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Days of Reign by Elisa Hansen - Book Tour + Giveaway

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Dystopian Fiction
Date Published: June 29, 2018

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Described as Dune meets The Hunger Games, this epic narrative of survival will have you in suspense and intrigue. Set in the futuristic world of Eldon, our hero, Zelenka, is forced to abandon everything she loves for a chance at freedom.

With parallels to today’s global crises, this book will have you questioning; would you risk it all?

It is year 2107 and the planet which was once called Earth (now Eldon), is ruled by a single, oppressive government.  Many of those who suffered under the tyrannical rule of Eldon, have fled to a neighbouring planet, Amaryllis, and attempted to grow a utopian society.

Relations between the two worlds are fraught.  Each believe the other to be evil.  Each believe it is their responsibility to save humankind from the other.

Within this interplanetary political backdrop, lives Zelenka.  The Eldonian teenager is forced to hide her intelligence and knowledge.  Na├»ve and idealistic, she has never fitted into Eldonian life.  She longs to openly be herself but is terrified of the government’s harsh rules and punishments.

“Zelenka is a true hero to me,” says the author, Elisa Hansen. “She has a strength of character that I see in many women facing similar fates today. Facets of the Eldon society mirror the present. Our heroes should not always the ones who succeed, but the people with true intent, and drive, to change.”

