It's done at last! :)
And since it took me so long to do (sorry about that), I thought the least I could do was give a brief author's note on the how's and why's and a little piece of the history.
Angel of Death is the first novel I ever wrote. I was just a kid back then and didn't know much about how the world worked. I just knew that I liked fantasy, that I liked Dungeons and Dragons, and that I especially liked R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt series. And I thought Artemis Entreri was the most interesting villain I had ever run across. So I came up with the idea that he deserved his own story.
As I said, I was pretty naive. Back then I thought I was going to write the greatest novel ever, submit it to TSR, and become a rich and famous author. :) I did submit it, it was summarily rejected, and I was crushed. Oh well. :) In its original form it deserved to be rejected, and even now I can see glaring mistakes in it. But at heart I really think it is a good story, and despite the errors and mistakes I still have a tender spot for it.
The reader may notice that by the end of the novel Athos, though definitely changed from the innocent boy he started out as, is far from the callous and cold assassin he will become. There's a reason for this: This novel was to be the first of three - a trilogy to mirror the Dark Elf trilogy. I had in mind that the work would be titled the 'Angel' trilogy. Book 1 would be 'Angel of Darkness', book 2 would be 'Angel of Destruction', and Book 3 would be 'Angel of Death'. I intended to take poor Athos into madness and beyond, until he was transformed into the heartless killer we all know and love. Unfortunately the best laid plans of mice and men... The book was rejected, and that, as they say, was that. It laid in a corner collecting dust and it took me a good long while before I had the courage to start writing again. At the time I was really crushed because I felt I had invested so much of myself in the story. It seems silly now, though I do still love the story. Anyway, the second two books in the trilogy didn't get written and probably never will (though you never know...) I thought 'Angel of Death' was the best title of the three (which is why I was saving it for the last volume) so 'Angel of Darkness' became 'Angel of Death'.
I'm surprised that I can look back on it and be as proud as I am. I recognize now that there are plenty of mistakes, and lots of things I would have done differently, but all in all I think the story is pretty good.
It is depressing though, and there isn't a happy ending. Athos ends up becoming Artemis Entreri, the cold-blooded killer of the Drizzt novels. Again and again I've been told (by friends who have read it) that Athos is me, and that I have more in common with him than any of my other characters. I have other favorites (check out the ultra-cool Twilight Jack in Voidchaser, or the virtuous Gwydion in Tide of Darkness), but I can't deny I have more in common with Athos than any of them.
I hope you like it, and let me know what you think. (My new email address is firstname.lastname@example.org)