The Uprising Series tells the story of three freedom fighters and their friends in high — and low — places that come together to overthrow a vainglorious Emperor and his militaristic Cabal to restore the city, and the way of life, they once knew and loved. In The Gathering, Jamie Ryan has defected from the Cabal and has joined his former brothers-in-arms — Basile Perrinault and Kanoa Shinomura — to form a collective known as The Uprising. When an explosion leads to him crossing paths with Evanora Cunningham — a product of Jamie’s past — he discovers that The Uprising is bigger, and more important, than he thought.
I’m lucky to be able to share an extract from The Gathering on booksaremycwtches today. You can also read my review of the book, which I am reshaping after the extract.
“Emperor has a daughter?” I asked with genuine wonder and revulsion. “Who would be desperate enough to fuck that stubby dick?”
“Step daughter, actually,” replied Kanoa. “I met her when she was still a baby. Precious little thing. She wasn’t much of a fuss-bucket, either, thank God. Loved to laugh. Chubby, bubbly, did the normal eat-cry-shit your diapers-and-sleep thing that babies do. But he made sure to keep her locked away at school for all these years. ‘For her protection,’ he told us. But the implication was that, when she was old enough, she would be ‘presented’ to all of us and accepted as a princess for the people. ‘The Chosen One,’ if you like.” He scoffed. “What absolute horseshit. He kept her locked away because it wasn’t his real kid – like we didn’t know – and he wanted to hide her so people wouldn’t ask questions.”
“A daughter, huh?” I pondered. “How old is she? What’s her name?”
Kanoa rolled his eyes. “Why? You want her number? Goddamn, Jamie, you’re still that horny old rock star at heart, aren’t you?”
“How about you eat my ass, Kanoa?” I snarled. “You know goddamn well I haven’t gotten laid in 20 years, and I’m not looking to change that by fucking the daughter – step daughter, half daughter, adopted daughter, whatever the fuck – of the man who wants my head on a platter like I’m John the fucking Baptist. No, seriously, what’s her story? Name, age, rank and file? Does she even like men?”
“Man, listen, the last time I saw her, she couldn’t have been more than six years old. I have no fucking idea what she’s like now,” Kanoa replied. “How long have we been on the run? Fifteen years? I’d say she’s gotta be about 21 years old now.”
That’s about how old our baby would be, I thought to myself. My son – our son – would be a young man right now, if things were…different.
“But if you’re asking me for her name, rank, and file, as you put it,” finished Kanoa, “believe me when I tell you that I sincerely do not remember at all.” He sighed, then pushed away his now-empty plate, and continued. “I just wanted to put that part of my life behind me, when I left to go on the run with you guys. I deliberately forgot everything. But occasionally, when I look out at this city – and what I helped make it become – I’m filled with such regret. Like, what the fuck did I do? How the fuck did we get here? And” – he shook his head and looked at the floor – “why didn’t I listen to my father? Why didn’t I go with them?” He ran his fingers through his silky black hair. Unlike Basile and myself, Kanoa didn’t have a single grey hair – a fact which never ceased to amaze either one of us, but which also occasioned many a snarky comment amongst us about what sort of witchcraft Kanoa was practicing to look so much younger than the rest of us.
“Kanoa,” offered Basile, “listen to me. You can’t blame yourself. None of us can. Yes, it was wrong, but shit – we did what we had to do to survive. They took our families from us. Me, Jamie, all of us…”
Kanoa shook his head. “No, Basile,” he said, softly. “No. I had a family. I still have a family. Nothing I could have done back then was justified by anything. That’s why this” – he made a circle with his hand, indicating us, and what we were doing – “this is just the beginning of making things right.”
I sighed. “Just leaving,” I said, “was the start of making things right.”
Basile nodded, then gathered our plates. “We gotta finish getting ready and we gotta get out there. How many of them do you think we can take out at once, Supreme Allied Commander Shinomura?”
Kanoa laughed, darkly. “Well, Brigadier General Perrinault, I think you and Major General Ryan can take out at least twenty of them, if we get out there within the next hour.”
“One whole battalion,” I said with wonder. “How weak do they make them, these days? Back when we were in command, it took a nation of millions to hold us back, and even then, there were no guarantees.”
Basile gave us a wan half-smile. “That’s why Emperor wants us back so badly,” he remarked. “We were the best he’d ever had, and we trained others to be even better than we were. That he wants to kill us…well, that’s the old ‘if I can’t have you, no one can’ trope, isn’t it?”
I sighed. “Great. Our Emperor’s nothing more than a jealous boyfriend with orange skin and a little dick. But we knew that already. So where are we heading tonight?”
The three of us walked to the window and peered to our right. Kanoa wrinkled his nose, as though he were picking up a transmission that neither I nor Basile could hear. “Essex Street,” he said simply. “Corner of East Houston. Something’s going on over there.”
I inhaled sharply. “Home of the old Mercury Lounge,” I said.
