Book Title: Hunger Strike: The Road of Bones
Author: T.J. Pike
Publisher: Gnaw Publishing
Release Date: November 20, 2020
Genre/s: Dystopian, YA, sci-fi/fantasy
Trope/s: Reluctant Hero
Themes: Friendship, family, freedom versus oppression
Heat Rating: 1 flame
Length: 95 391 words
It is book 1 in a series of 4
The road must have its blood
Hunger Strike, The Road of Bones drops you two centuries into the future. The moon has been sheared in two, much of the Earth is a wasteland, and the world is ruled over by witches and sorcerers with cruelty and indifference. When the town of Endly is threatened by the tinkerer and his army of animorphs, sixteen-year-old Hunger Strike, alongside his best friend, Winda, and his adopted brother, Denver, devises a plan to move thousands of its residents across the treacherous wilds, in the hopes of finding a new home within the borders of a strange land far to the west, known only as The Weird Wood.
Winda is the adult in the room. Always. She approaches challenges logically. Where I’m a bumbling mess of emotions, Winda has a way of removing emotion from any given situation, and then, with a clear head, she begins to formulate a plan of action.
So, I relate every detail of the past couple of hours to her, ending on a sour note with the impending invasion, and then I sit back, fold my arms across my chest, and I watch the gears spinning behind Winda’s eyes, a flickering candle between us.
A minute passes. Two. Three.
“The beasts!” she shouts suddenly, jumping to her feet and kicking the leg of the table. Next, to my horror, she pulls her machete from its sheath and, in one lightning fast motion, she stabs its tip into the table, plants her hands, locks eyes with me, grits her teeth and she spits; “Well, I’m not going down without a fight, you hear?? We’ll certainly die, but we’re damned well going to take a few of them bastards down with us, and we’ll bathe in their blood together before our glorious deaths!”
I knit my eyebrows together. Clearly, someone has taken my Winda and they’ve replaced her with a person who delights in taking baths in other folks blood. I, however, do not. Where’s the adult in the room? The lack of emotion? The clear-headed plan? We really are screwed if even Winda can’t wrap her head around this thing and spit out a strategy other than bathing in blood and glorious deaths – a duo of rather unappealing options in my less-than-knowledgeable opinion on the subject.
“Um – I don’t like that plan, Winda,” I whisper, painfully aware that Denver is in my bedroom and probably listening to every word we say.
“What else is there??” she spits back at me, once again taking her seat.
I furrow my brow. “Running?”
“Leave – all these people to be slaughtered?” Winda hisses across the table at me. “Is that what you’re suggesting, Hunger?”
“No, Winda, that’s not what I’m suggesting,” I say.
“We take them with us,” I say.
There’s a pause while Winda looks across the table at me like I’ve just grown a hideous extra head or two. “There are – thousands of people living in Endly, Hunger.”
“Two thousand, three hundred and thirty-seven,” a raspy little voice says.
I glance over my shoulder. Denver is peeking into the kitchen from the hall.
Winda sneers at him.
Denver has always been quite anxious around Winda. It might be her machete, or the pistol, or the fact that he overheard us discussing how she had accidentally murdered her pet cat, Mr. Wiggles. Or all three.
About the Author
T.J. Pike has been writing since splashing down on this tiny blue marble in late 1986, when a native of the planet observed what a brilliant liar he was. “You should either write a book or go into politics,” the woman was heard to say. Having been a VIP guest at the White House several thousand times over the past hundred years, he chose the former. Hand cramps, cold feet and early mornings soon inspired him to invent the computer, wool socks and coffee, though not in that order. Pike is currently number one on the Epsilon Delta Bestsellers list, and if you visit the Planet Arkon, you can find a bronze statue of him in the alleyway behind Smirk’s Liquor Mart, just to the left of the dumpster. Dubbed the most prolific story-teller of his time by Deckon-the-deceiver, Pike currently resides in New England, where he spends his days in the clouds, atop his dragon, Dinky, only stopping to allow her to feed on the occasional villager or two.