“Her hands began to shake as she looked down wide-eyed at the blood-soaked cotton that covered her.”
London emerges from the Blitz, and every corner of the city bears the scars. In the East End—a corner faring worse than most—thirteen year-old Beth Wade endures this new way of life with her adoptive family. She also suffers the prejudice against her appearance, an abiding loneliness . . . and now, the trials of adolescence. But with this new burden comes a persisting fatigue and an unquenchable thirst that ultimately steals her into unconsciousness . . . What happens next is the start of something Beth will fear more than the war itself. She begins to change in ways that can’t be explained by her coming-of-age—none more frightening than her need to consume blood. The family who took her in and the former best friend who’s taken refuge in their house can never know. Aware of the danger she poses to everyone around her, Beth has never felt more alone. But someone else knows Beth’s secret . . . someone who understands just how different she really is. He alone can decrypt her past and explain her future. But he’s been sworn to destroy her kind, and as Beth grows ever more dangerous, he’s forced to take sides.
Can Beth keep all of the secrets? Can she trust a man sworn to kill her? And can she stop the vampire within from consuming her humanity?
Part horror, part drama and part historical fiction, "No Shelter from Darkness" is set to change your perspective on modern vampires yet again with its fresh and scientific approach. Yet at its heart is a coming-of-age story with themes of self-discovery, family and friendship.
About the Author
Mark D. Evans was born near London, England. He graduated university with a degree in something not even remotely connected with writing and went on to become a successful consultant. Then he threw it all away to chase his dream of being an author, via a considerable amount of traveling. Today, his life largely resembles that of a nomad, and he can currently be found typing away in a tiny flat in north London, sustained by coffee.
You can learn more about #LondonBoy on his website/blog and Series website:
No Shelter from Darkness (the first book in The Cruentus Saga) is his first novel.
Publisher Contact info
Publisher - www.booktrope.com
Author Contact - Wendy Logsdon - firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter - @wendytopia
Review by Fiona Wilsom
At the start of this story we are introduced to Dr Jorge Ortega as he flees his home. He is chased by a woman who, he knows, has tortured several ex colleagues of his. He knows she seeks information, but he has spent a long time protecting that information, and will do everything in his power to stop it getting out.
We are then introduced to Beth, a 13 year old girl growing up in wartime London. She lives with her adopted parents, the Wade's, and their son, Oliver. Into the household comes Mary, Beth's former friend, orphaned during a particularly bad air raid.
Shortly after Mary moves in Beth begins to experience some strange symptoms. She goes from being very tired to being full of energy. She feels hungry, but food and water do nothing to stop the hunger. Her hearing is amazingly good, and her sense of smell starts to work overtime. She has a craving, but nothing can help her, she doesn't understand what it is her body appears to desire.
Following a few bouts of illness, during which blood tests are done, Beth is given a blood transfusion and starts feeling better. Her dad then provides a few more answers to the questions she has about what is going on within her body, but there are so many more he doesn't answer immediately.
Eventually Beth's dad gives her the answers she craves, but what he tells her is so unbelievable that at first she doesn't believe him. However, when she takes the time to think about things, she realises he is telling her the truth. From that moment on Beth's life changes totally, and she finds herself having to deal with something far bigger than the war going on around her.
We discover that Beth's dad isn't quite who he appears to be. He has a long held secret which he shares with Beth to help her understand what is going on. But in allowing Beth to know her past, and in turn his own past, he pushes her further away. Will Beth come to accept what she has been told? Can she learn to trust her dad again when she can't even trust herself most of the time? Or will the knowledge of what he shared destroy the family unit forever?
This is the authors debut novel and I am totally blown away with what he has managed to produce. The way he brings out the story, the back stories he uses, and his descriptions are just right. The reader finds out what is going on gradually, at just the right pace. In fact you don't find out until the very end something which you first read about at the beginning of the story.
This is different to other books of the same genre not only due to the period and setting, but the storyline also. It promises a sequel which will, hopefully, expand the story a lot more and give us a bit more history into Beth's origins and why she is so important to those hunting her.
I cannot wait to read more and I look forward to seeing where the author takes the story. All in all an amazing debut novel from a young man with a very promising future.
Guest Post - This is a fab guest post from Mark. As a lover of all things zombie this appealed to me and made me laugh several times! Enjoy.
Have you ever been watching something where people are forced into a situation and you end up screaming at the screen, telling them what to do? No, me neither, cos that would disturb the neighbors. That's why I do all my screaming in my head, and recently it's been at zombie films and TV series. I watch as people stumble about, making hard work out of surviving, and I'm thinking "why don't they just do such-and-such?" So for this special guest post for Fiona/I Heart Books, I thought I'd put myself to the test…hypothetically speaking, of course.
Before we start, some assumptions have to be made. First is the kind of zombies I'll be dealing with, and for this I select the traditional kind most notably portrayed in…let me put my TV announcer voice on…the popular AMC series "The Walking Dead". These can move no faster than a quick stumbling walk, but will turn you into one of them with just one bite. And as with all zombies, the brain must be destroyed to kill them (though lets be fair, that would kill most things).
