Death is only the beginning of the adventure — The IX by @WestonAndrew #books #scifi


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Title: The IX

Author: Andrew P. Weston

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

Book Blurb:

Roman legionaries, far from home, lost in the mists of Caledonia.

 
A US cavalry company, engaged on a special mission, vital to the peace treaty proposed by Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln.

 
A twenty-first century Special Forces unit, desperate to prevent a nuclear catastrophe.

 
From vastly different backgrounds, these soldiers are united when they are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing. Thinking they may have been granted a reprieve, imagine their horror when they discover they have been transported to a failing planet on the far side of the galaxy, where they are given a simple ultimatum. Fight or die. Against all odds, this group of misfits manages to turn the tide against a relentless foe, only to discover the true cost of victory might exact a price they are unwilling to pay.

 
How far would you be willing to go to stay alive?

 
The IX.

 
Sometimes, death is only the beginning of the adventure.

 

 

 

Excerpt:

The domed Hall of Remembrance was vast. Despite its size, the chamber had been cunningly designed to amplify sound. Doctor Ayria Solram’s steps rang out clearly as she walked toward a huge cenotaph-like structure that had been constructed in the exact center of the room, opposite a set of massive windows. Clicking off into the furthest reaches of the auditorium, her footfalls echoed twice about the room before fading.

 

Over fifty pairs of eyes followed her closely. That wasn’t surprising. At forty years of age, Ayria cut an imposing figure. Standing well over six feet tall, she matched the stature of most of the men now staring at her in wide-eyed admiration. Ayria wore her waist length, midnight blue hair in a no-nonsense braid which didn’t hide the fact that her mane was glorious. Curling over her shoulder and across her torso like a well-fed python, it captured attention whenever she moved.

 

Her smooth, softly tanned skin and dark eyes were in stark contrast to the sterile white lab coat she wore. Nevertheless, the overall effect was striking.

 

Indicating the monument with a sweep of her arms, she said, “Now, this should be of particular interest to you. This is called the Reverence.”

 

All faces turned to study the twenty-foot high monolith. Fashioned from a richly veined slab of rock, it appeared to be seamless, and resonated gently from all four sides with a softly pulsing, blue phosphorescence. The top of the structure was formed into a trapezoid, upon which rested a glowing sphere.

 

Aryia pointed to it. “The light you see is not just a power source. It’s also an indicator, intimately linked to the life energies of every living soul currently residing on Arden. Your esoteric signatures were added shortly after you arrived here, and as you can see, the device is glowing with a gentle aquamarine radiance.”

 

Gesturing around the outer edge of the hall, she drew the crowd’s attention to a number of astonishing bas-reliefs which had been cut directly into the fabric of the wall. Stretching from floor to ceiling, each was of a similar size and gave the impression that the open leaves of a gigantic tome had been superimposed onto the rock.

 

A small dais had been erected before each frieze, upon which an artifact or plaque had been positioned, highlighted by a softly humming radiance.

 

“Are those the names of refugees I can see on the pages?” Marcus Brutus asked, astonished by the sheer volume of people who had been taken from their homes.

 

“I’m afraid not,” Ayria replied. “While it is true that the Architect has relocated literally thousands of us over the years, the lists you see here represent our dear brothers and sisters who have fallen to the Horde.”

 

A palpable shock ran through the entire group.

 

“Are you serious?” spluttered James Houston. “But there are . . . thousands. How many names are up there, lady?”

 

“Just Ayria, please. Or Doctor. In answer to your question, the sacrifice of over twenty-one thousand souls has been recorded here. When someone dies, the Reverence registers the missing life force and turns red for an entire day. It also burns their name into a corresponding page.”

 

“Holy God!” Houston  turned to stare at a young cavalry officer standing next to him. Addressing him, Houston whispered, “We’ve got to stick together, Wilson. Just you and me. Watch each other’s backs.”

 

Some of the other men standing close by glared at the pair in disdain.

