Saturday, 13 December 2014
KYRATHABA RISING by William Bryan Miller
I received a copy of Kyrathaba Rising in exchange for an honest review and I have to say that when the second part of this book becomes available, I will be there to get my purchased copy. There are so many good ideas in Kyrathaba Rising by William Bryan Miller that it is hard to pin down which is the more interesting.
The book starts off with a cold open than introduces us to this dystopian world inhabited by Sethra and Byron, survivors of an alien invasion that leaves Planet Earth a radioactive wasteland. As a result, the survivors have been driven to an isolated subterranean existence with no idea if they are all that's left of humanity. While the trope of nuclear destruction may be quite common, what is unique is the manner in which the aliens exterminate the bulk of the human population. With our reliance on social media and electronic devices, how we may be wiped out by an alien intelligence is not only chilling but surprisingly plausible.
While the main plot of Kyrathaba deals with the new world that Sethra and Byron discovers and how it may well be humanity's salvation, there is also an equally compelling story in the way the A-3 bunker conducts its day to day business. The author paints the picture of a society that is almost if not more interesting than Kyrathaba itself. The balance between the two realities is quite expert as the riddles Sethra faces is weaved in spectacularly into the book's third act. From this point on, the dystopian tale I was reading became a sweeping saga with ambitions concepts.
Although the book begins with Sethra and Byron, Kyrathaba Rising is really an ensemble piece. We're introduced to several residents of A-3 but it is Dr. Mephford, Grant Thompson and for a brief time, Dr. Hazard that really stand out. From Dr. Mephford's strategic management of A-3 to a riveting first contact situation with Grant, these characters leap off the page and command your attention right to the end. My personal favorite was Dr. Mephford.
My only complaint is that I received a copy of Kyrathaba Rising as an Audible book and I found the performance of the narrator a little difficult to follow because she speaks a little too quickly. It makes absorbing the technical components of the book difficult but I solved this problem by slowing down the speed. She does get better as the book progresses and by the third act, the narration has evolved beautifully.
This is a fantastic book in the vein of of Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clark with a dash of William Gibson. Telling you why would be spoiling the book because there are some excellent twists. The story is well written with great attention to detail, particularly in the description of how A-3 operations and the suspense artfully delivered. There is also some lovely Lord of the Rings references. By the time the book reaches the end, reader's appetite is properly wetted for the next installment.
I recommend this book to those who love hard science-fiction, a well-paced story as well as character studies. Kyratha Rising is an epic read that is only just getting started.
Monday, 1 December 2014
After taking revenge on a drug lord and his crew for murdering his sister, John Hunter is a wanted man. It’s 2030 and in the aftermath of the great plague, John makes his way to Haven, craving sanctuary and peace but instead runs into a rogue religious group who wants to play God even as they run rife with corruption. But they haven’t counted on meeting big bad John who’s meaner than they could ever be. And just when they think they’ve put him out of their misery, he’s resurrected from his hospital bed and hell hath no fury like a hunter scorned…who’s become a devil with a cause!
HUNTER’S HAVEN is an action packed thriller that grabs you by the throat and won’t let go until the end of the book. To miss this incredible adventure would be criminal! Get your copy today and enjoy the read of a lifetime!
This is an excerpt from Hunter's Haven, due for release on December 21st via Amazon and Smashwords.
"Casey and Lopez checked in yet?" Othello Price demanded.
Omar Phelps lowered the cell phone from his ear. His expression grim as he shook his head, jaw ticking as he formulated the best way to deliver his answer. In the end, he realized there was no best way, just the only way.
"No and they're not going to. Jacey, who’s working the strip around the corner from Lockweed, says they got hit hard. The whole building is up in flames. She doesn’t think they made it out."
"FUCK!" Othello swore, swiping all the contents of his desk to the floor in a burst of uncharacteristic rage. An assortment of objects clattered against the Persian rug—books, pens, papers and a tablet cracked on impact. He kicked the chair to its back before turning around to face Omar again.
"How many is that now?" He panted, fighting to compose himself again. His fists were clenched as he stared into the green felt on the oak desktop, trying to wrap his mind around how this could be happening at all.
