Monday, October 22, 2012

Blog Tour: Kingdom, by Anderson O'Donnell

I don’t think I’ve posted about it yet, but a few of my favorite people in the book blogging world have come together to form a triumvirate of literary greatness—a book PR firm called First Rule Publicity.  They’ve been putting together some great blog tours recently, and I’m privileged to be a part of one of their more recent efforts, a tour for the sci-fi/biopunk novel Kingdom.  I haven’t finished the book yet, but the first half has been phenomenal.  Below you’ll find an excerpt from the book as well as a little something-something about the author.  Read on to see if Kingdom might be something you’d enjoy, too.


About the Book:  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

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.


Kingdom Excerpt:  According to Sweeney, the Order was founded by a group of renegade scientist-monks. Most were disillusioned scientists—men uncomfortable with the divide between spirituality and science. A few other founding members had been theologians in search of a new theology. There was no specific religion driving these men, Sweeney had explained. Just a single common quest: to better understand the nature of the human soul. That’s where the name came from—Neshamah was an Old Testament word meaning “breath of life.” Sweeney had whipped out an old Bible, weather-beaten with a black, cracked cover; the following verse in Genesis was highlighted:

“Yahweh God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

It was this breath of life, this Neshamah, that gave man a full and connected life, an existence separate from the dust and the void. In short, it gave man a soul.

Campbell had tossed back the shot and immediately asked for a refill; Sweeney’s story sounded like complete and utter bullshit. Once upon a time, Campbell had been perhaps the preeminent geneticist of a generation and old habits were hard to shake; the scientist in him recoiled from Sweeney’s tale. But at that moment in time, he had few precious options left. Besides, the Order had saved his ass back in the desert and, despite the fact he had been forever marked with the tattoo on his back, he figured he still owed the gurney men a few favors. And, to be honest, Campbell was pretty curious why they even bothered to drag him out of the desert in the first place.

In the months following his arrival in Tiber City, Campbell spent most of his time trying to answer that question, wandering the underground tunnels that led in, out, and through Camp Ramoth. He took instructions from Sweeney and a woman named Jael who was head of security at Ramoth —the gurney men never said a word to him. Sweeney wasn’t technically a member of the Order, but he was privy to many of its secrets and, in addition to running Lazarus, he served as the group’s liaison to the Tiber City underworld. It was Sweeney who provided day-to-day instructions to Campbell, Sweeney who gave him a room above Lazarus to call his own. And it was Sweeney who finally explained to him why he had been brought to Ramoth: to serve.

And Campbell had served—he had spent much of the past decade tending to the sick and dying housed in Ramoth. Yet, the Order did not exist merely to serve. There were other rooms constructed in the back of the camp and filled with various pieces of aging yet still functional pieces of medical equipment, mostly diagnostic tools such as PET scanners. Despite his relative familiarity with the equipment, Campbell had no desire to explore these rooms. Not only was his job to tend to the residents of Ramoth, but, on the few occasions he had ventured into these posterior chambers, he had seen things for which he had no answer: members of the Order in deep meditation, some surrounded by religious icons, others sitting motionless on the stone floor of empty rooms. Each member’s head was shaved and sported the asterisk tattoo, and each had a dozen or so wires attached to their bald heads, wires that were attached to the large gray blocks of medical equipment.  Campbell asked Sweeney about the meditation sessions, the wires, and the strange symbol that marked each of the members but Sweeney just shook his head, slow and sad, and smiled.

“Remember what I told you about the soul?” asked Sweeney. “The asterisk in the circle, well, that’s meant to be representative of the divine spark within every man; that spark, that connection to the divine, it’s made possible by the soul. The mark is just a reminder because man, let me tell you: It’s easy to forget. As for the machines and the meditation, well, that’s how they look for the soul.”

Campbell raised an eyebrow. “Yeah and how’s that going?” he asked, the skepticism in his voice unmistakable. “They find anything?”

Sweeney only offered that same slow smile. “Maybe someday you’ll find out. First, you gotta be ready. And let me tell you, you ain’t ready yet. But the Order is patient. So if I were you, I’d just do what you’ve been asked to do.”

“Serve,” Campbell said.

“Serve,” Sweeney nodded. “And wait.”

