Embattlement (The Undergrounders #2)
by Norma Hinkens
Publisher: Dunecadia Publishing
Publication Date: February 21st 2016
Genre: YA Dystopian/Sci-fi
Against all odds, Derry and a handful of survivors have escaped the malevolent Doctor Lyong’s clutches, but victory proves bittersweet. No one knows if Owen is dead or alive. The shaky plan to rescue him falls apart when the Council splits over rumors of Owen’s ties to the Craniopolis.
Forced to find new recruits Derry makes the treacherous journey to Shoshane City, home of the mysterious riders. Behind the imposing barricade the city’s leader, Jerome, is hiding secrets. Mutiny and sabotage is afoot and Derry finds herself caught up in a desperate struggle to save the city from being destroyed by The Ghost, a man who swears allegiance to no one. Time is running out to save Owen, and tensions are rising between Jakob and Sven, who may turn out to be a deadly distraction.
Will Derry emerge victorious from the showdown at the Craniopolis, or will the price of freedom mean sacrificing the man she loves?
Someone gives a feeble clap. “Magnificent! A most rousing speech to rally the heathens, Mason!”
My feet fuse to the floor at the raspy voice that wafts into the room. Tucker strains at his collar. I yank him back, my heart pounding.
A shrunken man with an unnatural stoop steps into view. My skin crawls with a new level of fear. My gun’s in the Crematauto, along with the rest of the weapons. I fumble around in my pocket and latch onto my switchblade. A trickle of sweat runs down behind my ears. The man standing in the entry looks freakishly old and frail. Tucker could take him down in a heartbeat, but my brain sounds an inner caution. He probably didn’t come alone.
Before I even finish my thought, the doorway darkens and four armed men in black fatigues troop through. Big-shouldered, faces set like flint on necks thick as tree stumps. Schutz Clones! I tighten my grip on Tucker and command him to stay. One false move and he’ll end up another carcass waiting to be incinerated. He minds me, but tension radiates through his collar.
“Welcome to the Craniopolis,” the old man says. “My apologies for the modest welcoming committee, but your timing is most unfortunate. Everyone is at the unveiling of our new Hovermedes prototype.” His body shakes out a shallow breath, as he shuffles toward me. “Allow me to introduce myself. I am Dr. Lyong.”
I slide my gaze in Mason’s direction. His face registers confusion. Then a flicker of recognition.
“What … happened to you?” he asks, in a half-whisper.
Dr. Lyong jerks to a stop in front of me and lets out a long, trembling sigh. It’s all I can do not to gag. His breath smells of decaying compost.
“Restructuring DNA proved more complex than I had hoped.” Dr. Lyong runs a finger under his beaked nose and waves it dismissively in Mason’s direction. The skin is stretched so tight over his hand I can see the grape-colored veins forking out beneath it. He barely looks human.
I can’t repress a shudder.
About the Author
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Travel junkie, former professional globetrotter, legend lover, idea wrangler. Norma Hinkens has lived, worked and visited her way across continents, soaking up stories along the way. Her writing is influenced by the resilient characters she met along the way; everyone has a story!
Norma grew up among vibrant storytelling traditions in her native Ireland. She’s a legend-loving author who takes a fiendish delight in pushing reluctant characters over cliffs to find out what they’re made of. Epic odds, seemingly impossible missions, pasts that haunt, intrigue and misadventure. She’s happiest when wrangling provocative big picture ideas that are never black and white when you turn them inside out. It’s all about the tension in the journey.
She currently resides in California with her husband, three children and Chihuahua extraordinaire. She is the author of the YA post-apocalyptic Undergrounders Series: Immurement, Embattlement and Adjudgement.