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Graveyard of Empires
     

Graveyard of Empires

5.0 3
by Lincoln Cole
 

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Argus Wade was born into the Ministry, an archaic and barbaric religion that's taken ahold of the Republic. He knew from an early age that he was different from the other students who learned there: the threat of death - or worse - loomed over him because of his special gifts.

When he tries to protect his daughter from this fate by hiding her from the

Overview

Argus Wade was born into the Ministry, an archaic and barbaric religion that's taken ahold of the Republic. He knew from an early age that he was different from the other students who learned there: the threat of death - or worse - loomed over him because of his special gifts.

When he tries to protect his daughter from this fate by hiding her from the Ministry, he finds out that all he's managed to do is make things worse. He's running out of options and growing more desperate by the day.

Meanwhile, the galaxy is facing a new conflict in the outer reaches: a rebellion is forming to tear down the Republic, led by a charismatic upstart named Darius Gray. Battle lines are being drawn and everyone is choosing sides. But, they are all going to find out that the cost of war is higher than anyone could have anticipated...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/09/2015
In the shadow of a brutal, corrupt dictatorship, numerous characters coexist in a setting whose vastness works against it. Cole (Ripples Through Time) never gets his plot threads to cohere in what is intended—but not indicated—as the first book in a series. Instead of focusing on a few fully fleshed-out characters, the story employs archetypes in broken-up set pieces that lack depth. Darius Gray, an ex-bodyguard of the dictator, wants to overthrow the government, but he’s ruthless and kills at will. Angry young man Jayson Coley must fight for his life alongside joking, sexist Richard Dyson and trained fighter Tricia Jester; they battle Alexander Robinson, an elderly but skilled fighter, who tosses them out into the dangerous nearby woods. Government official Argus Wade tries to hide his daughter from his enemies while pawning off a superpowered child on soldier Vivian Drowel; she’s not ready to be a mother, but she’s the only one Wade can trust. The overall effect is off-putting, transforming a potentially grand epic into something that collapses under its own weight. (BookLife)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780997225945
Publisher:
LC Publishing
Publication date:
07/31/2015
Series:
Graveyard of Empires , #1
Pages:
248
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.77(d)

Read an Excerpt

Graveyard of Empires


By Lincoln Cole

LC Publishing

Copyright © 2015 Lincoln Cole
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-692-50270-9


PROLOGUE

Sector 4 — Tellus Alaina Naylor


1

Thunder rumbled outside the soccer stadium, a deep roar as storm clouds gathered strength, the prelude to a ferocious storm.

Alaina absently twirled her father's curly auburn hair between her nimble fingers, peeking around at the gathered crowd with poorly hidden trepidation. The five year old girl was perched high atop her father's broad shoulders and held a good vantage, but it also made her stick out above the masses. So many people. So many, many bodies, all clustered together with nary inches of separation.

The soccer venue was immense, holding well over a hundred and twenty thousand fans for a sunny afternoon match, but there weren't any games scheduled today; instead, a raised dais sat on the central circle of the field, silent and empty, waiting amidst the sea of curious onlookers.

The stadium was filled well past capacity for today's event: people were clustered as close as possible, butting up against the sides of the stage and threatening to spill atop it. The stadium seats were being ignored by all but the weariest of onlookers. People stood in aisles, on plastic seat bottoms, jostling with futility for better positions. A gentle din of murmuring hung in the air: whispers on the wind, a million insignificant conversations.

It was cloudy — it was always cloudy this far inland — and warm today. Little Alaina let out an exaggerated yawn, stretching her arms to the sky the same way her mom always did in the mornings. She would rather be playing tag with her brother Tommy or dressing dolls with her sister's Jessie and Eva than sitting here, waiting for the rally to start. She would much rather be back in bed, nestled close with Mr. Snuggles, her bunny rabbit, listening to the pitter patter of rain. But their father woke them up early and brought them here.

He didn't tell them why, only that it was important. That it would change the world. All of the worlds, even. Alaina didn't see how or why that should matter. Her world wasn't that big and consisted of family and friends and bunnies. Right now she was just bored from sitting around and hoped it would sprinkle soon. It looked like it was going to, and felt like it was going to, but as yet the sky hadn't opened up.

"How long must they keep us waiting?" Kate — Alaina's mother — asked. She was a willowy woman, dressed in a loose fitting pink blouse with blue pants. Her brown hair was tied in a bun with a few loose strands fluttering against her cheeks. It was windy.

