In the Spotlight: Apocalypse Alley (Blue Unicorn #2) by Don Allmon (Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway)

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Apocalypse Alley (Blue Unicorn #2) by Don Allmon
Riptide Publishing
Cover by: Simoné

Read an excerpt/Buy It here

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Don Allmon here today on tour for his latest novel, Apocalypse Alley.  Welcome, Don. 

 

 

Hello, all! I’m Don Allmon and this week I’ll be touring the web to promote my new book, APOCALYPSE ALLEY, the second in the Blue Unicorn series.

 

If you’re looking for fast-paced cyberpunk/fantasy romance – Terminator 2 meets Fury Road with two sexy guys and a dragon – this is your jam.

 

Join in the fun by leaving a comment which enters you to win a Riptide gift card!

 

About Apocalypse Alley

 

Home from a six-month assignment to war-torn East Asia, genetically engineered supersoldier Noah “Comet” Wu just wants to kick back, share a beer, and talk shit with his best friend, JT. But JT’s home has been shot up like a war zone, and his friend has gone missing.

 

Comet’s only lead is a smart-mouthed criminal he finds amid the mess. His name’s Buzz Howdy. He’s a con man and a hacker and deserves to be in jail. Or in handcuffs, at least. The only thing the two have in common is JT. Unless you count the steamy glances they’re sneaking at one another. They have those in common too. But that just makes Comet all the more wary.

 

Despite their mutual distrust, they’ll have to work together to rescue JT before a cyborg assassin gets to him first. Racing down a miserable stretch of road called Apocalypse Alley, they must dodge radioactive spiders, a killer Buick, and rampaging cannibals. They also try to dodge each other. That last bit doesn’t work out so well.

 

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About Blue Unicorn

 

JT is an orc on the way up. He’s got his own boutique robotics shop, high-end clientele, and deep-pocketed investors. He’s even mentoring an orc teen who reminds him a bit too much of himself back in the day.

 

Then Austin shows up, and the elf’s got the same hard body and silver tongue as he did two years ago when they used to be friends and might have been more. He’s also got a stolen car to bribe JT to saying yes to one last scheme: stealing the virtual intelligence called Blue Unicorn.

 

Soon JT’s up to his tusks in trouble, and it ain’t just zombies and Chinese triads threatening to tear his new life apart. Austin wants a second chance with JT—this time as more than just a friend—and even the Blue Unicorn is trying to play matchmaker.

 

Check out the Blue Unicorn universe!

 

About Don Allmon

 

In his night job, Don Allmon writes science fiction, fantasy, and romance. In his day job, he’s an IT drone. He holds a master of arts in English literature from the University of Kansas and wrote his thesis on the influence of royal hunting culture on medieval werewolf stories. He’s a fan of role-playing games, both video and tabletop. He has lived all over from New York to San Francisco, but currently lives on the prairies of Kansas with many animals.

 

Connect with Don:

Giveaway

 

To celebrate the release of Apocalypse Alley, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 3, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Review: Apocalypse Alley (Blue Unicorn #2) by Don Allmon

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Home from a six-month assignment to war-torn East Asia, genetically engineered supersoldier Noah “Comet” Wu just wants to kick back, share a beer, and talk shit with his best friend, JT. But JT’s home has been shot up like a war zoars out of 5ne, and his friend has gone missing.

Comet’s only lead is a smart-mouthed criminal he finds amid the mess. His name’s Buzz Howdy. He’s a con man and a hacker and deserves to be in jail. Or in handcuffs, at least. The only thing the two have in common is JT. Unless you count the steamy glances they’re sneaking at one another. They have those in common too. But that just makes Comet all the more wary.

Despite their mutual distrust, they’ll have to work together to rescue JT before a cyborg assassin gets to him first. Racing down a miserable stretch of road called Apocalypse Alley, they must dodge radioactive spiders, a lonely cannibal, and a killer Buick. They also try to dodge each other. That last bit doesn’t work out so well.