Zelenka unbolted the door and heaved it open. She was not scared, despite the man’s size. 
He spoke the password formally, without introduction, as if any non-essential words were wasted 
He was undeniably Amaryllian. She knew by the glow of his pale skin, the whites of his eyes, 
the muscles contouring his silhouette beneath his starched, stiff shirt.
He stared directly at Zelenka and she dared to return his gaze. He squinted, as if discerning her 
motives. His irises were pale grey, his pupils wide. 
His nose, strong and protruding, balanced a broad, square face.
He reached forward and squeezed her hands. His voice matched his body, husky and assertive.
“Are you ready?”
Zelenka nodded.
He turned and stepped from the dark, dusty doorway. Zelenka locked the door behind her, 
and hugged her shawl around her shoulders as she followed him onto the unpaved road.
The streets were void of human noise. Only their breaths and the soft wind broke the silence. 
It was well past curfew.
Zelenka followed him downhill. He turned left at the end and continued along an uneven laneway. 
At first, Zelenka knew the streets but as they ventured into unknown nooks of the city, she was forced 
to concentrate on her footing. The potholes were invisible in the darkness. She realised he took the 
back laneways, the ones concealed from the barred, grimy windows of the apartments, squeezed 
along the narrow roads like stockpiles. These paths were narrower and shielded from the moonlight 
by the amass of worn-away walls.
Neither spoke. Every now and then he would glance back, checking she was following.
She heard their destination before she spotted it. A low din of government music, a cough, 
then a groan. As they rounded the next corner, she saw a single electric bulb over a red plaque. 
As they approached, she read its words in black print: State Bar—Contracted women available nightly.
And below that in fine gold text: God relieves you.
Zelenka shuddered. She had never been to a bar but knew they existed from the stories her mother told.
“Even the most pious of men have urges, Zelie,” her mother had warned her.
In Eldon, it was honourable to suffer. The poor suffered the most. They were unable to afford wives, 
so the state established bars for them. Despite being encouraged by the government, common people 
believed such places were holes of derelict desperation.
They descended a short, narrow staircase lined with thin carpet that may once have been red but was 
stained black, grey and cream. When they reached the bottom, Zelenka followed him to the left, 
and then through an open doorway. Zelenka’s nostrils filled with the odours vomit and tobacco. 
Her eyes teared in the smoke. She blinked repeatedly, fighting to clear her vision in this strange, 
underground hideout.
When her sight was clear again, she made out fat figures with greying hair, 
seated at small, round tables. They held glasses, half-full of brown liquid, their elbows resting on the 
tables. Most of them sat alone. Some sat in pairs. She guessed there were about fifty men. 
None conversed. All stared to the front of the room. She followed their gazes and saw their eyes rested 
on a stage where scantily clad women gyrated against steel frames. Zelenka guessed these women 
were the unmarried government contractors who were forced to work in such establishments.
Zelenka jumped as she felt someone grab her wrist.
“Come,” he instructed with a hint of apprehension. Only an Amaryllian would touch an unknown 
woman in public. She constantly witnessed the dissimilarities between their cultures.
He crossed the room to the left and she followed. No one looked at them as they passed. 
They were unthinking and strangely unhuman—more like motionless zombies than men. 
He stopped in front of a metal door that looked like the entrance to a cool room. He knocked softly, 
five times, in a distinct rhythm. They both stood still for a moment. Then, with a click, a slit opened 
in the plain metal. Two calculating eyes scanned left to right. There were several clicks, then the door 
opened. He entered and Zelenka followed.
The woman she knew as Fianna stood just inside the doorway. Her arms were crossed against her 
slight chest and her lips tilted to one side.
Zelenka followed the man inside. He closed the door and the room became silent.
Fianna still looked the same as when Zelenka had first met her. Her hair was long and straight. 
Her brows were neat but coarse, her nose strong but slender. Her pronounced cheekbones matched 
her skinny frame. She wore a light silk dress of royal blue whose fabric fluttered under the breeze 
of the whirling ceiling fan. Her arms were strong and toned, that of a fit and efficient woman. 
Fianna was the chief diplomat from Amaryllis to Eldon. She had often said that it was her purpose 
and responsibility to help those suffering on Eldon and teach them about Amaryllis.
“Thanks for coming, sweets,” Fianna said, squeezing Zelenka’s hand. She pointed toward a couch 
in the middle of the room as an invitation to sit. Zelenka walked toward it, her sandals sticking to the 
floor at every step. As she sunk into the cushions, she hoped the ashy, black marks scarring the 
upholstery would not stain her skirt. Fianna joined her at the other end of the couch, 
resting her knees on it and facing her body toward Zelenka.
“I’m glad Zeal was able to bring you here safely. Without being seen, I mean.”
She looked at the burly man who now stood by the closed entrance. 
It was a small room, no bigger than her bedroom, with a single desk, a couch, elevated ceilings, 
and no windows. The walls were lined with tattered, red velvet wallpaper, and the floor was a stained 
plush carpet.
“What is this place?” Zelenka asked innocently. She gazed around the room in disgust.
