C. W. Kesting's 
FreshMuse

ENVAR ISLAND

When Mankind toys with Natural Order and creates the next version of ourselves; are we prepared to embrace the consequences? Or have we just rendered ourselves obsolete?

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A new science fiction thriller!

Available from Wings ePress
November 2011

In the years of Reconstruction following the Class Wars, enhanced human variants—envars—have outlived their initial purpose. Now, four generations of advanced genetic engineering lie sequestered on secret islands, awaiting disposal.  Faced with their own mortality, a small band of envars, led by a charismatic and obsessed variant named Kane revolt and escape to the mainland in search of their birthright.

Michael Valentine is one of these refugees. He senses Kane’s madness and quickly breaks free. With the help of a mysterious old sage and a troubled human named Echo, Michael hopes to reunite with his missing genetic sister and discover the true purpose of his existence...

...and perhaps ours.

Advanced Praise for Envar Island

This book is an exquisitely written adventure of human emotions—prejudice, hate, vengeance and greed; all fighting against the possibilities of peace and acceptance. Kesting’s world-building skills remind me a great deal of Ursula K. LeQuin and Robert Heinlein’s poetic prose...

~ JoEllen Conger; Conger Book Reviews

 

 

    C.W. Kesting’s latest release, Envar Island, is a science fiction book that ranks at the top of the list in the thriller genre. Envar Island is a page-turner that you will not want to miss. I guarantee that you will find your heart pounding wildly while you read, anxious to race to the end. You will find yourself delighted by Kesting’s powerful descriptions…

~ Sue Hurley; Author of Never Ever.

 2012 EPIC Awards finalist

Selected Excerpt from Envar Island

~*~


When they weren’t diving to extreme depths to repair a fractured well or climbing impossibly sheer rock faces to harvest valuable minerals; they could be found assembling vast and mysterious machines or simply practicing their various crafts. That was the purpose of the Fourths; and the Thirds before them and the Seconds before them.

This particular day, however, they were free to go where they wished. The huge temple ships had again anchored in the bay and that meant that the Elders were in sessions with the Primes. There would be no missions for this day or possibly even the next.

So, energized by the unrestricted schedule of the day, they had playfully chased one another through the lush humid forest. Dodging thickly braided vines and twisted tree roots, the two siblings had run up and down familiar game trails aromatic with animal spoor and fragrant flora. Exotic birds took flight ahead of their carefree crashing and easy laughter.

They eventually rested at the waterfall high atop the center of the island, breathing heavily from their chase but not at all exhausted. They sat close together on the quartz outcroppings of the wide riverbank and dangled their bare feet in the turbulent water as it crested the edge and then fell fifty feet as a hissing spray into the lake below.

They had watched the endless flow of water as it cascaded over the cliff; marveling at the brilliant prisms of rainbows that flashed through the hanging mist. They remained silent for some time, allowing the water to sing its uninterrupted song.

Soon, Michael rose and held his hand out to her. Celladora grabbed it and let him pull her to her feet. They sauntered lazily along the river and the trails.

“Kane was angry again last night.” She eventually said.

“He’s always angry.” He had answered.

She nodded sadly and walked a while before continuing.

“Do you miss the Thirds?” She asked.

He had hesitated, giving the question thought, but then did not answer directly.

“I do,” she finally said quietly.  “I miss them terribly.”

He nodded but remained silent.

~*~

On another day, they had sat in the cool sand just above the tide line, facing the gently rolling surf on the eastern shore of the island. Without the sun’s vibrant kiss, the pre-dawn sky was dull and corrugated; a textured ceiling of rippling gray cloud that draped over the ocean as far as they could see. Flights of small gulls darted across the tops of the shallow waves, their squawks filling the otherwise quiet morning.

Celladora shifted her position; dug her bare feet deeper into the cold sand and then fell gracefully back onto her elbows.

“Do you believe there are other islands?” she had asked. Her eyes narrowed as she searched the brightening horizon.

“I dunno.  I guess it’s possible.” Michael responded dubiously. He kept his eyes on the silvery waters of the sea.

“Do you believe everything the Elders have taught us?” she tossed him a suspicious sideways glance.

“Well, not everything,” he answered and then smiled slyly. “For instance, I’m fairly certain that when the Next arrive, they don’t just wash up on shore one night.”

She slapped him hard on the shoulder and shot him a look of impatience that quickly turned to a smile. He laughed aloud and shook his head.