When I last put down  The Glamour Thieves (Blue Unicorn #1), the first story in this amazing series, JT, Austin, and his elf lover were headed to his  home that he shares with the teenage orc he’s mentoring having stirred up more trouble and uncovered even more disturbing information after freeing the virtual intelligence known as the Blue Unicorn.  Trust me, you need to read that story.  One, it’s a dynamite adventure tale and two, without it, you will be lost diving into this one.

I love Apocalypse Alley but the truth is you won’t get a solid foundation of the world or overall series ARC without reading The Glamour Thieves first.  This story and series builds upon each other like building blocks and you can’t enter midway point.  It’s like being dropped on a warped yellow brick road and not knowing you’re headed to Oz.  Not that you’re all that sure of your destination here.  So many twists  and turns await you!

And it all happens at break-neck speed.  What an adrenaline rush.  I had to read it twice to gather together all the story threads and hints I missed the first time.  Props btw to Allmon for creating a character with the name of Urushiol.  As a park naturalist/Ranger, I’m highly familiar with this chemical compound as is anyone who’s come in contact with poison ivy.  I laughed myself silly when I saw that name.  Perfect in every way.  Anyhow, from the moment the story opens we start picking up speed as Comet returns expecting to find JT waiting to pick him up at the airport and  goes looking for him when he doesn’t show.  Each scene as Comet interacts with both Buzz Howdy (we’ve met him before) and others foe and friend gives the readers more information about the man.

Buzz is a known entity but we get into his head and yes heart here.  He falls for  Comet, quick yes, but you can see how and why it happens.

But mostly it’s a race.  A race to keep ahead of some of the worse villains out there, a race to find JT and crew, a race to stay alive…all in heart pounding, white knuckle…go all out scenes.  It’s wildly imaginative, horrifying, and incredibly suspenseful.  Did I say I loved it?  And just when you think it’s safe…a surprising twist shows up at the end that makes you want to go back and read books one and two again to see if there was anyway you could have seen this coming.  And now I need The Burning Magus (Blue Unicorn #3 to come out in the worst possible way.

So, yes, I  absolutely recommend this series.  It’s one wild  ride.  It has great characters, it’s gritty, suspenseful, full of twists and turns and more plots threads then you can shake a VR stick with.  It’s even got love such as it is.  But you need to start with The Glamour Thieves and then to Apocalypse Alley.  I’ll be waiting for you at The Burning Magus!

Cover by: Simoné. I love these covers.  Perfect in everyway from the tone and characters.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 201 pages
Expected publication: February 26th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleApocalypse Alley
ISBN 162649665X (ISBN13: 9781626496651)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBlue Unicorn #2

Kelly Haworth on Making a Religion is Never from Scratch and her latest release ‘Read My Mind (Under the Empire #1)’ (guest post and giveaway)

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Read My Mind (Under the Empire #1) by Kelly Haworth
Riptide Publishing

Cover by: Natasha Snow
Read an Excerpt/Purchase it Here at Riptide Publishing


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Kelly Haworth here today on her Read My Mind tour. Welcome, Kelly.

✒︎

Making a Religion is Never from Scratch by Kelly Haworth

I was that kid who would take every extra credit report the teachers ever assigned and write it on Ancient Egypt. I was obsessed with it, reading up on all the gods and the stories, learning about the language, visiting the museums. I still have a ton of Egyptian trinkets, from statues to tarot cards. I have books on my bookshelf, and can still tell you weird facts, like how ancient Egyptians had a weirdly inaccurate fraction they used for pi, and scholars aren’t quite sure why they never used a more accurate one. (I’m sure they had their reasons!)

So it should surprise no one that when developing a fantasy world with their own religion, I would make a polytheistic one.  And accompanying that love of polytheism with my limited knowledge of the Greek pantheon, I knew that was the direction I wanted to go in a fantasy. There’s something very elegant about being the god of a few specific things, instead of all of existence and experience. Plus, who doesn’t like the stories of feuding gods?

