Hell's Guard is the second book in the Two Edged Saga, by Andy Wright. It takes place in the Emergence Era of the Lower Knight timeline. It has only be released in small galley proof runs.
At the end of Fall and Rise, a massive counter-attack from the Three Corps Army leaves the Lower Knights as a whole disheartened and many of them dead in the desert.
Preparations are made to invade the ancient, mountain-fortress of Kritdanar (translates to Hell's Guard in Ancient), where a massive garrison of the Three Corps are located.
A massive up-build in weaponry begins, which leads to the Lower Knights making an alliance with the son of a crime syndicate, Luke Machana.
Will and his friends, including John "Nat" Nataka and John Everett, promote rapidly due to the loss of officers during the initial counter-attack in the desert. In the midst of all this, Will continues to persue Liz. Unfortunately, she's also being courted by Luke Machana. The situation becomes more complext when Liz becomes pregnant with Luke's child.
At the climax there is a massive, region-wide battle. The Lower Knights take Kritdanar but suffer great losses. The entire city of Knee-Kay is lost to the control of Luke Machana. A difficult agreement of peace is formed between him and the Lower Knights.
In Two Edge, the Lower Knights act as a major militia force for most cities. For some, they are the only police and military they have. As a result, they have significant government financing. The technological acceleration that takes place during the events in this story is extreme, leading to extremely powerful weapons that throw off the balance of power to a significant extent.
The primary weapons of war had formerly been high-temperature particle weapons. The ingenuity of this time shifts this entirely to ceramic-cartridge-propelled living-gold projectiles. While not in and of itself a huge breakthrough, this melding of conventional weapons with duedamus-based weaponry opens a door toward the development of technologies that will soon flood the momentary-ignorant world with jealousy.
Luke Machana utilizes this imbalance through obtaining control of a large majority of weaponry and ammunition.
While not the romantic coming together he'd hoped for, Will and Liz end up together, but it is partly out of him promising to tell the highly tranditional order of the Lower Knights that he is the father of her illegitamate child. This is done to protect the child from Luke by keeping him from knowing it is his.