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“While clearly sci-fi, the book has many elements of a classic adventure series. It has great pacing and engaging characters and evokes the world of the future beautifully.”

6001 LAND of FIRE

Land of Fire is the third book of the Camarilla Chronicle. The first, 6001 ICEWORLD, was reviewed by the prestigious Booksellers and Publishers Magazine:

6001

land of fire

Frozen by the conflict within her, Dram’s hesitation can mean the extinction of the Camarilla. A feeling of foreboding flushed through Biscetti. Her skin prickled and shrank into gooseflesh. Biscetti realised that Jack had made a terrible weapon.

W. R. Widerberg

Biscetti’s eyes filled with tears. “Cloud, we’ll lose Tasha. We’ll lose the best of our Foragers. Can you imagine what life will be without them?”

Hunted by Torterats and dragons the Camarilla confront a more terrible fate. The awakened Sleepers are armed.

ISBN 978-0-9808096-2-6

9 780980 809626

W. R. Widerberg


6001

LAND OF FIRE


Published in Australia by South Head Press ABN 75823432905 P.O. Box 7135 Bondi Beach N.S.W. Australia 2026

Copyright Š 2012 W. R. Widerberg First published in 2012

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of South Head Press

The National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication entry: Author: Title: Edition: ISBN:

Widerberg, W.R. 6001 land of fire/W.R.Widerberg. 1st ed. 978-0-9808096-2-6 (pbk.)

Cover design by Alli Spoor Text typeset and designed by Mercier Typesetters Pty Ltd, Granville NSW


6001

LAND OF FIRE Book 3 of The Camarilla Chronicle

W. R. Widerberg


To my granddaughters

Natasha and

Charlotte


The Author Bill Widerberg grew up in Clovelly in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. His first novel, The Big End of Town, an adult thriller, was published in 2005 to great reviews in all media Australia wide. His second, 6001 ICEWORLD, which also received good reviews, is the first of the trilogy, The Camarilla Chronicle. 6001 THE SLEEPERS, published early in 2012 is the second book of the series written for young adults. 6001 LAND OF FIRE is the third book of the trilogy. Widerberg’s short story, Sunday Morning at the Bay, won first prize at the Stroud Writers Festival in 2009. The following year, his story, The Target, won the Dymocks Award for the best short story at the Bundaberg Arts Festival. During his business career, which spanned the production and marketing of soft drink, canned fruit and beer, Bill Widerberg was named by Business Review Weekly as the top marketing man in Australia.


Acknowledgements I thank my granddaughter Charlotte Rose Crowe for the original ideas that prompted the Camarilla Trilogy and for allowing her face to be on the front cover. I am also grateful once again to Alli Spoor for her cover design and express my thanks to Rod Mercier for his help and advice in the presentation of all three books of the trilogy.


Chapter 1

T

he five Sleepers were cautious, every now and then one or another would look back, spend a moment checking before making some comment and turning away to go on. Biscetti had no way of telling what was said, she was too far away, but she guessed that Wayne or Fiona or whoever took it in mind to see that no one was following, was assuring the others that they were alone. Biscetti watched them go, suddenly was forced to dive for cover as one Sleeper turned again to search the land behind as if there had been something that had caught his eye. Biscetti crouched low, leaning against a rock, putting its bulk between her and the distant figures. She was breathing heavily, her heart pounding. The Sleeper looking back had lingered, seeming to stare in her direction as though Biscetti’s presence had been discovered. She hugged the hard stone of the rock, hoping that the Sleeper’s action was just some passing fancy, an impulse without reason. To be found out would not be pleasant. She had no liking for the Sleepers and they knew it. What they might do to her could be extreme. Pressing her face against the rough stone, she thought of the way Jack had condemned Manny to die in the bloody, septic jaws of a Komodo. Only Dumperty’s courage had saved Manny. It had been much the same with Snotty. Sleepers had turned their backs on him and left him to be overrun by lava, uncaring whether he lived or died. The memories caused her blood to rush in her veins. Her mouth was


