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FIRE SANCTUARY by Katharine Eliska Kimbriel is a Book View Cafe e-book release. ISBN: 978 1 61138 0569

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Cover layout by Leah Cutter
Nuala logo by Amy Sterling Casil

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A novel of betrayal, forgiveness, healing, and
second chances.

Rising like a phoenix from the embers of an abandoned scientific expedition, the people of Nuala are the definition of survivors. They have fought back against the deadly radiation levels of their beautiful, dangerous world. Nualans have battled frightening mutations, genetic shift, and the highest rate of infertility in the Axis Republic. Their reward is a society based on tolerance, compassion, and cultural diversity, descendants who can sense a lie (and a few who can heal by touch) -- and a bonanza of the rarest platinum group metal in the known galaxy.

Balanced on the border between the Axis Republic and the Fewha Empire, ruled by a constitutional monarchy, the small Nualan system counters its low birth rate by sending out its children to search for mates to expand the planetary gene pool. Some Axis citizens choose Nuala. One, a decorated soldier named Moran, is about to marry a Nualan princess.

But heirs to power and wealth have enemies, both homegrown and interstellar. There are those who would kill to keep an Axis warrior from marrying a Nualan . . . and those who think it's the perfect smoke screen to keep anyone from noticing where the border is about to shift.

Nuala means survival. Survival against all odds, all enemies, all fortune. They're going to have to prove it.

With a special afterward by the author.


      Conversation suddenly ceased, as if by mutual agreement. They were content, walking the silent streets of lastday, ignored by other pedestrians. The festival would end at dawn, the new year begin. Time enough later for the Atare twins to face leaving; the Gerrymander did not raise until prime.

      There was something strange in the brilliant crimson orange of starset. Tay felt it but could not single it out. Zair also seemed restless. The air was different, heavier. She heard frequencies that were not familiar. Teloa stopped walking and faced the starset. She looked beyond it, above it, waiting for final, irrevocable proof.

      "Tay?" It was Liel, who spoke to the twins and then hurried back to Teloa.

      The off-worlder felt her puzzlement giving way to fear. Still faint, but growing, the pain growing in her head-- Gods, not again. I cannot, not again--

      "Do you hear it?" Tay's voice was scarcely a whisper.

      "Hear what?" Kavan asked as he walked back up the street.

      "They're coming."

      "Who is coming?" Kal said, at first sharp with impatience, and then softening as he saw her face. "What do you sense? Are you an empath?"

      "You really don't hear it yet, do you?" She turned to Liel. "Can't you hear it?"

      "There is something . . ." Liel began uncertainly.

      "What, Li? Your hearing has always been good." Kal suddenly was taut, blazing, cold sober.

      Just then the air raid siren began to wail.

      Teloa folded to her knees, the color drained from her face. "Not again. I can't take it again. So many times... They came so close, but I got away. Not here, not now-- "

      "What?" Kavan shook her, dragging her to her feet.

      "Lunas. They turned my planet to ash, we had no shields, no military. They melted the skin from my people. They will sear the life from this world." She looked up at them, panic in her face. "They are like living things, they always find their prey unless destroyed first, they-- "

      Kavan shook her again, cutting off the growing hysteria in her voice. "This time it will be different. We have a shield and can temper the damage. We have to find a shelter; the radiation cannot touch us there. Come on." Locking an arm around Tay's waist, Kavan forced her to run. Pain suddenly filled their heads, the sign of abnormal frequencies.

      The impact of the leading bomb half deafened them and shook the ground beneath their feet, although it landed on the other side of the river. Zair raised his voice in the deep-throated bay of his breed. They heard the chain reaction of explosions as the power lines beneath the street detonated.

      Kal glanced back over his shoulder, and looked momentarily stricken. "That is the foreign quarter! Shinar is there-- " He started running back.

      "Kal, no, you cannot get through, it is-- " Kavan's voice was lost in the groaning sound of the fires, the soft winds of Amura spiraling to incredible fury.

      "What is he-- " Liel started to yell.

      "He will be back, the fires will stop him. I just hope he can get back. Come on, I think there is a shelter in the next block." Kavan indicated she should help him with Teloa, and the three joined other Nualans staggering down the street, Zair leading the way.

      There was a shelter, already crowded with children and several men and women of varying ages. They entered and rushed down the narrow, winding corridor, which was designed to guard against flying debris.

      Still shaking, Tay pulled away, moving to stand alone. "I'm sorry. I--you don't know, you can't know..." she whispered, leaning against the wall, her gaze studying the dim passage beyond where supplies were stored.

      "We will know soon enough, will we not?" Kavan replied. At the sound of his name, Kavan stepped back to the mouth of the corridor.

      It was Kalith. "I could not get through; Casae Podami is already blocked off. I am going to try to reach the power station and cut the lines. Otherwise the whole city will go up," Kal called down.

      "Wait! I shall go with you! Two have a better chance!" Kavan raced back up the dark corridor, pushing his way through. He was followed by a man in black--their evening guaard.

      "No! Don't go! You can't stop it! The lines do not matter, lunas burn from within!" Tay screamed, starting to follow. Liel threw her arms around the woman and hung on, aware of her disadvantage in height. The two tumbled into a heap at the bottom of the stairs, Zair on top of them both, as another explosion, closer this time, rocked the shelter. Tears streaming down her face, the Caprican made no attempt to get up.

      "Tay, we cannot just-- " Liel began.

      "He's crazy," Teloa whispered. "Lunas throw off their matter as they land. It burns until it is consumed, it takes hours, days! It-- "

      Her next words were never heard as a deafening explosion ripped the streets above them, causing the entrance to cave in and debris and bricks to rain down from the ceiling.

[The above text is a passage from the novel FIRE SANCTUARY. This text is ©copyright 1986, 2011 by Katharine Eliska Kimbriel. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information address Jonathan Matson, Literary Agent, Harold Matson Company, Inc., Associate: McIntosh, McKee & Dobbs, Inc., 276 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10001 TEL: (212)679-4490, FAX: (212)545-1224, E-mail: hmatsco@aol.com]


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