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Saewod Tice

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Amongst the Ruins
by Saewod Tice   

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Category: 

Young Adult/Teen

Publisher:  Noble Romance Publishing, LLC Type: 
Pages: 

300

Copyright:  Sep 22, 2011 ISBN-13:  9781605923857
Fiction

Raised on the run and in hiding, Shilo wants to be free of the expectations of women. But in a ruined world where anyone could be an enemy, only the radiation-twisted mutants are clearly identifiable. A fertile female is a precious treasure, and any lapse in caution can mean a loss of the freedom she longs for.

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Noble Yound Adult
The Chronicles of 2020

In the year 2220, only about 15% of Earth's population have survived and thrived after the Nuclear Disaster of 2020.

With the collapse of modern society, the population has regressed into eight clans.

Amongst these clans, an unusual girl grows from child to adult.

Raised on the run and in hiding, Shilo wants to be free of the expectations of women. But in a ruined world where anyone could be an enemy, only the radiation-twisted mutants are clearly identifiable. A fertile female is a precious treasure, and any lapse in caution can mean a loss of the freedom she longs for.

Training as hard as a soldier would, in order to free herself from social constraints, she finds herself faced with an offer from a new clan--an offer that provides her with what she desires. But her recently found independence brings discovery, and discovery brings two very different men from her past—and each of them is determined to claim her.

One is obsessed with owning her, the other desires her as the only person who can make him love again.


Excerpt

Chapter One: Ortus of Posterus

Groans of pain, accompanied by heavy panting, pulled me from a restless slumber. With the campfire still ablaze, I could easily make out the source of the noises. The camps attention fell on the very pregnant Inell, wife of this migrant group's leader, Hagor.

Mother ordered some men and women to bring basins of warm water, cloth, and her herbal bag. Inell was in labor. Excited shouts rang in my ears. Births had been so few, until recently.

Please let this go well. If this ended badly, then Mother. . . . A knot formed in my stomach. I hurried to her side.

"Shilo. Step back, child. I need room to work." She nudged at my leg with her elbow and took her position at Inell's feet.

Adley's arm wrapped around my shoulder, and he pulled me out of our mother's way.

Mother gently parted Inell's legs. Blood and fluids slicked her hands and spread on the cold ground. How didn't more women die from the consequence of being with a man? The blood loss seemed fatal for those who could bear children.

"Come now, Inell, focus. You will soon hold your child," my mother urged.

One by one, people moved from their makeshift shelters or open sleeping areas in their dingy, faded sweatshirts and jeans drawing closer to witness the birth. Could you suffocate in a crowd drawn so close? Would they get close enough to see my wrongness?

For hours, Inell screamed and cried. The group of onlookers had barely dwindled. Hagor stalked in circles, intent upon my mother's ministrations. Firelight gleamed off his knife, and I imagined him tearing my mother in half. Mother pretended not to notice, instead instructing my sister, Mazy, in the finer arts of childbirth.

"Woman, if anything happens to them, your life will compensate," Hagor said.

I buried my face into Adley's stomach, pictures of my mother clawing at her slit throat flashing through my imagination. He tightened his hold, but inched us closer, fascinated by a new arrival. One last curse and Inell quieted. The crowd erupted with praise.

Then an eerie silence fell over the mob. There's no cry. A sob caught in my panic-tightened throat. I forced myself to watch the scene.

Mother wrapped the child in a large cloth, placed it on the ground at Inell's feet, and rubbed the infant roughly, unmindful of Hagor at her side. His hand flexed around the knife, ready to strike.

"What are you doing?" Inell fought to sit up and reach for her child.

Snake-fast, Hagor yanked Mother's head back by the brown hair-knot at the base of her skull. "I warned you, witch." He dug the metal into her neck.

"Wait," Mazy said. "It just takes a few more minutes."

Mazy crawled to Inell's feet and massaged the baby frantically, trying to save the child and our mother.

Could I distract Hagor, run and kick out his knee, so Adley could get to Mother and run? Would the crowd stop us, stop me?

"If your daughter fails, woman, I will take your life and her womb will replace this child." He nodded toward Mazy.

Adley tensed, preparing for our escape. Mother's eyes landed on mine. She forced a look of reassurance. It didn't help. My feet inched forward, but Adley held me back.

A newborn's cry tore through the air, and Hagor released my mother carelessly. "Is it a son?" Hagor asked.

"A boy." Mazy released the words in a breath.

"I have a son!" He lifted his arms over his head. The crowd cheered.

Once the child was placed on Inell's chest, Adley collected us back to our small shelter. Inside the tent made of tied together plastics, I collapsed onto the sleep area of worn faded blankets. Tension which had swallowed my body now melted away and left weariness and restless sleep in its place. What would happen to us if Mother died? A new nervous cramp formed in my stomach.

"We should move on before something else happens." Since Mazy and Adley's father died many years ago, he tried to be the man of the family, but mother was both our patriarch and matriarch.

"We're safe enough, for now, Adley."

