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Circle Of Life

Overview

Circle of Life, the third novel of the Joad Cycle, continues the story of Gil Rose, a reticent, immature teenager foreordained to change mid-twenty-first century America, which is governed by free-market capitalists-the corporate elite, who impose dehumanizing laws that replace morality with profit margins.

When government troops destroy Angel Falls, Maine, Gil's girlfriend, Stacey Grant, narrowly avoids capture. She flees to Canada with former president Mark Rose, but ...

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Circle of Life: Book III of the Joad Cycle

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Overview

Circle of Life, the third novel of the Joad Cycle, continues the story of Gil Rose, a reticent, immature teenager foreordained to change mid-twenty-first century America, which is governed by free-market capitalists-the corporate elite, who impose dehumanizing laws that replace morality with profit margins.

When government troops destroy Angel Falls, Maine, Gil's girlfriend, Stacey Grant, narrowly avoids capture. She flees to Canada with former president Mark Rose, but their luck runs out and they are taken prisoner. Stacey manages to escape, though, and finds her way as a fugitive to sanctuary with terrorist Glen "Omar" Smith-who is desperate to find Gil before the government does. Using Virtuoso, he brainwashes Stacey into betraying Gil.

After Profit, Gil has split with Bree. He seeks anonymity in the industrial town of Hamilton, the former site of Detroit. There, he learns what life is like in a world where money is paramount. He continually runs afoul of city laws designed to minimize human interrelationships and maximize profit.

As HomeSec closes in, Gil meets franchise singer Dyllon Thomas, who helps him and Queenie, a terrorist who sets him free. As Gil escapes, he is double-crossed by the person he loves most.

For more on the book and America in the mid to late twenty-first century, visit www.joadcycle.com.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781462045464
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse
  • Publication date: 8/26/2011
  • Pages: 388
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Read an Excerpt

CIRCLE OF LIFE

Book III of The Joad Cycle
By Gary Levey

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2011 Gary Levey
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4620-4546-4


Chapter One

Canada—2070

Civil disobedience—The active, professed refusal to obey laws, demands, and commands of a duly elected and legal government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Civil disobedience is commonly defined as nonviolent resistance and of civil resistance in the form of respectful disagreement.

In the Second Republic of United States, civil disobedience is the preferred method for voters to communicate their displeasure with their government between voting cycles. However, there are limits.

Due to the detrimental effects perpetrated on the U.S. economy by selfish special interest groups in the past, Circle of Life legislation was passed making it illegal to protest against the national government or its policies. The only acceptable method to air differences of opinion is to contact your appropriate government representative who is required to respond within forty-eight hours.

If it is deemed by the Secretary of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Chairman, and the Council of Private Banks that actions by individuals or special interest groups are detrimental to the economy or to the Church, remedies within the Circle of Life begin with the suspension of Habeas Corpus. You have been warned!—Archive

Shivering, with wet, cold clothes clinging to her trembling body, Stacey Grant hid, terrified, in the small, dark grotto that had once been her great escape from the simple things in Angel Falls that needed avoiding, like her daily chores. That grotto was now her last sanctuary against the death that had rained down on her family and her friends and she could feel it closing in to take her, too. Over the noise of the waterfall, in her mind she could still hear the explosions that had destroyed her world and the sound of weapons fire that had murdered everyone she had ever loved. Wretched but resigned to fight to the end, even though she had no weapon, she stared through the cascading waterfall into foreboding blackness, waiting for government rangers to penetrate the insubstantial wall of water that was her only protection.

She stared at the feeble old body of Mark Rose, Gil's grandfather; the former President of the United States, as he lay curled up in a fetal position on a flat rock beside her. He wouldn't survive without her.

A willing believer that bad things happened in threes, Stacey was depressed enough to know that bad things weren't just limited to threes. She and Gil had discovered the SurveilEagle. She'd lied about it to the village elders and forced Gil to lie, too. They'd argued and Gil had left angry. By her calculation, that was three bad things, so to change her luck, she had wandered away from Angel Falls in search of a new trail that she and Gil could hike once he stopped being mad at her.