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6001 LAND OF FIRE

open as she panted and from within her chest the sound of her heart pumping came clearly. I’ll have to look, she thought. I can’t just freeze here like some frightened hare-cousin. The blonde Forager drew air deep into her lungs, calming herself, preparing to know the worst. She moved to allow one eye to look at the spot where the Sleeper had been. He was there no longer. Satisfied that they had no problem, the five were continuing on their way. Biscetti exhaled; a long stream of air heavy with relief. Her mood changed completely. She smiled wryly, thinking that Snotty was right. The Sleepers were unskilled in so many ways. Their powers of observation were so poor and the timing and manner of checking the country behind them so predictable, that she had no difficulty in keeping her presence hidden from them. Still, as she had just learned, she had to be constantly alert. Careful to expose little of herself, Biscetti watched the Sleepers make their way. They were following the course of the creek as it wound toward the ocean. Each wore a backpack. Their leader, Jack, carried a metal rod. Why he carried it puzzled Biscetti. Jack was not using it as a staff to assist him as he walked. In fact he seemed to be careful to guard it from contact with the ground. “Hmm, Sleepers,” Biscetti uttered the words almost without sound, her tone bitterly scornful. She recalled the day when they had been found in their capsules, fifty of them lying as they had lain for four thousand years waiting to be woken. Given the name Sleepers by old Ingamo, these young strangers had lived in the era that had ended the Good Times. In an attempt to save them as civilization was destroyed, their parents had consigned them to the future by placing the children in containers that would lie in a concrete vault until found. Held in suspended animation by the preserving atmosphere of the capsules, the Sleepers had been discovered by the Camarilla, Biscetti’s clan of less than sixty souls, who until that moment had believed themselves to be the only humans remaining on earth. Biscetti left the rock that had screened her. The Sleepers had rounded a bend in the valley and were out of sight. Nevertheless


CHAPTER 1

3

Biscetti moved from cover to cover, always selecting a tree, another rock, anything that would keep her hidden from a searching eye. Silently she wished that the Sleepers had been left undisturbed in the vault, time travellers to keep on sleeping. It was the third day on which Biscetti had followed Jack and the Sleepers he kept closest; Wayne, Mary, Jason and Fiona. She knew where they were heading and although the purpose of the metal rod was unknown, she knew what they carried in the backpacks. On the afternoons of the past two days she had lain on the cliff-top and watched the Sleepers on the beach below. Jack had mixed the material held in the packs: the yellow powder that Jason and Fiona had gathered at the volcano; the crystal toadstools that Jack had scraped from the wall of the cavern where Cloud had lost her “eyes” in the torrent; the charcoal taken from the clan’s communal fire. Repeatedly Jack had scooped quantities from the packs and stirred them together in a clay pot. Repeatedly he had poured the resultant powdered mixture on the sand and tried to set it on fire. It had been Dumperty who had shown the Sleepers how to make fire. Jack had proved incompetent, but Fiona had knelt by Dumperty and absorbed everything he did. Fiona had seen how he placed the blunt spindle in the notch made in the tile of soft wood. She had learned that best results came from gathering the driest grass and twigs and she had practiced rotating the spindle between her palms until the soft wood smoked. Then she would place dry grass on the smoking wood and softly blow upon the grass until it flamed and she had fire. Dumperty had acted from kindness. Biscetti knew that, she had watched the lesson progress at the time, but to her it now seemed to be an act so naive that the clan would question how it could have happened and would surely come to regret it. Biscetti came to the point where ages in the past the creek had found the fall of the land drop imperceptibly to the left. The water had run that way and worn a passage to twist the valley in

6001 Land of Fire - by W. R. Widerberg  

6001 LAND OF FIRE, Is the third book of the trilogy. By w r widerberg, I thank my granddaughter Charlotte Rose Crowe for the original ideas...

6001 Land of Fire - by W. R. Widerberg  

6001 LAND OF FIRE, Is the third book of the trilogy. By w r widerberg, I thank my granddaughter Charlotte Rose Crowe for the original ideas...