venerdì 29 novembre 2013

Book Blitz: The last bastion of the living di Rhiannon Frater

Buongiorno ^^ Eccoci ad un nuovo book blitz, ideato come sempre da Giselle di Xpresso Book Tours; oggi vi presento il romanzo di un'autrice che mi piace molto, Rhiannon Frater :) Si tratta di un horror fantascientifico, spero possa piacervi :) 

Titolo: The last bastion of the living
Autore: Rhiannon Frater
Genere: Adult horror fantascientifico
Trama: The Bastion was humanity’s last hope against the fearsome undead creatures known as the Inferi Scourge. A fortified city with a high wall, surrounded by lush land rich with all the resources needed to survive, protected by high mountain summits, and a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, the Bastion became the last stronghold of the living on earth. But one fateful day, the gate failed and the Inferi Scourge destroyed the human settlements outside the walls and trapped the survivors inside the city. Now decades later, the last remaining humans are struggling to survive in a dying city as resources and hope dwindle.
Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her whole life within the towering walls of steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts, and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms of her lover, Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is her only happiness.Then one day Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy the Inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate. The rewards of success are great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction.

Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of over a dozen books, including the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor), as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog), and other horror novels. Her next novel for Tor, Dead Spots, will be published in 2014. She was born and raised a Texan and presently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets).  She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes. 



A massive shockwave rippled through the perimeter wall, tossing soldiers off their feet and onto the catwalk, or over the wall into the Scourge horde below as one of the mobile units twisted around in one of the deeper craters and wrenched another unit completely about. The torsion between the two units sent another shudder through the perimeter wall and Maria clung to the catwalk as Ryan fell on top of her. Together, they rode the catwalk to the ground, tumbling into the mud. Maria immediately scrambled to her feet and gasped.
The steel mesh had torn free of one of the units and the Scourge were shoving their bodies through the frayed opening. The squads closest to the breach opened fire. The mesh wall shimmered as it wavered under the onslaught of the undead. The mobile units continued on their designated course to their next position, ripping another hole in the mesh wall.
“Fall back!” someone ordered as the Inferi Scourge shoved through the widening openings.
Ryan grabbed Maria’s shoulder and dragged her toward a section where the fallen catwalks formed a barrier along with some of the unpacked supply units. Lindsey scrambled to follow. 
The squads formed a line, shooting at the Scourge coming through the gap. For several agonizing minutes, they were successful at holding the howling creatures back.
“Tiltrotors are en route!” a voice intoned in her helmet.
Sweat poured down Maria’s face as she reloaded. Ryan lobbed several grenades toward the breach as Lindsey fired over Maria’s head. 
“About that date…” Ryan said, grinning despite the fear in his eyes.
Maria slid around him into a better position and aimed at a Scourge trying to scale the fallen edge of the wall. “You’re supposed to give me a reason to live, dumb ass,” she groused.
Another soldier landed in the mud beside her and helped her obliterate the Scourge trying to scramble through another widening tear in the wall. 
“This was a stupid plan!” she shouted.
“It seemed like a good one when we planned it,” the soldier answered.
It took her a full second to realize it was Chief Defender Dwayne Reichardt.
“Sorry, sir,” she said quickly.