Initially, he bristled at the idea of being kept in the dark—Morrison’s treachery was seared in his memory forever. But Campbell was granted entrance to every inch of Camp Ramoth; he just wasn’t cleared to review the data compiled by the Order. And so Campbell learned to wait. And to serve.

In many ways, this place, Camp Ramoth, was identical to the room in which he had awoken almost 20 years ago after the gurney men found him left for dead in that abandoned freight yard. Serving as a hospital but more closely resembling a subterranean refugee camp, the room he just exited was located in the slums of Tiber City, in an area known only as “the Jungle.” The original camp—Camp Golan—had been constructed in the basement of an abandoned Church in the Chihuahuan desert. Golan was where Campbell had first encountered the gurney men, where they had saved him from the nothingness of the desert. It was also where Campbell came face to face with the ruined creatures he helped create, the creatures produced by Project Exodus and recovered by the Order. But those creatures had long since died, and Golan, along with another camp—Bosor—became just another place of refuge, a place where the Order might continue its search for the soul. Ramoth, established in Tiber City, became the third. Why Tiber City, Campbell had asked Sweeney once. The surge of sickness and disease in Tiber City, Sweeney had explained: It’s not just physical.

As Campbell stepped into the stairwell, a familiar atonal beep echoed off concrete, alerting the camp that someone was exiting or entering the facilities. This was the extent of Ramoth’s security system: a single, annoying electronic blast. Did it even matter? Campbell wondered. There were no police, no corporate cavalry riding to the rescue if someone did manage to stumble across Ramoth and shit went sideways.  Campbell trudged up two flights of stairs that led from the basement of the warehouse, toward the front of the building, and out into the Tiber City night. There were other ways out, emergency exits that led into the maze of alleyways behind the building, but, so far, those had gone unused.

Reaching the exit, Campbell pulled open the steel door that marked the camp’s main entrance. Like much of Tiber City, the old warehouse—the basement levels of which held Camp Ramoth—had been hastily constructed to satisfy an immediate need and then forgotten, money, politics, and power always pushing forward, need begetting need begetting ever more need. Consequently, rather than taking the time and the money to tear buildings down, these structures were buried alive, fresh concrete and steel poured over the still-viable structures. When the money dried up, these new buildings—little more than heaps of cheap material slapped together atop uneven foundations by strangers, by men who were not from these neighborhoods, by men who couldn’t care less—began to crumble. And when they did, no one gave a shit because the goal had never been sustainability; turn a profit and move on was the fundamental philosophy. Structure began cannibalizing structure, and as the foundations of the newest buildings collapsed, older, forgotten buildings were unearthed. As a result, the Jungle’s geography was forever changing as the slums rose up to reclaim the land, prefab material no match for the infinite patience of time.


About the AuthorAnderson O’Donnell presents a biopunk, dystopian noir-esque thriller in this amazing read, KINGDOM. Most people are familiar with the term “cyberpunk,” but “biopunk” is harder to nail down. In many ways, biopunk is similar to the cyberpunk genre, and shares many of the same themes and archetypes: the dystopian future; the overreliance on technology; mega-corporations; a constant and overwhelming flow of data; the anti-hero—these elements are integral parts of both genres.

Both genres are fueled, to some extent, by the sense of rebellion and desire for individual
freedom expressed by the original punk rock revolution. But the main difference—the most important difference—is that while cyberpunk focuses on invasive technological modification of the human body, biopunk explores the dehumanizing consequences of biological modification, of re-arranging our DNA in the pursuit of perfection.

Anderson lives in Connecticut with his wife and 2 sons. Anderson himself deems Kingdom as “a thrill-a-minute, bio-punk myth that manages to wrestle with the most pressing issues of the new millennium. O’Donnell has crafted a kickass novel of tomorrow night, when the big party gets raided by the monsters we’ve been building for the last half-century.”

His debut novel, Kingdom, a dystopian, biopunk thriller, is now available in paperback and ebook format. Kingdom is the first part of the Tiber City Trilogy. Look for part two, Exile, in the summer of 2013.


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  2. Sounds really cool. (the book and the PR firm).

  3. Jeez... this one sounds pretty intriguing!

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