A Step Backward
The New World Series Book 1
by Andy Skrzynski
Genre: SciFi Action Adventure
"The New World" book series, by Andy Skrzynski, is a creative, science-fiction adventure depicting the life-and-death struggles on Earth after an apocalyptic period between 2019 and 2025. If you enjoy a thrilling tale full of suspense, action, a touch of romance, and a crazy twist here and there, "The New World: A Step Backward" and the sequel, "The New World: Blue Moon Generation," will help you escape your current world worries. The action's so real and descriptive you'll feel as if you're alongside Thoruk, his loyal friends, and the younger generation as they fight the warriors and vicious creatures stalking the villagers of Ukkiville in the nearby forests, lakes, and mountains before the turn of the next century.
Read more to get a taste of what's to come in, "The New World: A Step Backward."
In 2075, following the World Annihilation Period and Earth's 50-year transformation, the detested Skalag clan periodically pillages Ukkiville to murder and enslave its inhabitants. Dangers intensify as vicious, mutant beasts lurk in the shadows, preying on villagers. At the heart of this evil, the twisted scientist, Zolokt, creates killer combinations of animals, plants, and insects to inflict his acts of revenge.
Infuriated by the savage attacks, a young leader, Thoruk, and his two lifelong friends pledge their lives to protect Ukkiville. The determined ruler aims to forever put an end to Zolokt and his followers, for only then will true freedom reign in The New World.
Thoruk sprinted to Mercivil's side to untie the worn, chalky-white boat, tethered to the dock. He looked back at his friends. "Come on, let's see if we can help — he may be drowning!" Mercivil glanced at her pet. "Fluf — stay!" Hopping in first, Thoruk seized the oars. "Be careful getting in." The small vessel wobbled as water from its bottom soaked his moccasins. "Here we go." He rowed toward the victim who was floating face down. Stormulka blocked the sun with his palm for a better view. "What on earth happened? Whoever it is has long hair — can't tell if it's a man or woman yet." As they approached, Thoruk stopped rowing to observe. What could have done this? Not a bear or cat — they wouldn't strip the skin like that. There would be missing chunks of flesh. He placed his hand over Mercivil's eyes. "I'm not sure you want to see this." Pushing his arm away, she opened her eyes. "I've got to." After peeking, she sucked in a terrified breath. "Shivers! This is a demon's work!" Stormulka's mouth gaped wide. "From what's left, it appears to be a woman. There's no way she's alive. Something has been chewing on the corpse. There's bloody water everywhere!" Thoruk maneuvered nearer the lifeless body. "I've never seen anything like this. It looks like a thousand razor-sharp bite marks." Almost all the skin had been eaten off, and the wounds still appeared fresh, less than a couple of hours old at most. "What could have done this?" He scanned the shoreline and pointed to a particular area. "See the big skid mark by that hyacinth cluster on the shore? That's probably where she fell. Let's check it out." He tossed a rope to Stormulka and gestured toward the victim. "Here, tie this around her arm." Thoruk paddled closer. Is there something in this lake we haven't seen before? Rumors of a five-foot-long sturgeon were discounted several years ago. Is one actually lurking in these waters after all? It would be huge by now! Pictures of prehistoric-looking sturgeons from a tattered encyclopedia in the village's library flashed across his mind. A faint motion caught the corner of his eye. "Did you see that swirl — by the hyacinth?" "Yea, I saw it too." Stormulka brushed his shimmery, black hair from his face and squinted. "There, it's moving again." The nearer they got to the buoyant mass of purple flowers, the greater the underwater commotion. Thoruk extended the paddle to the edge of the pads floating on the surface. "What is that? Be careful! Don't stick your hands over the edge of the boat until we know what this is!" As soon as the oar touched one of the plants, three jaws erupted from the lake, attacking the wooden paddle. The sudden pounce startled Thoruk, causing him to fall backward. Vicious jaws with hundreds of tiny, sharp teeth gnashed at the oar. Each plum-sized chomper extruded from a pod at the top of a stem in the larger hyacinth cluster. Getting antsy, Fluf crawled along the shoreline toward the commotion. One of her paws got too close, and a merciless chomper sprung from the lake and nipped her foot. She yelped, clutched the assailant with her huge, ivory teeth, crushed it and tossed the crumpled mass aside. She roared as blood stained her paw. Mercivil pivoted. "Fluf, get back! Stay!" The injured bear limped away to lie in the grass. A strong breeze blew the rickety craft closer. As it neared the edge of the vegetation, another botanical jaw leapt from a pod and clenched the edge of the boat, fiercely chewing and grooving the oak with each bite. Thoruk tried to tear it off, but another brutal muncher bit his finger. Unsheathing his knife, he sliced off the stem, pried the mandible from his finger, and chucked it in the lake. A small chunk of his flesh went with it. Blood streamed down his pinkie. He yanked his shirt off and wrapped it around his hand, exposing his lightly-tanned and muscular back. The wind swung the vessel into the floating monster as hundreds of ferocious mouths emerged to gnaw at the