"But he was going to kill you!" He objected.

"He thought the child dead," Mazy said. "He just needed to place the blame."

"I still think we should move on." Adley's anger reddened his face and neck.

"We're safer in a group like this one," Mother explained softly. "Besides, we don't know these territories. The boundaries are very tricky and if we stumble onto another clan's land without permission, we could all be killed. It's best to stay with Hagor's group till we reach the safe haven."

Covered in blood from elbow to finger tips, Mother wiped her arms and removed the birth covered apron.

My stomach flipped from the metal smell invading my nostrils.

"And when we reach this safe haven, then what?"

"Then we rest and decide what to do next."

"We aren't even sure of this safe haven. It's only been rumors amongst the different travelers we've passed."

"A rumor is better than nothing. We cannot wander forever."

"Then why don't we settle within one of the established clans? They offer protection on a larger mass."

"We are starting fresh with this group of people. Hagor and the other elders in the group have spoken, they've laid out a plan to form a new clan."

"You know as well as I do that a clan formed by Hagor is not in anyone's best interest."

"Adley, I'm doing what is best for all of us. Trust me."

Mother threw the provisional apron into the fire, ending the conversation, cutting off whatever Adley might have to say next. I released the breath I'd been holding. Mazy poured water over her own gore-coated arms. The crusted birth fluids faded and the water finally ran clear.

"Thank you." Mother embraced Mazy. "You did so well."

"Yes, Mazy, thank you so much for making sure Mother wasn't slaughtered in front of us." Adley's disapproval of Mother's choices rang through.

"Shut up, Adley." Mazy pushed him as she stepped around him.

Huddled together in front of our tent, we watched the others cheer and celebrate. I wrinkled my nose when they placed the afterbirth in a pot over the fire. Did they really think that women who ate afterbirth stew would be more fertile? No history books had ever hinted at it. Still, women lined up, voluntarily and by force.

"Kahrn?" An old, wrinkled woman called from a few feet away. Her dark grey pants and red sweater were as worn as our clothing. "You and your daughter should be thanked. That child was almost lost."
Mother gave an appreciate wave. "We must all help bring forth our future."

The old woman nodded and left us to ourselves.

That night, my dreams were filled with people crowding around a naked woman who cried for help. A faceless man held a knife to her throat, and her swollen belly pulsed grotesquely. I screamed loud enough to wake my family when the knife plunged into her stomach. Thankfully, the scream didn't carry far enough to disturb the other slumbering people in the temporary camp.

Mother scanned my tear-streaked face and patted her hands over my shaking body for signs of illness or injury. When she found none, she held and rocked me till I fell silent. Adley and Mazy wrapped their arms around us as well.

"What would I do without all of you, my loves?"

The lightening of the gray sky gave way the early morning when I woke them. Within moments the rest of the camp began to stir and rise. The cooks gathered around the fire, stoking it and preparing what food had been hunted the night before.

Adley took a rabbit he'd trapped and offered his catch to the cooks. Their dirty and toothless mouths called out for more offerings. A couple of others brought forth small catches and other supplies found along the way.

Given my abrupt wake up, Mother pulled me closer to her side and began talking about her past. She had shared the stories many times before, but as I got older she seemed to provide more and more details.

Mother's great-grandmother had been a survivor of the Global Destruction of 2020, when the entire world had turned on eachother. Mother didn't know, for sure, what exactly launched the full scale world war, but in the end only the military shelters remained and only 15% of the population survived. However, not all survivors were the same.

Lingering effects amongst the ruined cities and attack zones had mutated animal and plant life. The mutations didn't discriminate from humans. In fact, the deformities remained longest in some unfortunate people, resulting in a shunned group we now knew as the Nigredo.

With illness at an alltime high and modern medicine no longer available, great-grandmother taught our mother the medicinal uses of plants and herbs. These were talents mother willingly passed down. For instance, Mazy and I took Wild Yam twice a day to protect and help our womanly organs; however, the look Mazy would share with her told me there was much being left unsaid. The same way they never discussed the way they hid me in layers of baggy clothing. Though we all were aware my appearance was not like theirs, or anyone else for that matter.

I didn't look like Mazy and Adley, having not shared the same father. Mother never spoke his name, but I knew I was the result of a consequence, a product of a violation, a repayment for the loss of his lifeless child and wife. How she escaped with me, I'm still not sure. Regardless, the evidence of our different fathers lies in my appearance.

Mazy and Adley both shared olive skin, brown hair, and dark eyes. But where Adley looked of his father, Mazy took after Mother. I, on the other hand, had skin so pale it could be considered white and with hair to match . . . if it were washed regularly. My strange eyes were 'so blue you could almost see through them" as Adley would say. My strangeness wasn't easy to hide. The constant cover up, keeping me at a distance from other people burdened my family.

Without my swaddling, strangers' eyes lingered and followed my bizarre look. Why couldn't I have the look of my mother?



