Courtesy of the author, we’ve got an excerpt of Alice in No-Man’s Land by James Knapp!
Here’s a little about the book:
When her escape pod falls to earth, crashing in Ypsilanti Bloc, privileged seventeen-year-old Alice Walshe is dashed from the wonderland of wealth and prosperity into a ruined, walled city overrun with militias, gangs, and even cannibals. On top of this horror, her younger brother’s escape pod is missing. Alice isn’t naïve – she’s always known blocs like Ypsilanti exist, left behind after a foodborne illness ravished the country decades earlier and left pockets of severe urban decay in its wake. Men like her father – a major player at Cerulean Holdings – renew the devastated blocs and bring stability back into the areas. But, Ypsilanti is even worse than the tales she’s heard, and rumor has it the bloc is faced with the threat of extermination by Cerulean, not renewal. Trapped within Ypsilanti’s borders and left for dead, Alice teams up with a pair of teen scavengers who tracked the wreck of her pod. Despite their rough exterior and vulgar speech, they’re her only option for navigating the hostile and violent environment of Ypsilanti, finding her brother, and getting out of No-Man’s-Land alive.
Read on for the excerpt!
A man stepped through the door and closed it behind him. He was bald, like the others, and had the puffy eagle brand scar on one side of his neck, and another scar on the other side that appeared to be a heart with a knife in it. He had several other scars, thin nicks that formed patterns along his jawline. His eyes were dark brown, and his skin was bronzed and wind-burnt. He wore a khaki uniform like the others, with the signature knife strapped to his chest. He had the red arm band on his left arm, and a flag patch on his right, white with a single red stripe through it. Stamped over the middle of the stripe was a stylized eagle. A pistol hung from his hip in a black holster.
He stepped around the desk and held out his hand to me. He was a shorter man, but broad with plenty of muscle. He had a hand like a shovel, thick skinned and callused. I took it and gave it a shake.
“My name is Rob Utterback,” he said. “I know who you are, so don’t bother lying about it.”
“Alice Walshe,” I said.
“Very good. Do you know who I am?”
“The leader of this place?”
He smiled, just a little, and glanced at the woman.
“We’ve met, of course,” he said, and then looked back at me. “The traitor here’s name is Evelyn Cole.”
“You’re calling me a traitor?” she muttered.
“You spent a year warming up to us, and to me, and then you betrayed me on every level. Yeah, I’m calling you that.”
“You killed my father,” I said. That got his attention. Some of the anger that had been beginning to brew inside of him faded, and he sighed. His expression carried what seemed to be genuine regret.
“I’m sorry kid,” he said, his voice softer, and more sincere. “I’m sorry you got dragged into this.”
“Sorry I got dragged into this?”
“Yes,” he said. “None of this is your fault.”
“Then whose fault is it?” I asked.
“Whose fault?” he asked.
“If not mine, then whose?”
“Look around, kid,” he said. “Whose fault? This all started long before now. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but don’t blame me for your father’s death.”
“Why not? You killed him.”
My lip quivered for just a second before I stopped it, and I hoped he wouldn’t notice. He didn’t seem to, as he leaned over the table toward me.
“He killed himself, the second he came in here,” he said.