bottom of the craft. Gripping the other paddle, Mercivil whacked and smashed the savage, snapping creatures as fast as possible with all the power she possessed. The harder she swung the makeshift weapon, the more she bit her lip, until blood dripped down her chin. The wicked, purple-flowered beast thrashed about feverishly, churning and splashing the lake around them. Terror shrouded Mercivil's face as she screamed. "Get us out of here! Now!" Thoruk glanced at her feet. Dozens of miniature, white teeth ripped at a splintered hole in the bottom of the boat. Where it had slowly leaked earlier, now the water gushed. "Storm, plug that hole with your shirt. Mercy, give me that oar." He took both paddles and rowed with all his might to get away from the bloodthirsty carnivores. The contorted specter of a plant with flesh-gashing teeth confused him with a quirky mix of wonderment and horror. His heart pounded as if ready to explode. As they cleared the tumultuous waves, Thoruk noticed the corpse drifting behind them and spotted a handful of jaws still clamped onto the shredded flesh hanging from the victim.
Blue Moon Generation
The New World Series Book 2
Many peaceful years have passed since the devastating battle of 2075. The new generation, conceived under a mystical blue moon, is about to awaken to the vicious attacks unveiled through their parents' tales. Once, living only in youngsters' nightmares, ferocious mutant beasts now stir in the shadows of Ukkiville — even during the light of day. Blood-thirsty predators with glowing eyes, gnashing teeth, and razor-sharp claws prey on unsuspecting victims.
Caru, the brave but brash young daughter of Ukkiville's ruler, fears nothing. Trained by the best and possessing powers of the mind greater than her father's, she leads her two lifelong friends into the teeth of intensifying perils.
Meanwhile, in enemy caverns on the other side of the mountains, descendants of the evil Zolokt prepare as well, cloning savage creatures from DNA combinations of animals, insects, and plants. Only time will tell how many of the deadly muclones get released.
Caru turned toward Protovil, two weeks younger than her and brawnier than most boys his age. "Proto, get us closer — more to the left." As the rickety, white vessel neared, Caru grabbed the floating bottle, attached to a long, weighted string and a couple of hooks spaced a foot apart. She lifted it. No wiggle. "Nothing on this one." She extended the dangling contraption toward her wiry cousin, Foxulka. "Here, Fox, wrap the line and put it in the rear." "Surely." The sometimes-stubborn lad, who used every imaginable shortcut and variation of the English language snatched the makeshift bobber. Whipping his head to flip long, jet-black hair from his eyes, he wound the string around the old wine bottle and gently placed it behind him. "Ow! Pricked my blasted finger! Shoulda bin careful." He smeared the blood across his faded, purple shirt; the one he'd wear every day if only his ma would let him. Caru motioned toward another marker. "Over there, let's get the next one." "Caru, watchit!" With eyes the size of walnuts, Fox pointed over her shoulder at the lake. A large dorsal fin plowed through the water directly at her. The big, trailing wake suddenly became long, narrow snapping jaws with glimmering teeth. As the aquatic beast accelerated and continued its beeline toward Caru, she yanked her hand back, narrowly escaping its razor-sharp bite. Wicked, what was that? Her heart pounded against her chest. Standing next to her, Proto banged the oar against the side of the boat. The deafening booms echoed through the air. The finned creature turned, glanced at him, and dove straight down, splashing its tail before it vanished. The bottle plunged underwater. Sucking a quick breath, Caru jerked her head to one side, then the other. "Where did it go? Keep looking! Proto, get ready to chase it!" A booming voice shot from the distance. "Caru, what's happening?" She spotted her father on the shore. "I don't know — something big grabbed the bait. We're going after it!" "No, don't...!" Ignoring her father's shout, she pointed at the huge beast bursting the water's surface. "Over there! Go!" She squinted, searching through the bright reflections off the Lake of Dreams. The creature erupted above the surface 50 yards to the right. Caru leaped to her feet and pointed. "Starboard! Two o'clock! Row, Proto, now!" She waved her arm in a circular pattern toward the destination. "Let's get that blasted thing!" Grabbing the oars, Proto rapidly pumped the paddles, and the boat jerked forward. Caru wobbled and fell, almost tripping over the edge. While the monster dove again, Fox's voice rang out from the rear. "Brutish, that sucker's huge!" The aquatic predator submerged and popped to the surface time and time again as the chase ensued. Several minutes later, it slowed to a drift, sunken and invisible in the deeper water. The trailing bottle, anchored to the mysterious being, floated to the top. As they neared, Caru hooked the cord with the handle of her knife. She wrapped the line around a cleat, securing the marker to the bow. Hand over fist, she and Proto pulled the weighty freak of nature from the depths. Intrigued by small, white spikes appearing from the black abyss, Caru bent closer for a better look. Enormous, menacing jaws rushed toward her. "Watch out!" Proto yanked her back. With one swift movement, he snatched the small battle-ax from his belt and gashed the beast's neck. It spun toward the bow and dove, jolting the craft forward as Caru clung to the sideboards for dear life. The vessel streaked across the water for several yards, suddenly veering to the right. She and her friends flew through the air as the boat flipped over. Splashing with arms and legs churning, she and her buddies scrambled toward shore. Thoruk dove into the lake and feverishly swam toward the children. Ghost and the twin bears followed. Once again, the dorsal fin sliced through the water in a direct line toward the kids. Thoruk hollered. "Fox, behind you!" The teeth of the tenacious being shimmered in the sun as its jaws opened wide. Blood streamed from its slashed neck, staining the pool around it.
