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Black Rose -- Alex Lukeman



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Black Rose
Book Nine

A lethal plague resurrected from the bones of the dead is stolen from a secret bio warfare lab hidden in the mountains of North Korea.

There's no cure and it's one hundred percent fatal. Nick Carter and Selena Connor of the Project Team must find a way to stop release of the disease before it's too late. It's another dangerous mission, with no guarantee any of them will survive.



What readers are saying...

Mr Lukeman has delivered once again. This is one of the best and scariest scenarios that I have seen in a good while. The story is told with action from one end to the other.

Another great addition to a great series. It is well written, plot is fast paced, descriptive scenes and great characters.

Great read. No hesitation at all assigning it a full five stars. Very smooth yet exciting to read...Lots of action, suspense, and mystery. I just couldn't put it down! 




Constantinople: 541 C.E.


The city was dying.

Smoke and ash from the funeral pyres drifted from a metallic grey sky, covering everything with a layer of fine black soot, even the dome of the emperor's magnificent church. The dead and dying lay in rotting heaps throughout the city. The stench reached to the heavens.

 A lone figure made his way through the deserted streets, a rag held over his mouth and nose. He stepped around a decomposing corpse. Fat, green flies swarmed around the body, crawling over the dead man's eyes and into his open mouth. The fingers of the corpse were black and rotten.

Andreas cursed the day he'd come here. At first it had been good. His reputation as a maker of good copper pots had spread and in a few months he'd started to earn decent money. Then the plague had come.

Some said it came from Egypt, some said from the underworld itself. Wherever it came from, there were not so many people now to wonder about it. Those that were left had given up any pretense of morality. They copulated in the streets, drank until they were unconscious, attacked the weak and defenseless. The thought made Andreas feel for the comforting shape of the dagger he kept under his tunic.

A sudden headache made him stumble. He felt thirsty, tired, and his stomach was uneasy. His throat burned. Fear rippled through his body. He lifted his tunic and searched for the outward signs of the disease, the black patches that spread like poisonous flowers over the doomed.

He found nothing and breathed a sigh of relief. It was probably just a headache. Who wouldn't be tired? He couldn't remember when he'd last had a good night's sleep or eaten a good meal. He'd been hiding with his wife and son. They should have left the city while they were still healthy but his wife had been afraid and now it was too late. The emperor had ordered the gates sealed before he'd died and no one had countered the order..

Hunger and the cries of his child had driven him into the streets. His destination was a bakery in the next alley. Andreas turned the corner and saw three men standing drunk in front of the shop. Through the open door of the shop, he saw the baker lying on the floor. The stones were stained red around him. Beyond the body, there was still a single loaf of bread on one of the shelves.

One of the men saw Andreas approaching and nudged his comrades. He raised a wineskin to his lips, swallowed and threw the empty skin to the side.

"What do you want?" he said. His words were slurred.

Andreas felt for his dagger. "Bread. A loaf of bread for my family."

"Go away," the man said. "This is our shop, our bread."

The second man peered at him through bloodshot eyes. "That's a nice tunic you're wearing," he said. "Give it to me."

Andreas drew his dagger. "All I want is bread for my child. Let me pass."

"Ooh," the leader said. "A pig sticker."

Suddenly the three men didn't seem so drunk anymore. The leader drew a long curved blade from behind his back. The second man drew a dagger from his belt. The third reached for a stout cudgel standing against the wall of the shop.

Andreas coughed, a deep. racking cough that shook his body in a violent spasm. He tasted blood, a sudden rush of warm liquid inside his mouth. He bent over and vomited a thick, red stream onto the cobbles.

The three men backed away in fear. Without another word, they turned and ran.

Andreas wiped his lips. He retched again, then staggered into the shop, stepped over the body of the baker and took the stale loaf from the shelf.

My poor family, he thought. What will you do when I'm gone?

In the broad central square of the city, the funeral pyres burned.




quote from Author Alex Lukeman's Books