“Terrible, isn’t it?” Fianna responded, cringing. “At least we can talk here. Zeal had the monitors 
intercepted in minutes. Plus, it’s the least expected place for an Amaryllian hideout. 
They know we’re on Eldon, of course, but best that they don’t know we’re talking to locals.”
By they Zelenka guessed that Fianna was referring to the government and the policing Authority 
“Anyway, this is our holding fort,” Fianna continued. “We knew the owner had disappeared, 
the circuits were basic enough to control and the patrons are oblivious—as are the workers. 
Both are so dazed it seems like the owner’s absence hasn’t even been realised yet. Poor souls.” 
She murmured the last two words with a mix of pity and repulsion, curling up her mouth and nose 
but softening her large eyes.
Zelenka watched Fianna’s gaze flicker right and left across the room, as if she was suddenly conscious 
of something dangerous. She then refocused her stare onto Zelenka, the smile dropping from her 
“So, tell me, sweets,” Fianna said endearingly, “what is it that you’ve heard?”
Zelenka drew in a deep breath and sighed noisily through her mouth, chest heaving.
“Invasion,” she announced. “They plan to invade.”
Despite the solemnity of her declaration, Fianna unexpectedly threw her head back and loudly cackled 
in uncontrolled laughter. Such a sound was inappropriate for a woman in Eldon, and Zelenka caught
herself in shock.
Perplexed, Zelenka furrowed her brows. Even for a free Amaryllian, something as serious as Eldon’s 
intention to invade the rival planet could surely not be considered funny in any culture’s humour. 
She looked toward Zeal. He remained by the door, face blank, his hands behind his back.
Eventually, Fianna calmed herself and saw Zelenka’s puzzlement.
“Sorry, sweets,” she said, and then smiled. “I suppose it’s not funny, but, you see, 
I always find the wild dreams of Eldon humorous. To think of it! They’d be lucky enough to reach 
our planet, let alone pass our security.”
Zelenka remained serious, still not amused by any of it.
“Perhaps I shouldn’t laugh. I know they tell you not to here, the government saying it is sinful and all. 
It’s just that so many of the Eldonians’ ideas are totally bizarre. They leave the happening of them to 
God. But if you know the workings of science and technology, you’d see they wouldn’t stand 
a chance.”
Fianna spoke of Eldonians in the third person, suggesting that she saw Zelenka as somewhere between 
the two worlds. This was, indeed, how Zelenka herself felt.
Zelenka thought back to the meeting notes she had transcribed that day. Mr Phisse had sent the 
group into heated debate and excitement at the prospect of revenge. Zelenka had gasped in shock 
then looked around cautiously, hoping no one had noticed her reaction. She concluded that no one, 
except Fraco and Mr Phisse, had even acknowledged her presence. Twenty ships, Mr Phisse had said. 
They would begin with one, a scoper, and then the others would follow in a fleet.
“They plan to send a scoper, one ship that will learn about Amaryllis, then others to follow. 
Up to twenty ships, I heard them say.”
Fianna nodded and took notes on a small screen as Zelenka spoke. Fianna did not seem perturbed by 
any of it. Zelenka was bewildered. She could not understand why Fianna was not petrified at the 
thought of Eldon invading her homeland. No matter how strong Amaryllis was, Zelenka knew that you 
could never underestimate the illogical minds of the Eldonian government officials. She had seen 
too much violence and hatred to not be fearful.
“It doesn’t scare you?”
Fianna looked up, her face serene.
“I mean, you pride yourself on your planet. It doesn’t scare you that Eldon is trying to invade?”
Fianna put down the screen and reached out for Zelenka’s hands.
“Don’t worry, sweets. I know it is difficult for you to realise when you have never travelled there, 
and that Zora, myself, and now Zeal are probably the only Amaryllians you have ever met. 
But don’t worry, sweets, there is no way they will invade. And if they try, they might actually learn 
Zelenka wanted to shake the foreign woman. She wanted to believe Fianna, but everything in her 
instinct told her that she could not.
“What if they succeed?”
Fianna smiled. “I am pleased that you at least have an imagination. That is something rare on Eldon.”
Fianna stood and looked toward Zeal. “He’ll escort you home. Thank you, Zelenka. 
Thank you for coming here, for telling me this and most of all for being on the side of justice 
and peace.”
“Will you do something to stop it?” Zelenka asked as she walked toward the door.
“It will all be okay, sweets. Eldon is not going to invade Amaryllis. They wouldn’t stand a chance.”
The meeting was over. Fianna made her way back to the sturdy door, unlocked it, and nodded to 
Zeal as a signal for him to escort Zelenka back through the seedy bar. Zelenka and Zeal sneaked to 
her home via a different route of equally dark laneways. She failed to understand
how Amaryllians always seemed to know where they were going, even on a foreign planet. 
There was too much she did not understand about these people.
For the next three days, Fianna’s laugh and flashes of the zombie faces of the bar’s customers haunted 
Zelenka. The two worlds were different, but millions would die if war erupted. Zelenka had turned to
 Fianna to stop it, but the information seemed inconsequential to the Amaryllian.
If they would not stop the war, she would have to do it herself.

About the Author

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Growing up in Melbourne, Australia, Elisa Hansen was curious about other worlds. The travel bug bit her young, and she spent her early years with a pack on her back and hiking boots on her feet. Beyond exploring she loves to dance, cook, eat, learn other languages and paint.

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