Final Dawn: Archangel Rising (The Arkhangelsk Series – Book 1) will be released at the end of February, 2017. Here’s an unedited excerpt from it to hopefully get you excited about what’s to come. (Note that it hasn’t been edited yet so please excuse the dust and typos. They’ll be worked out before release.)
“Shit.” Marcus stopped next to Leonard and Krylov, pointing ahead of them. “Is that the canal?”
“I—I don’t know. Wasn’t there supposed to be water here, Krylov?”
Krylov looked at his map, then turned around and checked the buildings near them, comparing their location to the map. He looked defeated as he handed the map to Leonard and nodded. “I’m afraid this is the canal. Or what’s left of it anyway.”
The scar in the earth was wide and deep, dividing the city just as it appeared on the map. Instead of being filled with water and having banks covered in grass, though, it was empty, with the smallest trickle of water running down the very center.
“What’s the source for this, Krylov?”
“It feeds from lakes to the North, beyond the city.” He shook his head. “I don’t understand. It wouldn’t have simply drained like this.”
Leonard stood staring at the dry canal for a moment before his mind kicked back into gear. “Okay, this is fine. We can just follow the walkway alongside down into the center of the city. It looks clear enough, and no need to get our feet wet.”
The group turned to the right to head South and East toward the center of the city when a distant howl echoed behind them, from the direction of the apartment buildings. Leonard froze and turned to Krylov.
“Any suggestions?” Leonard asked.
The reply was simple. “Run.”
Leonard had hoped that taking a water route would save time and offer an increase in stealth since they wouldn’t have to make noise walking or running down empty streets if they were floating down the canal. That was in addition to the other, more selfish reason, of wanting to get off of his feet for a while. His prosthetic leg ached fiercely, and he could feel the weight of it increasing with every moment that passed. Made of a titanium alloy, it was lighter than a normal leg, but after going for so long without wearing it, he was finding it difficult to make such a sudden adjustment to having it back on.
The team broke into a sprint again upon hearing Krylov’s command, with Leonard in the front. His grip on the experimental rifle tightened at the sound of the creatures’ howl, though he dearly hoped he wouldn’t have to find out how well it worked. Several minutes of running passed, and Leonard held up a hand for the group to slow down so they could check their location on the map again. What happened next came in a blur, with a speed so fast that the group barely had time to react.
Six dark shapes came out from a side street, their bodies low to the ground as they slipped on the grass and gravel and rounded the corner to come face to face with the rescue team. Having never seen mutated dogs before, Leonard hesitated as he saw them, unsure of what to do. The creatures were mutts, bodies horribly disfigured and twisted by the same silvery metals that gave human mutants their distinctive appearance. The dogs’ eyes were missing, too, replaced by sunken holes of silver. Most of their fur was gone, leaving dried pink skin in its place, though a few filthy mats of hair still clung to their bellies and upper legs.