Her eyes were smeared with hastily applied makeup, something she described as a raccoon. Alaina didn't know what a raccoon was, but her mom didn't seem to like them very much.

There hadn't been time to do a more complete job. Carl, her father, had rushed them out half-dressed and bleary eyed while it was still dark. They finished waking up and dressing in the car. Tommy had forgotten his drawers and Alaina her right shoe — another thing which mom was mad at dad for. Alaina didn't actually mind not having both shoes: it just meant she got to be carried while her older siblings had to walk.

"Not much longer," Carl said. A repeated sentiment they all heard many times that morning.

"This is a hazardous gathering if ever there was one," Kate replied, her voice bitter.

"It's not as if —"

"How are we supposed to get out if something happens? What if someone starts a panic? The children will be trampled."

"What's going to happen?" Carl asked.

Kate narrowed her eyes at him. "These people are fostering rebellion," she said quietly. "What do you think is going to happen?"

"I'm hungry," Alaina said, yawning again and resting her little chin on her father's head. He reached up with his left hand and squeezed her arm. His right stayed on her leg, keeping her firmly in place atop his shoulders.

"Won't be much longer," Carl repeated. "And then we'll all go to the Sunny Side for breakfast. How's that sound?"

"Okay," Alaina said, happy to agree. "I want eggs." She loved eggs. They were her favorite thing for breakfast and Sunny Side always had the best eggs.

"Then you shall have eggs, my little princess," Carl said.

"I hate that place," Tommy said. He was sitting on the ground between his parent's feet, picking at the faux grass of the field under their feet. His legs were curled up against his chest. Tommy was seven years old, thin and wiry for his age. "Can't we just go home?"

"Soon," Carl said.

"Why did we have to come so early?" Tommy asked. "Nothing is even happening!"

"We had to get a good spot," Carl explained with waning patience.

"For all the good that did us," Kate mumbled. Alaina had to agree. They were really far from the stage. Alaina felt her father sigh beneath her.

"It won't be long now."

"We could have just watched the speech at home," her mother added. "It's going to be shown on every channel in the country."

"It's a declaration. Not a speech."

"It's a speech," Kate reiterated. "And it's tantamount to treason."

"This is going to be an auspicious day," Carl said, ignoring her. "The day that everything changes. This is the day that —"

"I know, I get it," her mom interrupted angrily. "And I agreed to come for your sake. And for their sake. But I didn't plan on getting here four hours early. The kids are freezing."

Alaina glanced down at her siblings. Jessie and Eva were clutching their mom's black pants and shivering. They were wearing their best school dresses and looked like twins. They weren't, though, and were actually two years apart. Her big brother Tommy was too busy pouting to even notice the chill in the air. And she ...

Well, Alaina had never really been bothered by cold weather. Or hot weather for that matter. She enjoyed extremes, and was kind of hoping for some snow. Not the right season, but she didn't care. Or a storm. Thunder was one of her favorite things, the primal thrill of it as it rolled across the countryside.

She sympathized with her mother's complaint, though. They'd arrived a little after five in the morning and hustled to find a place, yet there were still hundreds of people between them and the stage.

It could be worse, though. There were thousands upon thousands of people behind them. It was even more cramped the higher up the stadium seating they went. There simply wasn't enough room to sit and relax. Not if they wanted to see anything.

"If I'd known it was going to take this long for things to get started I wouldn't have made everyone come," her father said, "but this is going to be an important day for a long time and I thought it would be good."

His voice trailed off as a few people shushed him from farther up the crowd.

Like an ebbing wave, the stadium fell quiet as one. There was heaviness in the air, thick with anticipation. It worked its way from the stage to the far reaches of the crowd as a tingling shiver brushing along a spine. Fingers pointed forward, people were tapped on shoulders, and suddenly everything was still.

Someone had walked atop the stage. A short man, rail thin and gangly, walking with long, even strides toward the center podium. Behind him rested an empty line of bleachers two rows high.

"Who's he?" Alaina asked. A dozen people made shushing sounds and glared at her. Her father just squeezed her leg gently.

The man stopped in front of the oak podium and rested his hands upon it. He was ugly with a silver goatee and deep gray eyes. His face was young but lined with intensity. Right now he was wearing a charcoal button up suit that hung off of his lanky frame and black shoes polished to sheen. He looked like some sort of animal, poised with tension and ready to strike.