The New World Series Book 3
On the verge of winter in 2105, a vicious attack soaks a pasture with blood and crushes Ukkiville's serenity. Ominous premonitions haunt Hoot while similar dangers surge across Old North America. Tormented by nightmares, the courageous young warrior recruits her friends to join her and hunt the demon of her dreams. Before long, they encounter a beast far more ferocious than any discovered before.
Suspicions fall squarely on the village's nemesis, as Hoot and the leaders of Ukkiville fear Zo and his Skalags have advanced their DNA process to create monsters nobody can control. With little choice but to ready themselves to thwart increasing slaughters, Hoot, her brother, Skeeter, and a precocious android named Andralec hone their skills and special powers. Until the inhabitants of Ukkiville and the surrounding territory halt this growing threat, survival remains all but uncertain.
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After entering the weathered barn, Bartuk leaned his quiver and finely-crafted bow against a post. He grabbed an ax and plopped on a stump next to a grinding stone. He relished chopping firewood for the colder weeks ahead — a welcome reprieve from his usual ranch chores. While his weary legs pumped, and the sharpening stone whirred, a spattering of moos broke his concentration. Lifting his blade, he turned and surveyed the barnyard. His herd of Jerseys stirred near the trees. Mmm. He scratched his beard and scanned the fence line. They seem spooked. He rolled his eyes. Ah, stop making something of nothing! After returning to the task at hand, sparks flew in all directions as he honed the shiny edge. The clamor of moos heightened. Growing more concerned, he ignored his painful knees and jumped to his feet. He set the ax aside and snatched his weapon. The hairs on the back of his neck stiffened while he rushed toward the cattle. Squinting, he searched the area. The livestock bunched together as if agitated along the fence by the forest. A throaty bawl resonated across the pasture. “Something’s definitely wrong.” He raced faster. Blood sprayed high, and the cattle near a cluster of pines scattered as he approached. After they dispersed, two of his prized Jerseys remained sprawled across the crimson soil next to a bellowing cow. A grisly beast of at least 500 pounds straddled one of the carcasses lying flat on its belly. The six-legged attacker uncurled its four-foot trunk and pressed it against the base of the Jersey’s skull. With adrenaline rushing through his veins, Bartuk ducked behind a wagon. His chest pounded while he retrieved an arrow and drew back on the string. What is that thing? What’s it doing? Just as he located his mark, the creature released its hold and charged another fleeing cow. He tracked the beast’s movement and let go of the shaft. The projectile ricocheted off a boulder behind the galloping monster. Never had he witnessed an animal move so fast. When the strange beast neared its prey, it whipped its long, thick tail striking the Jersey’s hindquarter. The cow bawled louder, and within seconds, its back legs weakened. Helpless, the animal drug its limp torso in a relentless attempt to escape. The fierce attacker slowly circled toward the front of the struggling victim, rose to its hind legs, and walked closer. Fearing for his life, Bartuk froze, not knowing what to make of the beast. It was more terrifying than any muclone he’d seen before. In a flash, the creature's forepaws slashed through the Jersey’s chest. Blood squirted everywhere. Shivers shot across Bartuk’s body as his stomach churned. What could do such a thing? The tenacious monster reached into the carcass, ripped the heart from its cavity, and chomped into the gory muscle. Disgusted and unable to bear the horror, Bartuk closed his eyes for a moment and whispered. “Be quiet. If it spots me, I’ll be next!” A large knot swelled in his throat. Still trembling, he peeked through the spokes of the wheel and gasped. The creature’s innards were visible through its translucent hide. Bartuk rubbed his eyes and gulped. How’s that possible? He inched forward but paused. Can I kill this thing by myself? Rage swelled within him as the slaughter continued and more blood spewed to the ground. Casting all doubts aside, he sprang from behind the buckboard, positioned the arrow, and drew the string taut. He shouted as loud as he could. “Get away from my cattle!” Holding his breath, he steadied his aim as the creature spun and charged. The beast’s jaws snapped incessantly as it approached. Sweat dripped down his cheek as he let go. Whistling along its path, the projectile pierced the monster’s chest. The beast screeched and veered to the right. It leapt over the fence and raced into Wolverine Forest. Sucking staggered breaths, Bartuk stared at the devastation.