However, actually establishing a fabricated religion is complicated. Throwing around god names during the course of a narrative is relatively easy. But turning those random mentions into an actual practicable religion is a different thing entirely. Before I started drafting Read My Mind, I scoured my two completed manuscripts in the Under the Empire universe for everything about religion I had mentioned. Okay, churches, altars and trinkets, about 5 gods, and allusions to angels. But it was all pretty vague stuff, because I had never had any religious teachings outside of the things one learns in a public school, and what I had read about polytheistic cultures. So I knew what I needed to research, and I came out the other side knowing the difference between a parable and an epistle, that angels come from many cultures, and that the translations of religious texts have been politically bent over the centuries, just to name a few things.

This all fuelled how I shaped the religion.  And adding on the idea that the people of this world had been gifted magic from these gods, I hoped that the idea that one religion would dominate most of the world’s population would be reasonable. I settled on ten gods, each representing one of eight different magics, with two additional gods representing the non-magical.  There would be churches and priestesses for what they bring to communities, and there would be altars and prayer for individuals who wanted to lead their own worship.

Most importantly, I wanted this religion to be inherently LGBTQ friendly. Thus there are canonically bisexual, lesbian and trans gods, and maybe more that I haven’t figured out yet.

Religion or the lack thereof shapes community, drives some governments, influences societal norms. In Read My Mind, I wanted to show a religion that cares and supports and encourages love and giving. I hope I have succeeded in that, and I hope as I write future books in this series, I get to continue to develop it.

Welcome to the blog tour of Read My Mind, the first book of the Under the Empire series! I hope you’ll check out all the stops, where I explore the craft that goes into creating a fantasy series set in a contemporary era.

Long ago, a pantheon of ten gods gifted magic to the people of our world, changing the course of history as we know it. The Flavian Empire now reigns over what would have been America, led by a royalty of fire weavers. Frannesburg, the city by the bay, is a haven from the empire’s encroaching dictatorship, and its university is bustling with people of all magics, sexualities, genders, and races. As students study toward their degrees, they hope to find friendships across majors, and maybe even love under the fog and city lights.

Read My Mind follows two freshmen, Scott and Nick, who have just started at the University of Frannesburg. Magic, attraction, and too much homework await them on their journey to figure out who they are now that they are on their own, and how they fit into this magical world.

About Read My Mind

Scott Kensington lives happily without magic; prayer is all he needs to worship the gods. Then he starts his studies at the University of Frannesburg, and not only is he suddenly surrounded by eccentrics—those gifted with magic—but his own latent ability begins to surface, with consequences that could tear his soul and family apart.

Nick Barns is grieving for his lost mother and desperate for distraction—usually in the form of limited-edition action figures. As a telekinetic, he’s no stranger to magic, so he offers to help Scott adjust to his new powers. They quickly learn how their magics interact, their shared passions soon growing beyond superheroes and immortals. But Nick’s not taking his studies seriously, and his father threatens to pull him from the university. Overwhelmed by his own crumbling family, Scott’s convinced he can’t handle a relationship, but he doesn’t want to let Nick go.

With grief, guilt, and magic complicating everything between Nick and Scott, it seems that not even the gods—or a new comic book—can save their relationship now.

Sometimes, even reading someone’s mind won’t help you understand what they want.

Now available from Riptide Publishing

About Kelly Haworth

Kelly Haworth grew up in San Francisco and has been reading science fiction and fantasy classics since she was a kid. She has way too active an imagination, thus she channels it into writing. Kelly is genderfluid and pansexual, and loves to write LGBTQIA characters into her work. In fact, she doesn’t know if she’s ever going to be able to write an allo-cishet couple again. Kelly has degrees in both genetics and psychology, and works as a project manager at a genetics lab. When not working or writing, she can be found wrangling her two toddlers, working on cosplay, or curled up on the couch with a good TV show or book.

