Machie Ibeke is on the verge of becoming a pilot of her own Hawk in the West African Union Military when the final flight before her promotion is interrupted by a horrifying terrorist attack.
The surviving aircrew is grounded and ordered to maintain their silence about the possible emergence of an old enemy so ruthless its sole purpose is to wipe out humanity. In the past, the fanatical Gaia Cult has used the potent Inferi Plague Virus as a terrorist weapon. The zombie virus kills, brings the dead back to life, and instills in the resurrected Scourge the overwhelming need to bite and spread the contagion.
Living with the knowledge that the world is in danger is difficult, made more complicated by the arrival of visiting family, a rogue A.I. hiding in her apartment building, and questionable activity in the Bamako Megacity.
If Machie’s suspicions are correct and the dangerous Gaia Cult has returned, then an apocalyptic outbreak is imminent, and it will be up to her to save her loved ones and find a safe haven in a dead world.
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About the Book
Escape to the Last Bastion
by Rhiannon Frater
The Last Bastion
June 18, 2019
“I keep hearing them in my head,” Oumar murmured, his fingertips tracing down her spine.
Lying on her stomach, Machie stared at her knuckles. They were cracked and ashy. The planned luxurious bubble bath followed by slathering on lotion hadn’t happened when she’d arrived home. All those plans had been set aside the second she’d stepped through the front door of her flat with Oumar. She hadn’t planned to sleep with him. In truth, she hadn’t really considered it before he’d taken hold of her hand and bent to kiss her.
Death made people want to feel alive again.
Sex had definitely helped her feel something other than despair and panic.
The mattress shifted slightly beneath her as Oumar leaned forward to peer at her face. “Do you hear the scrags? In your head?”
“Yes. All the time since we got back. Like, on the edges of my hearing I think I hear them. Everywhere.”
With a somber nod, he looked relieved she was hearing them as well. “They’re fucking terrifying. I’d only seen them in vids. Heard about them from my grandmother. Seeing them up close, witnessing our friend turn into one of them, it drove home the truth that the world is so fragile.”
“That is exactly how I feel.”
“It’s shitty to feel this way. Desperate. Not wanting to die. Not wanting people around you to die. Not wanting to see people become those monsters.”
Tilting her head, she studied his downcast face. The dim light cast by the sunset beyond the sheer curtains covering the big window illuminated the rich darkness of his skin against her pale yellow bed sheets and accentuated his features. He had a boyish handsomeness about him that she’d overlooked before. Also, he was much more introspective than she’d given him credit for. She’d always thought of him as cute, fun, a good soldier, an excellent gunner, and a reliable part of the aircrew. Now she realized she’d missed some aspects of his personality, and she definitely missed his attraction to her. While she’d been eyeing Bako, Oumar had been interested in her.
“That fuckin’ screech,” he continued. “It got into my bones. When I heard it over the comm, I nearly shit myself. I’m not joking. I never squeezed my asshole so hard in my damn life. That sound…”
“The scrags are dead, Oumar. We killed them. You killed them. The terrorists are dead. We did our job and saved each other,” she said. “We have to remember that.”
“You think that ambush group acted alone? The assholes that did this?” Sitting up, Oumar shook his head. “It was a trial run of something bigger. We both know it.”
Machie rolled over and perched on the end of the bed beside him. “If we know it, so do the higher-ups. They’re making plans right now.”
“While we sit here and do nothing.”
“Until we get our orders.”
Oumar nodded sullenly. “They’re back, Machie. The fuckin’ scrags are back.”
Rubbing his back in what she hoped was a comforting manner, Machie said, “And we’re ready for them.”
“You think so?”
“Yeah, I think so.”
Oumar rubbed his face with both hands and let out a despairing sigh. “I hope you’re right.”
“Call your grandma, Oumar. Tell her you’ll see her tomorrow. I’m going to take a shower and then make some food. I’m starving.”
“She’ll notice I’m not on duty,” he groused.
“You said she’s been complaining about you not seeing anyone. Tell her you’re hanging out with a woman. She’ll be thrilled.”
“She’ll ask if you’re my girlfriend.” Oumar gave her a sheepish, questioning look.
“Tell her that we’re close friends. You don’t need to tell her how close.”
Oumar smiled bashfully before saying in a teasing way, “She won’t like that. I’ll get a lecture.”
“Better a lecture than being grilled about today’s events. Which is what you wanted to avoid, right?”
Oumar considered her comment, then nodded. “You have a point.”
“Listen to the women in your life and you won’t go wrong.”
“That’s what my grandmother says.”
“Call her. She’s going to worry.”
Oumar tapped on his comm.
Machie ducked into her bathroom and slid the door shut behind her. There wasn’t really time for a bubble bath, so she opted for a shower. The hot spray and sweet smelling soap instantly made her feel much cleaner. She stood under the showerhead for a long time, enjoying the sensation of the water flowing over her skin.
The screech of the scrags pierced through the noise of the shower and jerked her out of her reverie. Killing the water flow, she stood shivering with her head craned, listening intently. Instead of scrags howling, she heard Oumar arguing with his grandmother and the sounds of the city outside the open bathroom window.
“Get your shit together, Machie,” she muttered.
She was getting tired of being spooked by her own imagination.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the tour for ESCAPE TO THE LAST BASTION by Rhiannon Frater, we’re giving away a paperback copy of Rhiannon’s novel The Last Bastion of the Living to one lucky winner!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to U.S. shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of The Last Bastion of the Living by Rhiannon Frater. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Rhiannon Frater. Giveaway ends 2/29/2020 @ 11:59pm EST. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About the Author
RHIANNON FRATER is the award-winning author of the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor) as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living. She also co-hosted of the ZCast: a Z Nation Fan Podcast, interviewing the cast and crew of the SyFy show.
Born and raised in Texas, she currently resides with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets) in South Texas. She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes.