Caution : readers may feel the heat coming off the pages.
They are the Sentinels…
Three races descended from ancient guardians of mankind, each possessing unique abilities in their battle to protect humanity against their eternal foes-the Synestryn. Now, one warrior must fight his own desire if he is to discover the power that lies within his one true love…
Helen Day is haunted by visions of herself surrounded by flames, as a dark-haired man watches her burn. So when she sees the man of her nightmares staring at her from across a diner, she attempts to flee-but instead ends up in the man’s arms. There, she awakens a force more powerful and enticing than she could ever imagine. For the man is actually Theronai warrior Drake, whose own pain is driven away by Helen’s presence.
Together, they may become more than lovers-they may become a weapon of light that could tip the balance of the war and save Drake’s people…
-New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh
“The Sentinel Wars” is a project I wasn’t sure would ever really end up on a bookshelf. I had a vague concept of what I wanted this series to be, and in my head it was a really cool world, but on paper it just wasn’t coming across the way I wanted. So, I began working diligently on building the world way back in 2003 when I first started writing. I toyed with different things, but nothing really clicked, so I set it aside and started focusing more on romantic suspense.
But no matter what I wrote, the idea of the Sentinels wouldn’t leave me alone. I kept thinking about them on and off as they bubbled in the back of my brain. A year later, I finally realized what I was missing. I wasn’t just creating a world or a group of characters or series of stories, I was creating an emotional landscape. I wanted readers to feel a certain way when they read the books — the way I did when I got sucked into a book I loved.
So, I reverse-engineered some of my favorite books and studied them, focusing not so much on the stories, but on how I felt when I read them and why I felt that way. It was some of the most fun research I’ve ever done, and interestingly, the commonalities among my favorite reads were astounding.
Two years and a groaning shelf of books later, I’d figured out where I needed to go, so I wrote the first book. It didn’t work. The plot was too complicated and left no room for all the cool world building I’d done. So, I scrapped it and started again. And again. And again. Finally, after four false starts, I’d found the right balance of plot and characters and world building to make me happy and Burning Alive was born.
In Burning Alive, you’re introduced to the Sentinels, who are three distinct races of otherworldly beings put here on Earth to stand guard against an evil race of monsters called the Synestryn and their plans to break through the gateway leading to another world — a gateway the Sentinels are sworn to protect with their lives.
The Sentinels each have their own abilities and culture, but the one thing they have in common is their blood. The Synestryn want it. They use it to fuel their corrupt magic and will stop at nothing to find every last trace of the powerful blood that exists on the face of the planet.
This is where the humans come in. After countless generations of intermingling with the Sentinel races, there are traces of that blood running through many of us. For a few special people, they have enough ancient blood that it manifests in various supernatural gifts. Those humans are at risk, and it is the duty of the Sentinels to see to it that they are protected.
Of course, it can’t be that easy. Not only do the Sentinels have to fight off a swelling number of Synestryn and protect all those fragile humans, they also have to do it while fighting their own dwindling strength, and occasionally, each other. Synestryn have been killing off their ranks, murdering their women to ensure that their races will die out and leave the gate unprotected. The Sentinels are alone, dying, at war with one another, and cut off from their home world and the only source of magic that could possibly save them.
And then Helen comes along. She’s a seemingly normal human, but when Drake touches her, the pain that has been growing within him for centuries vanishes. He has no idea why this is happening, but he does know that whoever she is, he’s keeping her.
Helen, however, doesn’t want to be kept. She’s seen this man before in her dreams — her visions. He’s going to watch her die. He’s going to watch her burn alive and not do a thing to stop it, and now that he’s here, she knows the time she has left before meeting that fate is growing short.
She’s not ready to die, but she finds out that if she doesn’t help this man, countless lives are at stake. So, she puts aside her fears and joins Drake on his quest, knowing it will be the last thing she ever does.
I won’t spoil it for you by giving away anything else, but I will say that this book was the most fun I’ve ever had writing. The Sentinel Wars is a years-long project that is near and dear to my heart, and I hope you enjoy the results. I couldn’t be more thrilled to see this book hit the shelves, and can’t wait to get started writing the next one.
Shannon K. Butcher