He shook his head, still firing. “Let’s just live through this!”
The Scourge pushed further into the perimeter. Maria knew now it was only a matter of minutes before they were all dead. She tried not to hear the screams of the soldiers overcome by the Inferi Scourge. The Scourge tore at them, ripping at their body armor, trying to reach flesh so they could bite and infect. One soldier was pulled free of a group of Scourge, his armor still intact as his comrades gunned down the creatures that had attacked him. 
Vanguard Stillson lobbed a grenade at a catwalk’s treads and the explosion toppled it over onto the Inferi Scourge.
They were losing ground swiftly and chaos ruled. No one was listening to orders barked over the feed anymore, but were just trying to survive. The perimeter wall attached to the city wall still stood intact with the catwalks still secured to it. Many soldiers clambered onto it, trying to escape the ground. Maria, Ryan, Lindsey and the Chief Defender started to fall back, providing cover to those trying to reach higher ground. 
Rappelling ropes started to fall from the high wall. Frantic soldiers gripped the lines and climbed upward, their muddy boots slipping against the steel surface. 
Maria tripped, falling on her ass, and the Chief Defender hauled her up swiftly. The Scourge were everywhere now, smashing through the clusters of soldiers, howling. Maria fired point blank into the face of one as it charged her. The Chief Defender knocked another one back with the butt of his rifle. Together they charged through the mud toward the city wall. 
Ryan and Lindsey were just ahead of them and nearing the remaining catwalks when Maria saw a flash of light. A massive force slammed into her and sent her sprawling through the air. 
Blackness surged up to claim her, and she fought not to drown in it. Pulling herself onto her elbows, her body felt numb and her helmet was gone. Beside her, the Chief Defender struggled to get up. His armor was punctured with shrapnel and blood poured through the tears. 
Lifting her weapon, Maria aimed toward the creatures trying to climb over the corpses of Scourge and soldiers the grenade blast had killed. Pulling the trigger, she felt the rifle pulsing as it hurtled bullets into the bodies of the rampaging dead.
“Tiltrotor!” Ryan’s voice screamed near her.
She kept firing, but flicked her gaze to one side to see Ryan carrying a badly-wounded Lindsey over one broad shoulder. The churning wind pulled her gaze up to the aircraft slowly descending over the fray. Beside her, the Chief Defender fell over onto his side, unable to get up. 
Maria grabbed his arm and shifted her body under it. Rising to her knees, she pulled him upright. 
He screamed. Together, they managed to get to their feet as Maria fired at the Scourge drawing closer.
Vanguard Stillson’s huge body moved through the crowd of Inferi Scourge like a rampaging elephant, tossing them left and right, shooting a few as he went. His helmet was gone and his armor was smoldering. Maria could see the shrapnel from the grenade had sliced away parts of his face. Yet Stillson kept fighting. The Scourge were so intent on him, Ryan and the others were able to skirt past the mob and head toward the aircraft. 
Casting one last look at Stillson, Maria gasped as a Scourge grabbed the man’s thick neck and bit into his cheek, infecting him. Usually the Scourge abandoned a victim successfully infected with the virus and moved on to another, but this one kept tearing at Stillson, chewing and appearing to devour his flesh.
Reichardt stumbled, forcing Maria’s attention away from Stillson’s demise. Pulling her superior up to his feet again, she continued to fire at any Scourge rushing them. Around her, other soldiers continued to fall, fighting the undead to their last breath.
“Keep moving, Chief Defender,” she urged him. “I don’t want to die today.”
“Neither do I, and my name is Dwayne,” he said crisply, his voice filled with pain and determination.
“I’m Maria.”
“Nice to meet you, Maria. Now, let’s not die,” Dwayne said
“Is that an order?” Maria kicked over a Scourge and shot it in the face.
“Without a doubt,” Dwayne answered with a grin.


