Today we're spotlighting Jennifer Brody's novel, The 13th Continuum!
Read on for more about Jennifer and her novel, plus an excerpt, and giveaway!
Meet Jennifer Brody!
Jennifer Brody’s award-winning novel The 13th Continuum sold to Turner Publishing in a 3-book deal and is being packaged into a feature film. The book is a Gold Medal Winner (Young Adult – Sci-Fi/Fantasy) from the Independent Publisher‘s Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. Return of the Continuums and The United Continuums (July 11, 2017) complete this epic trilogy. She is a graduate of Harvard University, a creative writing instructor at the Writing Pad, and a volunteer mentor for the Young Storytellers Foundation. She founded and runs BookPod, a social media group for authors and she lives and writes in LA. After studying film at Harvard University, she began her career in Hollywood. Highlights include working for Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes and New Line Cinema, most notably on “The Lord of the Rings” films and “The Golden Compass.”
Meet The 13th Continuum!
Gold Medal Winner, Young Adult Fiction ― Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Independent Publisher's Moonbeam Children's Book Awards
One thousand years after a cataclysmic event leaves humanity on the brink of extinction, the descendants of the chosen survivors take refuge in thirteen contingency shelters buried deep underground, at the bottom of the ocean, and in the far reaches of outer space. In the underwater 13th Continuum, sixteen-year-old Myra Jackson has heard rumors and whisperings all her life of a magical place called "The Surface” where people could breathe fresh air, feel the warmth of something called sunlight on their skin, and see things known as stars and trees and mountains. Myra has never dared to ask whether the stories are true, since the act of speaking such words aloud is an offense punishable by death. But after she discovers that the air supply aboard her underwater colony is running out, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to find this mysterious place. To get there, she must first recover the only guide to the Surface―the Beacon, an ancient device that also connects her to Captain Aero Wright, a dashing young soldier from one of the only remaining space colonies. With the fate of all humankind depending on them, Myra and Aero must escape the tyrannical forces that rule their colonies, journey through the black depths of the ocean and across the cold void of space, to find each other on the Surface that their ancestors once called home.
The sun crept over the horizon and hit Myra full in the face, rousing her from what had been a tumultuous slumber. Another nightmare, she thought groggily. Her muscles ached from tussling with some imaginary monster, and her throat felt raw. She was curled up next to the heater, but it had long since gone cold. Its solar panels needed to recharge.
With a shiver, she pulled the bedroll around her shoulders to ward off the night’s remaining chill. It gave way easily, and that triggered alarm bells in her head: Tinker!
She bolted upright. Her little brother’s weight usually kept it anchored in place. They slept together for extra warmth, but also because it provided a small sense of comfort lacking in this desolate world of the Surface. Back home in the Thirteenth Continuum, a remote colony nestled at the bottom of one of the deepest ocean trenches, where she shared a tiny bedroom with her brother, she often longed for her own space and a little bit of privacy, but now that the whole world with its vast skies pierced by a billion stars was her bedroom, she found that she only wanted to keep Tinker closer.
She blinked in the early morning light. The sun cast a razor-thin streak of pink across the horizon. The landscape was volcanic and blackened, scarred by the Doom. No organic life survived on the Surface, at least not that they’d encountered since they washed up here a week ago. To the west, a crisp mountain range rose up and poked at the sky, and to the east, the ocean churned and sloshed, rasping up against the shore.
She spotted two more bedrolls splayed around their campsite, which was perched on a rocky ridge overlooking the sea. They were lumpy with the bodies of her other companions—Paige and Kaleb. Both were still sound asleep. They were her best friends and they’d all escaped from the Thirteenth Continuum together. But the spot right next to her where Tinker always slept was empty and cold to the touch.
