The Momentum Blog

Excerpt: The Phoenix Variant (The Fifth Column, #3) by Nathan M. Farrugia

Posted August 11, 2014 by Momentum

It’s only a few days until The Phoenix Variant (The Fifth Column, #3) by Nathan M. Farrugia is released!


Here’s a sneak preview to get you excited. And if you haven’t started his thrilling series The Fifth Column, #1, The Chimera Vector, is currently free for a limited time only!


Chapter 1


Ekne, Norway


The moment Denton sat down, he identified the most dangerous man in the room.

‘We’ve reviewed your request for the transfer of Victor,’ the Colonel said.

Denton had noticed poor Victor, the German mineralogist, on his way in. He was a prisoner at the camp, but they seemed to treat him well in exchange for his specialized work.

‘That’s why I’m here,’ Denton said. ‘Victor will be very useful for our team.’

When Denton arrived at the Norwegian boarding school turned Nazi prison camp, he’d been asked to hand over his Polish Viz pistol for the duration of his visit. It put him on edge, and he enjoyed it.

Denton smoothed the lapels of his SS coat. He had to give it to the Nazis, they sure knew how to make a uniform. Turning slightly in the metal chair, he checked the edge of his vision and observed the posture of the guards standing by the door. His threat assessment was complete.

‘I’ve noticed an irregularity in your records, which complicates things,’ the Colonel said, taking a seat at his desk in front of an ornate marble fireplace. The Colonel’s head was shaped like a watermelon. He had a receding hairline and a smirk that irritated Denton.

‘Irregularity?’ Denton asked.

‘You’re an American spy.’

Denton kept his breathing slow. ‘I can see how that might complicate things.’

Standing by the Colonel’s shoulder: Greyleg, the chief prison guard. His eyes gleamed at Denton. Watching.

The true influencer in any group was not always the person with the highest rank.

The Colonel cleared his throat and leaned forward. His stomach pressed his uniform taut.

‘Here is what will happen, Lieutenant Denton, Office of Strategic Services,’ the Colonel said, pushing his chest forward in small increments. ‘I’m short on test subjects for our experiments. You’re going to fill that. A strictly short term arrangement.’

There was that smirk again. Denton ignored it.

Greyleg was circling. He knew why.

‘If it’s all the same with you, I prefer the spy thing,’ Denton said, grasping his armrest. ‘Plus, your uniforms are fantastic. It’s a shame this Hugo Boss fellow doesn’t make suits.’

The Colonel touched the oak leaf on his collar. ‘One of many shames.’

While Denton might’ve looked like his focus was on the Colonel, his attention was riveted to Greyleg.

One look at the man and Denton recognized someone unburdened by humanity’s weaker emotions. He was free to operate at his full potential. And that involved shooting Denton, shooting the guards, and shooting the Colonel. Greyleg would blame it on Denton and receive his promotion.

Denton knew this because that’s what he would do.

Greyleg approached Denton’s nine o’clock, where the guards couldn’t see him draw. The Colonel was busy showing Denton how deep his voice could go, and hadn’t noticed Greyleg’s movements.

Denton stood. Greyleg went for his Luger P08 pistol. Chair in hand, Denton slung it into Greyleg’s midsection. The chair’s leg knocked air from his lungs and dropped him to his knees.

Denton closed on the Colonel.

The smirk was gone, but there was a glint of oxide steel. A Luger, identical to Greyleg’s. The Colonel drew his Luger. He should have drawn the pistol close to his chest, punching out and firing. But like many soldiers Denton had killed this year, the Colonel tried to swing the pistol from his hip. The barrel struck the edge of the desk, slowing his draw.

Denton reached the desk and slid under it. The Colonel brought the pistol across his body, hunting for a target. Denton emerged beside the Colonel, deflected the arm as the trigger squeezed.

The round discharged, clipped Greyleg in the arm. Much to Denton’s amusement.

Greyleg’s firing hand fell limp, his pistol skittering towards the slowly reacting guards. Denton twisted the Luger from the Colonel’s bulging fingers and used the Colonel’s body as a shield against the guards.

The guards advanced, trying to move wide enough for a shot around the Colonel. Denton applied trigger pressure to the base of the Colonel’s skull and they hesitated. The round would not only punch through the Colonel’s brain but, if he was lucky, strike one of the guards.