 

“If I may ask a question, Ayria?” Marcus interjected. “How is it that I, a humble soldier of Rome, can read and understand this writing? I recognize it as a form I have never witnessed before, yet I find myself comprehending its meaning almost instantly.”

 

“That’s due to nanotechnology,” Ayria replied. Walking toward him, she tapped the side of her own head. “Remember, the avatars explained something of the process we use here. Because a great many people are being brought together from across time, the Ardenese had to make sure we understood each other clearly. Even a single language can change radically during the course of many centuries, so they thought it best we were educated in theirs. They were a very advanced people, socially as well technologically. And because they had employed the use of artificial intelligence as a means to educate themselves for a number of decades prior to their fall, they realized the best way to help us was to adapt those tiny little machines for our use. They’re inside our brains right now, teaching us and allowing us to learn new things at a greatly accelerated rate.”

 

Marcus frowned.

 

“Have I confused you?”

 

“No, my lady, not at all. I look bewildered because I can grasp the sense of what you’re saying . . .” He turned to look about him in wonder, “. . . and yet, this is all so very strange to me.”

 

Marcus glanced toward his compatriots and shrugged. Like him, Flavius and their fellow legionnaires were still finding the adjustments difficult to cope with. They were warriors, and unaccustomed to such godlike contrivances.

 

An awkward silence ensued.

 

Seizing the moment, Mac stepped forward. “I take it each engraving represents an actual influx of candidates?”

 

A sea of faces turned to look at him. Until now, Mac and his men had kept themselves apart, content to stand quietly to one side with a group of stoic Native Americans. However, Mac had noticed how each of the lists was arranged. Pointing to the wall, he continued, “There are nine open books along the circumference. One is blank, so that must indicate us, as no one is dead yet. Therefore, the other eight obviously refer to those who have come and gone before us, yes?”

 

“Very astute. Lieutenant Alan McDonald, isn’t it?”

 

 

Buy Links:

Audio

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/IX-Book-1/dp/B01MCZ7XEU/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1478062836&sr=8-1

Audible http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-IX-Audiobook/B01MCZ83B8/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1478545349&sr=1-1

 

Digital and Print

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/IX-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00RM54QBA/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1477728328&sr=8-1&keywords=The+IX

Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/IX-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00RM54QBA/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477728420&sr=8-1&keywords=the+ix

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-ix-andrew-p-weston/1121115575?ean=9780986414008

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/The-IX/53402841

 

andrew-weston-2016

 

Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is an ex-military ex-police expat from the UK who now lives with a large amount of cats in a medium sized house on a small Greek Island.

 

An astronomy and law graduate, he has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society, the British Science Fiction Association and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

 

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.andrewpweston.com/

 

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WestonAndrew

 

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/andrewweston/

 

Andrew P. Weston Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

The IX Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

 

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Fight or Die! Bestselling The IX Series by @WestonAndrew #FridayReads #SFF #books


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Title: The IX Series

Author: Andrew P. Weston

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

The IX Series – Blurb:

What could unite a Roman Legion and the Caledonian army they are fighting?

 

Or a US Cavalry Company with the Native American tribes arrayed against them?

 

How about a highly trained and motivated Special Forces unit and the terrorists they have been sent to wipe out at all costs?

 

Yes…

 

What could such a diverse and mutually aggressive group possibly have in common?

 

Arden – and the Horde, that’s what!

 

Arden, home to a culture that has existed for thousands of years and which spans dozens of worlds. Regardless, their sophistication cannot prevent calamity at the hands of an unstoppable nemesis. Known only as the Horde, this enemy has proven relentless. They have not only stripped the outer colonies bare, but now threaten the existence of the entire Ardenese way of life.

 

Realizing there is nothing they can do to prevent the inevitable march toward extinction, the Ardenese governing body comes to a drastic decision. They gather together at their capital city, Rhomane, and place their remaining genetic heritage in a vast underground ark, in the care of an advanced AI construct called the Architect. Its mission? To use Rhomane’s dwindling reserves and safeguard their race by reaching out across time and space toward those who might be in a position to help reseed a devastated world at some time in the future.

