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Book #2 in the Reapers series by Alden Bell (following The Reapers Are the Angels)
In a world where the undead outnumber the living, Moses Todd roams the post-apocalyptic plains of America. His reprobate brother, Abraham — his only companion — has known little else. Together, they journey because they have to; because they have nowhere to go, and no one to answer to other than themselves.
Traveling the bloody wastelands of this ruined world, Moses is looking for a kernel of truth, and a reason to keep going. And a chance encounter presents him with the Vestal Amata, a beguiling and mysterious woman who may hold the key to salvation. But he is not the only one seeking the Vestal. For the Vestal has a gift: a gift that might help save what is left of humanity. And it may take everything he has to free her from the clutches of those who most desire her.
and brings it to a stop. In the far distance there are two slugs walking slowly, knocking together clownishly as they move. When they see the car, they begin to amble towards it – but they are desiccated and slow. What are we stoppin for? Abraham asks. Moses climbs out of the car and walks around to open the passenger-side door. Then he reaches in, grabs his brother by the upper arm, drags him out of the seat and tosses him to the hard pebbled earth. What did you do to that girl? Moses says.
he could. A wandering man. Hey, look, he says, straining a note of apology. I’m shook up. You did me a service here. I ain’t the shooter of the family. They walk on in silence to the opposite side of the bridge where Moses climbs down to the water’s edge and washes the blood out of his hair and beard. The Vestal sits by him, soaking her feet in the cool water. So you never really learned how to shoot, huh? she asks. He holds up his right hand, palm downward, to show her. It is a thick,
he says, because the words keep coming – out of spite they keep coming. Wait for what? she asks. Just a thing I got to know, he says. How come you ran away? There’s somethin in you. You could help people. How come you don’t want to go to that citadel? She shrugs and shifts on top of him, her loins pushing down on his lap. I don’t know, she says. Everybody’s lookin for answers. I don’t want to be anybody’s answer. She moves to kiss him again, but he pushes her away a second time. And this?
pressed uniforms, engineering precise manoeuvres around the tall metal structures, fighting with the cold confidence of a reborn civilization striking out against the filthy reminders of its own wild past. Then there are Fletcher’s men, a ragged collective, a mobile army which has gathered guns from all corners of the country. They have experience on their side, for every day on the road is a battle for them. They live conflict. Then there are the bandits who have been residing at the gasworks.
buried. Which it could be. She looks around. The wind blowing through the grass above the shore makes a peaceful sound. She sits and studies the thing and waits for movement. The shoal is bigger today. It keeps getting bigger. When she first came the island seemed like a long way off from the mainland. She swam to it, using an empty red and white cooler to help keep her afloat in the currents. That was months ago. Since then the island has got bigger, the season pulling the water out further