The second assumption is that there has been no warning. I'm sure all the films and series would play out a bit differently if, at the end of the 9 o'clock news, the newscaster said "oh, and don't forget folks, tomorrow there'll be corpses walking around the midtown area trying to feast on your flesh."
The third and final assumption is that I obviously survive the initial outbreak, otherwise this would be a very short post indeed. So for the sake of argument lets say that I'm at home and have just been made aware of a vastly increasing number of the populous walking around with their arms out straight, taking chunks out of other people and mumbling as coherently as an OAP having a bad dream.
I live in the UK. This is important because as such, I do not have nor can easily get hold of a gun (I'm not a gang member despite several reports). And no, I don't think the chance of a zombie apocalypse is reason enough for America not to ban firearms. That said, I will of course be on the lookout for them (I'm already proficient with them thanks to all my dreams in which I'm chasing or being chased with gun in hand - you don't want to know how many people I've killed).
But lets crack on, because I'm surely soon to have zombies to kill. My kitchen knives, then, are the best weapons I have. I will use the longest one as my dagger, and then after snapping the head off the broom, I'll gaffer-tape the next two longest knives to each end of my new staff. This will be my primary weapon and I'll call it "stick with pointy things each end", or SPOTEE for short. My knife will be for very close combat which I hope to avoid by using SPOTEE.
Next I'll get a backpack and shove all the appropriate food I have in (um, just the tomato ketchup at the moment then—I must shop), as well as anything that I think might come in handy. The gaffer tape, for example; one of each type of screwdriver; I don't have a crowbar but I do have a hammer so that'll go in, too. String can be handy, and of course I can't forget my toothbrush. Me being me I'll likely fill the pack and have to start taking things out, at which point I'll wonder why I put the ladle in there in the first place.
With me packed and ready to go, I can start coming up with a plan. The internet will probably still be working at this point but even if not, I have an atlas. I'm looking for small islands just off the coast. I need to pick out a few, because rarely do I pick the best holiday destination first time around. I'm also looking for islands that are small enough to defend and/or patrol, but big enough to grow things on. One that's close enough to the shore that has a bridge sounds excellent at first, but ultimately it's just another thing that can and will go wrong. So it needs to be reachable only by boat.
With my plan in place I get out of my flat and down to the street. Zombies are moping around worse than a gang of Goths after a Placebo concert*. But if there's not too many and I think I can contend with them, I'll make my way using the streets, getting hold of a car if I can. If not, I'll go back into my flat. I'll go to the top and use the drain pipe to get to the roof, and use the roofs to get around, using the streets only if it's safe to do so, getting from one building to the next or if there's simply no alternative. London has a lot of terraced buildings, so once you're on top of one you can normally go down the whole street. An alleyway is the only thing you may need to jump over, but that'll be fun, right?
So I'll be heading for the River Thames. I'll want to get to water as quick as I can, plus the most logical transport to use to get to an island is, of course, a boat. If I get one, this can take us (for I assume I won't be alone by this point) all the way to open sea and we can start searching for islands. Job done.
Except it won't be that easy.
Due to the sheer population of London, I'm sure I wouldn't be the only one coming up with good ideas. I'd likely find that all the boats are gone, or that there's too much panic to deal with and they're overrun with either people, zombies, or both (which will soon be all zombies). If it's safe enough to attempt, I may go searching all the docks and harbours, but for the sake of this post lets assume getting a boat out of London is impossible.
My priority then will be to simply get out of the city, and as quickly as possible, preferably heading in the direction of the nearest coastline. Transport wise, a car sounds like a good idea, but you'll get stuck in no time. If you can get hold of a large vehicle that will be able to push obstacles out of the way, then that could work (and probably necessary if part of a group), otherwise it's a motorbike so you can easily get through tight squeezes. A trail bike would actually be the best here, in case you need to go off-road which, lets face it, will likely happen whether you want it too or not.
So I'll be on the road, but I won't simply just head for the coast. Now would be a good time to stop off in any villages or small towns and stock up on supplies, both food and hardware. I'll also be following rivers, tidal if possible. I'll be scouting for moorings, forever on my hunt for a boat (a sea-going one if possible, but even a good river boat will be able to handle a calm sea). The way I see it, as soon as you're on open water with no zombies on board, you're safe. In a big enough boat with supplies, there's not even much rush. In fact, thinking about it, why not steal a big boat with plenty of supplies, go out a mile to sea and just wait for the population to die (because there's nothing to be done about it), and then go and find the least zombie-riddled island there is, clean it up and start a little colony.
And that's how to deal with a zombie apocalypse.
Of course, it's always easier said than done, and I guess all it takes is one foul-smelling, rotting corpse to rip a chunk out of my shoulder while I'm busy impaling its dead cousin through the eye socket for this brilliantly laid plan to go to shit. Hmm, maybe I should write a movie about that. Oh, wait...
* There's nothing wrong with Goths (unless they're walking corpses—now that would be scary), and I listen to Placebo.