– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m not on a blogtour, but I’m sharing a guest post written by D. Ellis Overttun, author of The Terra Nova Series to promote the second book ‘Genesis: Vision of the New World’.
Title: Genesis: Vision of the New World (Terra Nova book 2)
Date published: 13th August 2018
A light streaking across the predawn sky, an explosion and an impending menace from above, seemingly unrelated events but connected to space time distortions predicted by an obscure scientific paper over 250 years ago. That same paper has predicted an end to the universe.
Has the unthinkable become a reality?
The ruling class Celesti see the danger as real and imminent since planet Arkos could become compromised in as little as 1,000 years. To them, that is one lifetime. That same timeframe is ten lifetimes to the servile class Gendu. To them, the threat does not even exist.
There are those within the Celesti who see the Gendu as a more immediate threat. Their solution is to genetically engineer a more pliant servant class and leave Arkos for an unknown planet. Is that even possible?
But will it even matter? The leaders of the Celesti, the Transcended, know a terrible secret: The Celesti are dying.
Against this backdrop of extinction lies the politics of power. A new leader has just assumed her role as the head of the Gendu Houses. However, she is an outsider. Will she be accepted or will she be cast out as an interloper?
Also, the leader of the most powerful religious organization on the planet is missing and presumed dead. It is the opportunity of a lifetime for anyone bold enough to seize the moment. Who will fill this void? Someone with a hunger for influence and privilege? Or someone with a calling for higher purpose?
Finally, there is a prophecy from the Codices of Taru which foretells of a time of darkness when the “head will be cleaved from the body” that will announce the coming of the “Deceiver”. Ancient superstition or a vision of the future?
Genesis: Vision of the New World tells this story in vivid detail, an evolution of the narrative begun in Universe: Awakening. As part of this journey, it takes a fascinating look into the world of the Gendu and introduces readers to a host of new characters and relationships. It is a potpourri of science, political intrigue and discovery driven by characters with selfish and selfless motives.
Guest Post :
Our story takes place on a planet called “Arkos”. It is inhabited by two peoples. The Celesti are the ruling class minority, and the Gendu are the servile class that comprise the vast majority of the population. The Gendu are governed by 12 houses, each said to be descended from the 12 children of the Great Father.
As the chapter opens, there has been a recent passing of Sodai Charif Darius, the Leader of the Houses. There is uncertainty surrounding the normal transition of power because Darius has chosen Kallista the Seer, someone not of House Artaxiad or any house, to succeed him rather than his grandson, Ra’id. Kallista reluctantly agreed to assume this role in order to groom Ra’id for the blood sport that is Gendu politics. But it is not so simple because one not yet ready to be a sodai charif would also not be ready to be a charif of his own house.
As an outsider, she understands that it will take all of her efforts to hold on to what has been bequeathed to her. At the same time, she cannot leave Darius’ grandson to the internecine intrigues of House Artaxiad. In either case, it is a matter of life and death. Save herself or save Ra’id? To attempt both would be to fail at both. She would appear to be faced with mutually exclusive alternatives. Or is she? To find out, please read Genesis: Vision of the New World, Chapter 10 – “Journey to the Sugar House”.
* * * * *
It was early afternoon, and Kallista sat at her desk in deep contemplation. Ra’id had left the Ministry for the Temple, and her quarters were being readied for occupancy. With the signet of her office now in her possession and pledges from her staff, she had successfully taken the first steps in securing her position as Minister. However, her situation was far from secure. Many of her aides had only given her perfunctory acceptance. She had their words but not their hearts. The rest of her staff, including Rith and Tamar, were another matter. From the morning’s inspections, she knew they were loyal. However, it might prove troublesome. They were all from House Artaxiad. How would that look to the Hagdola?
Then, there was Ra’id. He needed guidance. Clearly her choice of Rith as a temporary advisor was a mistake. His talents and predispositions were making things work that were already in place. He was an operator, not a builder. No, this would not do. However, none of her aides were appropriate either. All of them had stronger personalities than the reluctant Charif. In addition, while Ra’id would have been content to remain an aide, they were another matter. Most had good intentions, but she had learned that good intent is often compromised by ambition. She would have to deal with this next. She felt an obligation to Darius to watch over his grandson. On a more practical note, she would have a more difficult time in the Hagdola if House Artaxiad fell into turmoil. Ra’id needed a senior aide who was capable but untainted by ambition. That could potentially eliminate siblings, relatives or those with close family ties.
Did such a person even exist?
“Computer, access all background information pertaining to Charif Ra’id.”
Ra’id would have undergone the standard, formal education common to all houses. The first seven years, known as the “common period”, would have included the children of nonfamily members whose parents were in service of the House. It was a policy designed to establish loyalty among the servant class.
“Display visual records for Charif Ra’id during the common period.”
A large holographic screen appeared before her filled with dots arranged neatly in rows and columns. Each one represented one still picture or video recording.
“There must be thousands,” she observed. “Filter records to include only those where a nonfamily member is the focal point along with Charif Ra’id.”