"Twenty-two dead so far," Omar tried to hide his own fear at the storm coming their way. "We can't be sure of the exact number at Lockweeds. We know a couple of guys who haven't checked in yet."
Twenty-two men, all dead. Shot, burned, stabbed or killed in some equally gruesome fashion. Everyone he'd sent out to deal with the situation did not come back. When Dwyer bought it at the Sin Kitty Club, the night was young but that was hours ago. As the hours ticked by, as more and more of his guys were hit. Some in their homes, others were at the various businesses owned by the Triple C and some while their dicks were in their girlfriends' snatches.
It began to dawn on Othello he had crossed a line and he crossed the line with the wrong cop.
The fucking war hero was coming.
"How many guys we got around here?"
"Thirteen," Omar answered, still recovering from the realization that Othello, the baddest motherfucker he knew, was scared. "Four on the roof, three at the gates and the rest patrolling the house. There ain't no way that psycho cop is getting in here. We got eyes on the ground. He'll never get past the gate. Lamonte is watching the cameras."
"Good," Othello was grateful his young cousin was not in the front line so to speak. An hour ago, he did something he never imagined he would do. He sent Mona and the kids out of the city to her folks in Indiana. He didn't know if the cop would hurt them or not but he wasn't risking it. The cop wasn’t just killing members of his crew. He was killing anyone who worked for Triple C. Pimps, mules, dealers, cooks and soldiers. He didn't seem to care if they were male or female. If they were Triple C, they died.
"Don't worry Theo," Omar assured him, using that old nickname from back in the days when they use to run together as kids. "We'll get him."
"Yeah," Othello grunted and walked over to the liquor cabinet and retrieving a bottle of scotch from inside of it. He didn't pour himself a glass, taking a healthy swig of it because he wanted the liquor to burn its way down his throat.
"All this over his bitch sister," Omar commented going over to the leather sofa before lowering himself into it.
Othello tensed. He didn't want to think about the girl.
Mention of her dredged up the memories of the brunette they dragged off her college campus three days ago. Her brother was one of those cops who couldn't be intimidated or bribed. Fucking Captain America who came from the war thinking it meant shit in the real world. Othello wanted to show him how touchable he was, just like Charles Martin Smith in that old movie with Kevin Costner.
They had her for almost a day in one of his warehouses, him and four of his boys. Omar included. She was a real looker too, long legs, brown hair and a killer body. They took turns at her because she was so fucking sweet and because it would drive big brother crazy. She'd screamed and wailed as they tore into her body, smacking her good and bloody when she made too much noise.
Yet through it all, she didn't break. The bitch didn't fucking break. Even after they'd left her bleeding and naked, covered in their jizz, he remembered the look in her eyes, the defiance as she stared at him. She smiled with teeth broken and covered in blood and said to him without fear.
"He's going to kill all of you for this."
It was the last thing she said before he put a bullet in her head.
It pissed him off she hadn't begged, not once. Not even when they were violating her. She cried and she screamed when they hurt her but she didn't beg. That defiance infuriated him, made him think she’d deserved more pain, more desecration. So he told his boys to send her back to her brother, special delivery.
They sent her back in pieces.
Othello thought the cop was finished. No one came back from a thing like that. The leader of Triple C was confident the cop would rage and curse but that was all he could because unlike Charles Martin Smith, he and his crew were untouchable. In this world where the law was breaking down, he and his guys were the new reality. The cop bore no proof they were responsible and even if he did, there wasn't anyone in Chicago brave enough to come after the Triple C. They were invulnerable.
Or so Othello thought.
Something caught his eye through the window of the study. He winced as the light overloaded his retinas. Blinking the spots out of his eyes, twin strobes glared at him through the front gates. He strode over to the desk, he opened the top drawer and retrieved his gun, a Glock, and went to investigate.
"What's going on?" He heard Omar ask but ignored him. Before he reached the glass, gunfire broke out and dropped to his knees. Omar dove for the floor behind him. The rat-tat-tat of an assault rifle filled the air before bullets riddled the window above his head. Glass shattered and he was driven behind the cover of the desk.
