Review and Guest Post: Labyrinth of Stone by TA Moore

Blurb:
Ten years ago the Black Rapture transported thousands of people, seemingly at random, from Earth to the strange, inimical world they call the Labyrinth. Will Teller was one of them. Surviving that meant joining an army and becoming better at killing than he’s comfortable with. It’s enough upheaval for anyone’s life. The only problem is, apparently no one told his commanding officer that.

Pride, and heart, stung by abandonment, the icily controlled General Nathan Kearney has decided that Teller can either find the wayward lover, or he can take his place in Nathan’s bed. That’s pretty good motivation for a straight guy, only thing is – Teller’s sexuality seems to have gone a bit Magic-8 Ball on that issue. Suddenly Nathan’s starting to look pretty good, and the only question is whether or not Teller wants to be the consolation prize?

Review:
This book is very engaging, but slightly confusing to start. You’re dropped into the world, what everyone calls The Labyrinth, ten years after everyone arrives. Things have already happened that are alluded to and referenced, but they happened in the past so you don’t see them. Eventually you learn more about those events and learn what you need to. But you have to want to keep reading to get that information. The world created is very rich and full. When you find out the secret of Keep’s Reach and how the portals were opened, I was a bit shocked. Not what I expected at all but it created an interesting twist. I really liked the jealousy scene after Teller tried to be with a whore. It was hot and kind of endearing in a psychotic, kind of out there way. You’re left hanging a bit at the end in both the not-quite relationship between Teller and Kearney, and the story line around them. I enjoyed watching Teller and Kearney dance around each other and finally come together explosively. I’d really love for there to be a sequel that ties up all of the loose ends. Or maybe the start of a series since the world is so wonderful?
Stars:
Four

Guest Post:
TA Moore wrote a fabulous bonus scene that you won’t find anywhere else. It happens before the events on the book. It’s what happens right as Teller is dumped in the crack that teleports him to The Labyrinth. A scene you don’t want to miss for sure! Read and enjoy!
Later on, he’d lie when people asked. It made a better story. Lies usually did.

His head was pounding. It had been since the night before, a nodule of pressure nested in the wet pockets of his sinuses. Teller rubbed his eye, pressing his thumb against the lid under he saw smears of colour. It didn’t help, but it gave him something else to think about.

The bus jolted over a pothole in the road, the whole rusty chassis of it groaning as it lurched. Teller knew how it felt. He braced his feet against the floor and fumbled a packet of painkillers out of his pocket, dry swallowing the powdery caplets with a grimace. The taste lingered on the back of his tongue.

‘I should have won that award!’

‘Yeah? So how come I got it?’

Teller would have rolled his eyes, but he thought it would hurt. He twisted around in his seat, hooking his arm over the cracked pleather. The windows were cloudy and scraped – where pennyroyal and gold paint had been chipped off – and scraps of confetti were still caught in crevices and under bolts. Most weekends the bus was used by the school’s various sports teams. This time, it was a bunch of over-tired kids from the school’s magnet program – hyped up on sugar and the giddy over-achievement inspired by the STEM fair.

Gavin Hawkins and Donny Sousa had degenerated into shoving at each other, Gavin trying to throttle the other boy with his shirt.

‘Give it a rest, Sousa,’ Teller ordered. ‘If I have to get up and come back there, I will sit on you.’

Sousa scowled, mouth twisting down. ‘Hawkins started it.’

‘And I started yesterday,’ Teller snarked. Sousa got beat up a lot. He was usually the reason why. The kid had a Napoleon complex. ‘Stop winding Hawkins up. Hawkins, stop letting him. You didn’t win. Neither did 100 other kids. Learn to live with it and quit whining.’

Scowling resentfully and trading dirty looks, the kids shuffled apart and went back to their separate seats. Teller turned around, just in time to see the road…shatter…in front of him. Chips of tarmac and concrete flew up, hitting the window. He grabbed the seat in front of him, panic going off in his chest like a bottle rocket. The driver swore, her voice high and panicked, and hit the brakes, the bus slewing sideways over the road as she fought with the wheel.

‘Everyone stay calm,’ Teller yelled, though god knows why. It seemed like a bloody good time not to stay calm. ‘Stay in your seats!’

The bus hit the crack side-on and the bus tipped sideways, listing to the side. The last thing that Teller thought, before everything flashed such an intense black that it felt like light, was that his head had stopped hurting.

