Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Guest Blog and Giveaway Death Toll Ghost Wars Saga Book 2 by Robert Poulin

The Death Toll Gazetteer
by Robert Poulin

The action packed adventure that is Death Toll takes place in the incredible city of Philadelphia. Philly is one of America's great cities; a city of grand history (at least by US standards), and wonderful locations. The following is a tour of the places visited during the Death Toll adventure. For a tour of the locations visited in Wail of the Banshees, check out my two articles entitled The Magic of Philadelphia on my Facebook page at

The Furness: The First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia is the first Unitarian church in the US and was founded in 1796. The church was one of the most outspoken churches in Philadelphia against slavery and was a major player in the underground railroad. Veronika Kane visits the Furness during her investigation of the attack on the shadow city's armory. The Furness is revealed to be a base of operations for a cell of the Styx Cartel led by Reverend Creed. Be sure to read Death Toll to find out what ensues in the basement of the First Unitarian Church.

Byberry State Hospital: Byberry was a state hospital for the mentally ill established in 1907. The facility was located in the Byberry neighborhood of northeast Philadelphia. The complex featured more than fifty buildings on a hundred acres of land and housed patients including men, women, and children. Rumors of experimentation, death, and torture, dogged the facility throughout its history. The hospital was closed in 1977 and was abandoned by the early 1990's. The discovery of asbestos prevented its closure and for nearly twenty years it remained as urban blight; a place for drug dealers and other nefarious activities. In Death Toll, detective Frank Coopers investigation of the disappearance of were-creatures leads him and Veronika Kane to Byberry. Frank and Veronika meet Brianna Martin, a were-ferret, and Nathaniel Carter, w wizard while investigating the now vampire owned complex. The four heroes must survive zombies, chaos frogs, were-hyena's and worst of all, a trip to a forbidden black city in another place and time.

The Grand Masonic Lodge of Philadelphia: On the corner of Broad and Filbert sprawls the architectural splendor that is The Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free Masons of Pennsylvania. The building has two grand towers and is built in the Norman style with some of its hewn stone and marble coming from as far away as Egypt. The Masons enjoy a rich history in America, and Philadelphia in particular. Many of the nation’s founding fathers had been part of the brotherhood, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and good old Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was known to have been the Grand Master of a Masonic temple in both Paris and Philadelphia. In Death Toll, Veronika learns that the lodge is the headquarters for the Order of Magi and is led by Grand Master Nathaniel Carter, the Wizard of Philadelphia. The lodge is a safe place and planning ground for operations throughout Death Toll's story.

The Woodlands:  The Woodlands Cemetery is located on the Western bank of the Schuylkill River in the University City neighborhood. The Woodlands was originally a two hundred and thirty acre estate belonging to famed Philadelphia lawyer Andrew Hamilton who purchased the land in 1735. A villa, built in the federal style, its grand two story portico overlooking the river, graces the cemetery grounds to this day along with its matching set of carriage house and stables. Over the years, the Hamilton family turned the property into an idyllic English landscape with more than ten thousand plant species from around the world. The estate was purchased in 1840 by local investors who quickly transformed the grounds into a rural cemetery with the manor and it’s supporting structures at its heart. Even though Philadelphia's sprawl spread across the Schuylkill, the Woodlands Cemetery maintained its rural charm hidden behind a wall of trees. The Woodlands is where Veronika Kane's body was laid to rest after her death at the beginning of Wail of the Banshees. Veronika's nemesis, Delilah, returns with a vengeance at The Woodlands. What diabolical plans does she have in store for Veronika Now? Cultists, night hags, and Mountain Dew zombies are among the enemies that Veronika and her stalwart companions must face. 

Christ Church Burial Ground: Christ Church Burial Ground is located on the corner of Arch and Fifth Streets in an area known as America's most historic square mile. The cemetery was established on what was then the edge of the city in 1719, but now it lies in the heart of Philly within walking distance of such famous attractions as Independence Hall, Constitution Hall, The Liberty Bell Center, the US Mint, and a score of other museums and historical sites. It occupies a space of two acres of land and is surrounded by a seven foot tall brick wall. The graves of Benjamin Franklin and his wife as well as other Franklin relations rest here along with more than a thousand other residents, many of them from the revolutionary era. Veronika and the Ghost Watch must protect the grave of Benjamin Franklin from a witch of the Salem witch trials era and her chaos spider and nigh hag minions. 