From the edge of his vision, he saw Greyleg recover.

Denton took aim over the Colonel’s shoulder and killed one guard. The second guard aimed, unsteady finger moving over the trigger. Denton dropped to the floor. Shots punched above him, through the marble fireplace. Denton lay under the desk, watching from an upside-down perspective as the guard’s legs moved closer. He fired a round through each leg, waited for the guard to drop, then continued firing as he collapsed. Through his chest, through his neck, through his nose.

At the same time, the Colonel slumped beside Denton, catching the poorly aimed rounds from the guard.

Greyleg’s boot crushed Denton’s pistol-wielding hand, pinning it to the floor. Denton was about to move in closer but he saw the knife early, just as Greyleg kicked the pistol across the floor. Denton pulled back, flipped the desk onto him. It glanced off Greyleg’s head, but didn’t slow the man down.

Denton appreciated the challenge. Engaging with Greyleg made the adrenalin burn sweeter. He brought his hands up, ready. Let’s see how Greyleg does without a firearm, he thought.

Greyleg leaped over the table in one stride, but then tripped on the Colonel’s body. Denton sidestepped as the man stumbled into the fractured marble shelf. A sharp edge tore Greyleg’s neck as he fell. He shuddered, hands clutched over scarlet.

Greyleg collapsed on top of the Colonel and bled out.

Denton lowered his hands.

‘That was disappointing.’

The Phoenix Variant is released on the 14th of August, where all good ebooks are sold. Or you can preorder now!


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Adventure podcast with Nathan M Farrugia

Posted February 5, 2013 by Anne

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In this episode of Podmentum we talk to author Nathan M Farrugia about his books, his intrepid research techniques, martial arts, being handcuffed to a bunch of sweaty dudes in Texas and writing tools.

Nathan M Farrugia’s first book The Chimera Vector was released in May 2012, and his second book The Seraphim Sequence will be out in March 2013. It can be pre-ordered now for the special pre-order price of $2.99.

You can listen below, subscribe to the RSS or download via iTunes.


While Nathan does give a brief explanation of Systema on the podcast it might be more helpful to check it out on Wikipedia.


Nathan recommended Chris Allen‘s book Defender in a stunning display of Momentum nepotism.

Mark – The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey

Joel – Bitter Seeds and The Coldest War from Ian Tregillis’ Milkweed Triptych

Anne – The Blue Ant series by William Gibson

This episode of Podmentum was brought to you by The Seraphim Sequence, which can be preordered here.

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Nina D’Aleo interviews Nathan M. Farrugia

Posted August 2, 2012 by Nina D'Aleo

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It’s now my turn to interview my fellow Momentum writer, Nathan M Farrugia.

Hello Nathan! Your debut novel The Chimera Vector has seen phenomenal success, topping the charts and gaining an army of fans. How do you feel after ten drafts and years of work to see this??

Wait, I did what?

It’s taken a while for things to sink in and for me to actually say, ‘Hey, I done wrote a published book.’ There’s a brief moment where you pat yourself on the back and stare blankly at all those years writing—and learning—along the way. And then you remember to keep writing and worry about the charts and cocaine later.


What is your favourite part of The Chimera Vector – and why?

The ending. I can’t say too much without turning this into a plot spoiler, but I can say that I wrote three different endings and the third one gave me an author-boner.

I’d also like to see a Jay mix-tape of all the inappropriate things he says throughout the book. He is my spirit animal.


Have you always wanted to be a writer or is it something that you were inspired to do along the way?

I always was writing, just because. I think everyone who is driven to a particular thing, whether they’re a painter or a long distance runner, will always be painting or running from a young age. It’s just in their makeup. Not the cosmetic kind, I save that for special occasions.

I was a bit all over the place, to be honest. When I was young, I wanted to draw comic books, then I wanted to make video games. After that, I wanted to make movies. Somewhere along the line I realised I wouldn’t have $10-40 million to do that, and that’s the fantastic thing about being a writer. You can create worlds without needing an army of monkeys or humans or a lottery win. All you need is a pen or keyboard, your imagination and bacon.

Movies take years to make, especially with all the time spent on script acquisition, financial backing and the various other hoops in pre-production. Whereas an author can have an idea, write a book and have it digitally published inside of six months. Like a boss.


