by Justine Alley Dowsett with Murandy Damodred
A world she couldn't begin to imagine...
Her mother gone, Equinox finds herself alone in a place she can no longer call home. Following the only clue her mother left her to her father's identity, Equinox leaves her Slums heritage behind to search out her father in Neo Central; the largest and most affluent city in the world. Not knowing where to start, Equinox finds that it's a lot harder to fit into a world she doesn't understand than she ever thought possible.
Feeling abandoned, Equinox's best friend Nano follows after her and gets embroiled in an escalating plot by revolutionaries to overthrow the government of Neo Central. Nano uncovers that affairs in the city may not be exactly what they seem and that there may be a sinister purpose behind the city's many orphanages that he escaped from when he was younger.
Separated, then reunited by circumstance both Equinox and Nano will discover what it takes to live in a city like Neo Central and if they can afford the price of fitting in.
YA, Science Fiction, Romance 282 pages
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Her small body lay flopped over in the arms of the largest man Nano had ever seen. Her eyes were open and sightless and her expression vacant. He didn’t know her name. There were too many children at the orphanage to remember them all, but only moments ago this particular little girl had been reading by herself in the corner, bothering no one, and now Nano wasn’t even sure if she was still alive.
Where are they taking her? Nano wondered, Is she sick? It doesn’t look like she’s sleeping…
Nano, only five, stood still among, but somehow set apart from the other children of the orphanage as they played obliviously about him. Until now he had been watching the strange visitors with curiousity, all the while telling himself that he should be playing with the other children, but finding that he was unable to tear his eyes away.
The large man stopped, the girl still dangling limply in his arms, in front of the Orphanage Mother’s desk. There were four of them standing near the open door beyond the desk, all dressed identically in black with striking red jewels displayed prominently on their chests. The largest one was obviously in charge, but they mirrored each other right down to their serious expressions. One, an angry-faced woman, looked around at the orphaned children with obvious distaste.
“That’s it then?” The Orphanage Mother, a boxy and intimidating woman herself, addressed the leader in an uncharacteristically timid voice. “You’ll be going now?”
“No,” The large man responded, turning his head to examine the crowd of children once more, “we’re taking that one, too.”
The man pointed with his free hand directly at Nano, and there was no doubt as to who he meant. Nano’s golden-yellow eyes widened in surprise, but not fear; he didn’t fully understand yet.
Timidity gone, the Orphanage Mother reacted with a blaze of anger, “You can’t just pick and choose whichever you like! They’re children, not stray kittens!” Through her anger, Nano heard a note of pleading in her words, which surprised him almost as much as the timidity had. “What do you want with them, anyway?” Her voice shook a little as she voiced the question, as if fearing the answer, “Where do you take them?”
The visitors ignored her and the leader gestured to his companions. The angry-faced woman and one of the men started forward, their red jewels glittering darkly.
“That doesn’t concern you,” the large man responded at last.
About the authors:
Justine Alley Dowsett is the author of nine novels and counting, and one of the founders of Mirror World Publishing. Her books, which she often co-writes with her sister, Murandy Damodred, range from young adult science fiction to dark fantasy/romance. She earned a BA in Drama from the University of Windsor, honed her skills as an entrepreneur by tackling video game production, and now she dedicates her time to writing, publishing, and occasionally role-playing with her friends.