At the Other End:
In a future United States under the power of a charismatic leader, everyone gets the Mark at age thirteen. The Mark allows citizen to shop, go to school, and even get medical care--without it, you are on your own. Few refuse to get the Mark. Those who do . . . disappear.
Logan Langly went in to get his Mark, but he backed out at the last minute. Ever since, he's been on the run from government agents and on a quest to find his sister Lily, who disappeared when she went to get her Mark five years earlier. His journey leads him to befriend the Dust, a vast network of Markless individuals who dissent against the iron-grip rule of the government. Along the way to the capital to find Lily, the Dust receive some startling information from the Markless community, opening their eyes to the message of Christianity and warning that humanity is now entering the End of Days.
In "Storm," Logan and his friends are the leaders of the Markless revolution. But while some Markless are fighting Chancellor Cylis' army, the Dust is busy trying to find a cure for a horrible epidemic sweeping through the Marked. And it's difficult for them to know who to trust, especially when they aren't sure if Logan's sister Lily, one of the commanders in Cylis' army, is on their side or not. And all across the nation--and the world--the weather is become less stable, and a storm is brewing that bigger than any of them could have ever imagined....
Can you keep a secret?
For the launch of my latest banned book, STORM, I am doing something that I’ve never done before: I am releasing a series of deleted scenes. Scenes that are cannon, that did happen, and that simply didn’t fit on the page. What follows here is an exclusive first look at one of my very favorites--a scene in which Tyler learns something very important from a teacher during one of his underground Markless classroom sessions.
So why am I doing this, you ask? Why am I publishing this deleted moment?
Perhaps it is just one more way to stick it to DOME. As if a third Swipe novel weren’t enough to ruffle their feathers, now I’m insisting on sprinkling it with bonus material too. Take that, Chancellor Cylis! How do you like me now?
But no. That’s not the only reason. That’s not all.
Because the truth is, it’s my hope that the scene you are about to read will inform the story of STORM, will complement it, will add to it and enhance it once all is said and done.
Because one way or another, a storm is coming. And it threatens everything we’ve ever fought for, all this time. And the more we know before it hits, the better.
Because right now, we Markless need all the help we can get.
Shhh... Don't Tell:
As the protests waged on across Beacon’s city streets, Markless below ground did anything they could to maintain some semblance of normal life. For years, the Unmarked in Beacon had hidden sandwiched inside that great Beacon hill, City Center above them and Acheron below, nurturing their own shadow capital situated secretly within the wide, open spaces of the abandoned nuclear power plant underneath Beacon’s streets.
Even now, while above the Markless frontliners marched and camped out and shouted slogans, while Marked sympathizers gathered to support the cause, the day to day life of Beacon’s underground Markless society went on.
It was early evening inside that dim, crowded turbine room, and it was a Tuesday. School among the Markless happened at night, so that protests and rallies could still be attended here and there, as necessary, during the day. But this meant that right now, it was time for history class.
Tyler couldn’t believe Blake was still making him go. While above Blake strategized next steps with the movement and Jo brokered agreements with the other Markless factions in the movement, he, Meg, and Rusty were stuck sitting cross-legged on a cold, concrete floor, listening to some boring old Markless teacher lecture on post-Unity history and the events leading up to the rise of the Global Union.
“I don’t understand why we’re wasting our time learning about this stuff,” Tyler said. “Isn’t this the very same government we’re trying to topple? Who cares how it works? Who cares how it came to be?”
Margaret Stokewood turned to Tyler, raising an eyebrow at the unpermitted interruption.
“Sun Tzu,” she said, her voice stern and her tone curt. “Pre-Unity General, military genius, and author of the banned pre-Unity text, The Art of War.
“You will not find copies of it,” Margaret said. “It has been hidden and banned and burned along with every other useful pre-Unity text.
“So I would not expect you to know what it said.”
“Well that’s a first,” Tyler joked, and the rest of the make-shift classroom laughed.
But Margaret Stokewood didn’t blink. “It said that if you know your enemies and you know yourself, you will win a hundred battles. If you know yourself but do not know your enemies, you will win one and lose one. If you know neither, you will lose every time.
“We are learning about ‘this stuff,’ Tyler, because without it, we will lose every battle. Your friends up there may be throwing the stones. But it is our knowledge in here that will deal the final blows.”
For the first time, Tyler was quiet not because he had to be, but because he was listening.
“The first thing you must know about Lamson and Cylis within our new Global Union is that their powers are separate, but together they are a team.
“In the old days, the pre-Unity days, America was a country divided into states. These states were separate. They had rights, and leaders, and parliament structures all their own. And yet they came together, cleanly, to form a whole.
“So, too, does our Global Union function now. There is the American State in the west, and the European State in the east. What until this winter were individual unions have now become parts of a whole. But on some level they remain autonomous. General Lamson did not give up his power as General in Chief of America. Instead, he became Cylis’s equal. And the two of them will work together toward every goal this world now has.
“Including,” Margaret added, “combating us Markless.”
“And yet, for our purposes, these two world leaders are inseparable. They act as one. They are loyal to each other above all else.
“Lamson and Cylis have each doubled their power by forcing this Global Treaty through. And in so doing, they have undercut our movement to its very core.
“We have our work cut out for us, students, in the days and weeks and months ahead.
“But if we succeed in understanding our adversaries...then all hope is not lost.
“We must understand our enemies. Because that’s what makes us fighters. Because that’s what makes us thinkers.
“But most of all--because that’s what makes us the good guys.
“Empathy, Tyler. It’s the most powerful tool we have.”
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