 

That’s how soldiers from varying eras and vastly different backgrounds find themselves together. Snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing they are transported to the far side of the galaxy. Thinking they have been granted a reprieve, their relief turns to horror when they discover they face a simple but stark ultimatum:

 

Put aside your former animosities and preconceptions in order to survive. Yes…

 

Fight or die!

 

How does this group of mismatched and antagonistic misfits fare?

 

Do they survive?

 

Find out for yourselves, in The IX Series.

 

Like them, you’ll discover death is only the beginning of an incredible adventure.

 

 

Excerpt:

For as far as his eye could see, the endless tide of rabid hunger continued to advance. They came pouring into the valley from all sides, and the entire basin was soon filled with seething, shrieking monstrosities of every conceivable shape and form. Not one of them stood under two decans in height.

 

Nearing their goal, the leading entities of the Horde howled with malice and leaped forward. Dashing their bodies against the augmented might of the battlements seemed pointless to Sariff, for the attackers achieved nothing but to spend their vitality in a blaze of explosive fury. Yet the utter futility resulting from their lack of imagination did nothing to lessen their frenzy. In spite of their comrades’ fate, wave after wave of them continued throwing themselves to their deaths in wanton abandon. So great did the overwhelming press of shadow and flame become that the repeated detonations of each attacker’s self immolation grew into one prolonged cacophony of light and heat. Despite its density, the entire breadth of the wall thrummed under the weight of the assault.

 

And still they come.

 

Sariff blanched in the face of the onslaught, witnessed here on Arden for the first time.

 

As First Magister of Rhomane City, he seized the opportunity to study the enemy closely, for his would be the deciding vote in a decision that would seal the fate of their people.

 

He shook his head in disbelief, for he could see no respite from the relentless storm threatening to engulf them.

 

Thirty planets overrun in the space of just fifteen months. More than fifty billion souls lost. A history and a culture spanning more than twelve thousand years brought to this. It’s a bitter pill to swallow. And we risk it all on an idea . . .But what choice do we have?

 

Everywhere he looked, Sariff saw only the inevitability of death. Unless, by some miracle, Calen’s gamble paid off. That thought reminded him. I’d better get a move on.

 

So mesmerized was he by the display of savagery below, he almost collided with the duty commander, Sol Beren. Sariff hadn’t heard the soldier’s silent approach, but that was understandable. The veteran warrior was a skilled tracker, renowned for keeping his men on their toes by his sudden, wraithlike appearances at different stations along the wall. Everyone marveled how he could be seen taking the lead at one post only to be spotted minutes later on the other side of the city entirely, without having used the transport pads.

 

His face a mask of determination, Beren studied the conflict before him. A cold and empty gaze reflected the bitter frustrations of a man who had seen too many men die worthless deaths.

Sariff wished there was something he could say to ease the commander’s burden. Instead, all he could ask was: “Will it hold?”

 

Buy Links:

The IX:

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/IX-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00RM54QBA/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1477728328&sr=8-1&keywords=The+IX

Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/IX-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00RM54QBA/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477728420&sr=8-1&keywords=the+ix

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-ix-andrew-p-weston/1121115575?ean=9780986414008

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/The-IX/53402841

 

Exordium of Tears:

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Exordium-Tears-IX-Andrew-Weston/dp/0996428992/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1458486718&sr=8-1&keywords=exordium+of+tears

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Exordium-Tears-IX-Book-2-ebook/dp/B01AAFEU6O/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458486810&sr=1-1&keywords=exordium+of+tears

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exordium-of-tears-andrew-p-weston/1123449634?ean=9780996428996

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Exordium-of-Tears/53441852

 

andrew-weston-2016

 

Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is an international bestselling author from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats. An astronomy and law graduate, he has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society, the British Science Fiction Association and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

 

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories.

