Book & Author Details:
The Compendium by Christine Hart
(The Variant Conspiracy Trilogy, #2)
Publication date: July 13th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction
Irina and her renegade variant friends are scrambling to pick up the trail of their former employer, Ivan, and his globally catastrophic scheme. After strategically sharing their story with the media, the group heads south from Vancouver to Seattle hoping to recruit more experienced—and lethal—variants to their cause.
Their attention develops a laser focus on an engineered disaster mere days ahead of them. Ivan is using what staff and resources remain of Innoviro Industries to set off a violent earthquake in San Francisco. While they fight to stop the earthquake, Irina pushes the love of her life Jonah as far away as she can, trying to keep his unstable genetic degradation in check.
Irina’s friends think they’ve seen the worst that Innoviro could bring forth by the time they reach a secret facility in the Mojave Desert. As they near the property, the group uncovers a horror none of them had ever imagined.
I took a deep breath and approached the wall at the back of our campsite. I visualized giant hands scooping into the earth, effortlessly lifting huge handfuls of dirt up into the air. And it happened. A long SCRUUUSSHH preceded a mound of dirt dislodging from the ground and floating up. I concentrated harder, willing the floating earth off to the side of the hole. I repeated the process with another hole and dirt pile, a mirror of the first so Nellie and Bruno would be next to each other at rest. I took a step backward.
Guilt surged in my belly. I had once believed in heaven and life after death, but that time was in the clear-cut black and white years of my childhood. Even if I had not spent the last year confronted by a world of underground fringe science, my beliefs had already been muddled by the exponential growth of human knowledge. How could I continue to ‘believe’ while humanity probed out into a universe no longer compatible with traditional spirituality? But I wanted to believe. I wanted to believe in something so badly.
Where were Nellie and Bruno now? Where were my mother and Darryl? Would I ever have contact with them again in any form? Once I died too, would I or could I care? Why had I seen my mother in my ‘happy place’, whatever that place meant, along with Gemma, who still lived? It had to be more than my imagination or my visions wouldn’t be true and I would be sitting in a locked room staring out at a treed yard through barred windows.
I looked up and my eyes focused on the stars popping out and twinkling on the plain of flat black. I felt small. And feeling small felt right. I would have to make peace with knowing nothing about the fate of my friends and family who had died. I turned to see that Josh and Cole had retrieved Bruno and Nellie respectively from the Jeep’s storage. I stepped aside.
“We should say something, before we cover them. And mark their graves. It seems like the right thing to do,” I said.
“It’s only the right thing because everyone else does it.” Cole gently placed Nellie in a grave and retreated. Josh did the same with Bruno’s body.
“You don’t think they deserve a remembrance of some sort?” said Jonah.
“Of course they do. It doesn’t make it better though,” said Cole.
“Avenging them is all we can offer,” said Josh.
“In the beginning I wanted to put Ivan out of business. Now I’m going to take him out,” said Faith darkly.
“You knew Nellie best,” I said to Faith. “Let’s start there.”
Faith looked around at each of us, at a loss for words. She looked down at Nellie’s face.
Located on BC’s beautiful West Coast, I write from my suburban Burnaby home staring at North Vancouver’s iconic Coast Mountains. I love writing about places and spaces with rich history and visually fascinating elements as a backdrop for the surreal and spectacular.
In addition to my undergraduate degree in writing and literature, my background also includes corporate communications and design. I am a current member of the Federation of BC Writers and SF Canada.
When not writing, I have a habit of breaking stuff and making stuff – in that order – under the guise of my Etsy alter-ego Sleepless Storyteller. I share my eclectic home and lifestyle with my husband, baby daughter and preschool son.