PREVIEW: 49 Gates Book 3

Here is a cover image preview of the third book of the 49 Gates series. Also, an excerpt from the back of the upcoming re-release of Book 2, Kytal.

Steam City

It was called Iteekora, but Landon had always had trouble pronouncing the name—the long E followed by the K always caught him for some reason—so he and his gone-but-not-forgotten friend, Scarlet, had always called it Steam City; though they’d never actually seen it. They’d seen only silhouettes of the buildings, a cloud of mist rising into the air above them. The humming electric lights setting the steam aglow at night, transforming it into a sparkling cloud of wonder and curiosity.

The Waikai somehow used steam to power everything. Turbines, engines, even strange, skeletal-looking aircraft. Landon had seen one of the flying contraptions crashed in the desert during migration when he was much younger. The pilot of the thing turned by time into nothing more than a skeleton, a little hair where a beard might have been, and a pair of large, round goggles still covering its eye sockets.

He had many memories like that…of things he’d seen in a life before this one, as if he’d had two childhoods and seen two versions of Pana. Now, they seemed smashed together in a way that one might think would make the task of remembering difficult. But for Landon, these moments in time were precisely separate. Not contradictory memories, but individual ones.

If asked to describe the feeling, he would have been unable to oblige.

As the long train of metal cages clattered along the packed dirt of the hardlands—the air blowing in cold enough to make Landon shiver and his nose drip—the clouds scattered before them began to take that familiar shape, hinting that Iteekora sat just beyond the fall of Pana’s horizon. Somehow, even though he knew what waited for him there was nothing short of torture, Landon was glad the ride in the cages was almost over. Landon guessed that they had only been riding for about six or seven hours, but the hardlands were unforgiving of the crude metal wheels. The rattling of the contraptions sent painful stabs through Landon’s spine. He found himself coughing more and more as they journeyed north, his lungs fighting against the heavy humidity. Somehow, he always forgot how the air felt in the north. It was, he thought, not too unlike sticking one’s nose into a puddle of water and sucking in.

He shuffled himself around, ignoring the dagger-stares from the other captives sharing his cage—slimy expressions of disgust that hadn’t faded for the length of the trip—and wrapped his hands around the cold metal bars. A shiver went through him as he pressed his face against them, his eyes widening against the wind as he focused on the splendor of Iteekora, now rising in the distant landscape as if it were a secret island being pushed out of the ocean.