Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic
Isabella Biedenharn
December 20, 2016 AT 11:44 AM EST

Blade star Wesley Snipes is trying his hand at a new medium: He’s written a novel, Talon of God, with co-author Ray Norman, and EW has your first sneak peek at the cover and an excerpt.

“My creativity has largely played out in film and television — but I’ve always had a desire to write a book,” Snipes tells EW. “Collaborating, crafting, creating this novel, Talon of God, was a new and exciting experience for me… and I can’t wait to see if this story finds life in other forms. I hope all the people who enjoyed my films will appreciate the story I’m trying to tell in Talon of God. Ray Norman and I worked hard to write a book that would be compelling to the wide audience of people who love action and adventure.”

Talon of God hits shelves July 25, 2017. Check out our preview, below:

Excerpt from Talon of God by Wesley Snipes and Ray Norman

“Wait,” she said, looking around in confusion. “Where did—”

She cut off as one of the wheeled beds in the corner rattled and slid sideways. That was all the warning Lauryn got before the man exploded toward her, leaping off the floor between the beds like a tiger. It happened so fast, she didn’t even have time to scream. She just dove sideways, knocking Will out of the way as well as the man flew past where they’d been to land in the cluster of terrified staff behind them.

What happened after was a maelstrom of bodies and blood and screams. All around the room, bloody eyed patients were ripping themselves out of their beds and turning on the hospital staff like ravenous lions. The nurses tried to run, but the room was too crowded and the panic slowed them down, making them easy prey for the gray skinned monsters their patients had become. By the time Lauryn had pushed herself off Will, the screams were competing with the unmistakable sound of tearing flesh. The sound alone was enough to make even Lauryn want to vomit. That was what she was concentrating on when something grabbed her and yanked her off the floor.

The moment the hand closed around her arm, she began to fight, flailing wildly in an effort to keep whatever it was away.

“Stop,” commanded a familiar voice. “It’s me.”

Lauryn blinked at the sound and looked up to see Talon standing over her, sword in hand.

It was a sign of just how messed up this whole situation was that the sight of a crazy man with a gleaming blade was almost enough to make her cry with relief. If things had been less dire, she would have, but Lauryn was too busy to break down right now.

“We have to get out of here!” she cried, grabbing his sleeve. “They’re changing like Lenny!”

“They are,” Talon agreed. “But we can’t run.”

Why do you always say that?” she hissed as Talon reached down to grab Will next. “This isn’t like under the bridge. Running is the only plan. We’re facing a full blown outbreak!”

She didn’t realize how true those words were until she said them. All around the room, the bitten victims, including the tech she’d bandaged less than a minute earlier, were pulling themselves up from where they’d fallen. They rose like marionettes, their bodies cracking and bending at unnatural angles.

“You know, running is starting to sound like a great idea,” Will said, glancing backwards at the heavy fire doors where all the medical staff lucky enough to be away from the beds when the situation had gone to hell were currently fighting each other to get out. “Let’s—”

“We have to stay here,” Talon said, his voice firm. “Look at them. They’re hunters. If we run, they’ll chase, and then there’ll be nothing to stop them from infecting the whole hospital.”

“Oh, come on!” Will yelled. “That’s bullshit. They’re druggies, not zombies.”

Lauryn wasn’t so sure about that. By this point, most of the hospital staff who could run had done so, fleeing through the fire doors down the hall that led to the elevators. Behind them, the patients were in hot pursuit, their crooked bodies becoming more graceful—more predatory—with every step they took. It was like seeing the birth of a new kind of hunter in slow motion, and as she watched it go down, Lauryn realized—in one way at least-Talon was absolutely right. Whatever happened, whatever was actually going on here, they could not let those things get up to the rest of the patients in the main hospital. She was still trying to figure out how to do that when a fresh chorus of screams rang out from the hall as the fleeing workers were taken down. This was followed by a few seconds of eerie silence, and then the creatures reappeared, stalking back inside the ward toward Lauryn, Will, and Talon.

The only prey left.

“That’s it,” Will said, raising his gun. “We need to run now. Stick close to me. We’ll take the fire escape up to the street and—”

“No!” Lauryn said, grabbing his arm. “Talon’s right. We can’t run.”

Will’s face went blank in disbelief. Lauryn couldn’t blame him. They were now the only unchanged people left in the giant ward filled with…she didn’t even know what to call them. Monsters felt wrong, but they were definitely no longer human.

She scanned the room once more. At this point, every one of the original patients who’d been brought in had torn themselves off their gurneys. The rest of the medical staff—both the ones who’d run and those who’d been caught before they could—were down on the ground, but a few of the bodies were already twitching, their bloody eyes flying open in that horrified expression Lauryn had come to dread. The first ones were starting to rise, their gray, corpse-colored bodies slowly taking on the terrifying and oddly inhuman predator movement she’d seen before. Soon enough, they’d realize they didn’t need to chase these three, and then the attack would come.

Under any other circumstances, that would have been cause for panic. Now though, with seven floors of vulnerable patients waiting above them, it gave Lauryn an idea.

“We can’t let them get upstairs,” she whispered, gripping Will’s arm as hard as she could. “We have to keep them down here somehow.”

“Are you crazy?” Will hissed. “We can’t stay here!”

“They haven’t attacked us yet,” she pointed out. An observation that made no sense now that she thought about it. “I wonder—”

“It’s the sword,” Talon said quietly, gripping the bright blade in his hands. “Demons are cowardly by nature. They only attack when they think they can win.”

“Yeah, well, you might want to check the odds on that,” Will muttered, clutching his gun. “’Cause they seem to be getting less afraid by the second.”

He was right. The longer they stood without attacking, the bolder the changed patients became. Already, they were inching forward, surrounding the three of them in a ring of red eyes and long teeth. If they didn’t move soon, they’d be cornered completely. The problem was if running upstairs wasn’t an option, Lauryn didn’t know where to go. Other than the fire doors, the burn ward didn’t even have other rooms save for the bathrooms in the hall and the pharmaceutical closet at the room’s far end. The one with reinforced, key locked door designed to protect hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of prescription medication…

Right.

“Follow me!” she cried, pushing off the wall.

“Follow you where?” Will yelled as Talon ran after her. “Lauryn!

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