You are currently writing book 2, The Seraphim Sequence. How is it going? Are you feeling more pressure following the success of The Chimera Vector? Are you feeling more pressure following this question?

*runs away*

I wrote the plot in Scrivener a while ago and it’s been itching to get written ever since. I finally started last month and I’m halfway through. The pressure was on when I started, but now I’m in the groove. Which is also the only groove I’ll ever know. Unless you count poorly executed karaoke.

I’m currently writing the bit where Jay rides a trail bike through a shopping mall and shoots down a helicopter. Because why not?


What is the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?

This is a tricky one. Everyone says write what you enjoy writing, which is sound advice. But what’s fun to write and what’s fun to read can sometimes be two very different things.

I’ve found that it’s better to write what is fun, exciting or interesting to imagine, to experience and to read. This may not be as fun to write as your other less demanding chapters. You might prefer to write something easier—read boring. The “amazing” chapter you want to write, however, could be challenging and headache-inducing. It might slap you around a bit. But that’s OK because you’re into that sort of thing. Stick with it and once you’re finished, you have something people—including yourself—will love to read.


The Chimera Vector has an array of international settings – what is your favourite place in the world and why?

I actually have two favourite places, and they’re pretty much opposites.

Sagada, Philippines. What it lacks in crystal blue waters of the surrounding islands, it makes up for in tranquillity. Nestled deep in the mountains, Sagada has breathtaking views and crisp mountain air. It also has coffee and food that puts Melbourne to shame. I could easily spend a year there, convince myself I’m actually living in Skyrim, and disconnect from everything to write. But I need my Twitterz fix, so no.

The other place would be the abandoned subway tunnels in New York. Exploring these illegal environs, you’re pretty much walking the pulsing arteries of Manhattan. And when the tunnels run deeper and it’s just you and your torch, it doesn’t take much imagination to think you’ve just survived a zombie apocalypse.


You’re a man who is known to eat foods others might not – what is the worst food you’ve eaten?

Ha. I’m glad to be known for this, not really. The worst I’ve eaten was balut. Balut is a fertilised duck embryo that is boiled in its shell. You eat it like a hard boiled egg. With plenty of salt because crazy. I ate one during my stay on Boracay Island in the Philippines. If you’re feeling brave, you can see the Wikipedia entry here.


To give your fans a bit more Nathan insight – What is your most embarrassing moment to date?

My Twitter feed is basically a long list of embarrassments, but if I had to pick one:

A few years ago I burst into my housemate’s bedroom while he was working at his computer. Having just emerged from the shower, I was just wearing my underwear. I leapt onto his bed and gave my best Wolverine impersonation, complete with crazy Wolverine hair, facial hair and angry teeth. Then I demanded he tell me who I was. At this point I realised he was in the middle of a webcam conference call with multiple work colleagues and the camera was pointed in my direction.


And now for the most annoying interview question ever (sorry had to do it) – Describe yourself in three words…

Ron Swanson bacon.


Nathan M. Farrugia is the bestselling author of The Chimera Vector

The Last City by Nina D’Aleo is available now. Purchase a copy here




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Nathan M. Farrugia interviews Nina D’Aleo

Posted July 31, 2012 by Nathan M Farrugia

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Hi Nina. I’m Nathan, I live next to you on Momentum’s author page. So … do you come here often?

Hello neighbour! It’s my first time here and the view is awesome!


I’m reading this very addictive book called The Last City by Nina D’Aleo, perhaps you’ve heard of it?

🙂 (transferring funds now…)


One thing I always love to know about authors is why they write. I mean, other than for the generous amount of gold bars writers receive as payment, with which we use to build our beach houses. And utilise as improvised weapons for the forthcoming zombie apocalypse. Human extinction aside, why do you write?

Yes I’ve always been interested in how writers answer this question too…

For me – I write because I absolutely love it – just can’t stop!


Are there writers, musicians, directors etc who inspire you?

So so many that thinking about narrowing them down gives me an instant and simultaneous asthma attack and nose bleed…


The world inside The Last City is rich and disarmingly vivid. Give us mere mortals one gem of advice on authentic world-building.

