Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A Quiet Rebellion: Guilt (Numoeath series, Book 1) by M.H. Thaung

Release date: July 7, 2018
Subgenre: Mannerpunk, Steampunk

About A Quiet Rebellion: Guilt:


In a society that lives in fear of beasts and the curse they carry, imprisoning victims is the only thing to do.

Convoy captain Jonathan has a guilty secret: he killed a traveller who was cursed while under his protection. The killing wasn't to defend the innocent, but to hide governmental employment of curse victims—like Jonathan—who have developed paranormal powers.

To assuage his guilt, he bends the rules to help another, younger victim. His growing fatherly affection for her leaves him vulnerable to pressure from an unethical researcher. Can he navigate the bureaucratic web, do his duty and still keep his conscience intact?




Something tickled inside Jonathan’s head, a tiny suggestion he was no longer alone with his thoughts. He’d only noticed the sensation on his last few interviews. It made him want to scratch his brain, or maybe pull it out and scrub it with harsh soap and a coarse brush.
“Captain Shelley, are you aware of the penalties for inappropriately divulging classified information?”
This question would lead into the real interview. If he answered in the negative, the voice would remind him that the holes in these walls could conduct a selection of gases into the room. One detailed description of the effects had given him nightmares, and he had no desire to revisit the information.
“Yes, I am aware.”
“Are you aware that we can ascertain whether you are lying?”
“Yes, I am aware.”
“Have you any infractions which you wish to disclose in advance, of your own free will? Volunteering information may allow you some leniency.”
Jonathan paused. Although confident he had not said anything inappropriate—keeping secrets was a necessary survival characteristic—there was always a niggle that something unintentional might have slipped by. “No, I have not.”
“Have you, at any point on your tour of duty, intimated, suggested or implied to individuals without the appropriate clearance level, verbally, by gestures or in writing, any of the information that follows...
“Firstly, any internal deliberations of the Council.”
“No, I have not.”
“Secondly, unpublished information from the scientists or historians.”
“No, I have not.”
“Thirdly, classified information pertaining to the existence of any individuals with cursed powers, either confined within the Keep, or unconfined.”
“No, I have not.”
“Fourthly and finally, that you are an unconfined recipient and practitioner of a cursed power.”
“No, I have not.”
“State the nature of your cursed power.”
“I am able to move small items without physically touching them.”
“Did you, at any point on your journey, make use of your cursed power?”
“Yes, I did. Once.” Jonathan’s voice was husky.
“While exercising your cursed power, did you take precautions to ensure that you were unobserved?”
Sweat dripped into his eyes. “Yes, I did.”
“What was the outcome of that use of your cursed power?”
Jonathan could not answer. His vision blurred, the holes in the wall expanding to float in mid air.
“Captain Shelley, I repeat. What was the outcome of that use of your cursed power? You have ten seconds to provide an answer.”
He forced out a whisper. “I killed a man.” It didn’t seem enough. “He was under my care.” And I murdered him.
Unmoved, the voice continued. “Were there any witnesses to the aforementioned use of your cursed power?”
“No, there were not,” he croaked.
In the silence that followed, the damaged muscle in Jonathan’s thigh began to tremble. His arm ached, and he blinked rapidly.
The column clicked.
“You may leave.”
 Once back in the corridor, he lifted a shaking hand to his face and wiped his eyes. The guard, whistling tunelessly, reached back to pull a lever and waved Jonathan towards the turnstile that led into the Royal Compound.




About M.H. Thaung:

M.H. Thaung was born in Scotland and has moved progressively southwards throughout her career in pathology, ending up in a biomedical research institute in London, England. (As a staff member, not a specimen!) She loves her job and academic writing. With dozens of scientific publications under her belt, she's now venturing into the realm of speculative fiction. After all, both types of writing start with "What if...?"
A Quiet Rebellion: Guilt is her debut novel and the first book in a planned trilogy.


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