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Brock Rivers
Blood Fortune
Brock Rivers, author

Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

From a secret facility underneath the New Mexico desert, to the frozen moon of Enceladus in Saturn's rings, this historical science fiction thriller will entertain you from beginning to end.

A year before the Spanish set foot on the Yucatán shores, a handful of the strongest Aztec were selected for an important mission. Led by their greatest warrior, they raced to escape with the empire’s gold. Over five hundred years later, the treasure they’d sworn to protect is found in a West Texas cave, putting anyone near it at great risk.

In the future, no communications are private from the National Security Agency. A group of five must navigate the dangers that follow their discovery; the wrath of a biker gang, hellbent on revenge. A shadow government, wielding the power of highly trained soldiers and the unrelenting artificial intelligence of the world's smartest computer.

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 9.50 out of 10


Plot/Idea: Blood Fortune, set in both the future and the past, is a twisty novel that combines tech, danger, and historical relevance.  The result is a complex and intricate story, with the perfect amount of believable detail to make the events plausible. 

Prose: The author composes precise, impactful language that conveys the story's gravity and reinforces the all-or-nothing drama being played out. The writing is top-notch, employing the perfect balance of description, dialogue, and action.

Originality: The varied and unique settings in this novel—from ancient Aztecs to a future moon that hints at potential alternate life forms—are stunningly crafted and indisputably original. 

Character/Execution: The author is careful to give each character a distinctive voice, and, although the stakes are high for the small group of protagonists, they manage to be relatable and relevant to the story's settings.

Date Submitted: June 26, 2023

Rivers’s ambitious sci-fi thriller debut offers a singular mashup of the historical and the speculative, boldly juggling an expansive cast across two timelines, as the story jumps from 2050s Texas to 1500s Mesoamerica. It all kicks off with struggling Dallas hoverbike maker Max Winston finding himself in serious trouble when he chooses to cancel business with an outlaw motorcycle gang after a brutal murder. He travels down to a recently-bequeathed family ranch with his best friend, Kevin Davidson, hoping to lay low until things die down. But, when the two uncover Aztec gold buried on the grounds, the bikers become the least of Max’s worries—especially when highly trained operatives arrive on the scene, kicking off events that will touch on a shadowy government organization, the world’s smartest computer, and a shocking discovery from beyond our Earth.

Rivers’s technology background shines when detailing the various high-tech advancements and gadgetry of near-future America, including mind control and artificial intelligence, as does his love of history and folklore when engaging with the Aztec subplot. His passions are on clear display as he crashes together high-tech military action, historical fiction, and an explosive thriller committed to the practicalities of making off with “a moving van of gold.” The novel’s long, but it’s got life, pulsing with strong scenes, memorable characters (Minty Jackson, a “private dick” with a way with AR-17s, is a standout), and entirely unpredictable twists.

Inevitably, of course, such a surfeit of ideas at times comes at the expense of narrative momentum and clarity. Chapters set centuries ago may try the patience of some readers, though Rivers shrewdly connects them to the novel’s tense and fascinating present, and each element of the story boasts its own intrigues that ultimately tie into the others. Fans of futuristic high-tech stakes with a historical backbone and bold storytelling leaps will surely be enticed by Rivers’s mysteries, surprises, biker-gang showdowns, and often evocative prose: “The fat moon was like raw meat to the pack of wolves, and they were hungry for the kill.”

Takeaway: Near-future thriller of ancient gold, new tech, and swaggering ambition.

Comparable Titles: Cesar Torres’s 13 Secret Cities, Thomas Harlan’s In the Time of the Sixth Sun series.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: B+

Book Nerdection

Nerdection Rating: “Nerdection Must Read”

Ever wondered what it would be like if you luckily discovered a pot full of gold left by a leprechaun? I assure you it won’t be very nice because some crazy authority or the other will know soon enough and bring trouble. Or so Brock Rivers tells us in his excellent debut mashup of sci-fi and historical fiction, Blood Fortune. Yet there’s a lot more to it than this.