Connect with Kelly:

Website: kellyhaworth.com

Twitter: @KHaworthWrites

Facebook: KHaworthWrites

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Read My Mind, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 7, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Read My Mind (Under the Empire #1) by Kelly Haworth

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Reading someone’s mind won’t always tell you what they want.

Scott Kensington lives happily without magic; prayer is all he needs to worship the gods. Then he starts his studies at the University of Frannesburg, and not only is he suddenly surrounded by eccentrics—those gifted with magic—but his own latent ability begins to surface, with consequences that could tear his soul and family apart.

Nick Barns is grieving for his lost mother and desperate for distraction—usually in the form of limited-edition action figures. As a telekinetic, he’s no stranger to magic, so he offers to help Scott adjust to his new powers. They quickly learn how their magics interact, their shared passions soon growing beyond superheroes and immortals. But Nick’s not taking his studies seriously, and his father threatens to pull him from the university. Overwhelmed by his own crumbling family, Scott’s convinced he can’t handle a relationship, but he doesn’t want to let Nick go.

With grief, guilt, and magic complicating everything between Nick and Scott, it seems that not even the gods—or a new comic book—can save their relationship now. Sometimes, even reading someone’s mind won’t help you understand what they want.

Kelly Haworth has packed Read My Mind with many interesting elements and laid the foundation for a universe that’s waiting for some major drama to unfold.  She has created some great young characters, given them background that I believe people can connect with, along with developing talents that make their lives and story more exciting.  Plus a romance and a religion that seems to flow into popular culture via comic books and collectibles which I found intriguing.  But somehow  with all that it just didn’t take off.

Maybe because I kept expecting some major drama to happen because of all the heavy hints thrown about The Empire and the drafting of certain gifted young people.  But that never came to fruition.  There  was drama going on with Nick and his father but that seemed to settle out as well towards the end as Nick sorted out his grief over his mother’s death.  Ditto Scott and the complications with his family issues.  We never really know what happens there.  Everything sort of settles out and  goes away  and the boys end up boyfriends and  on to their sophomore year in college.

And we end up with tons of exposition concerning the religion (and collectibles via Nick), almost nothing about the Empire and world history (which we could have used more of), too much imo of pulling Nick back into the religious side.  Unless this is going to play a huge part of things in the future, which it never really did here, this could have been elevated to be more powerful and cut down.  Either way, it’s sort of a  left down narrative wise.  However, it made his boyfriend happy, so there’s that.

There was your typical teenage first time relationship dynamics, family stress and paranormal talents thrown on top which was handled nicely if with too much verbiage and density.  Here less would have been more.  I would image that book two picks up during the sophomore year in college and hopefully more drama and information about The Empire is forthcoming.  I’m interested enough to check out the second installment.

Cover by: Natasha Snow works for the story and is lovely.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 294 pages
Published October 2nd 2017 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626496255
SeriesUnder the Empire #1

An Ali Audiobook Review: Where There’s Smoke (Panopolis #1) by Cari Z and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
where-theres-smoke-audioPanopolis is a rough place to be an average Joe. I came here looking for adventure and excitement, but nobody cares about one more normal guy in a city filled with super-powered heroes. The closest I’ve come to glory is working in a bank that villains often rob.

But then I maybe accidentally-on-purpose helped a villain escape the hero who was trying to save the day. Imagine my shock when, a week later, that villain asked me out for coffee. One date turned into more, and now I’m head over heels in love with Raul.

Falling in love with the guy dubbed the Mad Bombardier isn’t without its downsides, though. I’ve had to deal with near-death encounters with other villains, awkwardly flirtatious heroes who won’t take no for an answer, and a lover I’m not sure I can trust. It’s getting to the point where I know I’ll have to make a choice: side with the heroes, or stand fast by my villain.

