Fade to Black and Masks and Mirrors, Books One and Two from the Weir Chronicles series
Author: Sue Duff
Release Date: April 2, 2015
Masks and Mirrors Summary: Ian Black’s commitment to safeguarding Earth has come at a price. His career as an illusionist is at a standstill and attending to the planet’s needs has distanced him from his best friend, his guardians, and the woman he loves. When presented with an opportunity to perform, Ian seizes the chance. But moments before he takes the stage, Ian encounters the mysterious Jaered and a rebel force fighting to protect Earth alongside the Weir.
Jaered is determined to stop a malevolent Weir from releasing a drug capable of wiping out the last vestiges of their race and plunging Earth into self-destruction. But when Jaered is willing to sacrifice an innocent child to obtain the drug for himself, Ian risks everything to uncover the secrets of the rebel forces and their true intentions for Earth’s survival.
Cross-Curricular Activity: This book is purely fictional, but the author has based the Weir powers on earth and space physics. The ability to “shyft” comes from the parallax effect, healing from complex matrix, etc. Vortexes are real and found scattered across our planet. The energy from the sun nourishes us, much like it does the core of the Weir Sars.
1. Discuss this premise from the novel: “What is science if not the knowledge to see magical things in a different way? The only aspect that separates the two—is time.”
a. What do you think the author means by that?
b. Do you agree that science will eventually explain all of the mysteries in the universe?
c. Name something that was thought of as “magic” centuries earlier, but has scientific basis today?
d. What is a mystery of our universe that still exists today? Where would you begin to find a scientific explanation?
2. The overall premise of the novel is that magical beings exist, but as their race de-evolves, they turn to modern science to find a way to combat it in order to perpetuate their existence.
a. What are ways that humans fight to survive? Animals? Plants and vegetation?
b. What scientific discoveries have helped mankind to survive? Animals? Plants and vegetation?
c. Do you agree with the premise that all that roams the surface of the planet is interconnected? If so, what does it mean to live in harmony?
3. The Weir believe that what happens below the surface of Earth affects what happens above it.
a. Name the different energies that come from the “inner workings” of our planet.
b. What energies do we derive from the solar system?
c. Do you believe that humans can effect change to weather? Control earthquakes? Hurricanes? If not now, in the future? If so, debate the good and harm that could come from that.
4. The protagonist, Ian Black, didn’t develop the combined Weir powers as the Weir prophesy predicted, so he turned to illusions as a way to cope.
a. Name a power you wish you had. Why? How would you use it?
b. What special talent or gift do you have? How and when do you use it?
c. If you could control something in the natural world (animal behavior, various forms of weather, plants, etc.) what would it be? Why? How would you use it?
“Did you know about the experiments going on at QualSton?” Ian asked.
Galen’s steps slowed. “I’ve suspected. Not just there but at other Weir facilities around the world.”
“What they did to those creatures, all in the name of science. That’s not the Weir way.”
“Our race is dying, Ian. It’s a bitter pill for powerful men to face extinction. When your powers turned out less than predicted you became a living symbol of the Weir’s mortality,” Galen said. “They’re counting on science to give them a second chance.”
“DNA strands for Channeling. The Weir aren’t so magical after all,” Ian said.
“What is science if not the knowledge to see magical things in a different way? The only aspect that separates the two—is time.” Galen opened Ian’s bedroom door and it swung wide into the room. “There will always be magic as long as we believe in what we don’t understand.”
“I shot energy out of my hand.” Nauseous, Ian stopped short at sharing what it did to the back of a man’s head. He swallowed hard, but the horror at taking a life lodged in his throat.
“In modern day, it’s called a Core Blast but known a few centuries ago as the Dragon’s Breath,” Galen said, sliding into a lecture like a pair of slippers. “Its source is the central core of the earth.”
“It felt like getting shot with a lava mud pie,” Ian said and grabbed the jamb of his bedroom door to steady himself.
“The moment it hits, if not fatal, it absorbs some of the victim’s own core energy and renders them temporarily powerless. In medieval times, Dragon Breath Sars were quite coveted for battle.”
Ian stepped into the room and leaned against the dresser, unwilling to return to his bed any sooner than he had to. It felt good to be on his feet in spite of the unsteady gait.
About the Author: Sue has been writing since high school but never became serious about it until a skiing accident laid her up for an entire summer and she turned on the word processor to combat the boredom. A couple years later, her first urban fantasy novel, Fade to Black, was a finalist in the RMFW Colorado Gold Writing Contest. By day, she’s a dedicated speech-language therapist in an inner city school district to pay the bills but her life as a writer is her true passion and the creative outlet keeps her sane.
Sue is a member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and The Pikes Peak Writers. Her creativity extends into her garden and the culinary arts. She is the second oldest of six girls with an avid reader mom and her dad, the family’s single drop of testosterone in a sea of estrogen. Fate thought it hilarious to give her a son but maternal instincts swing both ways and she didn’t break the little bugger. She lives in Colorado with her miniature dachshund, Snickers and hears from her son, Jonathan whenever he needs something.
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**Thank you to Sue Duff for this guest post, and thank you to Samantha Lien for connecting us!**