Although I’m not a habitual reader of historical fiction × sci-fi, Blood Fortune managed to be an excellent read for me.

Blood Fortune is told in dual timelines (2057 & 1518), but is mostly narrated in the present, which is another thing I like to have in my books. However, the most superior aspect of the book is the plot, interweaving a commoner’s lucky fortune (or is it unlucky?) with a state-level agenda resulting in bloodshed. Lots and lots of bloodshed.

Moreover, I’d like to take a moment to applaud the vast array of fascinating technology featured in Blood Fortune by Brock Rivers. From combat gears with cloaking technology to cutting-edge spy drones and of course the robust AI system Minerva, I was bamboozled by the sheer magnitude and intricacy with which the author crafted each tech-tool (with words, of course). He described them so well that you could easily compare the experience of reading about them with watching an exhilarating sci-fi movie, because his words can literally paint a vivid picture in your mind.

And that’s not about the technology parts alone, the nail-biting action scenes featured in the Blood Fortune were also done well, and that pays off since there were so many of those: Renegades/Los Cuervos, Max & friends/Renegades, Zolin/enemies, and Zeus’ team/Renegades/other trained assassins. Get ready to immerse in a world of the seemingly near future, but so much closer to the current reality of politics and terrorist groups, and bloodshed for power, that you can’t help but relate to it.

Another fact from Blood Fortune: Gangsters warring for monopolizing an illicit drug business was pretty scary, and a little cool too, the way Rivers narrated it (this reminded me of The Magician’s Thief, although it’s a fantasy, but featured the same kind of high-voltage gang wars). The whole concept of breeding and then controlling an alien creature that is itself capable of controlling others’ minds was terrific too.

And the end? The conclusion of Blood Fortune was of the kind that punches a hole right through you and leaves you staring at the wall. Because surely, it shouldn’t have ended so abruptly… should we expect a sequel? I certainly hope so.

Literary Titan

Literary Titan Rating: 5 Stars

In Blood Fortune, author Brock Rivers masterfully combines the realms of science and historical fiction, resulting in a captivating and engrossing tale. This mesmerizing fusion takes readers on an exhilarating journey through both time and space, unveiling a narrative that is as thrilling as it is thought-provoking.

Set against the backdrop of a time preceding the arrival of Spanish conquerors on the Yucatán shores, the story centers around a select group of formidable Aztec warriors who embark on a momentous mission. Led by their greatest warrior, Zolin, these individuals race against all odds to safeguard the empire’s most prized treasure. Fast forward five centuries, and the long-lost treasure resurfaces in a remote cave located in West Texas. This discovery unwittingly places anyone who dares approach it in grave danger.

In a future where privacy is nothing more than a distant memory, the ever-watchful presence of the National Security Agency looms large, creating an atmosphere of pervasive surveillance. Amidst this surveillance state, an unlikely group of five individuals finds themselves thrust into a perilous predicament. As they navigate the treacherous aftermath of their discovery, they become the prime targets of a relentless biker gang hellbent on exacting revenge. Furthermore, they encounter a shadow government armed with highly trained soldiers and the unrivaled power of the world’s most advanced artificial intelligence.

The seamless integration of historical elements with science fiction constructs a mesmerizing story of intrigue and suspense. Rivers’ storytelling prowess ensures that the narrative unfurls with meticulous precision, keeping readers perpetually on the edge of their seats. The carefully woven plot seamlessly merges the past and the future, presenting a cohesive continuum that immerses readers in a simultaneously recognizable and fantastical world.

Blood Fortune thrives on its dynamic blend of action, suspense, and historical resonance, delivering an exhilarating reading experience. The characters within the story are vividly portrayed, and their motivations and journeys are intensely explored, thus forging a powerful emotional connection between readers and the story. Rivers’ remarkable ability to conjure vivid imagery, whether in the suffocating confines of a clandestine facility or amidst the ethereal beauty of Enceladus, is a testament to the author’s extraordinary descriptive prowess.

