This book is free on these days only – 10/14/2014 at midnight PST until 11:59 pm on 10/20/2014. If the dates are the same that means the book is free one day only.
About the Book:
Eighteen-year-old Ethan Jones has a secret that even his parents and foraging companions don’t know. And if that secret is discovered, he’ll be dragged away by the town’s draconian paramilitary Custodians to be dissected like a frog.
The only time he feels safe, the only time he feels free, is when he’s out in the ruins of 2122 AD Melbourne, foraging for scrap metals. The dull, drudgery of his life, however, is shattered when he rescues a mysterious Japanese girl from the degenerate, savage Skel. A girl who then breaks the town’s rigid conventions in her attempts to get to know him, a girl who also carries the pain of a broken heart.
Meanwhile, the nomadic Skel savages are ramping up their attacks on Newhome’s foraging teams and infesting Melbourne’s ruins in ever greater numbers. Is this part of a larger plan that could spell the town’s doom?
Targeted Age Group: 12 years and over
Michal, our driver and my best friend, clambered into the truck first, having to duck his head just to get through the door, since he easily topped six-foot-four; and at seventeen I suspected he hadn’t even finished growing. I clambered in beside him while Leigh, David and Shorty climbed into the back seat.
Michal looked down at me, clearly displeased about something. “You gotta be more careful, Ethan.”
“Me?” I asked, not having the slightest inkling of what he was referring to.
“Yes, Ethan, you,” he confirmed as he turned the key in the ignition and pumped the accelerator gently to get the engine started. The truck was pretty old and I doubted it had a single part that hadn’t been replaced or refurbished at some stage. “I’d wager my bottom dollar they’re here ’cause they want to find out why our team brings in more metals than the others.”
Our team was one of many that foraged in the ruins outside for non-corrosive metals – such as gold, platinum, copper, bronze and lead – that had survived the decades since the Apocalypse. We would take them back to the Recycling-Works where they would be sorted, melted down, and handed over to the factories.
“What do you mean?” I replied, feigning ignorance.
“Them other three goons,” he whispered as he jerked his head back to indicate our workmates in the back seat, “they ain’t too bright. They think you just know the best spots to look, but not me. I’ve seen you.”
That sent icy tendrils of dread creeping back into my gut. “Seen me what?”
“You can drop your act with me, okay?” he said softly as he shifted the truck into gear and drove it out of the Recycling-Works yard and towards the town gates. “I’ve heard about people like you, and you’re secret’s safe with me. Just don’t keep hitting pay dirt every day from now on, ’cause those Custodians, they’re not here to protect us from the Skel like they claim, or they’d have brought a Bushmaster instead of that G-Wagon.”
He was right, and I knew it. The Custodians always rode in their Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles when going into situations they perceived as potentially dangerous. That they came in an unarmoured G-Wagon today proved they were not expecting to encounter Skel as they claimed. So that was just a smokescreen to cover their true intention – which was to find out which of us had my aberrant, mutant ability: the ability I used to locate the metals we were looking for.
What was wrong with me? What kind of fantasy world did I live in? How on earth had I convinced myself I could get away with bringing back a load of non-corrosive metals every time, never once coming back empty-handed. We told the boss we just knew where to look, not to mention being extraordinarily lucky. But that kind of naivety really showed just how out of touch I was with reality – or was it typical thinking for teenagers, thinking we could get away with anything? For the Custodians were relentless in hunting down those with genetic mutations. Ninety-nine percent were detected before birth and resulted in the unborn child being terminated. Anyone else found with mutations like mine were taken away and never seen again.
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