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Having successfully evaded the colony’s underworld and corrupt police, Joshua receives a job offer he can’t refuse. But there’s a risk…
…he remained frozen in a crouch, fingertips pressing into the rough woven canvas. His sigh of relief hitched to a stop. Some thing’s not right… Ever so slowly, Joshua rotated his eyes up and looked straight across toward the office roof. There was something wrong about one of the shadows… the hairs on the back of his neck rose to a stiff bristle.
Two reflective green spots floated within the darkness, growing larger, and brighter, moving towards him across the roof of the office, until a feline face eased forward past the edge of shadow, intense emerald eyes fixed on Joshua. The psytiger’s ears pressed down further against its broad, flat skull, its upper lip peeling up to release the gleam of its five-inch fangs.
Joshua was rocked by a brief, full-bodied shiver. He whispered, “I I found the cat.”
“Where is it?”
“Looking right at me.”
“Throw the capsule!”
“Left it on the roof.”
A stunned silence hung in the earbud.
The cat flowed forward to the edge of the office roof. Its flexing paws forcing long needle-sharp claws to twitch in and out as wide shoulders rocked side to side and the massive head dipped even lower.
Just when he thought he’d found a sanctuary—a place to call home—and someone willing to help him…
[The man’s] face filled Joshua’s field of vision, his expression intent, earnest, compelling Joshua to understand, “I know this does not matter to you at this moment, Joshua, but this is always the hardest part for me.”
There was a prick on Joshua’s neck and his vision began to narrow. He waged a desperate fight to stay alert and in the moment, trying to grasp onto his anger to rage at the man who had betrayed him, but he sank into a strange resignation, a seeping apathy…
No NO! I am RESOLUTE!!
Joshua desperately fought against the blackness that was closing in all around him, pushing, striving, to hold it back,
he could not.
A single thought formed as the darkness pulled him down
Joshua awakens… trapped alone in a sterile white room…
The voice took on a firmer tone. ‘Joshua, if you refuse to cooperate, you will only be making things unnecessarily unpleasant.’
When Joshua did not respond, the floor became firmer and the light green shifted to a dark blue glow. Both the floor and the air around him became cooler. Joshua did not move. Before long, he began to shiver. He remembered his mother having read him a story about a dog race in a place called Alaska on Earth prime. It was particularly memorable because the very idea of snow had been difficult to grasp. Still is…
‘Please answer the questions so that I can get you something to eat. You would like that, wouldn’t you?’
“You could get me something to eat now if you wanted to.”
‘No.’ Her response was heavy with sadness. ‘I wish I could. You were such a polite boy at first. But to give you something when you refuse to answer simple questions would be against the rules.’
“How am I supposed to know the RULES!” Joshua shouted back, “I just woke up here!”
‘You know, Joshua. I politely ask questions and you politely answer them. That is the only rule right now. If you do that, then I can give you things.’
Joshua snorted in defiance and was startled by the puff of fog that came out. The floor had become so cold that the muscles in contact with it started to ache. Although nights in the winter could get quite chilly on Cypress Grove, Joshua had never been this cold…
So Joshua just focused on walking around the cubicle…
< Is this about…our boy? …There must be enough heat to make the steel malleable, to forge the blade. >
< True…it just occurred to me that I may have some good news relative to putting a lasting edge on our blade… His escalation in training will put him into contact with, how should I say, a catalyst that should bring him to a white-hot readiness. >
< That sounds quite promising, but it won’t precipitate a meltdown, I trust? >
< There is always such a risk when forging an instrument to possess a true potential for destruction, is there not? >
< There is indeed. But hopefully, you can hold the heat within the forging range and avoid spikes into the meltdown level. >
< I’ll do my best. >
An inscrutable stranger offers him a deal that seems too good to be true. And it is. Joshua soon faces new challenges to survive in a place he had not believed was even real.
Having successfully evaded the colony’s underworld and corrupt police, Joshua finds himself trapped alone in a sterile white room. But it is no ordinary room, changing and shifting in response to his reactions and behaviors. Ultimately, he will have to make a choice… one that will forever change the direction of his life.
DG Lamb creates a dynamic world full of new challenges and lessons for an endearing young hero. Lamb’s extensive experience as a clinical neuropsychologist and his understanding of posttraumatic stress symptoms injects psychological authenticity and complexity into Joshua and a host of engaging new characters.
About the first book:
Already a social outcast because of his father’s alleged betrayal, young Joshua finds himself trapped outside the mining colony on the planet of Cypress Grove. He faces a murky rainforest infested with a creature so deadly, it has kept all humans confined inside their only settlement for decades. If he can manage to escape these alien wilds, he must then brave the even darker dangers of the colony’s underworld.
It is a tale of survival, a premature coming of age in an environment demanding resiliency, inventiveness, and self-reliance. But when teetering on the sharp edge of stark choices, decisions of life or death, can Joshua afford to consider questions of right and wrong, or does expediency rule the day?
About the Author
Debut author D G Lamb, a clinical neuropsychologist, uses his understanding of posttraumatic stress symptoms to inject psychological authenticity and complexity into Joshua’s personality, creating a wounded, but endearing central character.
What fans are saying…
“…a debut novel that brilliantly introduces a series with huge promise of entertainment.” – R Oserio (Readers Favorite)
“…one of the most original and well-told stories I’ve ever read.” – S Cahan
“Author D.G. Lamb navigates Joshua’s trauma with a sense of surrealism that’s both poignant and true to life.” – CL Farley (Readers Favorite)
“It is emotionally intense and it is hard not to feel for the protagonist …watching him grow through the challenges is delightful.” – R Oserio
“Lamb does an outstanding job of displaying Joshua’s evolving worldliness while still maintaining a childlike sense of innocence about the character.” – CL Farley
“First-time author D.G. Lamb has established himself as a new talent in young adult novels with this first effort…” – S Cahan