Saturday, July 11, 2015

Earthbound (Book 1 of The Reach) by Mark R. Healy

Release date: July 10, 2015
Subgenre: Dystopian science fiction, Post-apocalyptic

About Earthbound:


The Earth is suffocating under toxic skies and there’s only one way for those left behind to escape – the space elevator that sits atop the massive structure known as the Reach.

Knile Oberend is an outcast, a man exiled for the crimes of his past.  Thrown an unlikely lifeline, he has less than forty-eight hours to cash in his ticket at the top of the Reach and escape off-world.

Disgraced cop Alec Duran had a bright future until he made one fateful mistake.  Now his last shot at redemption becomes entwined with the fate of the very man who ruined his life three years ago.

Alton Wilt, an underworld boss desperate to leave Earth, falls upon a rare find – the name of a man who is about to be granted passage off-world.  With his minions in tow he is hell bent on stealing that privilege for himself.

As time runs out, these three men find themselves on a collision course that will lead to a confrontation from which only one can emerge victorious.


Knile had waited years for this moment, but now that it was finally here he wasn’t sure he was ready for it.
He heard her voice in his head again for the hundredth time today, an echo of the past.  Saw her clear blue eyes and the way her eyelashes dipped as she offered him a smile, a smile that was meant just for him.  Chestnut hair spilling across her shoulders, the cerulean blue fabric of her dress against pale skin.
He saw smoke and flame, saw those same eyes filled with sadness and dread.  Saw her soft lips part as she tried to say one last word.
Knile gasped as if he’d been physically struck.  He clamped a hand over his eyes as if that might stop the images from playing in his head, stop the sound of her voice in his mind.
He pushed those thoughts away as he crouched in the gloom.  Evening had descended like a blanket across the city.  From his place in the shadows he could see the denizens of the slums filter past, shuffling hurriedly from one place to the other like cockroaches searching for a place to hide, unaware of his proximity in the fading light.  He was close enough to smell them, to touch them.  Close enough to taste their fear.
Knile tugged his sleeve and tilted his wrist, watching as the dim light played off the cracked face of his wristwatch.  The guy was late.  He should have been here by now.
An explosion shook the still evening air, a distant boom that resonated out across the slums from at least two blocks away.  In response, a pair of pigeons that had been roosting in the upper reaches of the tenements near Knile took flight amid a raucous flapping of wings, black against the deep blue sky above the rooftops.
The natives are getting restless.
Knile checked his watch again, needlessly, the hands remaining in the same position they had occupied a few seconds before.  He felt those thoughts of her returning, clawing incessantly at the edge of his consciousness, and he knew that he was running out of ways to stave them off.  He needed this to be over.
“Where are you, fat man?” he muttered to himself, tapping impatiently on his wrist.
You’ve been away for years, Knile, he thought.  Maybe things have changed more than you know.
He shifted uncomfortably, suddenly feeling the walls of the alley closing in around him.  Out in the lowlands there were wide open spaces in which he could roam.  He’d gotten used to that freedom in the years he’d been out there, and now confinement and claustrophobia were concepts with which he was largely unfamiliar.  They were conditions that he’d managed to forget, concerns that applied to others but not to him.
Or so he’d thought.  Now he wasn’t so sure.  Although he’d only just returned, the concrete and brick buildings that thrust up around him were already beginning to feel like the bars of a prison cell.  He needed to get out.
“Screw this.”
He got up to leave, but just then another figure appeared in the alley, lumbering toward him with a familiar gait.  Details were difficult to make out in the low light, but Knile could hear the ragged breathing, the wheezing, the way the boots scraped and slid across the asphalt rather than lifting clear with each step.  The rattle of keys on a belt.  They were all pieces of a puzzle that, when put together, gave him a fingerprint of the man moving toward him.
It was him.  The one he sought. | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia


About Mark R. Healy:

Mark R. Healy is an author and musician from Brisbane, Australia. From an early age he loved to create, and often assembled his own illustrated books with accompanying stories - and then forced his parents to buy them.
Unfortunately this model was not scalable and Mark now seeks to promote his works to a wider audience.
Mark has also combined his storytelling prowess with music, creating a project called ‘Hibernal’ through which he interweaves original sci-fi stories with his own music to create an immersive theatrical experience for the listener. Combined with a professional voice cast and sound effects, these “audio movies” are available online through iTunes, Bandcamp and Amazon under the name ‘Hibernal’.


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