"This series is definitely one that is best to read in order as the world was set in the first book and I think a reader jumping in would be lost on what is happening now. The first book was a bit of a scifi/fantasy mixed with a detective mystery but now the main character is a wanted man by siding with the synths and helping their rebellion. The action is fast paced with each read building upon the last leading up to this explosive installment."- Carrie, Goodreads
Published: September 18th, 2018
The Sickness unto Death
The Synth revolution has come at last. The supposedly synthetic beings humans crafted to do their dirty work for them have fully actualized their own humanity—and they no longer acquiesce in their enslavement. Victory in the struggle to tear down the institutions of oppression seems just a matter of time. But the halls of power are not so easily shaken—and a counterstrike is inevitable.
Former Detective Jason Campbell has pledged his life to the Synthetic cause. So when a mysterious virus starts wiping out Synths left and right—and shows signs of mutating to target everyone else—he must lead a race against time to prevent the outbreak of the most horrific plague the world has ever seen. If he succeeds, he’ll expose the moral bankruptcy of the depraved elites who will stop at nothing to restore the old order. If he fails, it could mean the end of life on this planet. For both Synth and Human.
You went into a knife fight knowing you were going to get cut.
It was one of the cardinal rules of weapon defense, and the reasoning behind it was simple: you had to prepare yourself for the inevitability so that when it happened, you didn’t freeze up. When blades came into play, inaction was synonymous with death.
The chow line at the New Lyons City Prison moved slowly, a long line of orange-clad men shuffling forward, trays in hand. It reminded me, more than anything, of my time in the Army. Sure, the uniforms were different, but the sense of routine, the loss of any sort of control over your day-to-day life, those were…familiar. Easier to adjust to than I’d anticipated. Boot camp had just been a different flavor of prison.
Of course, in boot, I’d only thought the instructors were out to kill me.
Here, in the loving hands of the New Lyons Department of Corrections, things were a little different. I had not—technically—been convicted of any crime. At least not yet. But the charges leveled against me—which included everything the prosecutors could think of but could be best summed up as domestic terrorism—had equated to an automatic denial of bail and ensured that Momma Campbell’s favorite son was headed to the big house for holding. Normally, former cops wouldn’t be put into the general population. But somewhere, somehow, a clerical error had been made. The guards assured me—with the biggest shit-eating grins they could muster—that it would all get straightened out soon and I’d go into protective custody.
In the meantime, I was sharing a cell block with a few hundred inmates who knew that I was a cop. The guards hadn’t even had to tell them. Denying inmates ’net access had long ago been determined “cruel and unusual” punishment, access to the web being deemed as vital a service as electricity or clean water, and with hours on end of sitting in a cell with nothing but a screen to occupy their time, damn near everyone knew who I was.
They’d all seen the first ’net hijacking that Silas and the other synthetics had engineered, showing the world Evelyn, the synthetic impregnated by her human rapist. That wasn’t supposed to be possible, or course, since everyone know the synthetics were genetically sterile inhuman things and not people at all. Right. They knew about Silas’s demands, that all synthetics be granted full rights of citizenship and freed from their captivity. They knew about the stick that those in the revolution—myself included—claimed to have, the mountain of secrets that could bring down governments. And, they’d all seen Hernandez, my former partner and friend, escort me to the precinct and turn me over into the fat, greasy hands of Francois Fortier.
They didn’t know why or how that had happened. They didn’t know that I’d turned myself in, after nearly a month of avoiding the cops and feds on my tail. They didn’t know about the documents Al’awwal, the first synthetic, had helped us recover from his “father’s” lab. The documents that proved not only that Walton Biogenics knew the synthetics were human, but that they had deliberately suppressed that information along with significant medical advancements that could have benefited all of humankind, in the pursuit of profit.
But they would. The deadline was up. Sometime this evening, Silas, LaSorte, and the rest would flip the switch or press the magic button or whatever the hell it was they did, and that information would go out to the world, along with the first round of skeletons aimed at discrediting the most vehemently anti-synthetic politicians. And my presence here, turning myself in, was all in an effort to get some of that information into the official record, somewhere where an army of paid ’net trolls couldn’t try to muddy the waters with a focused disinformation campaign of their own. Evidence presented at trial became the subject of deposition and investigation almost by default, and there was only so much Walton Biogenics could do to hide the truth.
The Post-Modern Prometheus
Synths were manufactured to look human and perform physical labor, but they were still only machines. That’s what the people who used—and abused—them believed, until the truth was revealed: Synths are independent, sentient beings. Now, the governments of the world must either recognize their human nature and grant them their rightful freedom, or brace for a revolution.
Former New Lyons Detective Jason Campbell has committed himself to the Synths’ cause, willing to fight every army the human race marches against them. But they have an even greater enemy in Walton Biogenics, the syndicate behind the creation and distribution of the “artificial” humans. The company will stop at nothing to protect their secrets—and the near-mythological figure known to Synths as “The First,” whose very existence threatens the balance of power across the world . . .
They look like us. Act like us. But they are not human. Created to perform the menial tasks real humans detest, Synths were designed with only a basic intelligence and minimal emotional response. It stands to reason that they have no rights. Like any technology, they are designed for human convenience. Disposable.
In the city of New Lyons, Detective Jason Campbell is investigating a vicious crime: a female body found mutilated and left in the streets. Once the victim is identified as a Synth, the crime is designated no more than the destruction of property, and Campbell is pulled from the case.
But when a mysterious stranger approaches Campbell and asks him to continue his investigation in secret, Campbell is dragged into a dark world of unimaginable corruption. One that leaves him questioning the true nature of humanity.
And what he discovers is only the beginning . . .
About the author:
J.T. Nicholas was born in Lexington, Virginia, though within six months he moved (or was moved, rather) to Stuttgart, Germany. Thus began the long journey of the military brat, hopping from state to state and country to country until, at present, he has accumulated nearly thirty relocations. This experience taught him that, regardless of where one found oneself, people were largely the same. When not writing, Nick spends his time practicing a variety of martial arts, playing games (video, tabletop, and otherwise), and reading everything he can get his hands on. Nick currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, a pair of indifferent cats, a neurotic Papillion, and an Australian Shepherd who (rightly) believes he is in charge of the day-to-day affairs.