Brewerytown:  Brewerytown is a mostly poor residential neighborhood in modern North Philly. Once upon a time, the district had featured nine city blocks with each dominated by its own lager brewing complex, and a central square that was the center of community activity. In an era half forgotten, it had been a vibrant community of working class German immigrants who lived in row houses and worked in the nearest brewery. People lived and played within sight of the grand buildings that gave them their livelihoods. In those days, money flowed like beer, and the great captains of industry took pride in the structures that represented their companies. Architects were let loose to practice their art without care of cost, and they produced wonders that the modern world can only marvel at. The brewery complexes of that golden age were distinctively Germanic and Romanesque Revival in their architectural style. These buildings were so well made that the US military rated them as able to survive nuclear attack. By 1920 when Prohibition became law, Philadelphia had over seven hundred breweries, but by 1933 when the law was repealed, only four remained. And so began the long decline of the great neighborhood of Brewerytown, and with the decay came the abandonment and eventual demolition of most of the great breweries. Today Brewerytown is a place of lost industry and forced gentrification.  Veronika and company come to Brewerytown to assault their vampire enemies and in the process discover how far behind their enemies plans they really are.

The Philadelphia Zoo: The zoo is part of Fairmount Park and had originally been designed as a picturesque Victorian garden. The Philadelphia zoo is the oldest zoo in the United States, having been established in 1859, and it currently holds nearly thirteen hundred animals of various species on its forty two acre campus. It specialized in the breeding of endangered species and is widely respected as one of the best facilities for this kind of sensitive technical work. In Death Toll, the were-pack is headquartered at the zoo. Unfortunately for the wildlife of the zoo, the pack is targeted by the enemy and the grounds become a battlefield. See what happens when chaos energy is unleashed on nature.

The Liberty Bell Center: Not much needs to be said about the home of the Liberty Bell. It should be fairly obvious that an object of such importance that it has its own building must surely be an artifact of some power. What happens when the forces of good and chaos fight to gain control of the bell? Can you imagine a scene in which a troll uses the Liberty Bell as a melee weapon against a frost giant? It could happen, read Death Toll to get into the exciting action.

There are many more cool and interesting places visited during Veronika's adventure in Death Toll. There's a living building that Jezebel's strip club that tries to eat Veronika and her friends. A terrible battle ensues at Fort Mifflin, and the climatic battle with an elder god on the Delaware River is unforgettable. But you'll need to read Death Toll to find all of the nooks and crannies and to discover all of the juicy secrets that have been alluded too.

Death Toll
Ghost Wars Saga
Book 2
Robert Poulin

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Publisher:  Ghost Watch Publishing

Date of Publication: June 2014

ISBN:  978-0-9894469-3-8 
ISBN:  978-0-9894469--4-5 

Number of pages:  324
Word Count:   96,000

Cover Artist:  Hannah Carr

Book Description:

What started out as a routine call led to so much more…

My name is Veronika Kane, and I’m the Captain of the Ghost Watch in the reborn city of Shadow Philadelphia. After we disposed of the city’s previous master and his minions, things were looking up, but in war things are never that easy. A routine call with Detective Frank Cooper blew the cover off of an elaborate scheme to plunge the city of brotherly love into chaos. When Necromancers, Were creatures, and the horrors of Chaos come together it can’t mean anything good.

With new and old enemies joining forces against us, I’m going to need all the help I can get. Lucky for me, my old friend Frank Cooper will be there to lend a hand, along with Brianna, a strong willed were-ferret, and the stormy eyed wizard Nathaniel Carter. I just hope it will be enough to save everyone.

This time, our enemies aren’t just attacking us in Limbo; this time, they are taking the battle to the streets of the living world and its unknowing citizens. If the Old Ones rise, I don’t think there will be anything anyone can do to stop them.

My name is Veronika Kane, and this war is far from over.

About the Author: 

Robert Poulin was born and raised in the New England state of Connecticut. After spending his late teenage years in Boca Raton Florida, Robert moved to upstate New York where he lived with his uncle Wilbrod Poulin and attended the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. After earning a Bachelor's in Political Science and a Master's in Teaching, Robert went back to Florida where he taught Social Studies for a few years.

After returning to Northern New York, Robert took a job with the North Country Center for Independence: a disability rights and advocacy organizations. Robert has worked for NCCI for thirteen years and is now the Executive Director. Wail of the Banshees is Robert's first novel; he has been a huge fan of fantasy and science fiction since second grade when he discovered The Hobbit.

Urban fantasy in particular has become Robert's favored genre in the past decade. Robert has been legally blind since infancy, but thanks to a mom that encouraged independence, hard work, and a healthy dose of dreaming, the disability has mostly just been an inconvenience.

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