With its gripping narrative and skillful portrayal of history and speculative fiction, Blood Fortune is a compelling page-turner offering an immersive reading experience. Enthusiasts of thrilling adventures, intricately plotted narratives, and imaginative storytelling will undoubtedly find themselves captivated by the sheer brilliance of this book.

Online Book Club

Online Book Club Rating: 5 Stars

Blood Fortune by Brock Rivers is a thrilling adventure novel that takes readers on a high-octane journey filled with action, suspense, and hidden treasures. Set against the backdrop of gang warfare and ancient Aztec legends, this book delivers an engaging story that keeps readers hooked from beginning to end.

The story follows Max, the protagonist, who decides to sever ties with a notorious gang called The Renegades, aiming to salvage his custom motorcycle company's tarnished reputation. Seeking refuge, Max and his loyal friend Kevin retreat to Max's great-aunt's ranch, which he was in charge of settling after her passing. Little do they know that the ranch holds secrets that could change their lives forever.

As Max and Kevin explore the vast expanse of the ranch, they stumble upon hidden treasure left behind by the Aztecs centuries ago. Unbeknownst to them, The Renegades—with his kidnapped secretary in tow—are hot on their trail, determined to capture Max. Fortune, however, shines on them when a private operations team ordered to kill everyone has a change of heart and chooses to defend Max and Kevin instead.

One of the highlights of Blood Fortune is the careful balance between the present-day conflicts and the ancient Aztec battles sprinkled throughout the narrative. Rivers masterfully weaves together these two storylines, creating a sense of intrigue and fascination. The integration of Aztec mythology adds depth and richness to the overall plot, enhancing the reading experience and keeping readers captivated.

Rivers' writing style is fluid and engaging, propelling the story forward with well-paced action sequences and vivid descriptions. The characters are well-developed and relatable, allowing readers to become emotionally invested in their journey. Max's determination and resourcefulness, coupled with Kevin's unwavering loyalty, make for a compelling duo that drives the narrative with their resilience and courage.

The book is professionally edited, with only a few minor errors that do not detract from the overall reading experience. The pacing is well executed, balancing moments of tension with quieter interludes, allowing readers to catch their breath before diving back into the thrilling action.

In conclusion, Blood Fortune is an exhilarating adventure novel that combines contemporary gang warfare with ancient Aztec legends to create an enthralling tale of hidden treasure, survival, and redemption. Brock Rivers has crafted a highly entertaining story that will keep readers eagerly turning the pages. With its captivating plot, well-drawn characters, and expertly executed writing, Blood Fortune deserves nothing less than a perfect rating of 5 out of 5 stars. This book is a must-read for fans of action-packed adventures and mysteries. 

Readers' Favorite

Readers' Favorite Rating: 5 Stars

Blood Fortune is a work of fiction in the science fiction, action, and thriller subgenres. It is best suited to mature adult readers owing to the use of explicit language throughout, as well as drugs, sex, and violence. Penned by author Brock Rivers, this high-octane ride takes us on a journey of greed and mystery as we explore ancient Aztec secrets. A team of modern-day adventurers must uncover secrets buried five hundred years in the past, but every discovery brings them onto the radar of dangerous groups determined to either stop them from discovering powerful new intel or to reap the spoils of these discoveries for themselves.

Author Brock Rivers has crafted a non-stop action fest that is dripping with the richness of ancient history, and the novel certainly takes us on a wild ride through various twists, clues, intrigues, and sudden moments of danger. One of the major highlights of the work for me was its atmosphere and the skillful clashes between past and present that give readers an eerie sense of ancient power pitted against modern weapons, AI, and governmental interference. The Aztecs could never have imagined the world which our heroes step into, and their unique backgrounds and multi-skilled approach to the issue make them a crack team of well-selected figures, but this doesn’t mean the journey is easy. There’s a wonderful duality in the dialogue too, which is well-utilized to deliver exposition but also allows us to read between the lines into emotion, drive, and ambition, for better or for worse. Overall, I would certainly recommend Blood Fortune for sci-fi action thriller fans everywhere as an un-put-down-able read.