Monday, February 24, 2020

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Zein: The Reckoning by Graham J. Wood - Book Tour

Zein: The Reckoning
by Graham J. Wood

Summary:
The nightmare continues. Returning to Earth, Kabel and Tyson are fighting different battles.
Kabel angry and struggling to restrain his feelings for Gemma, and Tyson fighting an internal battle
with the methir still coursing through his body; the magics are growing stronger.
On Earth, the Cabal are tightening their grip on the control of the zinithium and the fearful population.
Their ruthlessness is supported by Zylar aggressively pushing his domination plan forward,
and his desire for revenge on the Blackstone brothers is all consuming.
The odds seem high, almost unimaginable. Into this despair stride the conflicted brothers with the
support of their companions. Despair, defeat and death will face them. Now is the time to fight back,
to face the ultimate battle of good versus evil, for the sake of the Earth,
the universe and their own internal peace.

Information about the Book
Title: Zein: The Reckoning (Zein #3)
Authors: Graham J. Wood
Release Date: 27th February 2020
Genre: Sci-Fi
Page Count: 294
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Excerpt
The cold, steel floor soothed the bruising to her body. She allowed her eyes to move around the room, not sure what she was seeking but trying to take some comfort from the protection the sparsely furnished cell provided. There was a small dirty sink with only the cold tap working, next to a steel bed frame, which held a hard and inhospitable mattress. A toilet with no seat made up the only other piece of equipment in the room. She raised her hand to her face, wincing when her hand touched the swelling around her eye. It was not the only mark her body carried, as the canvas of bruises and swellings across her body evidenced. The room was warm, which, since she was not provided with the dignity of any clothes, was a relief. She curled her knees to her chest in comfort and hearing footsteps hurriedly shut her eyes.
The guard opened the feeding hatch to the squalid room and pushed in the unappetising food through the opening, consisting off stale bread, a lump of cheese which had seen better days and a glass of water. He noted the figure on the floor didn’t move at the noise of the tray scraping on the steel floor but remained in the foetal position, curling into herself for protection and comfort. The guard waited to see if she moved towards the door. He saw the previous food to the side, untouched and just as unappetising as the food newly introduced into the room.
He was not a nice man, one of Zylar’s mercenaries who witnessed dreadful acts of wanton violence over the years. He remembered the day when the girl arrived, dazed, unsure, scared. He watched as she was taken to Zylar’s sleeping quarters frequently, returning the same night, always in worse shape; bruises prominent on her face, arms and legs. His orders were not to talk to her, and to feed her sparingly.
In the room, the girl’s eyes flicked back open, staring at the bleak wall facing the door, the nightmare so raw and present in her young mind. She sensed the brute of the gaoler was watching her who, in her eyes, was just as bad as the rest. She remained motionless deciding not to give the monster any fun. Her abused body rested on the cool floor, aches and pains assailing her. Zylar was brutal. His anger ever-present and for now, the young woman bore the brunt of it. She closed her eyes and drifted off to a never-ending cycle of nightmares, her mind on the safety of her home planet and the loving arms of her mother.
The hard, tough gaoler took no pleasure for what he was witnessing and a crumb of sympathy crept into his twisted mind. He was in two minds to provide a bowl of hot and nutritious soup and straight away cast out of his head the mad thought as quickly as it came to him; he knew not to cross Zylar, not if you wanted to live. He sighed and then pulling the shutter back up into place, he slammed the feeding hatch shut and made his way to a seat nearby.
When the girl awoke with no recollection of how long she slept, no surprise as she was at a loss what time of day or night it was, she climbed onto the unwelcoming mattress. Though hard and relatively unyielding, her body accepted the slight improvement in comfort. After what seemed like minutes, which in fact was hours; time standing still in the inhospitable room, the door slid back and she let out a small moan of fear. She frequently prayed that the lack of attention over a period of time would continue. Now that seemed unlikely. Even in the short time, she had known him, she witnessed the dramatic change with his demeanour. If there had been a shred of humanity, if that was the correct term for a Zeinonian, or decency within him, it was gone now. He neither seemed to take enjoyment or pleasure from the abuse he wielded out as he dominated her. He was very much like a machine, actions almost robotic. He hardly talked to her through those terrible nights but when he did his voice was cold, distant…he reminded her of one of his creations, the Ilsid.