All eyes faced front. Alaina felt tension ripple through the crowd, punctuated by the occasional cough. Waiting; anticipation; fear: it all hung in the air like incense.

The speaker wasn't as old as Alaina's father, probably only in his late teens or early twenties. His eyes swept back and forth from face to face, daring anyone to meet his gaze. To match it and stare back. No one tried. Alaina waited for him to speak.

But he didn't.

Not right away. He stood alone upon the stage, studying them as they waited. Seconds ticked past with hesitant ambition. The crowd shifted like an angry beast, murmuring to itself.

And still he waited.

The murmuring intensified.

"Daddy, why isn't he talking?"

"Shh," Carl said, squeezing her right leg. She toyed with a strand of his curly brown hair, frowning.

The murmuring rose to an angry fever pitch.

After an eternity the man leaned into the microphone and spoke:

"My name is Darius Gray. And today, our world is free."

There was a euphoric pulse in the air, cutting through the tension like a knife. The crowd erupted. It wasn't a slow burn, but rather an explosion of raw emotion and joy. People screamed, whistled, and shouted just to be heard.

Alaina covered her ears with her hands and closed her eyes. It was so loud. She'd been to the stadium before to watch a soccer game with her father, but it was nothing like this. She could feel her father, yelling along with the crowd.

The speaker — Darius — leaned back from the podium. He waited politely for the crowd to settle, a light smirk curling his lips. It continued for several more seconds, and then gradually faded out as stillness settled back in. A few outliers whistled, a ragged cheer could be heard way up in the stands, but the noise finally dissipated until the stadium was once again silent.

Someone coughed. The sound echoed.

Once they were silent, Darius cleared his throat. He spoke calmly in a low voice. The microphones were not turned very loud. Everyone strained, leaning forward to hear him.

"It feels good to say that. God knows we have suffered long enough. However, saying it only proves the intention. It does not make it fact. Not yet. Here, in this moment, our journey begins. And it will not be easy.

"You see, there are those who will seek to weaken our resolve; to diminish our freedoms; they will seek to reinstitute the bonds and chains of poverty that we have clung to for these many years. There are those who would see us harmed. But I say no, they cannot touch us. No, they cannot break us. We must stand strong, united, and proud; we must tell such people that we will not be cowed —"

The crowd rumbled with a growing throb as he spoke, rising to a slow heat. Darius's voice was thick with emotion, his eyes filled with pleading but also with steel. His hands never stopped moving, weaving gracefully in the air and holding everyone's attention. Every fifth word he slammed his fist into the podium for punctuation.

"— and we will not be denied. We must throw off our chains. We must escape from our bonds. We will rise up and claim our destiny as a free world, undeterred and unmolested by those who would sup with injustice —"

She heard a soft 'amen' from nearby and saw heads bobbing. The speaker's voice was filled with passion and lyricism, raising the energy. Faces were drawn with concentration and consternation as he spoke, his words touching the deepest recesses of their hearts, igniting hopes and dreams they'd locked away generations before.

"Today we declare our freedom. Today we clasp it in our hands and refuse to let go. Today we buy our freedom in blood, so that our children and our children's children can grow up in a just world. A glorious world. A world where everyone is equal and all are loved. What we do today is for a new tomorrow. A better tomorrow that will come with the rising of our sun."

Darius hesitated, his face a mask of focus. The crowd was restless, hungry. They were devouring his words, yet left wanting. Here, during the lull, a large group of people strode onto the stage with practiced efficiency.

They lined up behind Darius in two separate groups and took their places on the vacant bleachers. Each was wearing extravagant clothing to represent many different nationalities from around the world.

Darius pitched his voice lower, leaning into the microphone:

"I ask you ... no, I beg of you, my brothers and sisters: I beg that you fight with me. Fight for your freedom. Fight for your neighbor's freedom, as they will fight for yours. We will not rest until every man, woman, and child is granted those God-given rights we were born with. Join me, and together we will build our lives anew; under new governance. We will form a Union whereby all planets are equal and all citizens free.

"This future is in our grasp. Have faith and be strong. And know that one day our dream will become reality."

Then he stepped back. The crowd was thrumming with excitement. Alaina heard a noise overhead, a sort of humming sound. She looked back and up, behind the crowd, and saw approaching aircraft. They were trailing lines of smoke, leaving green and gold lines in the sky.

