Ghosts in the Machine (Babel Trilogy #2)
By: Richard Farr
Publication Date: September 20th, 2016
Young genius Morag Chen doesn’t believe in the supernatural. Or not until a thousand gods show up in front of her, appearing from a clear-blue sky. The Architects are terrifying, they’re hypnotically attractive, and they’re real—but what are they, and what do they want, and why have they stolen the mind of Daniel Calder, the person she is closest to?
Ancient gods? Invading aliens? Everyone has a theory, but no one has guessed the truth. In this dark, suspenseful, mind-bending sequel to The Fire Seekers, Morag picks up the narration from Daniel as she works to accept that there’s more than one way to think about the nature of humanity. And she will find that the only way forward is through secrets that Daniel himself seems desperate but unable to convey.
A mysterious lab. The house of a dying billionaire. The hidden home of a strange and forgotten people. In each of these places, Morag and Daniel will come a step closer to answers, hope, and a way of fighting back.
You were standing motionless on the snow, like all the others, with your face tilted up toward the sky and your hands raised in greeting.
“There!” I shouted.
Mack didn’t hear me, which wasn’t surprising—I was competing with 130 decibels. I leaned across the instrument panel, pointed, and shouted again. “There! Daniel and Rosko. Do you see?”
Wrestling with the controls, struggling to make the big machine do his bidding, he glanced to his left and nodded. Even in that moment of life-threatening crisis there was an aura of relaxed control about him.
“Go,” he mouthed, even before the helicopter’s wheels had made contact with the pad. “Help them. You’ll have to be quick.”
Snow and ice, stained pink by the evening light, were cascading onto the pad. Smoke and steam were so totally everywhere that you couldn’t tell which was which. As if by magic, Rosko had emerged from the crevasse, covered in blood, and was struggling up the slope toward you from fifty paces away. The Seraphim were standing silently, or chanting, or on the steeper sections they were beginning to stumble and fall as the ground shook. It was still a couple of hours to sunset, but the full moon had risen into view over the shoulder of the mountain, indecently big and close, like an airbrushed fantasy planet from the cover of an old comic book. Not far to our right, Mount Ararat’s first lava flow in centuries was hissing and sliding—a lazy, venomous, red- eyed snake, mooching for new victims.
And— And— It was hard not to stand there in the doorway and just stare. The sky, which should have been blue, was turning before our eyes into an upside-down oil-black lake. And a thousand gods—spirits, disembodied souls, angels, demons, Architects, what the hell did I know?—were swirling and foaming and materializing out of it, taking on human and yet not-human shapes as they dripped down toward the shiny, bright faces of the entranced, eager-for-immortality Believers. That counts as a Don’t-Miss, Five Stars, Bucket-List roadside attraction, don’t you think? But it grabs your attention even more, when it contradicts everything you’ve ever believed, because your whole life you’ve been a science- minded, unapologetically rationalist, don’t-give-me-that-crap atheist.
This is not happening. That’s what I said to myself. Morag, this is so so so not bloody happening. It’s just an illusion. A hallucination. An extra- deluxe, high-octane, ultra-high-pixel-density nightmare.
I hate it, D; I totally hate it when I don’t believe a single word I’m telling myself.
I grew up in England’s West Country, one of the world’s leading producers of strange names for small villages. I now live in Seattle. When I’m not reading, writing, or staring out of the window, I enjoy running, hiking and sea kayaking.
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