Either way, I think my days as a normal guy are over.
I really enjoyed this unique and creative story. Panopolis is a city filled with Heroes and Villians (think comic book characters). Edward is an average guy who has never actually met either until his bank is robbed by a villian. The two men have an instant connection and end up meeting again soon after. As Edward finds himself falling for Raul he has to constantly question his own values and what he is doing with a criminal. The story is filled with an interesting background plot of political corruption while the two MC’s give us some adventure, some romance and some smexy times. The world building was really well done and I could totally picture it.  I thought this was a great start to a new series. I love when author’s come up with completely new ideas and this is totally different than the usual love story in the m/m genre.
This audio was narrated by  Nick J Russo and as usual he does a great job with all of the voices.  I find that he is one narrator that I consistently enjoy.  The audiobook is pretty short, under three hours, and is an easy one to follow along with.  It is something that I would definitely recommend.
Cover by L.C. Chase:  I love the cover.  It’s very eye catching and it perfectly captures the world this book is set in.
Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
Audiobook
Published February 2nd 2017 by Riptide Publishing (first published April 25th 2015)
ASINB01N7XRJQM
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPanopolis #1

An Alisa Review: Rogue Magic by Kit Brisby

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

 

roguemagic_500x600While trapped in a stalled subway train on his morning commute, PR rep Byron Cole flirts with Levi, a young waiter with adorable curls. But Byron’s hopes for romance crash and burn when Levi saves him from a brutal explosion—with outlawed magic.

 

When Levi is imprisoned, Byron begins to question everything he’s ever believed. How can magic be evil when Levi used it to save dozens of lives? So Byron hatches a plan to save Levi that will cost him his job and probably his life. If he doesn’t pull it off, Levi will be put to death.

 

Byron discovers that he isn’t the only one questioning America’s stance on magic. And he learns that Levi is stubborn, angry, and utterly enchanting. Time is running out, though. Byron must convince Levi to trust him, to trust his own magic, and to fight against the hatred that’s forced him to hide his true nature his entire life. The more Levi opens up, the harder Byron falls. And the more they have to lose.

 

This was my first book by Kit Brisby and I wasn’t disappointed.  This story takes place in a world where those who have the ability to do magic are oppressed or imprisoned because of it.  And due to Byron’s uncle’s company many are quite afraid of what those with magic could do even though they have never seen it at work.

 

Byron has pretty much kept himself closed off after his parents’ deaths having to live in boarding schools and having an unloving uncle as his guardian.  He feels an instant connection to Levi when they meet which scares him since he has kept everyone but his best friend at arm’s length for so long.  He can’t help but keep thinking about Levi after his arrest and he starts to doubt everything he has ever been told about magic.

 

We get to see this story from a few different characters’ points of view and that goes a long way towards understanding the characters and also the world they live in.  Byron really has to prove himself to Levi and his friends through his actions for them to trust him, which he does with flying colors because when he decides to do something he goes at him 110%, even when his life is being thrown in to turmoil right along with everything else.  I loved how this author got the story across and how engaging it was.  I look forward to reading more of her books.

 

Cover art by LC Chase is wonderful; I love the visual we get of Levi and his curly hair.

 

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 328 pages

Published: January 30, 2017 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN: 9781626495272

Edition Language: English

A VVivacious Release Day Review: Making Love by Aidan Wayne

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Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5
 
makinglove_500x750Carla is a cupid working in the Puppy Love division but what she wants more than anything is to shoot a True Love match but her understanding of the chemistry that goes into making a love match is poor to say the least.
 
Leeta Absinthe is a succubus who finds herself in an odd position, as a part of a largely aromantic species, Leeta is a succubus looking for a love match. But since succubi and incubi are such a notoriously infamous species, it’s unlikely that she will ever find a cupid to help make her match.
 
But Carla and Leeta are the perfect match, Carla wants to shoot a True Love match and that is exactly what Leeta wants, true love but as these two start to work together, they might just discover something they never unexpected.
 