 

Social Media Links:

Website : http://www.andrewpweston.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WestonAndrew

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

Pinterest: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

Andrew P. Weston Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

The IX Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

 

 

Listen to the International Bestseller The IX by @WestonAndrew #ScienceFiction #Audible


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Title: The IX Audiobook

Author: Andrew P Weston

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

Book Blurb:

Roman legionaries, far from home, lost in the mists of Caledonia.

A US cavalry company, engaged on a special mission, vital to the peace treaty proposed by Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln.

A twenty-first century Special Forces unit, desperate to prevent a nuclear catastrophe.

From vastly different backgrounds, these soldiers are united when they are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing. Thinking they may have been granted a reprieve, imagine their horror when they discover they have been transported to a failing planet on the far side of the galaxy, where they are given a simple ultimatum. Fight or die. Against all odds, this group of misfits manages to turn the tide against a relentless foe, only to discover the true cost of victory might exact a price they are unwilling to pay.

How far would you be willing to go to stay alive?

The IX.

Sometimes, death is only the beginning of the adventure.

 

Giveaway:

To celebrate the audio release of International Bestseller The IX, Andrew Weston and Perseid Press have generously provided “read for free” Audible codes to the first five people who comment below. This is a $24.95 USD value.  Hurry, this is a first come, first serve promotion. N. N. Light will contact the winners via email.

 

Downloading Your Free The IX on Audible Instructions:

Go to my book’s page on Audible.com: http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-IX-Audiobook/B01MCZ83B8/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1478545349&sr=1-1

Add the audiobook to your cart.

Create a new Audible.com account or log in.

Enter the promo code and click “Redeem” on the cart page.

To change the price from full price to $0.00, click the box next to “1 Credit” and click the “update” button to apply the credit to your purchase.

Complete checkout, and start listening to the free copy of the book.

 

Excerpt:

“A good point,” Marcus acknowledged. “But therein lies the wisdom of strategy. Our mission is of the utmost importance. It is vital we locate and secure the site in which the mineral deposits are thought to be located. But remember, because the city has been isolated for so long, we won’t know until we get there how accurate the archives are. Also, the actual Abyss itself and this forest are totally alien to us. They have to be checked out first. We also need to carry the supplies and utensils necessary to quickly establish a base of operations if things turn out favorably. Commander Cameron faced a conundrum. How could he move so much equipment over such a long distance without the need for machines which are needed elsewhere and which might draw our enemy’s attention?”

 

Gesturing between them, Marcus emphasized, “That’s where we come in. Cavalry and legionnaires. Although we can’t hope to match the speed and grace of a highly sophisticated hover craft, we are nevertheless skilled at transporting large consignments over long distances at a speed unmatched by our contemporaries. And we can do so secretly. Additionally, the defensive measures we now have at our command will protect us, and allow us to set up a considerable series of fortifications from the outset. Just wait until you see what my men can build in a matter of hours. By the time the shuttle runs do begin, they’ll have the luxury of berthing overnight within a city of fabricated domiciles.”

 

“I’m looking forward to that.” Wilson smiled. “I watched your men drilling a few times back in Rhomane, and it was very impressive. The guys couldn’t believe how quickly you worked. To see it for real will be —”

 

Both men were disturbed by an outrider galloping full tilt toward them. The rest of the dozing company became instantly alert and began scanning the shadows.

 

Throwing up a hasty salute, the soldier reined in and addressed Marcus. “Sir, the forest ends abruptly, about a mile ahead. It . . . It’s . . .”

 

“Spit it out, man.”

 

“Sir. It’s awesome, come and see.”

 

Signaling for the immediate group to follow, Marcus put his heels to Starblaze’s flanks and spurred his horse forward. A few minutes later, he reached several other sentries who were waiting to one side of the road. The highway veered away sharply to the southwest, so Marcus was surprised to be led off the tarmac and into the gloom.

