Edit: request for advice in post #17
Even before the storms hit, the government collapsed and the streets were overtaken by militiamen, the world wasn’t safe for people like Kate and Luka. To be a woman is hard enough. To spit in the face of power by defying its enforcement of Biblical norms is suicide. Their disguises are just another layer of survival gear, protecting them as they slink from one abandoned house to the next, scavenging food for their community in what remains of New Orleans.
But masks slip. All it takes is a hand held too long, a failure to be ‘man enough.’ They know the same authoritarianism that ousts them from the camp to which they never really belonged is echoed outside its fences. The wood-fired engine in Luka’s house truck might get them all the way to the mountains of North Carolina, where they hope to find clean water and old family connections, but nothing can truly shield them, and their route is red with death.
By the time they reach a strange rural village bristling with hostility toward outsiders, they’re injured, grief-sick and desperate for a place to rest. Luka’s coveted mechanical skills buy them temporary shelter in the idyllic Valley of Fortune, but in exchange for relative security, they’re forced to sacrifice even more of their freedom. Within the well-stocked but oppressive compound, the villagers cheer for Armageddon. It may be Kate and Luka who bring it crashing down.
Fortune has a few hidden heretics of its own, and predators from beyond and within its borders lurk with an eye on its abundance. Can Kate and Luka cast off their chains and unleash powers they’ve long suppressed, finding a new tribe in the process?
THE HEART OF THE HOLY BEAST is a standalone novel of adult speculative fiction with series potential, and complete at 90,000 words.