Maria was dozing lightly when Dwayne crawled into bed with her. The fans around the bed hummed softly, and her body was cool beneath the thin sheets. As Dwayne’s naked body stretched out next to hers, she rolled over and kissed him.
“You’re awake,” he said, surprised, and wrapped his arms around her. 
“You’re late,” Maria replied. She ran her fingers down over his face, feeling the light poke of his stubble against her skin. 
“You got my message, didn’t you?” Dwayne asked worriedly.
“Uh huh. Dinner with the kids.”
“The twins wanted to see me.” Dwayne’s hands gently pushed her hair back from her face, his fingers gentle as always. “Even Caitlyn joined us.”
Maria knew that Dwayne’s eldest daughter was usually unavailable. She was an assistant to one of the president’s council members. “How was she?”
“Argumentative as always. I felt like I was on trial. She should have been a lawyer. It was exhausting. I just wanted to get back here and see you.”
“Just see me?” Climbing on top of him, she whispered softly to him in Spanish, knowing he loved it. 
“I don’t know what the hell you’re saying, but it sounds great,” he said with a little moan as she rubbed her bare breasts over his chest and kissed his neck.
Soon he was hard and inside her and they gasped as their bodies rode together. Dwayne wrapped his fingers in her hair and kissed her deeply as they came together, perfectly matched as always.
“I like that greeting,” he finally whispered in a husky voice.
Resting her forehead against his, she smiled slightly. “Me too.”
“I should get delayed more often,” he teased as his hands slid over her hips.
Maria’s hands traced over his muscled chest lightly, the light smattering of hair tickling her palms. She could sense Dwayne tensing as his expression grew concerned. 
“Maria, why are you awake?”
“I have something to tell you.”
“Okay,” he said cautiously.
Sliding off of him and tucking herself into his side, she drew a breath, then said, “I volunteered today for a new program with the Science Warfare Division.”
“What? With the SWD? Why?” Sitting up, Dwayne frowned. “Explain it to me.”
“Technically, I’m not supposed to,” Maria replied, pushing herself up to face him. 
Dwayne narrowed his eyes, his gaze growing steely. It was a look she remembered from when he had once been her commanding officer. It used to terrify her, but now it just made her want to comfort him.
“Cut the bullshit, Maria. We both know the SWD hasn’t done anything effective in years. If they want you for some sort of special ops, I want to know what it is. Petra was busting her ass all day trying to find out what is up with the SWD and the secret meetings today, and she came up empty. If you know something, I want to know. Not just because it concerns you, but because upper echelon has a tendency to leave me out of the loop when it matters most to our people. We already break enough rules being together, so spill it.” 
Maria shoved her hair back from her face and sat cross legged in front of him. Pulling the sheet over her legs, she took a deep breath. “Fine. Fine. It’s a big operation and it has the full support of the president. It’s huge, Dwayne. I think this is why the president is so optimistic about finally beating back the Scrags.”
“Tell me more.” His voice was like steel and his gaze was intense.
Maria hesitated, knowing that what she was about to relate would only antagonize him more. 
“They asked me to volunteer because I’m physically fit, unattached as far as they know, and I’m not ‘breeding stock’ and therefore, not important to maintaining our population.” 
“That’s a shitty way to put it.” 
“I didn’t care much for his wording either. But the really big news is this, Dwayne,” she said, reaching out to take his hand, “they think they found a way to fool the Scrags into not attacking the living. It’s like an antidote. They said even if the Scrags did bite me, I wouldn’t get infected.”
“If they swarm you, that won’t matter. You’ll die.” Dwayne’s voice was clipped, his expression concerned. 
“But if they think I’m one of them...” She flicked her dark eyes up to meet his vivid blue ones. 
“...they won’t swarm me.”
“They never attack each other,” Dwayne admitted, realizing where the conversation was leading. 
“I could walk among them, kill them, and walk away without being attacked.” Hearing the words coming from her own lips made her shiver, but the excitement of being able to fight the Inferi Scourge without fear was like electricity in her blood. “I’m going to help clear the valley and close the gate.”
“So they forcibly conscripted you into doing this.” Dwayne shook his head.
“No. It’s volunteer only. They didn’t tell me the mission until I volunteered.”
“I should have known.” He leaned back on the pillows, covering his face with one hand. “The canceled meetings, the aircraft, the SWD being involved, and you being late back from your patrol.”
Maria tenderly rested her hand his chest. “I have to do this. They’ll give me a plot of land once the valley is cleared and the gate is repaired and shut. I can pick anywhere I want. I’ll get a standard settlement deal - one prefab house and furniture.” She leaned her chin on his shoulder and stared at him. “I want out of this city, Dwayne. I want those fuckers gone. I want a life with you. Maybe we can’t have kids, but we could have a good life if those things aren’t out there.”
Lifting his hand, he settled it against her cheek. “How long?”
“The serum will give us four to six months to clear the valley. They think I’m unattached, so...”
Dwayne held her tenderly against him. “Other people will do it. You don’t have to go.”
She was silent, unsure of how to answer. 
Dwayne chuckled, shaking his head. “What am I saying? Of course, you do. You’ve been going batshit crazy with the rolling blackouts and shortages just like the rest of us.” He kissed her brow, smoothing her hair back from her face. “The one thing you can’t stand is not being able to do anything.”
“Exactly. So now that I can do something...”
“Once you’re back, the divorce will be settled, the twins will have graduated from high school, and we can concentrate on us. We will get married.”
“And move out to a nice prefab house near the lake,” Maria added.
“Absolutely.” He swept her hair back from her face. “I’ll miss you.”
“I’m doing this for us.”
“I know, but I’ll still miss you and worry about you every second you’re gone.” He sighed, then asked, “When are you going to leave?”
“In forty-eight hours,” she answered, her voice catching. Rubbing her palm against his chest, she struggled not to cry. “I love you, Dwayne Reichardt.”
“I love you, Maria Martinez.” He slightly frowned. “Forty-eight hours, huh?” 
“Uh huh.” 
“You won’t be doing much sleeping,” he decided and dragged her over on top of him.

Nessun commento:

Posta un commento