That made the alarm bells in her head blare louder. “Tinker!” she called out and burst to her feet, kicking off the bedroll that twisted around her ankles and threatened to trip her. The golden armlet fasted to her right wrist pulsed faster and brighter, struggling to keep pace with the racing of her heart. She felt another presence stir deep inside her. It was Elianna Wade—or rather, it was the amalgamation of her memories, thoughts, emotional cadence, basically everything that the Beacon had downloaded and preserved from its first Carrier. This presence manifested itself in the form of a womanly voice that only Myra could hear.
Stay calm and look for him, Elianna communicated. You’ll find him.
How do you know? Myra thought, feeling panic ripping and roaring in her ears. They didn’t have to talk out loud to communicate—Elianna could read her thoughts.
He couldn’t have gone far, Elianna replied.
But he doesn’t have to go far to get hurt, Myra thought back. You know Tinker, he’s absent-minded and prone to accidents—and that’s on a good day.
She scanned the vicinity, looking for his diminutive form. Though he was eight years old—almost nine—he was about half the size of other kids his age. He also sported a thick pair of glasses that perched aslant on his nose; they were held together by screws and duct tape and the Oracle knew what else. Unlike Myra, who had curly brown hair and resembled their mother, Tinker had fine, blond hair like their father. But she didn’t see him anywhere.
In two seconds, she ascertained that his pack was missing and a set of footprints led down to the beach. She didn’t wait for Paige and Kaleb to wake up; she struggled into her boots, limping forward as she tugged them on, and took off after the tracks.
“Tinker!” she yelled as she ran.
Adrenaline pumped through her veins, pushing her faster. She spotted a small figure huddled on a rocky outcropping that jutted over the sea. In his dark coat with the hood cinched up, he blended into the volcanic terrain. His bony legs dangled over the water as the rough waves churned and spit around him. Why didn’t he answer her? Were her cries drowned out by the ocean? Or was he injured?
She didn’t know, and that terrified her.
Myra sprinted down to the beach and scrambled up the narrow outcropping, picking her way over the twisted rocks. They felt pockmarked and prickly under her palms. She reached the edge and grabbed Tinker’s shoulder. He had a glazed look in his eyes. It took a moment for it to fade.
“Good morning!” he announced as if nothing were amiss. Ever since they’d discovered true morning—the kind where the sun rose and drenched the world in brilliant light— it had become his favorite greeting. He said it all throughout the day.
“No, it’s not a good morning,” Myra said. She tried to keep the anxiety out of her voice, but it found a way in anyway. “Pretty far from it. You scared me to death.”
“No, I didn’t,” he said in his raspy voice. She had to strain to hear him over the roaring of the waves. “You’re alive.”
“Half to death then. You can’t just wander off like that! What if you hurt yourself? Or what if you got lost and couldn’t find your way back to camp?”
“But I didn’t,” he pointed out logically. “I’m perfectly fine.”
She scowled. “But what if you did?”
“You’re right, I should have told you.”
“Now you’re just saying that,” she said with a frustrated sigh. She settled down next to him. The icy wind bit into her cheeks, turning them pink. She zipped up her jacket and tightened the hood. “What’re you doing out here anyway? It’s freezing.”
“I couldn’t sleep . . .” He fidgeted with the portable computer clutched in his lap; it lay open, but the screen was dark. “You were having another nightmare. Kicking and moaning in your sleep. It woke me up.”
The nightmares were something new. Before she found out that their colony was running out of oxygen, Myra was a sound sleeper. Too sound, really. Waking up at the crack of dawn to the automatic lights had been one of her greatest challenges.
“Did I say anything in my sleep this time?” she asked as an especially large wave slapped the rocks and misted them. She licked her lips and tasted the briny water.
“Nothing that made any sense . . . something about darkening . . . or maybe dark thing . . . and I think you called out another name . . . you kept repeating it over and over . . . and your Beacon was flashing really fast . . .”
Her cheeks reddened. “Aero?”
He nodded. “He’s one of the other Carriers, isn’t he?”