Professional Reviews

Great Little Dystopian Book!, October 21, 2011
This story is about what could happen if most of the world is wiped out and those that were left have to live with the leftovers. Set in 2220 Saewod Tice has set up a great dystopian future. Although I do not agree with some of the things that went on in this story, I have to ask myself if it would be possible that this type of future could exist. If the population was low, would men try to spread their seed anyway possible? Would women be used and abused? Would there be pockets of people more advanced and civilized than others? Would some of the seemingly civilized folks just be pretending to be civilized so they could try to take over? Saewod Tice addresses all these questions with her story.

This book mostly follows Shilo as she learns to find her place in the world. Her world is mostly dominated by the clan that her family belongs to. Her family tries to hide her as much as possible from the general male populace by dressing in baggy clothing and hiding her hair under a cap. She is different and she is beautiful, two things that will not help her survive in this world.

Shilo is given the opportunity to train to become a stronger person and learn how to defend herself and is just beginning to find her place when she is captured by a band of men who only see women as sex slaves. She is stronger now, but will she be strong enough to handle this new life that she has been thrust into?

This book is the first in the series that will explore this strange new world. I was completely drawn into the world and characters created in this story. There were enough things left unsaid at the end, that I wish the next book was out so I could find out what happens next.


A Definite Must Read, January 5, 2012
From the very beginning of this story, during a delivery performed at knife point, I was hooked. This story was a non stop adventure through one girl's life in a world that is trying to recover from nuclear disaster.

Shilo is different and that is something that her family tries very hard to hide from everyone. Shilo and her family live in a world that is trying to recover from the Nuclear Disaster of 2020. Few people still populate the world, and all that do have formed 8 clans. It is a world where, for the most part, men rule everything. Men decide who live and die, men decide where everyone will go, men decide what a person's job will be, and men decide who the women will belong to. Women seem to have just two jobs, and that is to serve the men and repopulate the world. This is why Shilo is hidden. She is very rare in this new world.

We get to follow Shilo's journey through this world as she grows and discovers herself. She makes a very important decision to never let a man own or dictate her. So many things happen to Shilo. Shilo trains as a soldier, and she moves, not usually willingly, through many different Clans' regions. Her escapades are many and at times I felt so sorry for her that so many things could happen to one girl. Eventually Shilo has to make a very important choice. She can be with a man who she knows only views her as property, or she can be with a man who truly loves her, although Shilo seems to not know this.

The characters were amazing. They were all explained so well, everyone from Shilo's mother Kahrn to the twisted mutants, the Nigredo. This post nuclear world was explained beautifully. In my mind I could clearly picture these people and places thanks to all the descriptions.

I loved so much about this book. I only had a few problems. One is that every once in a while there were weird punctuation problems, or spaces missing between words. These were small issues though, and they did not take away from the book for me at all. My other problem is where is the next book? I want to know what else happens to Shilo. I want to know what happens to this world and all of it's people. Saewod Tice will definitely be on my authors to watch list. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.


Incredibly Awesome Dystopian!!!!, November 17, 2011
Amongst the Ruins is my new book love. Saewod Tice has written an incredibly awesome Dystopian. It's a beautiful love story, with struggles of a young girl growing up in world where men claim women as property to repopulate the earth. Tice put so much depth into her characters, and this dystopian storyline, that I felt like I was right there with Shilo, living and feeling everything she felt in this future world. You better believe I will be begging Saewod Tice for the second book in the The Chronicles of 2020 series.

Shilo is a rare girl in this world where men possess females as property. With blond hair, blue eyes, and pale skin, Shilo's beauty would be a man's most prize possession. So Shiolo's mother, brother Adley and sister Mazy, has keep her hidden from the men in this world who take what they want. The group of people Shilo and her family are with are attacked by the Nigredo clan, which
cause them to run into the Magnus clan territory. But this turns out to be good for Shilo. She grows into independent women here under General Vahn, who is a good man and the leader of a training camp for young boys and men. This becomes a place where Shilo and her family are safe. For the first time in Shilo life, she's allowed to be who she is. No more hiding and she's also the first girl to be trained to fight. Magnus clan will also become the place that she learns of men and their desire for her. Haden, who lusts for her, Elrik who wants to own her body and Kain who loves her with all his heart and she's the meaning of his life. Shilo has no desire for men. She watched her mother and sister surrender their body's for the protection of their family for years, and she is determined no man will claim her body as a piece of property.

Shilo and Kain's romance had me laughing, screaming, swooning, and crying. These two are so stubbornly hard-headed. By the time Shilo did understand her feelings for Kain, it was a little too late and the worst thing that could happen, happens with them. Yes my heart is still hurting for these two. But Elrik will use this situation to finally get what he's been wanting for a long time: Shilo. But I just wonder if Haden's going to show back up in the second book. I will just have to wait on this one. It could go a lot of different ways.

I love Amongst the Ruins. Saewod Tice has built a fantastic dystopian world with awesome characters and amazing romance that had my heart in love right along with Shilo and Kain. I will have a very inpatient wait for the second book in this series. I highly recommend Amongst the Ruins as a must, must read.


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