The Exodus Towers: The Dire Earth Cycle: Two by Jason M. HoughThe Exodus Towers: The Dire Earth Cycle: Two by Jason M. Hough

The Exodus Towers: The Dire Earth Cycle: Two

byJason M. Hough

Paperback | August 27, 2013

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about

The Exodus Towers features all the high-octane action and richly imagined characters of The Darwin Elevator—but the stakes have never been higher.
 
The sudden appearance of a second space elevator in Brazil only deepens the mystery about the aliens who provided it: the Builders. Scavenger crew captain Skyler Luiken and brilliant scientist Dr. Tania Sharma have formed a colony around the new Elevator’s base, utilizing mobile towers to protect humans from the Builders’ plague. But they are soon under attack from a roving band of plague-immune soldiers. Cut off from the colony, Skyler must wage a one-man war against the new threat as well as murderous subhumans and thugs from Darwin—all while trying to solve the puzzle of the Builders’ master plan . . . before it’s too late for the last vestiges of humanity.

Praise for The Darwin Elevator
 
“A hell of a fun book.”—James S. A. Corey, New York Times bestselling author of Abaddon’s Gate

“[Jason M.] Hough’s first novel combines the rapid-fire action and memorable characters associated with Joss Whedon’s short-lived Firefly TV series with the accessibility and scientific acumen of [James S. A.] Corey’s ‘Expanse’ series.”Library Journal (starred review)
 
“The best part about alien stories is their mystery, and Jason Hough understands that like no other. Full of compelling characters and thick with tension, The Darwin Elevator delivers both despair and hope along with a gigantic dose of wonder. It’s a brilliant debut, and Hough can take my money whenever he writes anything from now on.”—Kevin Hearne, New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles
 
“Newcomer Hough displays a talent for imaginative plotting and realistic dialogue, and the brisk pacing and cliffhanger ending will keep readers enthralled and eagerly awaiting the next installment.”Publishers Weekly
 
“Jason M. Hough does a great job with this huge story. The world of Darwin and the Elevator is deliciously complex and satisfying. Skyler, Tania, and all the other characters are delightfully drawn and fun to spend time with. . . . The story unfolds with just the right balance of high adventure, espionage, humor, and emotional truth. . . . As soon as you finish, you’ll want more.”Analog
 
A debut novel unlike any other . . . This is something special. Something iconic. The Darwin Elevator is full of majesty and wonder, mystery and mayhem, colorful characters and insidious schemes.”SF Signal
 
“Fun, action-packed and entertaining . . . a sure contender for science fiction debut of the year!”Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist
 
“Claustrophobic, intense, and satisfying . . . I couldn’t put this book down. The Darwin Elevator depicts a terrifying world, suspends it from a delicate thread, and forces you to read with held breath as you anticipate the inevitable fall.”—Hugh Howey, New York Times bestselling author of Wool
 
“Hough writes with irresistible energy and gritty realism. His puts his characters through hell, blending a convincing plot with heart-stopping action and moments of raw terror as the world goes crazy in the shadow of unfathomable alien intentions.”—Sara Creasy, author of the Philip K. Dick Award–nominated Song of Scarabaeus
Jason M. Hough was born in Illinois but grew up on the mean streets of suburban San Diego, California. In 1978, at age six, his parents took him to see Star Wars, and so began a lifelong love of sci-fi and all things geek. He later worked for a decade in the videogame industry as both a 3D artist and a game designer. Today he lives in ...
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Title:The Exodus Towers: The Dire Earth Cycle: TwoFormat:PaperbackDimensions:544 pages, 7.5 × 4.2 × 1.25 inPublished:August 27, 2013Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345537149

ISBN - 13:9780345537140

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great until the end Really liked this book, but it was long as hell. I could literally feel the years passing with the Skyler and Tania, and it seemed like a bunch of smaller stories integrating into one book. That being said, it was a lot more intense and exciting than the first (which wasn't slow by any means), and I really enjoyed it. But the ending, oh, THE ENDING!!! I almost quit the series, honest to God. I wanted to scream. Seemed like a total dick move that would've infuriated me had the series not continued. Yes, it was a cliffhanger. See how much I love them? NOT.
Date published: 2016-12-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Things start getting interesting... Had an interesting Twitter discussion with the author about the setting of this book (Darwin and Belem are almost at antipodes) This volume focuses more on societal issues and still packs a punch. Can't wait to start book #3!
Date published: 2013-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read. Better than the first.
Date published: 2013-10-28

