Today, we have a book excerpt from Ruin’s Wake by Patrick Edwards on this stop of his blog tour!
They saw more signs of fighting as they got closer to the center of the great wheel. The backdrop to their cautious, darting route was a jumbled multitude of burned-out vehicles, pockmarked walls and the acrid tang of cordite. They passed a ground car, flattened under heavy treads and still on fire. The wall behind it was perforated in several places, the distinct patina of plasma fire coruscating around the edges.
Not far down the road a Factor’s checkpoint had been torn open by an explosion. Bodies lay in a jumbled heap, one man hanging over the crumbling lip of the crater, his legs a bloody crush of bone and torn flesh. A little further on a row of troops in stained army uniforms lay against the wall where their execution had taken place. Cale saw the look of fear still painted on the face of one of them, the hole in his forehead absurdly neat. The military had not been prepared for this.
An enormous pounding shook the earth and they dove for the safety of an alleyway. Threading through its narrow darkness, they found their way through to the other side, the close walls channeling the echoes of gunfire until it sounded as if the battle was on top of them.
At the other end they came upon a dun expanse: one of Karume’s state parks. A section of trees had been toppled by an enormous battle tank that squatted at the end of its ripped-up trail like a monster of steel and smoke in the center of the lawn, its turret sweeping the area.
They took cover behind a powered-down skimmer truck just as a war-walker erupted from the other side of the park, its massive feet churning up great chunks of grass as it closed on its prey. It was a patchwork of parts, unpainted ceramic plate showing through the soot that coated it, engines roaring as it brought its weapon arms to bear. The ground tank fired but missed, the concussion from the shell knocking the walker – but not toppling it – before obliterating two floors of a building. The walker dug ruts in the turf as it skidded to a stop, centered itself, then fired both cannons at once. The tank split open like a fruit as the heavy shells ripped into it; there might have been screams, but they were quickly swallowed by the howl of superheated air and metal. The walker made sure its prey was dead, then took off in the other direction.