 

An eldritch veil thick with antiquity closed about them. Specimens that looked like a cross between beech and cedar, oak and elm, ash and spruce, each endowed with massive boles, filed off into the distance. Stately monarchs of a forest that seemed to suddenly hold its breath in anticipation. Threading his way between iron trunks and cable-like roots, Marcus wondered what secrets this brooding edifice must contain, and if it would ever be possible to find your way out if a person became disoriented.

 

You don’t realize how dense this place is until you leave the safety of the main thoroughfare. I’ll have to order markers placed to ensure our more inexperienced travelers don’t go getting themselves lost. And I’ll restrict hunting too, at least until we’re more familiar with the area. Goodness knows how much further it goes.

 

He needn’t have worried. After five more minutes of painfully slow travel, the swathe drew back and shafts of rose-gold brilliance punctuated the canopy in one place after another.

 

Everyone relaxed as they sensed a change ahead.

 

Even so, when the party broke free from dappled shade and rode into the harsh glare of direct sunshine, everyone was taken completely by surprise.

 

Mars preserve us!

 

Shocked, Marcus could only stare. I can see why my sentry was rendered speechless.

 

A shattered plain rolled away on both sides, providing a severe counterpoint to the undulating barrier of the forest’s perimeter. The compact, ruddy surface of the plateau shimmered in the heat of the midday sun. As the mounted group moved out onto the shelf, their movements caused swirls of scarlet dust to dance into the air.

 

Shading his eyes, Marcus tried to make sense of what he was seeing.

 

The ground was littered with pock-marks, each of which contained a smattering of gold and red rocks. A foul-smelling steam issued from a number of fissures and scalloped clefts. Wherever the vapors concentrated together, the soil was stained by a copper-colored residue.

 

Marcus could make out the shimmering white line of a bridge, about five miles away, obviously accommodating the continued course of the main highway. Closer to him, a smoother, rectangular area stood out in stark contrast to their cratered surroundings.

 

Hmm. Obviously a parking area for vehicles.

 

As intriguing as these distractions were, however, they paled under the imposing presence of the leviathan before them.

 

A huge canyon, over seventeen miles across and eight deep, gouged its way across the plane of their sight. Marcus knew from his mission briefing that the company now stood at one of the narrowest points of the Shilette Abyss. The gulf itself stretched away for over a thousand leagues, east and west; and for most of its length, the other side was so far away it would be impossible to see.

 

He marveled as to how the Ardenese had contrived to construct anything to cross such a gaping chasm, for the cliffs of the valley were an unstable maze of razor-sharp edges and unforgiving rocks that could give way without warning.

 

There, not three hundred yards in front of them, sat the real surprise. The bluff plunged away to form a huge cleft, a monster fissure over seventy feet wide which appeared to have been hacked into the earth to form a V-shaped crevice.

 

Cantering forward, the excited explorers discovered a tiered series of shelves, corresponding to levels of strata, leading down the cliff wall.

 

 

Buy Links:

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/IX-Book-1/dp/B01MCZ7XEU/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1478062836&sr=8-1

Audible http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-IX-Audiobook/B01MCZ83B8/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1478545349&sr=1-1

 

andrew-weston-2016

 

Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is an ex-military ex-police expat from the UK who now lives with a large amount of cats in a medium sized house on a small Greek Island.

An astronomy and law graduate, he has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society, the British Science Fiction Association and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.andrewpweston.com/

 

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WestonAndrew

 

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/andrewweston/

 

Andrew P. Weston Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

The IX Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

 

Mrs. N Couldn’t Put Down Exordium of Tears by @WestonAndrew! #ScienceFiction #Books #SFF


IXExordium-Large

 

Title: The IX – Exordium of Tears

Author: Andrew P. Weston

Genre: Science Fiction

 

Book Blurb:

Fight or Die

That simple yet brutal philosophy is the tenet by which the refugees from Earth – including the fabled lost 9th Legion of Rome; the 5th Company, 2nd Mounted Cavalry Unit; and the Special Forces Anti-Terrorist Team – have been forced to live while the Horde menace existed. Believing that the threat is over, the survivors now yearn to settle down, start families, and reclaim the lives stolen from them.