While writing The New World trilogy proved to be one of the most exciting challenges of my life, if anyone had told me six years ago I'd be writing science fiction action-adventure novels, I would have declared them bonkers! For most of my life, I had been an engineering and programming nerd whose main reading materials included technical scientific articles and books with little time to read novels of any sort of fiction.
The few dreams I experienced during my lengthy career as a Sr. Software Development Manager at IBM mostly focused on conjuring solutions to tough technical issues at work. Never did sleep delve into imagining some fictional adventure. But that all changed after I retired from IBM in March of 2007 at age 53 with 30 rewarding years of service. The extra time on my hands provided plenty of hours to devote to more creative endeavors.
My initial attempt at writing capitalized on my 30 years of investing in all sorts of financial assets. I wanted to share my knowledge with our children to aid their financial planning. After completing more than 400 pages of the manuscript, I joined a writers' group. The members liked the technical content but advised me to liven it up to make in more attractive for my younger target audience of high school and collage graduates getting a start on life. I came up with an fictional world and a couple of quirky characters to weave into my investing lessons.
The members loved the improvements, but an unexpected problem bared itself: my brain refused to churn out nightly ideas about investments. Instead, my dreams gushed with captivating characters and an intriguing new world with plenty of vicious beasts lurking in the shadows of my mind. I had no choice but to follow the fate which unfolded night after night, providing oodles of exciting material to more than fulfill any writing desires. I provided my financial manuscript to my daughters, and from that exhilarating change of direction in 2014, I've been creating a fascinating new world at the turn of the next century!
I began writing my first novel, The New World: A Step Backward in June of 2014 and published it on June 28, 2015. A little over a year later, on October 1, 2016, I published Book 2 of the series, The New World: Blue Moon Generation. After a bit of a delay due to the challenges of a serious family illness, I completed the final novel of the Trilogy, The New World: Crimson Winter and published it on November 6, 2018.
Where were you born?
I was born in Jackson, Michigan and spent my first five years growing up in a three-room quonset hut with no indoor plumbing in Spring Arbor, Michigan. The next six years, I enjoyed a wonderful learning experience in a four-story mansion called The St. Joseph Orphanage where 50 of us young boys were guided by a stern but very well-meaning group of Polish Nuns. There were no TVs or radios on the premises, and we spent most of our time studying, exercising in team sports, or praying to improve our minds, bodies souls. While many of the lads wouldn't necessarily feel the same, I truly looked at this journey during my developmental years as something that established very good values and direction to my life.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Calming listener always embracing friendships. (Many troubled boys in the orphanage were drawn to me because I would patiently listen to their concerns and try to console them. Friends were easy to come by in such an environment. It has been a rewording trait that has carried over into my later years!)
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
While I began my first journey writing a manuscript about investing in 2013, five years after I retired from IBM, I didn't feel like a true writer. Yes, I was writing and transforming my knowledge into words, but it wasn't until I followed my heart and mind into a new world with exciting adventures created through my elaborate dreams that led me to my first science fiction novel. I was truly creating something from my imagination where I'd dive into the depths of the lives of Ukkiville's villagers and the dangers they faced each and every day! I lived in that world for over a year while writing my first novel!
Who is my hero and why?
My speech teacher, Blaine Goodrich, and his caring wife, Marilyn, who welcomed me into their abode during my senior year in high school when I left home. They were amazing and very understanding of my prior untenable family situation. Blaine was instrumental in guiding me toward a sound college education. He and Mar have supported me throughout my life and proudly attend my book signings during returns to my home town.
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