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Book #2 in the Reapers series by Alden Bell (following The Reapers Are the Angels)
In a world where the undead outnumber the living, Moses Todd roams the post-apocalyptic plains of America. His reprobate brother, Abraham — his only companion — has known little else. Together, they journey because they have to; because they have nowhere to go, and no one to answer to other than themselves.
Traveling the bloody wastelands of this ruined world, Moses is looking for a kernel of truth, and a reason to keep going. And a chance encounter presents him with the Vestal Amata, a beguiling and mysterious woman who may hold the key to salvation. But he is not the only one seeking the Vestal. For the Vestal has a gift: a gift that might help save what is left of humanity. And it may take everything he has to free her from the clutches of those who most desire her.
gonna do it, he says. You were gonna kill him in cold blood. That’s right, she says. And you weren’t. He wasn’t no threat to you – not then. He shot your brother. Is that what you were gonna do it for? On behalf of Abraham? No. I was going to do it on behalf of myself. And on behalf of decency. Decency, Moses repeats and guffaws. That’s a mighty big concept for such a little redheaded thing like yourself. Little nothing – I’m the Vestal. Or haven’t you heard? Your name ain’t Amata. He
adaptable. You might do somethin for those people. She keeps her arms crossed and looks out the window, the snow falling in hard streaks against the darkening sky. I don’t want to stay, she says stubbornly. I’ll be back, he says. Two days. Then we’ll figure things out. Let me go with you, she says. We’ll fetch Abraham and then we’ll all come back, all three of us. They ain’t going to hurt you, Moses says. The sooner they get their research done, the sooner all of us can leave. Your job’s
his brother and the Vestal. Then he clambers down the face of the hill, sliding much of the way on the dirty ice, controlling his fall by grappling onto the tree branches and dragging the truncheon behind as a kind of brake. He slides to the base of the hill behind one of the wide, flat buildings where piles of chopped wood are stacked against the cinderblock wall. Before he can think what to do next, one of the foot soldiers speeds around the corner and comes to a halt three feet from where
sorted. * Moses walks to the edge of the clearing and looks down into the bowl of fire below him. He feels the heat blustering up into his face like a summer wind – and melting the ice in the trees for an artificial kind of rainfall. The structures are all collapsed or gutted by flame – metal twisted brutal and liquid around metal. A thick grey smoke rises into the air and clings to the trees all around, causing Moses to bend double coughing. What down there was living before is now dead and
because there’s no reshaping it later – and if it’s no good, you just end up with a twisted, ugly paperweight. Believe me, I’ve produced plenty of those paperweights. Do you have a writing routine? I am very ritualistic about my writing. I get up at 7.15 in the morning and start writing immediately. I write two pages and then take a break to purge the detritus from my mind with inane online searches, or Facebook, or computer games. Then I get back to the work at hand and write another two