But such aspirations might remain beyond their reach, for a shadow looms on the rose-tinted horizon of new beginnings.

The release of the re-genesis matrix has done much to foster a restoration of exuberance across Arden. Along with resurgence in floral and faunal diversity, comes the results of splicing the Ardenese and human genomes: transmutation; a metamorphosis of stunning magnitude that not only affects the living, but those still is stasis as well.

Recognizing the emergence of a new hybrid species, the Architect – the arcane AI construct tasked with the preservation of the Ardenese race – responds by unlocking previously hidden and inaccessible areas of the city. It also releases an archive of sealed state records.

Those secrets are pounced on and eagerly perused, whereupon a shocking discovery is made.

Prior to the fall, it was common knowledge amongst the Senatum – the highest levels of Arden’s government – that not all the Horde had joined in the rabid exodus toward home world, and the belief persisted that their enemy survived amongst the outer colonies.

Realizing the peril might still exist, the newly reformed administration elects to respond. Accessible resources are utilized, suitable candidates are chosen, and a flotilla of ships is sent out to secure, quarantine, and reclaim the outer colonies. A mammoth and hazardous undertaking. And nowhere more so than at the planet from where the outbreak was known to have originated – Exordium – for there, the ancient Horde are not only supremely evolved and highly organized, but are capable of a level of lethal sophistication, the likes of which has never been witnessed before.

It is into this kiln of incendiary potential that the cream of Arden’s fighting force is deployed.

Worlds are torn asunder, suns destroyed, and star systems obliterated. Yes, tragedy is forged anew, in a universe spanning conflict which proves once again that…

Death is only the beginning of the adventure.

 

Excerpt:

Wilson stirred. The deep, penetrating ache radiating through his shoulders and arms reminded him he was still tethered to the ceiling by chains. Sure enough, when he focused on them he could feel the telltale throb in his hands getting worse by the second.

 

A recurring problem, since he’d been bound so that his feet only just reached the flagstones. When exhaustion claimed him, his knees folded and his full weight pulled on his limbs, cutting off his circulation. Within minutes, the growing pain would tug him back to the misery of consciousness.

 

Although dry and free of decay, the cell stank of feces and urine. He opened his eyes to see a rare glimmer filtering through a small barred grill high in the door opposite him and illuminating the rest of the chamber. By its scant light Wilson could see Harper and Stark were still absent. Their manacles hung open, mocking him, foreboding.

 

His skull pounded as if a stage coach had been driven across his head. He took a few deep breaths, trying to clear his mind.

 

Screams from farther along the corridor outside dragged his sluggish consciousness back to his predicament. He straightened his legs and pain radiated through his joints, reminding him how badly his muscles had cramped. Before he could stop himself, he moaned aloud.

 

Goddamit!

 

Wilson bit his lip, trying to stifle the noise, but blood rushed to fill the capillaries of his fingers and caused him to groan even louder.

 

No! If they heard that they’ll know I’m awake and . . .

 

Too late.

 

A buzz issued from beyond the doorway. Ponderously heavy, the hatch cracked open. A wedge of light intruded, bathing him in light and making him squint.

 

Two forms flew through the air to land in a heap nearby. Wilson was horrified. His fellow prisoners had been only slightly older than he, yet the skeletal hands of decrepit old men now protruded limply from their ragged sleeves. Hollow eyes peered at him from blackened sockets. He glanced between them, their faces pleading for release with heartrending desperation. Moments later, both men gasped and flopped down onto the cold hard floor, where they lay still.

 

Harper! Stark! My God, what have they done to —?

