Book & Author Details:
The Compendium by Christine Hart
(The Variant Conspiracy Trilogy, #2)
Publication date: July 13th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction
Irina and her renegade variant friends are scrambling to pick up the trail of their former employer, Ivan, and his globally catastrophic scheme. After strategically sharing their story with the media, the group heads south from Vancouver to Seattle hoping to recruit more experienced—and lethal—variants to their cause.
Their attention develops a laser focus on an engineered disaster mere days ahead of them. Ivan is using what staff and resources remain of Innoviro Industries to set off a violent earthquake in San Francisco. While they fight to stop the earthquake, Irina pushes the love of her life Jonah as far away as she can, trying to keep his unstable genetic degradation in check.
Irina’s friends think they’ve seen the worst that Innoviro could bring forth by the time they reach a secret facility in the Mojave Desert. As they near the property, the group uncovers a horror none of them had ever imagined.
Located on BC’s beautiful West Coast, I write from my suburban Burnaby home staring at North Vancouver’s iconic Coast Mountains. I love writing about places and spaces with rich history and visually fascinating elements as a backdrop for the surreal and spectacular.
In addition to my undergraduate degree in writing and literature, my background also includes corporate communications and design. I am a current member of the Federation of BC Writers and SF Canada.
When not writing, I have a habit of breaking stuff and making stuff – in that order – under the guise of my Etsy alter-ego Sleepless Storyteller. I share my eclectic home and lifestyle with my husband, baby daughter and preschool son.
As I got closer to the evergreens, I saw glints of red in the spiky leaves and tiny spindly pods on the branches. Flies buzzed around the plants and I saw one of the pods open like a glistening green mouth. A fly landed inside and the mouth snapped shut. I shuddered as I contemplated the size those little mouths could be if they grew proportionate to the rest of the seedling.
I turned around to the desks in the corner. No longer bare, one was occupied. A balding man sat in front of a computer with his back to me. I walked as quickly as my vision self could manage.
The man typed furiously as I came around the desk to face him. He was older and slightly overweight with a ring of straw blond hair on an otherwise bald head. He looked up at the door behind me and frowned. I turned around to see Tatiana and two men enter. I recognized one of the men from Innoviro, but the other was a stranger. Both wore plain slacks and golf shirts. Tatiana wore her typical pencil skirt, buttoned blouse, and stilettos combination.
The bald man stood to greet Tatiana and his height struck me. The man was tall, even while slouching. In spite of his height, he looked defeated, dominated by the displeased look on Tatiana’s face. She opened her mouth and the scene evaporated. I was back in the dim empty version of the warehouse. I regained my focus to find everyone staring at me intently.
“It was a greenhouse. They were crafting weird plants. And Tatiana showed up. She looked grouchier than usual.” I closed my eyes and rubbed my temples to better concentrate. “The guy sitting at this desk was responsible for the place. I think Tatiana was about to give him hell when my vision ended.”
“Did you learn anything else? See anything else?” asked Ilya, leaning towards me.
“So all we know now is that this was some kind of variant grow show.” Faith swooped her arm at the empty basins.
“Did you see any printed material? Anything with a name or an address?” asked Jonah.
“The guy at the desk had an ID badge clipped to his breast pocket, but I couldn’t make out anything on it,” I said.
“So, have we made any progress at all?” said Cole. He rested his hands firmly on his hips.
As my friends started to argue about the chances of successfully tracking down any Innoviro activity, I opened and closed each of the drawers in the bald man’s desk. I reached the top center drawer and a plastic-sheathed card slid forward. The bald man’s face looked up at me next to bold print, Dr. Kingston, George T.
I picked up the card and the angry voices beside me were silenced. I stood in a lush meadow watching Dr. Kingston survey a small field of bizarre plants. The carnivorous evergreens and their giant mouths loomed over teal blue ferns with pearl flowers. A glass and screen enclosure held large colorful bees that shimmered as though bathed in a slick sheen of gasoline. It looked like an alien planet, surrounded by BC’s steep coastal mountains.
A portable plastic table behind Kingston held specimen jars with plant fragments and a stack of pizza boxes with RIVERSIDE PIZZA HOUSE printed in bright red letters. I moved to step towards Kingston and a hand grabbed my arm, pulling me back to the North Vancouver warehouse.
“What happened? Why did you–,” I stopped.
Jonah lay unconscious on the ground.