Kanoa wrinkled his nose again. “Yeah, I guess,” he replied, shrugging his shoulders. “This ain’t my city, man. I’ll leave it to you to tell us what’s up around here. Or what used to be up around here.” He shook his head. “I can’t even imagine what it was like…before all this.”
“That’s another story for another day, man,” I replied, winking at Basile. “Basile knows a few stories, but maybe if it took you less time to wash your ass, I’d tell them to you too.”
Basile grabbed a black towel and started to make his way towards the bathroom. “Speaking of washing my ass,” he said, “I gotta get presentable. I can’t go out there smelling like feet and ass the way the rest of you do.”
Kanoa saw an opening and dived for it. “Why, Basile?” he asked. “You got a hot date?”
Basile, sensing the bait, smiled wickedly and nodded his head, continuing to walk toward the bathroom. “Yeah, Kanoa. With your mother.”
Kanoa let out a guffaw. “Fuck you mean, Basile? You trying to get me to call you Daddy or something?”
Basile stood in the bathroom door jamb, then turned to face Kanoa. “Nah, Kanoa,” he said, and I could hear the smile in his voice as he delivered the zinger. “It’s bad enough that’s all she calls me.”
He dropped his pants before us both, then laughed hysterically as he turned back around and started the water for the shower.
“Fuck you mean,” he murmured to himself, but clearly referring to Kanoa, “comin’ out here struttin’ the runway and shit. I’m too sexy for my shirt type shit. Actin’ like we goin’ for lobster and shit.”
He looked back at us both, then yelled, “Fuck outta here!” before slamming the door to our howling laugher.
After we finished wiping away our tears of laughter, Kanoa and I turned the radio on to a repeat broadcast of Uprising Radio, hoping to hear Vector Prime’s voice.
It took a minute – static, poor reception, a radio that had seen better days – but we finally got the broadcast to come on, albeit a bit jammed.
“Uprising…” came a voice crackling through the radio, “Vector Prime to the Uprising. The Emperor’s Ball…” – more static – “keep your soldiers on the ground in the old Bowery. Battalions…” – more static – “Essex and the corner of East Houston. Vector Prime, signing off. Long live the Uprising! Long live New York City!”
There’s something familiar about that voice, I thought to myself as I switched off the radio.
My face, to Kanoa, must have asked my question. “What’s up, J-Ry?” he asked, furrowing his eyebrows.
My answer came out in a dream. “Vector Prime,” I said. “I know her.”
You can purchase The Gathering from Amazon
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This review was first published on the blog May 2018.
I would like to thank the author and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC in return for an honest review.
The Gathering is a novella with a very modern vibe to it.
It deals with the gathering storm of an uprising against a Emperor, in a futuristic New York.
I must admit that this book left me feeling a little unsatisfied, because I like books with a bit more depth to them. It doesn’t make The Gathering a bad book, because it’s not, it is in fact a great example of futuristic urban fiction.
It is written in a sparse way, short snappy paragraphs focusing on events rather than a very descriptive narrative, which helps create a feeling of a futuristic city, bereft of art and culture. To the writers credit, her style of writing enhances the feeling of a city that has lost it’s very soul.
The character development was focused on Jamie Ryan, once a singer, now a rebel and Evanora Cunningham, daughter of his best friend. You get to know about their past and what drives them, without the book becoming heavy in back story. Both are very likeable characters, Jamie especially. Very much a rebel with a cause, in the mould of a Tarantino lead, rather than your more traditional romantic hero. The Gathering is very urban and the characters reflect that.
If you like your books with a very ‘punchy’ writing style and you don’t mind frequent swearing then this book is for you.
About the author
With an impressive list of credentials earned over the course of two decades, Bernadette R. Giacomazzo is a multi-hyphenate in the truest sense of the word: an editor, writer, photographer, publicist, and digital marketing specialist who has demonstrated an uncanny ability to thrive in each industry with equal aplomb. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, People, Us Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and many, many more. She served as the news editor of Go! NYC Magazine for nearly a decade, the executive editor of LatinTRENDS Magazine for five years, the eye candy editor of XXL Magazine for two years, and the editor-at-large at iOne/Zona de Sabor for two years. As a publicist, she has worked with the likes of Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and his G-Unit record label, rapper Kool G. Rap, and various photographers, artists, and models. As a digital marketing specialist, Bernadette is Google Adwords certified, has an advanced knowledge of SEO, PPC, link-building, and other digital marketing techniques, and has worked for a variety of clients in the legal, medical, and real estate industries. Based in New York City, Bernadette is the co-author of Swimming with Sharks: A Real World, How-To Guide to Success (and Failure) in the Business of Music (for the 21st Century), and the author of the forthcoming dystopian fiction series, The Uprising. She also contributed a story to the upcoming Beyonce Knowles tribute anthology, The King Bey Bible, which will be available in bookstores nationwide in the summer of 2018.