"Blindingly creative, Shield and Crocus delivers action-packed, four-color fantasy with a lot of heart." —Michael J. Martinez, author of The Daedalus Incident
“Audec-Hal is a city where dispassionate robots co-exist with mad sorcerers and unpredictable storms that warp the fabric of reality itself. Fans of China Mieville's Perdido Street Station or David Edison's The Waking Engine will surely enjoy the mad inventiveness on display here.” —Marie Brennan, author of A Natural History of Dragons
"The book is fast-paced, especially impressive considering the amount of world-building. The fight is desperate. The tyrants are villains in the truest sense. Superheroes + Epic Fantasy = Awesomeness." —Beth Cato, author of Clockwork Dagger
"I can't say enough about the mythology and the world building. Underwood put a lot of thought into constructing the world of Audec-Hal, and it shows." —Beauty in Ruins
“Underwood switches up from Urban Fantasy to New Weird secondary-world fantasy while maintaining excellent action-adventure beats…Audec-Hal is a wondrous place, with many strange corners and facets, and excellently rendered.” —SF Signal
“Underwood has written another fast, fun, and engaging book…Get your popcorn ready and grab a copy of Shield and Crocus. Summer is here, and summer reads don’t come much more enjoyable than this.” —Fantasy Faction
“The level of detail in this world is astounding; it reads like it could be the fourth installment or so in a long-running series—the world building is just fantastic. I don’t know for a fact that Underwood has the history of Audec-Hal, of these races all mapped out for centuries before, and these characters lives detailed going back to birth—but it reads that way. He seems to know them all that well—but best of all, he doesn’t share all the homework he’s done with you, but you can tell he’s done it. The care, the detail, the intricacy, the strangeness of all of this—I mean strange in a good way, that somehow makes total sense in context—is so impressive. I don’t think I can adequately express my appreciation of the imagination and craft here.” —The Irresponsible Reader
"Shield and Crocus is a high concept idea that is executed brilliantly and completely satisfying. A high fantasy team of super powered rebels fights for good in a strange city ruled by evil tyrants." —The Thousand Lives of John Zelznik
"I had a lot of fun with this book. I’m a long-time comic book reader/fan and love the sword and sorcery genre so it was in my DNA to enjoy Shield and Crocus." —SFFWorld
"A few authors in recent times have attempted to tell a superhero story with prose rather than graphics, with mixed levels of success. In my opinion, the story Underwood has crafted is by far the best and most balanced superhero novel I have read." —Fantasy Book Review
"For fans of weird fiction in the mood for something with more of a superhero leaning, and vice versa, I think this will deliver. The pacing is fast enough to appease superhero fans but with enough detail in the prose to keep you orientated throughout the strange world Underwood’s created." —Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing
About the Author
While Michael Underwood was born in Bloomington, Indiana, he’s made his home everywhere from New York to Oregon and Texas to Brooklyn. Currently residing in Baltimore, Maryland, Michael considers himself a lifelong gamer and geek and also a huge sci-fi fan. He attributes this to working in a game store while in his teens. Michael graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Indiana University in 2005, where he received a bachelor of arts in creative mythology. He holds a master of arts in folklore studies from the University of Oregon, where he wrote his thesis on tabletop role-playing games.
Michael’s passion has always been in teaching, and he has taken any opportunity he can to share his skills with others. He’s so far held classes for everything from web design to the tango and, of course, writing. He attributes his passion for public speaking and theatricality to his parents, who met while performing musical theater together. Michael combines his love of teaching and passion for performance across disciplines, from historical fencing to headlining an Argentine tango band.
He is the author of Geekomancy, Celebromancy, and Shield and Crocus.