But if she thought something simple like that could break the string of bad, she soon realized how naïve she was. After discovering a new trail through deep ravines, she hurried home reinvigorated, but one look at her father and she had known that the rule of three was looking to expand. Her father was crying. A typically stoic New Englander, he spoke softly to modulate the grief he felt. The rabbi, Bernie, Gil's great grandfather, Bernie Rosenthal, he was dead. Instinctively, she had reached out to hug her father and they cried together.

When Stacey was younger, she had sat in the Meeting House beside her mom and dad while they and her neighbors sang the Rabbi's praises for he was their hero. He had saved Angel Falls. Her father had explained to her that the Rabbi had once worked for the huge American conglomerate, U.S. Angs, the sole employer in Angel Falls, and how one day the company closed the production facility, ending every villagers work life and dooming the community—and Angs did it just to save money.

It was Angel Falls' misfortune to be located a hundred miles from nowhere with no other employment opportunities anywhere close to nearby. To add insult, nary a solution had been offered by Angs to save the community and so most of the townsfolk were forced to move on, to make a living elsewhere, leaving Angel Falls more or less a ghost town. Some, like her father, with nowhere to go, stubbornly remained, fretted, and depleted their life savings.

Seeing the wrong and the heartlessness in Angs' draconian decision, Rabbi had vowed to help them and one cold winter day, strangers arrived, businessmen who began to hire. Soon an executive retreat was being constructed for weary professionals and jobs and money flowed in. Within two years, everyone in town was working again and many of her parent's neighbors who had moved away, returned.

Ultimately, the Executive retreat failed, but by then, it had made way for more pastoral business pursuits that flourished alongside the natural efforts of the community and it was enough to provide a good life for the remaining town folk of Angel Falls.

Years later, Rabbi returned. Rumor said he was a fugitive now, but he was accepted graciously because everyone in Angel Falls knew him as a friend and their savior. He brought a teenage boy with him, Gil, a quiet, introverted, and very good-looking boy who was close to Stacey's age. He had proved to be very different from the local boys. He was exceedingly polite but distant and hard to get to know, but she saw in him a mystery that intrigued her, a mystery that she would now never unravel because Gil was dead. No. She stiffened to fight the trembling. No, she mustn't think of that.

Her mother had insisted that she help the Rabbi, and that was better than doing chores so she spent much of her time with the old man and grew to love his gentle, kind soul. When he asked her to befriend Gil, she tried, she did. But he was so aloof that her friends made fun of him and her so she begged Rabbi to ask someone else to help. But he insisted, telling her that although Gil was difficult, someday it would be important for him to have friends he could trust. She had no idea what that meant, but she wanted to please Rabbi so she worked harder to be Gil's friend.

As the years passed, her outgoing personality and persistence slowly worked on Gil and, in his way, he began to open up to her. They began to have fun together, though he remained aloof; something rare in such a small, tight knit community like Angel Falls. Because she spent so much time with Gil, she had less time for her friends and though she complained, Rabbi had been adamant. And so with each passing day, the inability to close the distance between her and Gil frustrated her because of the widening breach with her friends. She never told Gil what she was giving up to be his friend, and he wouldn't have cared, but she blamed him for her being excluded, even hating him a little until, against all reason, she fell in love—not that he noticed.

Then the bad luck arrived, the discovery of the SurveilEagle, the lie, her argument with Gil, and Rabbi's death. She had tried to console Gil, but for no reason, he was angry and mean to her, very mean. So mean, in fact, that she had slapped him and not just once. She was sorry for that now. At the Rabbi's funeral she had watched Gil as he stood alone, dejected, a hurtful distance from her and everyone else who mourned the Rabbi's passing. She wanted to comfort him but she was angry and she needed comforting, too. Then, from out of nowhere came the roar of jets, the bombs screaming down death, the rangers parachuting from the heavens to inflict more death, and in the carnage and the hysteria, she had lost track of him. All was chaos, terrified neighbors running and screaming, so many dropping and writhing in pain, others, limp, lifeless and horrific to look at. It had been too much and she had fallen to her knees, sobbing at the horror and the loss.