Many thanks for your kind words. It’s incredibly humbling…

Probably my best advice is to refer to the best advice of others – I’d definitely recommend having a look at Patricia C. Wrede’s Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions (


Your characters have a wide array of brilliant abilities and distinct skills. From Jude’s super strong cybernetic limbs to Copernicus’s mind reading, or Silho’s precognitive talent and Ev’r Keet’s mysterious abilities. If you could have one ability from The Last City, what would you choose?

Oooo… hard question…man I don’t know… It’s a question that’s started many arguments amongst my family (that’s how cool we are). I think if I could only have one from the book, then maybe I’d choose the simpler, but super cool ability to fly.


WE WANT MOAR ADVICE. I noticed while stalking your bio that you have a degree in psychology. Give us one hot tip on how to bring a character’s personality to life.

Something that has helped me while creating characters was to do an in-depth character profile for each character. Sometimes I imagine sitting across a desk from them and asking them the questions… I guess every writer has their own processes, some more crazy than others!


Why Momentum? What is it about this digital imprint that appeals to you? Aside from the gin / Star Trek infused tweets and the close proximity to Korean karaoke

I was extremely fortunate to have my book picked up by Momentum (through my wonderful agent) and am so excited to be one of their writers. I love the idea of digital publishing and all its creative possibilities.


Show us a picture of your secret bat-cave / writer’s lair.

I could show you a real picture, but then I’d have to cry from embarrassment because it’s so messy.


Also, I think I speak for everyone when I say I would like to see a photo of your two cats, Mr Foofy and Gypsy.




What are you working on next? Is it the next book in The Last City series or is this top secret information guarded closely by Mr Foofy? I have the security clearance, Mr Foofy, I swear. Please … no, I was just … argh!



Heh heh!

I’ve got a few stories in the mix – definitely the next book in The Last City series and several other ideas – that’s all Mr Foofy will allow me to say at this stage 🙂


The Last City by Nina D’Aleo is available worldwide on August 1. Purchase a copy here

Nathan M. Farrugia is the bestselling author of The Chimera Vector

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Momentum Drops DRM!

Posted May 29, 2012 by Momentum Books

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MOMENTUM BOOKS, Pan Macmillan Australia’s digital-only imprint, today announced that by early August all its titles would be released without DRM. DRM – digital rights management – is the software used on digital content to prevent casual copying by users.

‘The problem,’ said Joel Naoum, Momentum’s publisher, ‘is that DRM restricts users from legitimate copying – such as between different e-reading devices. We feel strongly that Momentum’s goal is to make books as accessible as possible. Dropping these restrictions is in line with that goal.’

The move by Momentum follows recent announcements by sister company Tor in the United States and the United Kingdom. Momentum is the first imprint of a major Australian publisher to drop DRM.

Momentum’s director, Tom Gilliatt, comments, ‘Momentum was set up to innovate and experiment. The decision to drop DRM is absolutely in keeping with this role, and shows once again Macmillan’s global commitment to be at the forefront of digital change and development.’

John Birmingham, who will be publishing a series of novellas with Momentum in late 2012 said, ‘Every book I’ve ever published in electronic format has been pirated. Every single one. And they all had DRM. It didn’t protect me from piracy and it won’t protect publishing in general. The best protection is to make your work as easily accessible as possible, everywhere, all at once, at the same, reasonable price. Is it possible? Nobody really knows, but we’re gonna give it a hell of a shake to find out.’

Nathan Farrugia, whose bestselling novel The Chimera Vector was released by Momentum in May, said, ‘One of the main reasons I signed with Momentum was their willingness to ditch DRM – something that very few other publishers would do. But I think if pirates are better at distributing your ebooks than you are, then you’re doing it wrong. The best way for publishers to fight piracy is with convenience. I’m excited to see Momentum HULK SMASH DRM.’

About Momentum

Launched in February, Momentum is the digital-only imprint of Pan Macmillan Australia. Momentum have now published over forty titles, including Mark Brandon ‘Chopper’ Read’s series of memoirs, Greig Beck’s fantasy horror Valkeryn and Lindy Chamberlain’s autobiography, The Dingo’s Got My Baby. All published titles are available globally and at highly accessible prices.

If you have any further questions about this change, please contact Joel Naoum on 02 8021 0705 or on

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