Playlists:
There are two playlists that go along with the book. The first is for the book itself. The second is a playlist the character Teller would create if he wasn’t stuck in some other plane of existence. Listen and enjoy!
Labyrinth of Stone: http://8tracks.com/ta_moore/labyrinth-of-stone
Labyrinth of Stone – Teller’s World: http://8tracks.com/ta_moore/labyrinth-of-stone-teller-s-world

Excerpt:
Of everything they’d lost in the Black Rapture, Teller thought he’d missed pizza the most. It hadn’t exactly been on top of anyone’s priorities after they’d woken up here, under the stone skies of the labyrinth. People had counted themselves lucky if they’d been able to scrape together enough cat and rat to fill their family’s bellies. They’d counted themselves lucky to have families still alive to feed.

Ten years on, and now you could walk down the Corridor unmolested and buy yourself a slice of pizza from Papa Stromboli’s hole in the wall.

It was tomatoey civilization on a slice of baked dough. Thank God whatever had dropped them here had the good grace to grab some tomato plants on the way through.

You’d think people would be grateful. They never were. Least of all Stromboli. Teller was pretty sure the old man spat in the sauce whenever he had to serve one of the sentries. Not that it stopped Teller. He didn’t care if Stromboli swabbed the sweat from under his arms with the pastrami. It was the principle of the thing.

He sat on a low stone wall outside the stall, eating his second slice of extra garlic pizza and contemplating a third. It wasn’t that he was particularly hungry, but it was an excuse not to head back to the Keep. Not a good excuse, though – or at least he was pretty sure that it wasn’t one General Kearney was going to buy.

What the hell. Teller shoved himself to his feet, brushing the dust off the ass of his trousers. Stromboli scowled at him when he headed back to the roughly carved window.

You’re scaring off my other customers,” he griped sourly. Heat flushed his round, wrinkled face ruddy, color striped over his heavy cheeks and squashed, bulldog nose. It made the scar that ran from the corner of his mouth up into his ear look pale, a welt of rough, white skin. “The sentries upset people’s digestions.”

Yet I’ve never seen anyone turn down our business,” Teller said dryly, tossing a clipped, stamped chit onto the scarred granite shelf. “Another slice.”

Stromboli grabbed the coin, sticking it into his belt, and spat out of his kitchen. The gob of spit hit the ground and strips of gray moss came crawling from the walls, groping for the smudge of moisture with long, fine cilia. They preferred blood, but anything wet would do.

I’ll start you a tab,” Stromboli said, nodding over Teller’s shoulder.

He looked around. A rangy, bay mare trotted over the cobbles, glossy black brougham rattling along behind it. People scattered out of the way, urged on by the crack of the driver’s whip. Easy to tell the innocent from the guilty of something by the ones who pressed themselves to the walls and the ones that disappeared into the cracks, darting for the backways.

It pulled up at the side of the road. the door cracked open and Sol Porter got out, pausing to adjust the fit of his jerkin and the pinch of the collar at his neck.

Teller turned back to Stromboli. “I’ll take that to go,” he said. Cracking a smile he added, “Chuck on some extra garlic?”

Suspension was still a technology in re-development. Teller slouched back on his barely cushioned bench, the jolt of wheels on cobbles jarring his tail bone. When he shifted, his boots kicked the hook set in the middle of the floor. It was meant to anchor shackles. Maybe, Teller mused, he’d irritated the good general more than he’d planned.

Idiot,” Sol snapped, his mouth tight in the frame of his patchy, close-clipped beard. “You knew Kearney would want to see you.”

About TA:
As a small child TA Moore genuinely believed that she was a Cabbage Patch Kid and no-one had told her. This was the start of a lifelong attachment to the weird and fantastic. These days she lives in Northern Ireland with an unimpressed cat and her friends have a rule that she can only send them three weird and disturbing links a day (she still holds that a DIY penis bifurcation guide is interesting, not disturbing).

TA Moore believes that adding ‘in space’ to anything makes it at least 40% cooler, will try to pet pretty much any dog she meets and once lied to her friend that she had climbed all the way up to Tintagel, when actually she’d only gotten to the beach and chickened out. She writes about vampires, werewolves and ghosts (*whispers* ‘in space!) and once wrote zombie erotica to prove it could be done.

Author Contact:
Website: http://nevertobetold.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tammy_moore
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TA.Moores

Where To Buy:
Torquere Press: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=96&products_id=4354
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Labyrinth-Stone-TA-Moore-ebook/dp/B00TGSH2TY/
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-labyrinthofstone-1742785-143.html

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