Read from the Book

Belém, Brazil 27.APR.2283   The girl danced for an audience of ghosts.   She twirled in a slow, graceful motion, sending ripples through the pristine white dress that draped her lithe form. Her outstretched arms glided through the humid air with a poise and balance Skyler had not seen in many years.   She’d yet to notice him. She was a mirage under the bright sun, and he’d tucked himself in the shadows at the edge of the secluded square. Her focus lay entirely on movement and footing. The cobblestones beneath her bare feet were cracked and uneven, like everything in Belém. Aside from Skyler’s motionless form, two skeletal corpses lay in one corner of the courtyard, locked in an infinite embrace, grass sprouting up through their hollow rib cages. She paid no attention to them, either. Ghosts, all.   The looted remains of boutique shops hid the square from the wide avenue beyond. Skyler had only stepped in to find a defensible, quiet place to prepare his midday meal. If that had been one minute ago or ten he couldn’t say. For now he stood, whisper quiet, beneath a stucco awning that gave some respite from alternating bouts of glaring sunshine and torrential rain. Pillars, once white and elegant, supported the partial ceiling. They were nearly encased in flowering vines now, just like the walls and surrounding rooftops. Even the statue that stood watch over the woman had succumbed to the embrace of the rainforest’s green, tentacular limbs. In a few decades the whole city would be engulfed, Skyler thought. Just like everywhere else.   Except Darwin, of course. A different scourge consumed that place.   He leaned against the nearest pillar, wholly absorbed in the fluid motions being performed. The girl was not beautiful, not in the classic sense. Not like Tania. She had short auburn hair that flared as dramatically as her dress, but it was dirty and matted. Her deeply tanned skin showed traces of scars on the forearms. When her skirt billowed on the more enthusiastic turns, Skyler could see welts and scrapes on her toned legs. Despite her exquisite movements and dancer’s figure, she was a survivor.   She was an immune.   Moving with great care, Skyler slipped a handheld radio from his belt. He kept it switched off when scouting, lest the frequent anxious calls from base camp give away his presence to the forbidding wilderness around him. On any other day he’d wait until his return to camp to give an account of his findings, but the sighting of an immune was worth breaking that pattern, he thought.   Skyler thumbed the power switch.   “—it’s urgent!” boomed a frenetic voice from the speaker. In one heartbeat the serenity of the courtyard vanished.   Skyler had had the volume on maximum during an earlier downpour and forgotten later to dial it back. The crass sound echoed off the walls, sending a trio of parakeets fluttering from the tangle under the awning. The girl stumbled and caught herself. Her eyes found Skyler and widened.   He started to raise his hands, a universal sign of noble intentions, but he’d scarcely leaned away from the pillar when the girl turned and ran.   “Camp Exodus to Skyler. Come in!” Karl’s voice blared from the radio.   Skyler’s hand flew to the device, knocking it loose. It fell to the ground in a plastic clatter. He knelt, snatched it up, and wheeled the volume to zero, all in one motion.   When he glanced back up, the courtyard was empty. “Wait!” he called out. She’d darted into an open archway on the opposite side of the square, and he ran toward it, not bothering to swing his machine gun off his shoulder.   He rounded the corner into the arched tunnel and almost had his head blown off.   The crack from the handgun blotted out all other sound. The bullet passed so close to his earlobe he felt a tickle. Skyler skidded to a stop and dove back the way he’d come, only just rounding the corner again when another shot rang out, sending chunks of cobblestone into the air mere centimeters from his feet.   “Cease fire!” he shouted, barely hearing himself over the high-pitched whine in his head.   And she did. The yard fell silent again.   “I mean no harm,” he called out. “Just . . . relax.”   No answer came. Cautiously, he poked his head around the corner, enough to clear one eye. The hall beyond was empty. “Dammit,” he muttered, and bounced to his feet. He ran ahead, his machine gun instinctively in hand now, pointed at the ground five meters in front of him. He slapped the flashlight attached to the barrel and bathed the hall in a pale blue beam, warming to white a second later as the bulb came to full strength.   Her bare feet left obvious tracks in the grimy tile floor. She’d taken a turn, then another, moved around a thick root that had wormed up through a crack, and jumped a spate of broken glass. Skyler repeated her route, wondering absently how long she’d lived here, and how many times previously she’d danced in the noonday sun without a care in the world.   Often, till I came along, he thought.   At the end of the hall he came to a bedroom. Her flowing white dress lay in a heap in the doorjamb, a portion of the skirt hooked by a nasty splinter that jutted from the wooden frame. She’d shrugged out of the garment and left it like the meaningless trinket it was.   The window on the far wall had been thrown open, and he could see the wide, churning waters of the Rio Pará beyond.   In another corner he saw a green bedroll, upright and neatly tied in a circular bundle. A lantern sat on the floor next to it.   His ears still rang from the woman’s failed attempt to shoot him in the face. She could be screaming taunts at him from outside and he doubted he’d hear it. Nevertheless he chanced a look out the window.   The young woman was sprinting across a parking lot toward a row of cottages that fronted the swift river. She was naked save for a pair of hiking boots on her feet. In one hand dangled her pistol, and she clutched a heavy olive-green backpack in the other. As he watched she shimmied the full bag over one shoulder, then the other, before disappearing from view.   Not once did she look back.   Skyler sighed. “I’m the least of your worries, dear.”   