Darin Kennedy, born and raised in Winston-Salem, NC, is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine. After completing family medicine residency in the mountains of Virginia, he served eight years as a United States Army physician and wrote his first novel in the sands of northern Iraq.

His first published novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle, was born from a fusion of two of his lifelong loves: classical music and world mythology. The Stravinsky Intrigue continues those same themes, and his Fugue & Fable series culminates in The Tchaikovsky Finale. His The Pawn Stratagem contemporary fantasy series, Pawn's Gambit, Queen's Peril, and King's Crisis combines contemporary fantasy, superheroics, and the ancient game of chess. His YA novel is Carol, a modern-day retelling of A Christmas Carol billed as Scrooge meets Mean Girls. His short stories can be found in numerous anthologies and magazines, and the best, particularly those about a certain Necromancer for Hire, are collected for your reading pleasure under Darin's imprint, 64Square Publishing.

Doctor-by-day and novelist-by-night, he writes and practices medicine in Charlotte, NC. When not engaged in either of the above activities, he has been known to strum the guitar, enjoy a bite of sushi, and rumor has it he even sleeps on occasion. Find him online at darinkennedy.com.

Pawn's Gambit by Darin Kennedy


Until the sultry brunette in the little black dress did her best to incinerate him.

Yesterday was just another day at the office for Steven. Today, he is the White Pawn, a combatant in a nightmarish game of chess where people are the pieces and the world is at stake. To survive the deadly Black Queen, Steven must rush to gather the rest of his Pieces:

The Knight, a grieving teenage boy caught up in a web of gang violence.

The Queen, a young woman at death's door, her body ravaged by leukemia.

The Bishop, a disgraced priest haunted by visions of the Game.

The Rook, a suicidal drunk reeling atop a storm-ridden skyscraper.

But Steven isn't the only one looking for the remainder of the White, as the Black Queen already has her Pieces assembled, and they are on the hunt…



  • "This book is big fun urban fantasy, a page turner with engaging characters and an exciting plot line built on the solid framework of a great concept—a game of chess played out in the real world by real people to maintain the balance of the universe. But you know what I liked best? This first in series is a complete novel all by itself with a strong through line and satisfying resolution."

    – Amazon review
  • "Author Darin Kennedy, who is establishing himself as a master of fantasy (see his book "The Mussorgsky Riddle"), combines his unique style of storytelling with an intricate knowledge of chess strategy to create a compelling plot complemented by diverse characters and vibrant imagery. Chess aficionados and fantasy fans should grab this book as fast as they can…"

    – Amazon reviewe
  • "So well done. Everyone will love this! Every moment is exciting and will keep you turning pages well into the night."

    – Amazon reviewe



Up the street where no one had been seconds before, the woman in black bore down on him. Like a dark swan on a placid lake, she glided effortlessly down the sidewalk faster than Steven would have thought possible for a woman in heels. Frozen to the spot, he watched helplessly as she drew closer and did his best to ignore the impossible fact his senses screamed was true.

Her feet weren't touching the ground.

She lit on the opposite corner and inclined her head to one side as she had done in the club. Her eyes narrowed as they met Steven's. Gone was the Hollywood smile, replaced by a mask of utter disdain. The face of a killer.

At a snap of her fingers, obsidian flames flared to life at Steven's feet. He leaped backwards half a second before the already shattered concrete beneath him erupted in dark fire. Failing two attempts at scaling the twelve feet of chain link and barbed wire, he chanced upon a torn section of fence, scuttled under and took off across the concrete slab. The only footsteps he heard were his own, but after the way he'd seen his pursuer move, Steven found little comfort in the dead stillness.

Halfway across the maze of steel and concrete, he chanced a single glance across his shoulder and confirmed he was again alone. He stopped for a moment to catch his breath and took cover behind a pile of rubble. He perked his ears for any hint of his pursuer. Hearing nothing but his own raspy breathing, he rose from his hiding place only to find the woman in black waiting in the moonlight.

"Steven, Steven, Steven. Are you really going to make me chase you all night?" Her smile had returned, though in the darkness it more resembled the bared teeth of a predator closing in for the kill. "And here I thought you and I had real potential."