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In a secret laboratory hidden under the desert, a covert bioengineering project — codename "Exodus" — has discovered the gene responsible for the human soul.
Somewhere in the neon sprawl outside the nation's collapsing economic core, a group of renegade monks are on the verge of uncovering a secret that has eluded mankind for centuries.
In a glittering tower high above the urban decay, an ascendant U.S. Senator is found dead — an apparent, yet inexplicable, suicide.
And in the streets below, a young man races through an ultra modern metropolis on the verge of a violent revolution... closing in on the terrible truth behind Exodus — and one man's dark vision for the future of mankind.
Welcome to Tiber City.
Nov. 15, 1986
The elevator raced past the research dormitories and the corporate soldiers’ barracks, past the replica of Central Park and down into the earth. When it finally glided to a soundless halt, Jonathan Campbell stepped out into the seventh and final level ofthe Morrison Biotech arcology’s research facilities.
It had been three years since Project Exodus had gone underground, since Campbell and Morrison had struck their bargain. It hadbeen almost as long since Campbell had visited these lower laboratories that Morrison marked as his own. The two men labored separately, their results synchronized by the massive mainframe computers that linked every corner of the corporate arcology. Much of the work Morrison performed in these underground labs had been indispensable to the work Campbell performed above ground. And so, for many months, Campbell did not question the origin of his former pupil’s data: What did that matter when they were within a fingertip of curing so many of God’s mistakes?
Yet the whispers had grown darker in the recent months: hushed rumors of trucks coming and going in the dead of night, urban jungles swallowing children whole, Mexican immigrants vanishing fromthelands surrounding the arcology — the Chihuahuan desert. As a man who haddevoted his life to science, Campbell could no longer bear the uncertainty.
Although the corridor outside the elevator was deserted, Campbell’s presence would not go undetected. Security cameras craned their necks, silently transmitting a detailed bio-scan of Campbell to five different security control centers, and, inevitably, to Morrison himself. The hallway itself was little more than a tight white tunnel, funneling visitors toward a single steel doorway no more than 40 feet from the entrance to the elevator. All around Campbell the walls seemed alive with the sounds of industry: Unseen machinery hummed and whirred, greedily consuming the glut of megavoltage pumped daily into the building by thousands of miles of fiberoptic arteries. Yet as Campbell forced himself toward the door, the hallway went silent, as if the building itself was waiting for him to open the door.
Campbell punched in his security code, his fingers trembling as he entered the five digits. His code would work; he knew Morrison no longer considered hima threat. The keypad flashed red, then green and then, as he expected, the door to Morrison’s research sector slid open with a barely audible hiss. Campbell stepped through the doorway, the closed circuit camera above him straining to follow his every movement. One by one, the overhead lights in the laboratory came to life, flooding the roomwith a harsh light. For a moment, Campbellwas blinded. When the room came into focus, he screamed.
Vague approximations of human beings, sealed away in suspended animation chambers, lined the two opposite sides of the laboratory. Strange limbs protruded fromthe torsos of some of the creatures; others had two mouths and no eyes. Some seemed to be infected with diseases the Western world had not known for centuries. Yet, all were still alive, staring at Campbell, mute agony plastered across their faces.
Campbell stumbled deeper into the laboratory. All around him machines continued to record data on their subjects, running experiments throughout the night. Morrison had not attempted to conceal anything from Campbell: Morrison had won; there was no longer any need for secrecy between the two men. Campbell threw up twice, hard, the smell of vomit mingling with the antiseptic already in the air. All the while, Morrison’s creatures continued to watch him.
When Campbell stopped retching, he noticed something he had not seen when he first entered the room: a row of incubators in the far right corner.
“No...” Campbell whispered.
Inside the incubators were four tiny babies, each one’s accelerated skeletal system growth stretching the infant’s skin until bones began to grind up through the flesh. Germline manipulation, accelerated growth experimentation: Campbell instantly realized that Morrison had taken Exodus beyond even his darkest fears. And staring into the incubator below him, Campbell knew he was responsible. So heran; into the hallway and back up the elevator, lurching through the main lobby and out the front door, the ruined sky above the arcology pressing down upon him.
Giveaway!Thanks to the author and First Rule Publicity, there is one autographed copy of Kingdom up for grabs! To enter, do one of the following: Follow @TiberCityNoir on Twitter, Like Kingdom on Facebook, or Add Kingdom to one of your Goodreads shelves. You can do more than one of them, as well as follow me on Twitter and Tweet about the giveaway for additional entries. Be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form!
Giveaway runs through November 5th, 2012 at 11.59 pm (EST).
Open to US readers only.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
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