Only when he took refuge behind the sturdy safety of oak did he dare look up again and this time, he saw the sentries at the gate were firing blankly at the strobes that just so happened to be headlights rushing at them. Not from a car though, he thought. They sat too far apart and too high off the ground.
The cement truck tore through the steel gates like paper, crumpling one and tearing the other off its hinges. The gates tumbled off the hood as if it had been swiped aside by its wipers. Two of his men, Naf and Elroy were mowed down as the vehicle accelerated. The third leap out of the way, only to be cut down by a barrage of gunfire from the driver's side.
Footsteps pounded over his head, the guys on the roof were running into position and he imagined the racket would bring the others patrolling the grounds. The truck rolled down the paved driveway before stopping short of the house, idling.
The door swung open without warning and the faint shape of a body seemed to be taking cover as the guys on the roof opened fire. The driver didn’t respond and lost in the sound of MAC-10s was a single burst of sound, like a champagne cork popping. With that single sound, the driver retreated into the safety of the cabin even as bullets pinged against the steel.
The explosion that followed rocked the house to its foundations. Screams tore through his ears as one of his men went over the side, landing on the grass near his window. His back was a mess of burnt flesh and fabric. It was difficult to tell which was which. He landed with a sickly thud, body still flaming but still.
"What the fuck was that?" Omar stared at the ceiling. Pieces of mortar had broken off in chunks and concrete dust was coming through freshly made cracks.
"I think the fucker used a rocket launcher!" Othello shouted getting to his feet.
Another burst of gunfire erupted as the men patrolling the grounds circled the house, closing in on the truck. Before they could get close enough, the side passenger door swung open once again.
"GET CLEAR!" Othello rant to the window and screamed. "GET CL...!"
He never finished the sentence because of another loud pop and this time, the grenade landed in the middle of the group. The explosion sent dirt and smoke in all direction. More screams followed the pop and whistle of another grenade being launched. The explosion landed closer to the house because once again the walls shuddered and the smoke and flames became more prolific. It was only the size of the place keeping him and Omar alive in the study.
As the lights died around the house, another eruption of gunfire filled the air. The large calibre shells being fired from behind the shield of the door ripped apart the remaining Triple C soldiers who hadn't been killed by the second grenade. The bodies of the dead or wounded, he'd never know were also riddled with stray gunfire as if the cop wanted to make sure they didn't get up.
"Jesus!" Lamonte stumbled into the room, "Theo! We need to get you out of here! That grenade took out all our guys on the roof."
The gunfire stopped abruptly and Othello ran to the window. The driver retreating into the cabin of the truck and gunned engine once more. The wheels spun in place, smoking up the driveway with the stench of burn rubber. The bullet had killed the lights outside but one of the truck's headlights remained and it glared into the house like a searching eye.
"Fuck this!" Othello growled and stomped to the front door. He wasn't going to wait for the crazy son of a bitch to come back at him. The door flung open and he stood beneath the portico and started shooting at the windscreen. The bullets of his .457 exploded out of the magnum, killing the headlight and what remained of the frosted glass.
"Your sister was such a good thing to fuck!" Othello taunted. "You should have heard her howl! She was begging for more by the time we were done!"
The wheels continued to spin even after the windscreen was gone. Through the darkness, he tried to see the driver but there didn't seem to be anybody at the wheel. What the fuck? Othello thought. Where was the war hero?
He had no sooner asked the question when suddenly the truck lurched forward, the wheels creating a loud screech. It roared forward, quickly escaping the drive way and ruining the manicured lawn. Othello squinted, trying to glimpse who was driving but as the truck rumbled towards the walkway leading up the porch, he was driven backwards into the house.
"Run!" He warned seconds before the truck smashed through the front porch, smashing through columns and bringing down the balcony. Masonry and wood clattered against the huge cement as it became wedged in the ruined doorway and buckled the walls against the study. The grill stopped short of the staircase upstairs.
Carlo and Meacham, the last of his soldiers still standing appeared, coming through the kitchen. They had been furthest out and thus spared the death that had come to the others on the front lawn. They opened fire, bathing the cabin with a murderous barrage of artillery. They maintained the relentless assault for an eternity, covering the dented front of the truck with so many holes the engines no longer ran. It died with pitiful final roar diminishing into weak rumble before stopping for good.
"Is he fucking dead?" Omar stepped forward, making sure Othello was behind him as he, Carlo and Meacham closed in.
"If he ain't dead," Carlo snorted, "he'd be wishing he was right about now."
Meacham, one of the few Caucasians in the Triple C, approached the driver's door first, nodding at Carlo to cover him as he pulled it open. The bullet ridden door swung open and Meacham peered in, expecting to find a body as ruined as the truck but the cabin was empty. A baseball bat was wedged against the accelerator.
The last thing Meacham noticed before the truck exploded taking Carlo and Omar with him was the man standing on the walkway to the house in the leather duster.
Othello had started running as soon as he heard the sound of the weapon discharging. He had tried to warn Omar and Lamonte but there wasn't enough time. The fireball swept through the house and he took comfort in the fact Omar’s death was quick. Lamonte was not so lucky. Othello stared at his cousin as he flung himself through the window was the fire sweeping over Lamonte, bathing him in flames.
He landed on the grass outside, scrambling backwards as he saw Lamonte flaying about in agony, his entire body breathed in fire. His screams were barely audible through the roar of the fire and he gagged realising the stench belonged to Lamonte's cooking flesh.
"LAMONTE!" Othello screamed. There were tears in his eyes not just from the smoke or seeing his house, the one he'd had built for Mona and the kids, crumbling before his eyes. The lawn which he had so enjoyed walking across in his bare feet was covered in debris from the explosions and the pieces of men were once his friends.
By now Lamonte had tumbled to the ground, disappearing in the blaze. The fire was out of control now and the heat so intense Othello was unable to stay where he was. Backing away, he started to get up when something moved at the edge of his vision. Still clutching his gun, he whirled around sharply only to cry out in pain when a boot caught him in the jaw. Reeling in pain, he fell against the grass and attempt to raise his hand. The same boot came down on his wrist, driving it into the ground forcing him to relinquish the weapon.
"FUCK YOU!" Othello cursed through the broken fragments of teeth.
He was answered by the butt of a rifle, this one shattering his nose. Othello uttered a scream, one hand flying to his face as the pain flared across his skull and warm blood flowed down his lips and chin. He opened his eyes to look and saw the same gun, now flipped over, the barrel held poised at his forehead.
"Come on war hero," Othello sneered as he stared into the cop's face. "Do it! Pull the trigger! Ain't gonna bring your bitch sister back is it?"
The cop shifted the barrel of the gun away from his forehead and fired.
Othello uttered a scream as the single bullet tore into his shoulder. He collapsed on the grass, as the pain tore through him. He didn't have time to recover because no sooner than one shot had stopped ringing in his head, another shot rang out and he was screaming again. His knee shattered and he lay on the grass writhing.
Panting hard, trying to regain some measure of dignity despite his pain, he glared at the cop with hate filled eyes. "Just do it! You fucking coward! Get it over with!"
The cop, the war hero, stared at him with dark eyes. There was no trace of grief, no sign of the fury provoking this night of carnage. Just dead, dark eyes boring into him, like he was a ghost already. Reaching into the duster, he retrieved a plastic bottle from his pocket and began squirting its contents at Othello.
The stuff smelled and it burned.
"What the fuck!" Othello glared at him and realized what he being doused with.
It was acetone.
"Fuck you war hero!!" The leader of the Triple C screamed as it dawned on him his final fate. "I'm glad I fucked your sister! Glad I sent her to you in a doggy bag!" He ranted as the cop emptied the bottle's contents all over him.
The cop reacted to none of this except to toss the bottle aside when he was done.
"Go to hell!" He shouted when he saw the lighter in the cop's hand.
"Probably will," John Hunter spoke for the first time. "But not before I make a stop in Gary, Indiana. You know where that is, don't you?"
Jesus, Mona and the kids!
He opened his mouth to plead but he never got the chance. The lighter flicked to life in the cop's hand a second before it was tossed at him.
After that, Othello Jones was beyond thinking about anything.
Soon to be available on Amazon. On sale on the 21t Dcember 2014 through Amaxon on