Gil's grandfather, Mark, had limped by her, staggering, dazed, and in shock toward the forest trailed by a hang glider that landed near him. A ranger threw a club that hit the old man and dropped him to the ground where he remained as the ranger beat him with the butt of his rifle leaving Mark bloodied and unconscious before the ranger turned in search of his next victim.

Horrified, she stared at Mark's unconscious body until a movement caught her eye on the hill, where moments before the Rabbi had been eulogized. Someone was running into the far woods—Gil? An ATV followed—was it Gil's friend, Meat? They disappeared from view just as an explosion and an impossibly bright, billowing fireball seared the forest barren and blasted her back and onto the ground. Dazed and incredulous, she lay there staring as the part of the forest where Gil had fled became a firestorm of black smoke that plumed above blackened trees with such intense heat that she had been forced to look away.

In the frightening calm that had followed, she yelled for Gil and then buried her head in her hands in despair, sobbing until someone touched her shoulder. Expecting it to be another ranger, she flinched. The former president stood above her, blood streaming from both ears, a gash on his head, and with a wild, lost look in his eyes. She grabbed his hand and pulled herself up while searching for a way out. Everywhere, laser beams were targeting her family, her friends, and her neighbors for killing while far above, aircraft hovered like insects utilizing their own high intensity lights to aid in the massacre.

To her left there was a small rise that led off to the northeast, toward Presque Isle. She and Gil had used the trail often. Stumbling, she urged Mark up the hill. When they reached the crest, she spotted a ranger before he spotted her. She knew she and Mark couldn't outrun him so she pulled Mark down and together they rolled and crawled to a clump of high grass near the tree line. From there, she peered warily at the ranger as he continued his search for fresh targets.

Mark lay dazed as bombs continued to fall, so she reached under his shoulders and while screaming until her lungs burned, she dragged him to cover. They reached the trees before the ranger saw them and she fell, exhausted, into the woods and lay there breathing hard and whimpering as projectiles zipped past, severing leaves from branches and branches from limbs while Mark remained in place, staring up, blinking at the stars.

"Mr. Rose, crawl over here for cover," she shouted. "I can't carry you any more."

He struggled to his feet and disoriented, turned toward the rangers instead of away.

"No!" she screamed and though exhausted, she ran to him, grabbed him, turned him around, and pushed him deeper into the woods. There was an errant burst of rifle fire as they struggled through the low brush in search of the trail. The firing stopped, abruptly, replaced by the loud hum of electric motorcycles. Panicking, but unable to move very fast due to Mark's age, she prodded him along until she found the trail. Then, she quickened her pace as much as he could handle and, although worn out, they trudged away from the engine roar, sporadic rifle fire, and the screams that would never end.

She knew a place where they might be safe, at least for now, a place where she and Gil would hide when they wanted to avoid prayer meetings, the Rabbi's lessons, or her mother's chores. She tugged Mark off the trail and into a cold shallow stream, which they followed until it was too deep to walk. By the sounds around them, pursuit was closing in. She tried to move faster but Mark had nothing fast in him.

The stream widened and got shallower and Mark tripped, slipping under the water. With all her strength, she hauled him up and onto the mud bank, and though he was shivering now, she forced him to keep moving. Cold and numb, too, she coaxed him further until the stream widened again, cutting off dry land and forcing them back into the water. At a bend in the stream, she heard, and then saw the waterfall. Nearby, just over the trees, gun ships were still hovering with their blinding beacons searing the night sky in search of the last of her neighbors.