The screen shrunk in size.
“Still too big,” she thought.
“Filter these records to include only those where the nonfamily member is of similar age to Charif Ra’id.”
“Clarify age range.”
“Within the common period.”
The screen maintained its size, but the number of records were significantly reduced and had increased in dimension to fit the screen. The resolution was clear enough to just be able to make out the outlines of people.
“How many different nonfamily members are there?”
“Enlarge and display these nonfamily members in decreasing order of frequency, indicating frequency of occurrence.”
The screen cleared. Then, the pictures of seven children were displayed.
“There you are.”
* * * * *
“I would advise against this,” said Rith.
“As would I,” added Tamar.
“Then, it is fortunate for me that I have not asked for counsel from either of you,” Kallista replied.
“Venturing out in this manner is far too dangerous,” Rith noted.
“Rith, who knows that I am Minister?”
“Well at present, only your staff and a small group within each of the houses, the ministers on the Governing Council and their staffs.”
“Precisely. There will be no official announcement until after the funeral.”
“While that may be,” Tamar argued, “the information is not secret and is bound to leak out.”
“Then, I should move quickly,” she replied, as she walked purposefully to the office foyer.
Rith and Tamar quickly followed.
Then, Tamar moved in front of her and blocked the doors that led to the corridor. “Minister, I cannot allow you to leave.”
“Tamar, it would displease me to see you in a cell,” she said to him, with a twinkle in her eye. “Remember Kenric?”
“Very well,” Tamar grumbled, “but at least, let me get some more men.”
“That will draw unnecessary attention to us. It’s bad enough that you look like a bodyguard, even in civilian clothing,” she said, as the doors opened.
Kallista and Tamar disappeared down the corridor leaving Rith behind shaking his head in disbelief. They made their way to the main doors of the ziggurat.
Just before they exited, Kallista, wearing a dark‑tan traveling cloak, put her hood up. “Remember, Tamar. I am Kallista the Seer.”
“And there will be no name‑calling, regardless of what happens. I do not wish to have a repeat of what happened earlier today.”
Once on the walkway in front of the Ministry, Tamar flagged down one of the many electric vehicles that could be commandeered for site‑to‑site transport.
“Destination?” the driver asked.
“Port of Eden Detention Center West,” Tamar replied.
“The Sugar House? What are fine people like you doing going to a place like that?”
The Sugar House derived its name from an area where sugar, molasses and a popular alcoholic beverage distilled from sugar known as “melikaf” were once stored. Much later, when the detention center was constructed, the old name was retained by the locals. The West Docks was not only the part of the Port of Eden that serviced the Gendu population. It was also the center for illicit waterborne trade along the River Danu and the focal point for the cast of characters who participated in such activities. The Sugar House was populated with some of the most dangerous criminals on the planet.
“I’m going to visit my brother,” Tamar said gruffly.
“Oh…what’s he in for?” the driver asked a little nervously.
“He is being held for murdering a driver who asked too many questions.”
Kallista gave Tamar a look.
“There was no name‑calling,” he said matter-of-factly.
The journey proceeded in silence.
* * * * *
“We are here to see Colwyn, son of Mazur,” Tamar said to a clerk, at the front desk of the jail.
“Visiting hours are over for the day.”
“I would ask you to make an exception,” Kallista said. She reached into her cloak and pulled out a 50‑akuro note.
The clerk’s eyes widened as it slid discreetly across the counter. His hand slowly moved to retrieve his prize.
“We will also require one of the interrogation rooms,” she said assertively, as her fingers pressed down on the note, halting its progress.
“I’ll see what I can do,” the clerk replied, with a nervous smile. He left his post but returned a short time later. “I’m good with it, but my supervisor has some concerns.”
“I would speak with him. I am sure we can work something out.”
“Down there,” the clerk said, pointing to a solid metal door.
The area around the information desk had seen better days, but that did not compare to the setting beyond the door. Their eyes had to adjust as the lighting grew dimmer. Their footsteps crunched as though they were walking on small pebbles. The walls were covered in black mold, and insects and rodents scurried about. The moist air reeked of body odor and was filled with the muffled sounds of angry screaming. Just beyond the door, they were met by an unkempt‑looking, older man who looked as though he could have been one of the prisoners under his charge.
“Are you the supervisor with concerns?” Kallista asked.
“Yeah,” he replied gruffly.
“Will this assuage them?” she asked, holding out a 100-akuro note.
“Yes,” he said, with a smile.
He led them to a dimly lit room and told them to wait. The only furniture that occupied this drab space was a table and four chairs. A short time later, the door opened, and a young man was thrown in. His hands were bound behind his back, but he nevertheless rose to his feet just as the door slammed shut.
“COWARDS! FILTHY PIGS!” he screamed, as he hurled himself against the door. He very quickly sensed two silent figures standing in the shadows in the far corner of the room. He turned to face them, ready for a confrontation.
“Colwyn, son of Mazur?” Kallista asked.
“Who wants to know?” he snapped back.