‘Get up,’ said the woman standing next to the gaoler. She was an old woman who was assigned to look after her prior to being presented to Zylar for his gratification. Her lined, weary face spoke of her hard life experienced courtesy of the Eastern Quadrant. There was also a trace of sympathy in her tone of voice as she watched the young woman gingerly stand up. The old woman offered a robe to her, which Gemma gratefully took, surprised by the gesture. The young women knew the process as she was led down the corridor of the ship. First the shower and then cream for her bruises and then food.
Later after eating what was a decent meal she rested on a sofa in the medical bay. Her sleep was fitful and full of unpleasant memories. She thought of Kabel and wished he was here to take her away from the pain.
The old woman returned later in the evening.
‘Time to go,’ she said. Her voice clipped but her eyes offering some warmth.
‘Please no, I can’t take it anymore,’ said the young woman.
‘Believe me when I say it would be folly for you not to come with me,’ said the old lady, not unkindly. She placed her hand on the young woman’s wrist and helped her stand up from the sofa. The young woman let her pull her up, tears cascading down her face. She held the robe closely to her, as if it was a bulletproof vest to protect her.
‘You need to take the robe off,’ said the old woman. Her orders were strict; this young woman was not to be given a stitch of clothing. The robe was her idea, a small rebellion which kept her sane from the horrific things she had seen since she was forced to serve him, the fear of reprisals receding in line with her advancing age.
‘No, please no,’ the young woman cried, but she knew her one supporter was this woman and to jeopardise her position as her keeper was a place she did not want to venture. She reluctantly removed the robe and gently placed it on the sofa. The old woman took her arm and led her up the corridor. The soulless faces of the Ilsid, guarding the corridor, stared out, neither looking right nor left, unaffected by the nakedness of the prisoner. The old woman took the young woman to a large door guarded by another two Ilsid who stepped out of her way. The door slid open and they stepped into the copiously richly adorned room. He was at the window looking out into the depths of space. The old woman patted the girl’s arm and turned to leave.
‘I understand you gave this woman a robe today,’ said the cold voice of the man at the window. Both the old woman and young girl, shook with fear.
The dark figure turned and his ghoulish mask of a face stared down at the quivering women in front of him.
‘I did, Master,’ said the old woman, shrinking away, fearing the worse, resigned that her miserable life would end this night.
‘No need to worry, you have served me well and I am not a monster, am I?’ said the dark figure. He directed the question at the shaking young woman who was trying to cover her modestly. ‘I feel I may have treated you too harshly my dear. You know it is all the fault of the Blackstone brothers, don’t you?’ He cocked his head to one side waiting for a response.
The young woman swallowed hard to break the dryness in her throat so she could answer. ‘Ye-s-s, Master,’ answered the young woman.
‘Good, good,’ said the dark figure and then he turned to the old woman. ‘When you pick her up later, see she has a robe and check our stores for some clothes. We are not barbarians, are we?’ The old woman nodded, her fear ebbing slightly. ‘You can go now,’ he said. The woman didn’t need any more encouragement. With a remorseful look at the young woman she was leaving, the old woman scurried out of the room.
As the door slid shut behind the old woman, the tall figure beckoned to the remaining figure in the room. ‘Now come forward my dear, it’s time for us to become reacquainted; time for you to please your Master.’
Inside her, Gemma felt numb at hearing his favourite phrase but for now, there was no choice. She reluctantly walked into the arms of her captor. Her silent plea directed at her friends.
Would no one come to her rescue? 

Author Information
Graham J. Wood was born in Manchester, and grew up in neighbouring Sale.
He coordinates global negotiations outsourcing information technology and business processes,
and his work takes him all around the world. His daughter, Becky, had lifesaving open heart surgery
in 2012 at the age of fourteen; born with the extremely rare heart defect interrupted aortic arch,
she was considered a medical miracle as the condition went undiagnosed until she was thirteen.
Graham and his family have donated over £2000 to Alder Hey & Ronald McDonald Trust
as thanks for saving Becky’s life. Graham and his wife live in Timperley, Altrincham.
He is the author of Zein: The Prophecy (2014) and Zein: The Homecoming (2015) both published
by Clink Street.


Tour Schedule




Monday 24th February

Tuesday 25th February

Wednesday 26th February

Thursday 27th February

Friday 28th February

Saturday 29th February

Sunday 1st March


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