“I think so,” she said, fingering the golden cuff shackled to her right wrist. It throbbed with steady greenish light. The truth was that Aero had only ever visited her in dreams. The Beacons connected them together, but she wasn’t good at controlling it yet. She felt like Aero was real, but the scientist in her wanted to scream out in protest:
But you don’t have any proof! Just feelings and visions and dreams!
Worse yet, he hadn’t contacted her in over a week, not since their first night on the Surface. His absence left her doubting his existence, even as her heart beat emphatically and told her that he was out there somewhere.
Tinker tapped on his computer, but the screen remained dark. It was his most prized possession and the only one of its kind in their world. He’d built it himself from scavenged parts, but it had gotten drenched when the kraken attacked their sub, along with a lot of their provisions and supplies.
“Any luck with the repairs?” she asked.
He shook his head. “Nope, it’s ruined. Saltwater is corrosive.” That was something Myra understood well. Back home, where she worked as an Engineering apprentice, a lot of her job involved combating saltwater and its destructive powers.
“I’m so sorry, Tink,” she said and squeezed his shoulder. “But don’t worry. When we get to the First Continuum, you can build a whole new computer. I bet they have tons of spare parts there, even more than back home in Sector 10.”
Tinker absorbed her words in his silent way. The only sound for a long time was the crashing of the waves on the rocks. Finally, he broke the silence.
“Do you think they’re still alive down there?” he asked, his eyes fixed on the choppy water. The question caught Myra off-guard. It took her a moment to find her voice. Not a day went by that she didn’t worry about the fate of their colony. They had to escape from Padre Flavius and the tyrannical Synod, fleeing in a submersible that her father built and making for the Surface in the hope of finding it livable again.
“Of course they are,” she said, trying to make her voice sound upbeat and confident—the way a parent should talk to a child—but it frayed and cracked under the strain. She wasn’t up to the task. It made her miss her father like a knife to the heart. The last time she saw him he was locked up in the Pen for conspiring against the Synod.
“That’s why we’re doing this,” she added, feeling the determination swell in her chest. “We’re going to find a way to save them. They haven’t run out of oxygen yet.”
“But they will soon,” Tinker said. “If we don’t hurry.”
His statement hung in the air like a poisonous cloud. Myra couldn’t dispute it; he was just stating the facts. Her father’s words echoed through her head. Eight months at the most, before the levels drop too low. He was the one who had discovered that the Animus Machine was failing and their colony was running out of oxygen. Even though he was the Head Engineer, he couldn’t fix it. Everything depended on them.
“The First Continuum will help us,” she said and mussed his hair. They have to help us. They’re our last hope.
Tinker glanced down at his computer. “You know how back home we put people out to sea after they die? I want to give my computer back to the Holy Sea.”
“Tink, are you sure?” Myra said, taken aback. She couldn’t imagine him without his computer—it was like his fifth limb. But when she glimpsed the look in his eyes, she knew that he had already made up his mind and nothing she said would dissuade him. He was as stubborn as they came, just like their father.
“It can’t be fixed,” he said with a shrug. “Besides, it’s heavy to carry around and takes up a lot of room in my pack. No point in keeping it around if it’s broken.”
“Alright, but only if you’re sure,” she said and watched as he shut the computer, folding it in half like creasing a piece of paper. She could see the rust that had already crept into the joints and corroded them. He was right—the computer, like so many other things they’d lost, was beyond saving. The Holy Sea may have provided them with safe harbor from the Doom, but it also had the power to destroy anything that it touched.
“Do you want to say a prayer?” she asked.
Tinker’s eyes darkened. “Nope, I don’t believe in them.”
He cast his computer into the sea. It sailed out, spinning end over end, and plummeted into the waves. It sank quickly, subsumed by the deep.
The 13th Continuum
By: Jennifer Brody
Release Date: April 19th, 2016
Five winners will receive a signed copy of The 13th Continuum (US only).
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