Reader-nominated for a 2018 Cybils award (Recompense).
She’s gone. No body, no evidence, no motive. Only my guilt remains.
Opal Parnell has grown up on the rocky shores of Tidbury Bay, where winds and waves and freezing winters have carved the world into something wild and beautiful. It’s so far out of the way that strangers need a reason to come here. But beyond her safe harbor, the North American Republic has been plagued by an epidemic of disappearances. There are no crime scenes. No bodies, no evidence, no motives. Thousands have gone missing without a trace. And eventually, tragedy finds Tidbury.
Plagued by guilt for the part she played in her sister’s vanishing, Opal sets out to find her. She stumbles onto evidence that suggests the disappearances aren’t as mysterious as the media would have her believe.
Meanwhile, the crisis causes power shifts and corruption that reach into the upper echelons of government. Beneath Opal’s feet, Tidbury is changing forever.
What’s happened to the missing? Who’s covering up the truth? And will the Republic survive the upheaval?
This prequel to the Recompense series is FREE, but only available to my newsletter subscribers.
Born into Capernica’s lowest social tier and not permitted to leave Settlement 56, Jaclyn Holloway refuses to pour out her years in the local fish cannery. She gambles on the one chance available to her to advance—the high school Exit Examination. In a country that still keenly remembers the horrors of the Provocation, the period of unexplained disappearances that led to revolution, the smartest and strongest are richly rewarded in exchange for military service.
Jack is adamant that her best friend, Will Ransom, join her in striving for induction. But if Jack fails to pass the stringent physical standards and Will succeeds, she will not be allowed to see him again until his tour of duty is completed—in twenty years.
Meanwhile, the government has been keeping a tight lid on a new string of abductions. Jack’s Exam score places her in a position to aid Axis, an underground organization charged with investigating events that threaten national security. The evidence leads her back forty-seven years, to a series of high-profile cover-ups linked to the Provocation–the revolution that led to the birth of the Capernican nation. Blowing the whistle could place her in danger, but holding her silence means history will likely repeat.
And Capernica could never survive a second Provocation.
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Jack and her teammates at Axis have succeeded in stopping the widespread abduction of Capernica’s teenage girls and neutralized the operatives living among them. Now they turn their attention to uniting the nation against the enemy. It’s time to take the fight through the portal and stop the Bruelim—the race of super-beings that have preyed on Earth for so long. They aim to make sure, once and for all, that the Provocation never repeats.
Even as they prepare, disgruntled Lowers hang on the brink of revolution. Their rebellion has the potential to split Capernica along its caste lines just when the nation should be pulling together against a common adversary. But how can Axis convey the importance of cooperation when they’re unable to tell the people exactly what dangers they’re facing? Forty-seven years ago, when Governor Macron first gripped the reigns of power in the newly formed nation, she expressly forbid any investigation into the Bruelim and ordered the evidence from the Provocation destroyed. No one’s certain what she’ll do when she learns the files have been reopened.
Meanwhile, Jack remains crazy hopeful that upcoming Military maneuvers might once again throw her into contact with Will, her best friend from home, while Ethan, her capable Axis partner, strongly hopes they do not. Neither one is prepared for the testing their partnership is about to undergo. Or the revelation of their most immediate threat.
Jack was the revolution’s contingency plan. With the assault on the Macron City Military Base shattered, she was to assassinate Governor Andromeda Macron and revert Capernica back to Capernican control. But she failed, the revolution lies in ashes, and the one person she loves more than anyone in the world has betrayed her.
Alone in Brunay, Jack becomes an anonymous cog in the vast Bruelim slave economy, where callous wardens aren’t the only threat to her safety. The labor compound she’s been assigned to contains an inmate hierarchy dominated by descendants of the Provocation’s original victims, and they don’t welcome newcomers. But Jack also finds friendship among the displaced laborers, and like her grandmother, Ruby, she burns with the desire to see them all home.
More importantly, Jack discovers the key to freeing Capernica from Bruel aggression forever. But even if she managed an escape, how could she leave Will in Brunay, trapped in the body of a Berkam?
(Ruby’s story, a full-length prequel)
Kidnapped from her home and taken to Brunay, Ruby has become one of the missing.
Ruby Parnell has given little thought to the disappearances happening all across the North American Republic. She’s focused entirely on her upcoming high school graduation and subsequent escape. More than anything, she longs to board a ship and leave Tidbury Bay forever. Though she appreciates the wild beauty of the harbor and the protection its isolation has offered, she needs to get out and touch the world around her. There are a million places she has yet to see.
Ruby has another reason for wanting to leave. Namely her sister. How can two people related by blood be such polar opposites? Ruby can never live up to the standard Opal has set; she doesn’t even want to try. Opal is the good student, the uncomplaining worker. She’s such a model of perfection that Ruby never sees her betrayal coming. In a moment of emotional recklessness, Ruby flees to the woods alone. She awakens the next morning a captive of a cruel race in a land she’s never heard of.
Ruby’s about to find out what happens to the missing.
(Ethan’s story, a full-length sequel)
Separated from home, Axis, and his partner, Ethan has been left behind.
The revolution is over. Andromeda Macron is dead, and Capernica is free. But at the sweet moment of triumph, a premature explosion leaves Ethan stranded in a foreign world, pursued by the entire Bruel army and wishing vainly for his partner Jack. But she made it home safely. His one hope is that the explosion didn’t destroy all the doors between worlds. If even one portal survived, he intends to find it.
In the meantime, the loss of nearly its entire slave labor force has thrown Brunay into chaos. Fuel shortages and an economic downturn exacerbate tensions between the country’s tribal groups, and government efforts to replace the lost workers threaten to send the nation into civil war. But it’s the remaining Capernican slaves who bear the brunt of the new policies.
Ethan burns to lead the anti-slavery movement, but he’s a fugitive, a soldier stripped of all command. He feels useless and ineffective, flung here by a cruel twist of fate. But then—abandoned, discouraged, and with a price on his head—Ethan discovers a reason to stay in Brunay, even if a portal should open up right in front of him. He just had to travel across the universe to find her.
But what does the future hold in a world where slavery is his only legal option? Where the law stands between himself and the woman he loves?