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Author: Rori Shay
Released April 22nd, 2015
East Country upheld the laws. Mid destroyed them.
In the year 2185 Earth is rebuilding after a global eco-crisis. Countries maintain complete isolation so there's no warfare over scarce resources. One Elected family is chosen to lead each country for one hundred years to ensure stability. Women aren't allowed to take office and must reproduce at all costs. Technology is banned to preserve what's left of the environment.
Yet, I'm my country's Elected. I've just sanctioned technology use to ready us for war. I'm about to cross the border to spy on our neighbor. And...I'm a girl. Shhhhhh.....(Summary from Goodreads)
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Opening Scene Excerpt
“Uh-huh.” The lie sounds hollow, even to my own ears. But I say it anyway and pick up my pace. I don’t want Griffin to convince me to turn back again like he tried to do as we waited for Margareath at the hill’s crest. Going back to East Country is the one thing I can’t do, and Griffin doesn’t even know the whole reason why. All he thinks is, I left East Country to spy on our neighbor and to help him escape our country’s death penalty.
Yet there is another reason, and thus far, there has been no good time to tell Griffin he’s going to father not one, but two children in the Elected family. My pregnancy is something I want to divulge in a special way, not as we run like fugitives, breaking almost every law of our forefathers.
Everything about Mid so far is offensive: their flagrant display of electricity, the strange way Margareath didn’t remember her family when asked about her children moments ago, even the air on Mid’s side of the Nirogene mines smells different than ours. There is a faint scent of wet metal and something sweetly acidic, which I can’t quite place, but that’s causing me to gag. I stop for a second, burying my face into the fabric of my shirt sleeve to take a deep, clean breath. Vienne warned me that newly pregnant I’d have a heightened sense of smell. That, on top of my perpetual nausea, is overwhelming to say the least.
I blink my eyes once hard before proceeding forward again. The massive amount of illegal light emanating from Mid’s epicenter miles to our west is tremendous. It’s so dark on the mountain and so bright in the distance; our direct path seems even bleaker.
“Just a little more to the bottom of the hill,” says Margareath. She pants in between every other word, the exhaustion of our trek down this treacherous mountain evident on her features. “Once we reach the bottom, it’s about a day and a half walk to Mid’s city.”
I try to estimate the number of miles from the border to Mid’s center. Maybe fifty, given Margareath’s statement and the fact that our pace is relatively slow. How long, I wonder, would it take a group of fighters from East to traverse the plains if an invasion was required? Every nugget of data on Mid gets me one step closer to understanding why they’re trying to invade my country, steal our resources, and kill my people. And closer to figuring out how to stop them.
What if it’s a trap? Could Margareath, the first and only spy I sent into Mid, have defected? Would she dare lead us straight into the hands of Mid’s Elected? Breaking the Eco Accords and country isolationism would be a good enough excuse for their leader to execute me and Griffin right on the spot.
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