 

An indistinct figure entered the cell, and Wilson cringed in horror. Roughly humanoid in shape, its pale sweating skin billowed and warped as if a ghost caged within was struggling to get free. When it undulated closer, Wilson was shocked to recognize this surging apparition was Joseph Mitchell, Second Company’s sergeant, and Houston’s ever-present minion. Or had been, once: whatever menaced Wilson wasn’t entirely human.

 

“Joe? What the hell happened to you?”

 

The scar on Mitchell’s cheek gave him a demonic air as he closed the gap between them.

 

Wilson could see that Mitchell’s eyes were black and wild; his hands opened and clenched repeatedly; he gasped to catch every breath.

 

“Are you all right, Joe?” Wilson was frantic to connect with anything that might still resemble camaraderie within the stricken soldier. “Is there anything I can do for you?”

 

“As a matter of fact, Lieutenant, there is.”

 

No!

 

Mitchell’s hand snaked out and grabbed Wilson by the hair, yanking him forward and lifting him clean off the floor, tearing open the scab from the wound on the back of his head in the process. Wilson whimpered in distress.

 

Jesus Christ! What is this freak going to do to me?

 

The next thing Wilson knew, something slammed against his ribs and fire erupted in his chest. He howled, long and hard.

 

“Stop now or die!”

 

The command was barely more than a rasping exhalation. Nonetheless, it had the desired effect, for Mitchell released his hold. Relief flooded Wilson’s system, only to be replaced by agony as the chains pulled taut, twisting his arms cruelly behind his back.

 

“I’ve told you before,” the voice continued, “he is off limits. How can we hope to fulfill our objective if we waste the advantage so recently gained?”

 

The former sergeant backed away and hissed in defiance.

 

“Don’t be stupid,” the unknown entity warned, “you’re nowhere near strong enough to challenge me. If I were you, I’d go help the others prepare for our departure. We have a narrow window of opportunity, and I can’t waste time in ill-disciplined charades.”

 

The mutated trooper moved toward the exit.

 

“But understand this. Ignore my orders again and you will be . . . removed. Now get out before I change my mind.”

 

Mitchell snarled in suppressed rage before fleeing the cell in a tumbling mass of shadows.

 

Wilson stared wide-eyed toward the doorway where his savior hovered.

 

It appeared to be studying him closely and chuckled quietly, a forced sound, devoid of warmth or humor. Darkness congealed around it in concentric waves, and Wilson was fascinated by the way its extremities flared and faded from sight in a confusing contest of refracted light and dense obscurity.

 

“How are you managing, my boy,” it crooned? “I do hope this current arrangement isn’t too restrictive?”

 

My boy?

 

Recognition coursed along Wilson’s spine. “Uncle James? Is that you?”

 

“It is. Or at least, it was. Now, I do believe I’m on my way to becoming someone else entirely; someone better, in fact.”

 

“What are you talking about?” Wilson was puzzled. “Anyone can see you’re ill, contaminated by something.” Rising panic clutched at his bowels, and he glanced toward his fallen comrades on the other side of the cell. “Are you going to try to infect me, like them and all the rest?”

 

“Oh no, no, no, dear boy. You’re far more valuable to me alive, healthy and intact.” Houston edged closer, a dreadful manifestation no longer a man. “Once you’ve served your purpose, however, I can’t honestly say what will happen to you, as I don’t think that will be up to me anymore.”

 

Buy Links:

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Exordium-Tears-IX-Andrew-Weston/dp/0996428992

 

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Exordium-Tears-IX-Book-2-ebook/dp/B01AAFEU6O

 

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exordium-of-tears-andrew-p-weston/1123449634?ean=9780996428996

 

Andrew Weston

 

Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

 

An astronomy and law graduate, he is the creator of the international number one bestsellers, The IX, and Hell Bound, (A novel forming part of Janet Morris’ critically acclaimed Heroes in Hell shared universe). Andrew also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

 

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with two of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for http://Astronaut.com  and Amazing Stories.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.andrewpweston.com/

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WestonAndrew

 

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/andrewweston/

 

Andrew P. Weston Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

The IX Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/