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It Takes Death to Reach a Star by Stu Jones and Gareth Worthington - Book Tour + Giveaway

By 7:30 AM

Sci fi, dystopian, apocalyptic

Date Published: May 22 2018

Publisher: Vesuvian Books

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The world you know is dead. We did this to ourselves.

The epidemic struck at the end of the Third World War. Fighting over oil, power, and religion, governments ignored the rise of an antibacterial-resistant plague. In just five years, the Earth was annihilated. Only one city survived—Etyom—a frozen hellhole in northern Siberia, engulfed in endless conflict.

The year is 2251.

Two groups emerged from the ashes of the old world. Within the walled city of Lower Etyom dwell the Robusts—descendants of the poor who were immune to the New Black Death. Above them, in a metropolis of pristine platforms called lillipads, live the Graciles—the progeny of the superrich, bio-engineered to resist the plague.

Mila Solokoff is a Robust who trades information in a world where knowing too much can get you killed. Caught in a deal gone bad, she's forced to take a high-risk job for a clandestine organization hell-bent on revolution.

Demitri Stasevich is a Gracile with a dark secret—a sickness that, if discovered, will get him Ax'd. His only relief is an illegal narcotic produced by the Robusts, and his only means of obtaining it is a journey to the arctic hell far below New Etyom.

Thrust together in the midst of a sinister plot that threatens all life above and below the cloud line, Mila and Demitri must master their demons and make a choice—one that will either salvage what's left of the human race or doom it to extinction …


        Bronze Medal Winner — 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards — Science Fiction

·         Gold (1st Place) Winner — 2019 Feathered Quill Book Awards — Science Fiction/Fantasy

·         Finalist — 2018 Dragon Awards — Science Fiction

·         Winner — 2018 New York Book Festival — Science Fiction

·         First Place Ribbon — 2018 Chanticleer International Book Awards — Science Fiction


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“Worthless—a failure from the start, like all the rest,” I hiss.

The pathetic youngling stares up with wet, almond-shaped, hazel eyes—Gracile eyes. I strengthen my one-handed grip around its neck, squeezing, cutting off the air to its lungs. The disgusting whelp doesn’t even struggle.

You don’t have to do this. There are other ways.

“Oh, there you are, little peacock. Just in time.” The annoying Gracile, Demitri, who used to possess this corporeal shell is a constant thorn in my side. There seems to be no end to his perpetual interruptions, pleading for me to halt my work.

Please, let him go.

“Why? This creature is useless to me, to Russia.” I rap on the youngling’s head with the cane in my other hand. “Should I let it die slowly in the cold like an injured goat? No. We should all hope for such a quick release.”

Why should he die at all?

“Without torture, there is no science,” I rasp. “Its mind is like borscht. Malformed and lacking in the strength of its body.”

Him, not it—he’s a child, Vedmak. Not that it matters to you.

It’s difficult to hold back the snarl of a smile spreading across these stolen lips. The Gracile lives in here with me. He knows my soul. My desires. I toss the runt into the waiting arms of one of my more successful ventures: Merodach—an enormous Gracile clad in armor—who does as I bid. The intravenous stim keeps Merodach in a permanent rage, yet under my control.

With powerful hands, Merodach holds the youngling’s arms out, splaying it wide open. Vulnerable. It squirms in the dim light of the lab, throwing awkward shadows against the white walls.

Please, stop it. Stop.

“Silence, peacock. Always in my head. Always whining. Enough.”

Merodach watches me, but he’s not confused. He knows of the inner voice. I stare through the round lenses in my modified Soviet gasmask and study the little creature—past its sad little eyes, and into the void of its feeble mind. Whatever dwells in there it’s not what I wanted. The laser-scythe ignites, screeching into life—my black walking staff now adorned with a crescent-shaped, cobalt-blue plasma blade that crackles and pops. I trace the edge across the youngling’s cheek. The incision is instantly sealed by the white-hot blade. If it weren’t for this mask, I could smell the burning flesh. Pity.

The pup’s chest heaves rapidly, but still, no words come from its lips. As I suspected, its soup-like mind is useless. No ability to speak. If it can’t talk, it will at least scream. I nod to Merodach.

Merodach’s face breaks into a beautifully evil leer and he begins to pull on the arms.

The youngling shrieks.

“So, you can make a sound.” I laugh, glee filling this chest.

For the love of Yeos, end it!

“Yeos? Oh, how delicious. Are we praying now?” My laughter fills the mask, and it’s difficult not to choke on the stim vapor circulating inside. “Yeos doesn’t exist. Neither do Yahweh nor Ilah. You as a scientist should know this best, little puppet. I am the closest

thing there is to a god. Soon, the Logosians and the Musuls and all of Etyom will learn this.”

The youngling is on its knees mumbling incomprehensibly; its face wet with tears. It bores me. I lift the plasma scythe into the air and slice down with a powerful strike. The youngling’s head rolls off its shoulders and bounces across the floor of the lab—its wide eyes still staring off into space.

Next Book in the Series

Sci fi, Dystopian, Apocalyptic

Date Published: Aug 25 2020

Publisher: Vesuvian Books

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Four years have passed since the lillipads fell and Etyom slipped into darkness. The New Black Death has mutated again, spreading to near epidemic proportions. What little order existed in Earth’s last city has disintegrated into chaos.

Rippers roam the Vapid, robbing and leaving their victims butchered. The Robusts have spilled out of their broken enclaves and hide in any dark corner that will conceal them. Meanwhile, the elite Graciles, fallen from their pristine towers in the sky, have all mysteriously disappeared.

Demitri is a prisoner in his own mind. His demon, Vedmak—now known as the Vard√łger—is manipulating Demitri’s body to execute a secret plan far more disastrous than even the Gracile Leader dared.

Mila, her status among the fractured resistance elevated to that of Paladyn—a protector of the people—leads the fight against zealots intent on destroying what little remains of Etyom. It is a responsibility she never wanted, a calling that prevents her from doing what she truly desires.

Yet, Mila should be careful of what she longs. Caught between annihilation and loyalties that refuse to die, she must reconcile a single immutable truth: following your heart comes at a price.

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 About Stu Jones

A veteran law enforcement officer, Stu Jones has worked as a beat cop, an investigator, an instructor of firearms and police defensive tactics and as a member and team leader of a multi-jurisdictional SWAT team.


About Gareth Worthington 

Gareth Worthington BSc PhD EMBA is a trained marine biologist and holds a doctorate in comparative endocrinology. Gareth works in the pharmaceutical industry helping to educate the world's doctors on new cancer therapies.







Contact Links


Gareth Worthington Goodreads

Stu Jones Goodreads

Instagram: @garethworthington @stujonesfiction


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