They swooped in low, just over the stadium and restless crowd. Alaina heard the roaring of their engines and it reminded her of thunder. It was heavy, pressing down with the weight of its wake, and euphoric. She was grinning and excited, though she had no idea why.

She felt the wind wash over the crowd. It buffeted them forward, knocking them into one another. It was a strong enough gust that even her broad shouldered father stumbled. But he didn't fall. A few people caught him, steadied him, making sure he was okay. That Alaina was okay. That everyone was okay. They were in this together now.

The sound and wind dissipated, leaving colored streaks floating in the sky, separating into drifting plumes. The crowd went wild, cheering and whooping and shouting. Alaina felt the excitement and emotion. The release. She didn't understand what was going on, but that didn't matter. The passion was in the air, in her blood. She could feel her father, bursting with energy as he hollered and whooped beneath her.

Darius leaned forward to the microphone again. His voice was steady and loud:

"My name is Darius Gray. And today, our world is free."

1

"I think he's crazy," Alaina's mom said, scrubbing pasta sauce off of the plate and down the drain. They were in the little kitchen of their one story home, packed in around the sink. Kate handed the clean plate to Alaina, who began wiping it with a towel. She liked drying dishes with her parents. She liked to help. "At best, he's crazy. Or a charlatan at worst."

Kate's motions were precise and short. She was angry. Alaina dried the dish off quickly with her semi-wet rag and handed it to her father, who placed it in the cabinet on top of the stack. Then he picked up a long stemmed glass of wine and took a sip, pursing his lips.

"He's definitely crazy," her father agreed. "But that doesn't change anything. He's right. About everything. We can't keep living like this. We can't just accept the poverty while all of our money gets shipped off to the Core worlds."

"He's going to get us all killed," Kate said, dipping a cup into the soapy water. Her arms were shaking. "He wants us to turn our back on our leaders. To turn out back on the Core worlds and the Republic. He wants us to fight for our freedoms. It's a fight we can't win."

"We can win," her father said.

"How many rebellions have worked in the past? None."

"This is different."

"It isn't."

"Darius is a good man. A good leader. People are rallying to his cause. The International Council is already supporting him."

"I saw the way he paraded them on stage," Kate said, her voice bitter. "He must have some control over them. Some sort of blackmail."

"That's not fair, Kate," Carl said, moving over to rest his hands on her shoulders. He gave them a gentle squeeze. "They want to support him."

"More will join. Three other planets are already promising to sign the treaty once it is ratified."

"Why?" Kate asked, turning around. She was half a head shorter than Carl, so she had to look up into his eyes. He was the one to flinch from the gaze, though. "Why would they support him? It doesn't make sense. He's only been here for three months. We don't know very much about him. And what we do know doesn't seem good. He served the damned First Citizen as one of his personal bodyguards!"

"So he knows firsthand how bad the man is," Alaina's father said, still looking away. "We should be grateful that he joined us. That he wants to lead us. He was one of the Shields, Kate. One of their best. And now he's one of us. He has the least to gain and the most to lose by rebelling, yet here he is, ready to fight for our freedom."

"I don't trust him," Kate said. "We're nothing to him. Just chattel."

"We need to trust someone," Carl said, reaching out and rubbing Alaina on her head. He was a big man with strong hands and a friendly face. He grinned down at her. Alaina giggled and swatted his hand away. "No one wants to live with our chains. No one wants to be slaves."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Graveyard of Empires by Lincoln Cole. Copyright © 2015 Lincoln Cole. Excerpted by permission of LC Publishing.
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.

Meet the Author

Lincoln Cole is a Columbus based author who enjoys traveling and has visited many different parts of the world, including Australia and Cambodia, but always returns home to his pugamonster puppy, Luther, and family. His love for writing was kindled at an early age through the works of Isaac Asimov and Stephen King and he enjoys telling stories to anyone who will listen.

His first published novel was "Graveyard of Empires", and he won the Literary Classics 2015 Book Award for Inspirational/Visionary YA novels with his novel "Ripples Through Time". His upcoming book, "Second Chances" is the spiritual successor to "Ripples Through Time" and confronts many social and cultural issues.

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Graveyard of Empires 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Chantalia More than 1 year ago
Robert1957 More than 1 year ago
LoriJor More than 1 year ago
A lot of different things happen in this story! It has a lot of moving parts and different characters, but each of them have their own unique storyline going on. I think my favorite is Traq and Abigail and the things happening to them.