|Ilsa J. Bick
|6 December 2005
|Dark Age era
|9 December 3135 (prologue); 13 - 21 April 3136
|MechWarrior: Dark Age Novels
|Trial by Chaos
Blood Avatar, by Ilsa J. Bick, is the nineteenth novel in the MechWarrior: Dark Age series. It was first published in December 2005 by Roc Books and was later republished in November 2021 by Catalyst Game Labs as a BattleTech Legends title.
From the back cover
|Body of Secrets...
The first body that turns up in Farway, a secluded town on the planet Denebola, is from out of town. When the Denebola Bureau of Investigation and the legate's office from half a planet away decide to help identify the murder victim, Sheriff Hank Ketchum knows he's in over his head.
Enter the infamous detective Jack Ramsey. With the help of the talented and beautiful local medical examiner, Amanda Slade, Ramsey digs into the case and discovers evidence that puts Farway at the heart of a conspiracy. But who's the greater threat—the Clans, the Word of Blake, or the legate's intelligence operative?
Late on Friday, 13 April 3136, "Maximilian Youssef" arrives at a cemetary out of town for a meeting with an old man, a member of a local cell (of unspecified agenda), having been summoned with a "code so old he had to look it up". They had a previous meeting and a disagreement; while he thinks the Word of Blake Jihad is over and should be consigned to history, the cell want to carry on with their assignment. He is now prepared to kill this cell in order to terminate their activities. When the old man mentions certain 'items' that should be entrusted to the cell, he is alarmed because the cell should not know about this. But even before he can draw his gun on the old man, now fully intent on killing him, the surprisingly agile old man in turn shoots him with a shotgun concealed in his walking stick and then kills him with a bullet to his head. Having adopted the "assassin name" of Gabriel while waiting at the cemetary, the old man for his part had meant to kill Youssef all along.
Three young boys happen to witness the events from a nearby treehouse and flee the scene, pursued by Gabriel who suffers a leg injury when he runs into one of the boys' bicycles in the dark. They boys escape, but not before Gabriel shoots one of them in the arm.
After searching the body and the car for a data crystal that, however, he fails to find, Gabriel carries the body into the car, drives some distance to a slope by the road, pushes the car down and detonates it with an improvised bomb. The boys meanwhile sneak home. Fearing they will get into trouble, they decide to tell no one what they saw, and Noah Schroeder also keeps his gunshot wound secret from all but his little sister who ineptly helps him clean and bandage it.
Detective Jack Ramsey is on admin leave pending the outcome of a review board concerning a high-profile showdown four months ago that involved his son and the serial killer who had kidnapped the child. It is not described in detail what went down, but it is implied Ramsey's son lost his life and whatever Ramsey did is considered "the right thing" by his fellow officers.
- Amanda Slade
- Ida Kant
- Hank Ketchum
- Hannah Schroeder
- Joey Ketchum - Hank Ketchum's thirteen-year-old son
- John Boaz
- Dani Kodza
- Frederic Limyanovic
- Jack Ramsey
- Isaiah Schroeder - Dead for three years in a supposed hunting accident at the beginning of the novel
- Noah Schroeder
- Phil Pearl
- Troy Underhill
- Bannson Cavalier
- Bannson Hawk-Spirit Turbocycle
- modified Cardinal
- Highlander Industries Triumph TR-75
- Mackie (mentioned)
- Mule-class DropShip (mentioned)
Weapons and Equipment
- Bang Stick
- Errol Colt
- Northwind Star 720
- Skye Raptor
- Skye Talon
- Tharkad Griffin
- Winchester 88
- Winchester Astro
- Blood Avatar is an unusual BattleTech/MechWarrior novel, in that it does not feature 'Mechs in battle, strictly focusing on the murder mystery and conspiracies in the setting's background instead. This is even acknowledged in the preface, where the author calls the novel an "experiment". (While the apocryphal German BattleTech novel Über dem Gesetz, also published in 2005, is similarly focused on a murder mystery and high-level politics, it did feature at least one 'Mech battle.)
- Another difference from much of BattleTech fiction is that the novel basically transplants an American Midwest setting to the BattleTech universe, by portraying the small town of Farway as an isolated backwater community with a society and tech level reminiscent of the twentieth century, largely eschewing the more advanced technologies that exist in the BattleTech setting.
- According to the author, the original manuscript was titled simply "Avatar", but Roc Books did not like that title; the author and Roc Books then independently of each other suggested to name it "Blood Avatar".
2021 cover. Art by Tan Ho Sim.