Colwyn reminded Kallista of a young Darius. He had the same chiseled features as many Gendu males, but it was his eyes that drew her comparison, eyes that never wavered from hers.
“I am Kallista the Seer,” she said, removing her hood.
“Kallista the Seer? Of course, Kallista the Seer,” he replied sarcastically. “Pleased to meet you. I am Taru. You know Taru…the Creator.”
“You cannot be.”
“Yeah?! Why not?!”
“Because in all the images I have seen of Taru, his hands are not bound behind his back.”
“Well, you got me there,” he smiled. “Now, who are you really?”
Normally in these situations, Praana would have descended on him, and he would have been able to see the truth of Kallista’s assertion. However, this time was to be different. Kallista wanted him to arrive at any conclusions unassisted.
“As I said, I am Kallista the Seer.”
“Ok, Kallista the Seer,” he again replied sarcastically. “What do you want?”
“I have an order from the Minister authorizing your release. Someone in House Artaxiad requires your service once again.”
“Hah! Darius would not need to send a woman, especially Kallista the Seer, to this shithole to have me released. All he would need is a runner.”
“Listen, stupid,” Tamar said, “hear what she has to say. It’s not like you have anything better to do.”
Kallista gave Tamar a look.
“There was no name‑calling,” he said matter-of-factly. “I only pointed out his lack of common sense in this situation.”
“Well, Darius wouldn’t need someone like me,” Colwyn concluded, “Who then?”
“Iddy? Of course, why didn’t I think of that? How is Iddy?”
“He is in trouble and needs your help.”
Colwyn was taken aback. His sarcasm, an indication of his disbelief, left him. “He has grown to manhood. Next in line for charif and minister. He would not need me. He has not needed me…”
“Since the common period.”
“Yes,” he replied, a genuine smile coming across his face.
“He was of normal size but lacked the aggressiveness of the other boys.”
“So, you protected him.”
“Because…he did not look down on me.”
“You were gifted. One of only a handful of the servant class to ever be educated beyond the common period. With some urgings in the right places from your friend and your father, you were even accepted to be trained as alessos. But you are not alessos.”
“No,” he said sadly.
“In my youth, I was arrogant. Strong in mind and body but lacking experience. I was alone, easily baited.”
“You have been purged of this flaw I take it.”
“Yes,” he replied, with certainty.
“The records show you were expelled for fighting. So, what better place to come than the Docks? I understand that underground fights are alive and well.”
“But illegal and so we find you here.”
“You spoke of trouble.”
“Yes, those boys have grown.”
* * * * *
Normally, I would go into the background and commentary of a post. I will only mention that the Sugar House is a place I nicked from the sugar house prisons in New York during the American Revolutionary War. What I really want to do is turn the commentary over to my wife, Natasha. For those of you who have been following my guest posts, her visuals always feature somewhere. That “where” is here. So, without further ado…
Thank you, David, and hello all. The inspiration for this visual came to me as I scanned the table of contents of Genesis. In this case, “Journey to the Sugar House” caught my eye. As I reread the chapter, I was struck by the difference between the office and the prison environment. On one side was civilization, on the other barbarism. The imagery of a blackhole came to mind with the event horizon being a metaphor for that metal door. The woman represents Kallista looking sadly on as a faceless Colwyn desperately struggles to maintain his humanity. I want the viewer to ask: Does Colwyn cross the event horizon and fall into the blackness or can there be hope in this despair?
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
Genesis: Vision of the New World – Excerpts and Commentary:
Themes in Genesis: Vision of the New World posted on The Book Hole
Chapter 2 – “Person of Interest” posted on My Bookish Bliss
Chapter 45 – “Tok and Maag” posted on Hair Past A Freckle
Chapter 55 – “Memories of Origin” posted on B for Bookreview
Chapter 65 – “Proof of Concept” posted on Don Jimmy Reviews
Author Q&A posted on The Magic of Wor(l)ds
Author Q&A posted on On The Shelf Reviews
Author Q&A posted on The Book Hole
Author Q&A posted on From Belgium With Book Love
Cover Makeover Genesis: Vision of the New World posted on On The Shelf Reviews
Indie Spotlight – Terra Nova Series posted on beforewegoblog
Indies of Christmas posted on The Reading Closet
Universe: Awakening – Excerpts and Commentary:
Background to Universe: Awakening posted on Zooloo’s Book Diary
“Prologue” posted on Simply Phil’s Blog
Chapter 1 – “In the Darkness” posted on beforewegoblog
Chapter 2 – “Beyond a Program” posted on The Magic of Wor(l)ds
Chapter 6 – “Confessions” posted on Read Yourself Happy
Chapter 8 – “In the Darkness” posted on Zooloo’s Book Diary
Chapter 46 – “Tsai and Citrus” posted on Herding Cats
Chapter 60 – “The Awakening” posted on The Reading Chemist
Chapter 66 – “The Second Way” posted on The Tattooed Book Geek
Chapter 83 – “The Dream” posted on Reads & Reels
Chapter 85 – “Heron of Edenoud” posted on On The Shelf Reviews