming! Two wolf-like monsters were eating my dad, and two diminutive demons with swords had taken over the house. I couldn’t imagine how things could get any worse, but they did.

The devil, who was completely naked like the imps, walked in through the open doorway. There he stood with his long swept-back horns, his cloven hooves, and his red naked body. The only things missing were a pitchfork and tail. Tall and far more muscular than any Olympic athlete, he looked around the room with yellow, goat-like eyes, just like those of the imps and hellhounds.

The devil pointed at my mother and sister and barked out a series of incomprehensible sounds. They had to be words in the demonic language of Hell. Several of the syllables were so weird and spoken so rapidly that they were difficult to grasp and impossible for any human to repeat.

The imp standing at the base of the stairs motioned with his sword for Mom and Sarah to come down. Then the devil said something else, and the imp in front of me motioned for me to join them. Mom and Sarah were crying, their shoulders shaking uncontrollably as they watched the hellhounds feasting on Dad’s body. We hugged, and I did my best to make them turn their backs on the horrific scene. But there was no way we could ignore the horrible sounds the hellhounds made as we waited to learn our fate.

To Hell and Back

Hell Holes Book 3

The beautiful young photojournalist, Aileen O’Shannon, is not who she seems. For centuries, she has been a demon hunter, a sorceress who has tracked and killed small bands of demons that occasionally crossed into our world. But that changed when she joined Dr. Jack Oswald’s expedition to study one of hundreds of huge holes that mysteriously appeared overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle. Instead of small sporadic incursions, hordes of demons now pour from these hell holes like water from a sieve. With bombing little more than a losing game of whack-a-mole, Earth’s armies are unable to destroy the portals. When Jack suggests a desperate plan, he is drafted to join Aileen and a team of other sorcerers and Army Rangers to travel to the demon homeworld. Once there, they will unleash a plague virus and set off a nuclear bomb to destroy the portal complex. It’s a suicide mission. But Aileen has given Jack’s wife her word to bring him back safely, and the demons have already killed three men under her protection. Just how far will Aileen go to avoid losing another?

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Demons on the Dalton

Hell Holes Book 2

When hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appeared overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, geologist Jack Oswald picked Angele Menendez, his climatologist wife, to determine if the record temperatures due to climate change was the cause. But the holes were not natural. They were unnatural portals for an invading army of demons. Together with Aileen O’Shannon, a 1,700-year-old sorceress demon-hunter, the three survivors of the research team sent to study the holes had only one chance: to flee down the dangerous Dalton Highway towards the relative safety of Fairbanks. However, the advancing horde of devils, imps, hellhounds, and gargoyles will stop at nothing to prevent their prey from escaping. It is a 350-mile race with simple rules. Win and live; lose and die…

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What Lurks Below

Hell Holes Book 1

It’s August in Alaska, and geology professor Jack Oswald prepares for the new school year. But when hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appear overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, Jack receives an unexpected phone call. An oil company exec hires Jack to investigate, and he picks his climatologist wife and two of their graduate students as his team. Uncharacteristically, Jack also lets Aileen O’Shannon, a bewitchingly beautiful young photojournalist, talk him into coming along as their photographer. When they arrive in the remote oil town of Deadhorse, the exec and a biologist to protect them from wild animals join the team. Their task: to assess the risk of more holes opening under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the wells and pipelines that feed it. But they discover a far worse danger lurks below. When it emerges, it threatens to shatter Jack’s unshakable faith in science. And destroy us all…

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Donald Firesmith is a multi-award-winning author of speculative fiction including science fiction (alien invasion), fantasy (magical wands), horror, and modern urban paranormal novels and anthologies of short stories.

Prior to retiring to devote himself full-time to his novels, Donald Firesmith earned an international reputation as a distinguished engineer, authoring seven system/software engineering books based on his 40+ years spent developing large, complex software intensive systems.

He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, his daughter Sera, and varying numbers of dogs and cats.

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3 thoughts on “BOOK TOUR: Hell Holes Book IV – A Slave’s Revenge by Donald Firesmith #SciFi #Horror

  1. I love the cover art, synopsis and excerpt, A Slaves Revenge and the Hell Holes series is a must read for me. Thank you for sharing the author’s bio and books’ details

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