I loved this story, it was very interesting. I read it in a single setting. I loved the premise of the story, it was intriguingly unique.
 
Carla is a bubbly cupid, who can’t help being optimistic and I loved how much she wanted to shoot a true love match. I adored her personality on the whole. She was the cutest.
 
Leeta is a succubus and I truly didn’t know much about succubi going into this book but I have now been thoroughly educated. What I loved Leeta was her straight-forwardness. She knew what she wanted and she made the right steps to getting it. It was refreshing to see a character who knew herself so well.
 
Carla and Leeta made an awesome match and I truly think that the author got the formula to making love exactly right with these two.
 
I loved the world this book is set up in. It was extremely interesting but I do feel that this book needed a little more world-building and I do have a lot of questions about this world. Also the specifics of love were very confusing but I loved how the author did his best to make us understand and at the same time appreciate the complexity of love.
 
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. I felt it was perfectly written, had amazing characters and a well-executed plot-line.
 
Cover Art by L. C. Chase. I loved the cover. The background has such a cupid-y feel and the stances on the cover for both Carla and Leeta, really gets their personalities across. This cover was such a great one.
Sales Links
65a2f-waxcreative-amazon-kindle
Book Details:
ebook, 92 pages
Expected publication: January 30th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleMaking Love
ISBN 1626495351 (ISBN13: 9781626495357)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Kate Pearce’s Tribute Series Returns with the Retribution Release Tour and Contest

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Retribution (Tribute, #2) by Kate Pearce
Published by Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: Lou Harper

Buy it here at Riptide Publishing

Blurb

Cheated out of his exit from the Tribute program, Kai Mexr is forced to return as a trainer for one more year. His trainee, Aled Price, is an idealistic Mitan patriot who Kai struggles not to loathe on sight, and who seems up for any challenge Kai sets him. As Aled learns to give up control and endure the program’s worst, Kai is drawn into an intense sexual game that leaves him wanting more.

But then Aled must fulfill his duty as Tribute. He must endure the Ungrich—or die.

When Aled returns, it takes Kai’s ruthless presence to pull his trainee back from the brink of madness. Surviving the Ungrich makes Aled doubt his blind allegiance to his planet—and to everything else he’d never thought to question. But with Kai at his side, Aled finds a new cause to believe in. And with the help of master trainer Akran and his partner Anna Lee, Aled and Kai forge unbreakable allegiances of blood, sex, and love that could save the entire planet from the Ungrich for good.

About The Author

About Kate Pearce

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kate Pearce was born into a large family of girls in England, and spent much of her childhood living very happily in a dream world. Despite being told that she really needed to “get with the program,” she graduated from the University College of Wales with an honors degree in history. A move to the USA finally allowed her to fulfill her dreams and sit down and write her first romance novel. Along with being a voracious reader, Kate loves walking on the beach and climbing live volcanoes in her new home in Hawaii.

Kate is a member of RWA and is published by Kensington Aphrodisia, Cleis Press, Carina Press, and Virgin Black Lace/Cheek.

Connect with Kate:

Retribution_TourBanner

Giveaway

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card! Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 10. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to leave your email or a way to contact you if you win!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Tribute Series

Few of the people on Planet Mitan know that their future rests on very precarious foundations. A terrifying species holds the Mitans in thrall, and only a yearly tribute—part conscripts, part volunteers—secures the fragile peace with the sinister Ungrich. Nobody knows exactly what the alien creatures want with the Mitans, but the Mitan military and the few survivors of the underground ordeal have developed a training program. It’s brutal, even horrific, but effective.

Commander Rehz Akran is determined that his trainees, willing or otherwise, will learn everything necessary to survive as Tributes. If he can’t force them through training, no one can, and he’s prepared to use every filthy, dirty trick in his arsenal to secure complete obedience . . . and the survival of his species.

– See more at Riptide Publishing’s Tribute page