Remembering the radio, he switched it on and immediately heard Karl’s frantic voice.   “—in now. Urgent!”   “What? What?!” Skyler growled into the mic. Everything was urgent. The word had no meaning anymore. “You just scared off—”   “Skyler, thank God. Some colonists are missing, along with a tower.”   He closed his eyes and willed himself to relax. “They stole it?”   “No. God, no. They were working on the reservoir perimeter and reported hearing something in the rainforest. They’ve made no contact since.”   “What did they hear?”   “The leader said it sounded like a choir.”   “A choir. As in singing?”   “Those were his words.”   Skyler pinched his nose between his eyes to stem a coming headache. “Did they mention if they ate some wild mushrooms, or wandered too far from their aura tower, or anything like that?”   “I know how it sounds,” Karl said, “but this is a reliable group that has been building that perimeter barricade for two weeks.”   “Okay, okay,” Skyler said. “I’ll head over there. How long ago did they go silent?”   “Two hours.”   Skyler swore. “And you’re just telling me now?”    “You had your radio off!”   Skyler glanced at the device. “Fair enough. All right then, uh, send a team to meet me there. People who can shoot—”   Karl spoke over him. “Sorry, friend. Tania doesn’t want to risk another tower.”   “Oh, for f***’s sake.” His frustration with the frugal use of the aura towers fell on deaf ears, unless he spoke to Tania alone, a scenario that happened rarely in the last two months. She kept to orbit mostly, after an initial wondrous week of exploring the bizarre alien towers. The logistics of survival took precedence, and Skyler couldn’t begrudge that. Still, a weekly visit might be nice, for the colony’s morale as much as his.   “If they were moving,” Karl added, “and something happened to them, the tower could be adrift.”   Skyler grunted. If true, the tower might reach a river or pond. No one had yet tried to send a tower into deep water. They were as likely to explode in world-consuming hellfire as they were to simply float, sink, or stop. As such, Camp Exodus ratified a decree, put forth by Tania, that the towers should be kept away from any water deeper than ten centimeters. For his part, Skyler had chuckled at the arbitrary number and counted himself among the few “no” votes. Now was the time to experiment, he thought. In private Tania chastised him, if gently. “Your survival doesn’t depend on the aura, Skyler.” A fair point. He still voted no.   “Skyler?” Karl asked.   “Give me their last coordinates,” he said, “and I’ll see what I can find.”   The base camp leader rattled off the numbers.   Skyler spread out his map on the floor of the bedroom. From his breast pocket he pulled a pen that included a convenient ruler along the side. He traced a route through the city from his current position. “I’m all the way over on the west side of town, near the hospital. I’ll go northeast until I hit Water Road, and follow from there.”   “That’s a hell of a hike. Please, hurry.”   “Oh, I plan to,” he said.   He drew a mark on the group’s last known position. Then he traced a circle around the area he currently occupied and wrote IMMUNE in bold letters above it.   The dancer would have to wait.   Outside on the street, Skyler picked up his duffel bag and glanced east in the direction of the reservoir. He turned south instead.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Darwin Elevator  “A hell of a fun book.”—James S. A. Corey, New York Times bestselling author of Abaddon’s Gate“[Jason M.] Hough’s first novel combines the rapid-fire action and memorable characters associated with Joss Whedon’s short-lived Firefly TV series with the accessibility and scientific acumen of [James S. A.] Corey’s ‘Expanse’ series.”—Library Journal (starred review)   “The best part about alien stories is their mystery, and Jason Hough understands that like no other. Full of compelling characters and thick with tension, The Darwin Elevator delivers both despair and hope along with a gigantic dose of wonder. It’s a brilliant debut, and Hough can take my money whenever he writes anything from now on.”—Kevin Hearne, New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles   “Newcomer Hough displays a talent for imaginative plotting and realistic dialogue, and the brisk pacing and cliffhanger ending will keep readers enthralled and eagerly awaiting the next installment.”—Publishers Weekly   “Jason M. Hough does a great job with this huge story. The world of Darwin and the Elevator is deliciously complex and satisfying. Skyler, Tania, and all the other characters are delightfully drawn and fun to spend time with. . . . The story unfolds with just the right balance of high adventure, espionage, humor, and emotional truth. . . . As soon as you finish, you’ll want more.”—Analog   “A debut novel unlike any other . . . This is something special. Something iconic. The Darwin Elevator is full of majesty and wonder, mystery and mayhem, colorful characters and insidious schemes.”—SF Signal   “Fun, action-packed and entertaining . . . a sure contender for science fiction debut of the year!”—Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist   “Claustrophobic, intense, and satisfying . . . I couldn’t put this book down. The Darwin Elevator depicts a terrifying world, suspends it from a delicate thread, and forces you to read with held breath as you anticipate the inevitable fall.”—Hugh Howey, New York Times bestselling author of Wool   “Hough writes with irresistible energy and gritty realism. His puts his characters through hell, blending a convincing plot with heart-stopping action and moments of raw terror as the world goes crazy in the shadow of unfathomable alien intentions.”—Sara Creasy, author of the Philip K. Dick Award–nominated Song of Scarabaeus   “A thrilling story right from the first page . . . This book plugs straight into the fight-or-flight part of your brain.”—Ted Kosmatka, author of The Games   “If you enjoy high adventure with a kick-ass crew, I suggest you take Hough’s Darwin Elevator for a ride.”—Warren Hammond, author of KOP Killer