Excerpt from David J. Williams' THE BURNING SKIES

Here's a teaser extract from David J. Williams' action-packed The Burning Skies (Canada, USA, Europe), sequel to The Mirrored Heavens (Canada, USA, Europe).

For more info about the author and this series, check out Williams' website.


Claire Haskell sits within a container within some spaceship. Darkness sits within her. The conversation with Matthew Sinclair has left her feeling sick. She thought she would have left the wreckage of her past life behind her by now, but it's only growing ever more insistent--Jason's face in the throes of passion, Jason's face as she killed him, his body contorted on the SeaMech's floor--all of it keeps replaying in her mind, and she wishes she could undo all of it. Her own weakness appalls her. But she can't deny that she'd sell out the whole world just to put the clock back three days. She'd throw in her lot with the Rain just to keep Jason alive.

But now he's dead. And she's thankful. Because it means the key to her heart's been thrown away forever. No one can hurt her anymore. No one can second-guess her while she takes stock of the whole game: the superpowers as they shore up their defenses, the endless gates of both those zones, those endless eyes scanning endlessly for Rain.

And for her. She can't see the Rain, though. She hasn't seen them since their defeat four days ago--in the minutes after that defeat, she got a read on them receding into zone like a leviathan fading beneath the waves: just a quick glimpse of scales and teeth, and then it was gone. She saw enough to realize just how much of a threat they still were. It worries her that she hasn't seen them since. It worries her even more that they might have seen her. That they might have found some way inside her, and she might not even know it. Even if she is Manilishi--that doesn't mean she can't lose.

So she takes what precautions she can. If the Rain retain some secret thing inside her--some secret key to her, in spite of all her precautions--they might see what's in her brain's software. They might see what's in her mind.

But they won't see what's on her own skin. They won't see what she's drawn upon it. Across the hours, in the oily darkness of the holds of spaceships, surrounded by the clank of machinery: she's pricked maps upon that skin, scarred that skin, painted it all in her own blood, all her calculations, all her strategy, whole swathes of the blueprint of zone upon her limbs and chest--both zones, and the neutral ones too . . . endless geometries of virtual architecture, endless coordinates in no-space. Insight's a myriad of bloody slashes all across her. Knowledge is no longer fleeting now it's etched upon her. She studies endless patterns. She's looking for what all the others may have missed. Twenty-four hours since the thwarting of war, and a nagging disquiet is stealing through her. Forty-eight hours, and that disquiet has become a fear unlike any she's ever known.

Now it's been ninety-six hours. The conversation with Sinclair's confirmed what she's been thinking. Now she's certain. She's so scared she feels like her mind's coming apart. Worse, as long as she was slicing herself, she was forgetting Jason. But now she's got nothing more to cut.

She's got nothing more to learn either. She knows exactly where she needs to be. Right where she is now. Crosshairs slide together in her mind. She feels herself start gliding forward.

1 commentaires:

Anonymous said...

I still haven't had the chance to give William's 'The Mirrored Heavens' a try, but the premise of these thrillers sound interesting and I'm all for a good cyberpunk adventure so I'll keep an eye on these.

Ah, and thanks for the excerpt!