THE REBEL WITHIN
Action packed first book in Rebel series.
Annabelle (16) faces adult dilemmas and a fight for her life. Orphaned at age three when the military took her parents, she’s a tomboy who rebels against her conformist society, which pushes her to become a cop intern to catch escaped boys. Then she’s forced to choose between joining the elite military that took her parents or being torn from her beloved sister and adoptive mom.
The Rebel Within turns our male dominated world upside down. After the Second American Civil War, the Federal Union pursues a utopian society without men by rounding up the remaining males, and enforcing Harmony. Central to their plan is EggFusion Fertilization and Female Mechanized Warriors.
In this world, Annabelle faces a cop intern boss who hates her, a military commander who demands too much, and an amazon bully who won’t leave her alone. She meets a handsome boy who escapes prison. As she tries to survive rigorous military training and hunt for her imprisoned birth mother, Annabelle must choose between capturing the boy and helping him escape, while she wrestles with the consequences of her actions.
THE REBEL TRAP (259 pages)
Voices in 16-year-old Annabelle’s head aren’t God or signs she’s going mad—yet.
The Rebel Trap sweeps readers into a haunting world with no privacy. Written as a standalone story, it also follows Annabelle’s adventures from The Rebel Within.
Auditory implants and contact cams allow her military commander from the unit that took her parents to watch her 24-7. A boy she helped to escape hacks her implants to plead for her help. She’s forced to be a cop and military spy investigating her police captain as well as capturing escaped boys. Observed constantly, Annabelle has to dance between helping the escaped boy she likes free his brother from a heavily guarded geek institute, her job to capture him, and the feud between her military commander and the police chief she’s expected to spy on.
A pawn in a bigger game, no one believes she can handle this, which may be her greatest asset.
Rebels Divided is a fun thrill ride written as a standalone action story, but also part of the Rebel series, three years later.
The first time Geo sees Annabelle, they meet as enemies and she doesn’t kill him. That’s worth something. Geo (19) is a rugged frontiersman who hungers to see more of the world than the impoverished Outland glen where he and his pa hide from local Rangers. Annabelle (19) is a tough yet fragile tomboy who lost her parents at age three to the Mech Warriors. Then she’s forced to become a Mech.
After the Second American Civil War, the nation divides into two ‘utopias’. The Federal Union enforces Harmony and an all-female society protected by Mechanized Warriors. The Outland promotes rugged individualism, but Thane Edwards holds a monopoly of power with his Rangers. The Union’s Tenn-tucky governor and the Outland warlord conclude a secret deal, pledging Annabelle to the warlord to provide heirs, and putting a bounty on Geo and his pa.
Hunted by military from both sides, Geo and Annabelle struggle to overcome mutual distrust in order to work together to rescue her sister and gain justice for the murder of his father.
“Don’t be alarmed,” a muted bass voice said directly into my skull.
You know how when someone says think fast, you can’t? My brain scrambled to make sense of this male voice deep inside my head, given that I’d never heard a masculine tone until six weeks ago.
Sandy tugged me forward. “Don’t keep the commander waiting.”
I pulled back. Morgan, what are you doing in my head? It felt like the mech com-link that allowed you to hear another’s projected thoughts. I couldn’t imagine how to turn the blasted thing off, or how to talk to him without Sandy overhearing. I couldn’t let her or the commander think I was crazy on top of everything else. I considered that possibility.
“I haven’t much time,” Morgan said. “My brother hacked your com-link’s auditory implant. Your escape plan failed. Mechs are rounding up the other boys. Your mom’s in danger.”
I froze. I wanted to see Morgan’s face. Yet I didn’t trust all this craziness inside me, as if I wanted more than just to see him. His tone did sound comforting, though, the only really friendly voice since I ran the gauntlet.
Sandy yanked me forward.
“Sorry for being such a bother. I need your help,” Morgan said somewhere inside my skull.
I followed Sandy, shook my head, and mouthed, “No.” As if somehow, he could see that. I’d done my bit. I’d tried to help him escape.
The gravity of my situation sank in. Had Commander Hernandez caught the nurse helping the boys, or connected the escape to Mom? The entire idea had been stupid, a rushed effort because I really liked Morgan, despite having to fight him. I should have had a better plan, but I was not a planner.
How would you feel if you were watched constantly with annoying voices in your head, and they’re real? What would you do if your beliefs were at odds with your restrictive society, and you couldn’t share your innermost fears with anyone? How would you react to an injustice against others, where your involvement will put your life and your family in danger?
These are some of the dilemmas facing sixteen-year-old Annabelle, who rattled around in my head until I wrote her story.
While The Rebel Trap is the second book in the Rebel series, it was written as a standalone story as well, narrated mostly by Annabelle.
She lives in a world where men are exiled, quarantined or forced to fight to the death to train the military elite. She was forced to be a cop intern and when she fought to protect her younger sister, Janine, from a bully, she was arrested, kicked out of high school, and coerced to join the elite Mech Corps that took her parents when she was three. To say she’s a rebel doesn’t begin to cover her angst.
Now, her Mech Corps commander has given her auditory implants and contact cameras so she can watch Annabelle 24/7, and have her spy on her previous police captain. Morgan hacks into her new connections to plead for her help. She could scream, but she didn’t need the added pressure of competing voices in her head, trying to talk her off the ledge.
She’s a pawn in a bigger game, in over her head. The price of failure will be exile from her beloved adoptive family, or death. The fact no one believes she can handle this may be her greatest asset. Can she pull it off?
About the Author:
Lance Erlick grew up in various parts of the United States and Europe. He took to stories as his anchor and was inspired by his father’s engineering work on cutting-edge aerospace projects to look to the future. He studied creative writing at Northwestern University and University of Iowa.
He writes science fiction, dystopian and young adult stories and likes to explore the future implications of social and technological trends. He is the author of The Rebel Within, The Rebel Trap, and Rebels Divided, three books in the Rebel series. In those stories, he flips traditional exploitation to explore the effects of a world that discriminates against males and the consequences of following conscience for those coming of age. Erlick lives in the Chicago area with his family.
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