She tapped Mark, pointed to the waterfall, and dove into the stream at the point where it widened into a small lake. Out of breath when she surfaced, she looked for Mark. He stood, in plain sight, where she'd left him. Exhausted and shivering, she swam back, grabbed him again, and swam with him; her arm snaked under his ribcage, his body hoisted up to keep his head above water as her weary arm and legs paddled and kicked through the waterfall and to the other side. There was relative calm inside the slick, moss-covered, small dark cavern and together they stumbled to a ledge and sat shivering while awaiting their fate. They remained that way for an excruciatingly long time.

She moved beside a small fire pit that she and Gil had used. There was nothing to burn and she would have been too scared to start a fire if there was. Above the sound of the waterfall, she was startled to hear motorcycles roar by, and later, she heard the faint snapping sound of gunfire. Helpless, cold and desperate, she fought to keep the thought that Gil was dead out of her mind but it was driving her crazy. She awoke much later and the sounds of gunfire, explosions, and motorcycles had stopped. That's when she realized her luck had changed and that she and Mark might live through the night.

"I have to pee," Mark said, sounding wretched.

"We can't leave." She thought about it and suddenly laughed. "How pathetic are we? You can't get any wetter or more uncomfortable so just pee down your leg, sir, the warmth might help."

There was silence, then, "That feels better," he said. "And warmer." They laughed, stopping abruptly when it reverberated through the cavern.

Much later, she snuck out into the darkness to reconnoiter. No one was near the lake, nor were there lights anywhere within sight, but she still doubted they were completely safe. They couldn't stay here so she went back for Mark and together they stumbled down the trail to Presque Isle.

"If we don't see any cycles or helicopters, I can get us to the Canadian border. Gil and I hike there all the time."

"But the Elders forbid it," Mark said glumly.

"What they don't know ..." She felt guilty so she paused. The SurveilEagle was her fault. She should have told the elders but she didn't. Everything that followed, Gil, her family, and this, it was all her fault. She had to move on if only to fight through her grief.

"We'll take the trail north around Houlton about a mile from the border crossing. We ... I have friends on the Canadian side that'll help us."

They continued to walk until shivering and moaning uncontrollably, Mark collapsed. She tried to pull him up but he offered no help. "I can't go any further." He whispered. "Go. Save yourself."

Instead, she covered them both in thick, dead branches and huddled tight to warm him. After a time, she asked, fearfully, "Did ... did he escape?"

But Mark was asleep, so fearing the worst she sobbed quietly, and then curled closer to him to preserve as much heat as she could in the cool, Maine darkness. She fell into a restless sleep and woke with a start to a cold, quiet, sun-drenched morning. She woke Mark and they set off again. After a very slow start, Mark moved a little better than the night before trying gallantly to keep up with her as they headed for Canada.

When they reached the border, she stopped just inside the last line of trees and surveyed the area. "Can they see us, do you think?"

Mark's far-away gaze re-focused on her. "What?"

"Is it safe to cross?"

"Probably not. We haven't been on good terms with Canada for a long time, but with budgetary constraints, most of our earthbound detection systems have fallen into disrepair and spy satellites monitor the borders now. They're able to see us if we cross."

"Would it be better if we waited until dark?"

"It doesn't matter; they can detect anything that moves," he pointed to the heavens. "The only question is how long it takes them to react."

"Why didn't they use the satellites last night to track us?"

"You'd have to ask the Chairwoman."

"What should we do?"

"Surrender."

"Except that."

"There's nowhere to go. Tanya won't hurt me. I'll speak for you."

"Who is 'Tanya'?"

"Tanya Brandt. She's the Chairwoman, she runs the country."

"Oh. Why won't she hurt you if she destroyed everything else?"

"She's taken everything of value from me and she likes to gloat."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from CIRCLE OF LIFE by Gary Levey Copyright © 2011 by Gary Levey. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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