She beamed at him and then chuckled through her own words. “I’m not talking about where the baby Fifths will come from, you undisciplined dolphin,” After a few minutes their giggles subsided.

“I mean about us as a people,” her body drew tight. Her eyes were soft and serious as they searched his open face. His tender look of concern urged her on.

“Do you think this island—our island—is the last one of its kind?” Her gaze was desperate now, almost forlorn.

“What you really mean is,” he corrected. “Are we the last of our kind?”

She shrugged and shifted her gaze back to the ocean. “There just seems to be so few of us.”

He watched her face turn melancholy and it pained him. He struggled for words, feeling obligated to soften her anxiety. When he had finally answered, he did so cautiously, careful not to allow his own skepticism to taint his words.

“If this is the last viable island—the final nest of civilization—then I guess by extension, we are the last of our kind.” He frowned and raised his brow hopefully.

She shook her head and sat up, brushing sand from her hands.

“No.” She firmed her jaw. “I refuse to believe that. What about the ships and the Primes?” She nodded to the north, in the direction of the protected cove and its bay full of enormous docks. He gazed over her shoulder and could just see the line of tall slender reef towers marching away from the northern shore—jutting from the water, extending nearly one hundred meters into the sky and forming a network of invisible protection that enclosed the entire northern coastline.

Michael sighed. “Well, sure there’s other islands.” he began reluctantly. “Not many, but it seems reasonable. Mathematically valid, even.”

He gestured weakly with one arm to the ocean. “I mean, there’s a lot of water out there, so it stands to reason that were not alone. But—.”

She froze him with a reproachful stare.

He sighed again and let his head fall back in frustration. “But, the Elders have established that there are no more inhabitable land masses. The Primes have confirmed it. We are the last. Responsible for the Next.” He quoted the oft-repeated mantra of their early teachings. She pressed her lips together, her eyes moistened with threatening tears. It broke his heart to see her so openly overcome with emotion.

He let his arms drop to his sides in defeat and then played absently with the sand.

“Where do the Primes come from?” She finally asked. “Or the ships?”

He paused, gave her a sober look and then turned back to the ocean.

“They’re afloat. Always at sea. This is the only place they dock because it’s the only place to dock.”

“And the supplies they bring?”

“Manufactured onboard the ships. From raw marine materials.”

She huffed and shook her head. “Have you ever been on one of the temple ships?” She asked defiantly.

“No, of course not.”

“Well, then. How do you know?”

“The Elders—.”

“Bah!” She tossed dry sand with both hands in a spray that left tiny pockmarks in the wet beach in front of them. “I’m going to get on one those big ships and see for myself.”

“Look, Cella,” he said in a calm steady voice. “You’re a Climber. And me—I’m just a Diver.” He spread his webbed fingers and blinked; his nictitating membranes flickered and then retracted into the corners of his eyes. Celladora flexed her elongated toes beneath the sand; watching the sparkling grains flow along the furrows. She laid her hands in her lap and splayed her fingers, studying the six angular knuckles on each long digit.

“I know.” She sighed quietly.

“Besides,” he added. “We’re Fourth’s. Only the Elders can board the temple ships and commune with the Primes.”

Cella nodded grudgingly—her face anguished, her eyes desperate.

She sniffed and then bit her lip, yearning to share something.

“Kane’s been on board the ships.” She finally whispered conspiratorially.

“Crab-tails!” he swore. “Kane’s a Fourth—like us.”

“No, really.” She pleaded. “I over-heard him talking with his team during a dive.”

“When?” he asked. “And how did you get close enough to a dive to over-hear anything?” He eyed her suspiciously.

“I’ve been practicing my swimming,” she said shyly. “I was out beyond the reef towers, under the pulse range, when I saw their skimmer heading out for a training dive on one of the older tower stanchions.” She nodded toward the snaking row of EMP generating towers—the islands only defensive perimeter.

“I swam to one of the towers and climbed,” she explained quickly.

“You climbed a tower? Are you mad?” he stared at her, wide eyed with shock.

She shrugged.

“Anyway, Kane said that the Primes are just machines. That the ships are entirely automated and that the Elders are hiding things from us aboard those ships.”

“What things?”

“He wouldn’t say.” She shifted in the sand and reached for his hands. Her hex-articulated fingers curled warmly around his, pulling them into her lap.

“But, he has a plan, Michael.” Her eyes sparkled in the dawning sunlight. “A plan to get off the island and into the world. The real world. To see for ourselves what’s really out there.”

Michael held his sister’s hands and watched the sad hope twinkle in her eyes.

 

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