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Keira Michelle Telford is an award-winning author with a love for the gruesome, the macabre, and the downright filthy. She writes dystopian science fiction, erotic lesbian romance, and other lesbian fiction.

SILVER - Acheron (A River of Pain) by Keira Michelle Telford

Dishonorably discharged from the Hunter Division and banished for crimes she did not commit, Silver struggles to come to terms with her new prison-like surroundings: a segregated area of the city called the Fringe District, populated by murderers, thieves and rapists.

Starving, and desperate for money, she reluctantly accepts the Police Division's invitation to enroll in a covert Bounty Hunter program: an initiative devised to infiltrate the criminal underworld of the Fringers, and to force the very worst warrant dodging law-breakers to meet their fate—death. Unfortunately, Silver doesn't realize that the Police Division is about to up the ante. They need more than little snippets of information and arrests—they need someone to pull the trigger. They need an executioner.

SILVER: Acheron is the first book (a 40,000 word novella) in a 10-book series featuring the character of Ella 'Silver' Cross. Set more than 300yrs in the future, the Silver Series takes place in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world where humans are a species on the brink of extinction. No longer at the top of the food chain, humans are preyed upon by the Chimera—genetic mutants that outnumber humankind 25:1.

CURATOR'S NOTE

When I asked each of the authors for a description of their "Woman of the Apocalypse", Kiera described Ella as "as a post-apocalyptic, hardcore version of Xena: Warrior Princess". I think it was my favorite description as I loved that show. You're going to love this book as well. Like Xena, it kicks ass. – Thomas K. Carpenter

 

REVIEWS

  • Silver is a fantastic lead character, you are thrown straight into her story and the ride doesn't stop until the last page … If you love J.R Ward, Gena Showalter, Keri Arthur, Kresley Cole, Kelley Armstong, Nalini Singh, to name but a few of my favourites, you are going to absolutely love this. It's paranormal without vampires or Demons and its science fiction without being geeky, it's absolutely brilliant and I am going to sit and read it again, and I don't do that very often.

    Amazon Review
  • Words have been escaping me for the last week as I try to write a review worthy of this book. It is an incredible start to a series which has me bagged, tagged and shackled up tight. There is not anything I do not like about this book … The third person omniscient POV is a hard formula to adopt and write in successfully. Not many can pull it off … It allows the Keira to show the thoughts and feelings of the characters in the story. Not a simple task, yet Keira keeps it flowing so smoothly you are not jarred out of the action. You are right there in the midst of all, getting bloody, feeling dizzy and starving for a bag of "crispies".

    Amazon Review
  • This book is quite the adventure story, a hint of romance, fantasy/post-apocalyptic in nature, a touch of mystery, drama galore, and tension running throughout. You actually don't realize how much tension is in the story until the story ends and you exhale stretch and release the tense set to your shoulders. I worried about Silver, wanted to hold her, slap her, shake her, tuck her into bed, make her tea (it's a southern thing), and many other emotional gut reactions. She also kind of scared me. Excellent things for a book. I enjoyed the tension, the gut reactions the story evoked, and the way the words wove pictures of the world in my mind's eye.

    Amazon Review
  • Silver: Acheron is one of 'those' books for me - the world-building is top-class, and I'm hard-stretched to think of any recent read that has done it better … The series is started perfectly in that although secrets are alluded to, there is so much 'taster' for the rest of the story that it's impossible to not crave more. The writing is edge-of-your-seat thrilling - as Silver finds and begins to befriend the woman she seemingly rescued from the Chimera, Ms. Telford drops tantalising tasters of the revelations that are to come.

    Goodreads Review
  • This book is very dark and gritty, and more than a bit grotesque. Seriously, don't eat while you are reading. There was more than a couple scenes that had my throat clenching, threatening my gag reflex. It was awesome! I mean it, seriously! If a story can cause such a physical reaction, you know you are on to something good. And the scenery in this book was just crazy. Violence rules, and its a whole new world. Only the strongest survive in the Fringe.

    Goodreads Review
 

BOOK PREVIEW

Excerpt

Condemned, Silver is left on the bridge to the Fringe District, her wrist still gushing blood. Moments ago, the delicate skin of her inner left wrist was sliced open with a scalpel and a small, platinum-colored microchip was expertly removed.

That tag was her life story, containing every detail of her life from the day of her birth to the last time she ordered a cup of coffee. Formerly a Commander in an elite military institution called the Hunter Division, she is now a prisoner. Relegated to the Fringe District, she joins the ranks of the banished.

A criminal, or so she is accused of being, she's cut off from her friends and family and left to fend for herself in this fetid, dank scrap of Old World land that was once called Staten Island.

Now, more than three hundred years after a global war changed the dynamic of our planet forever, humans are beginning to make their resurgence. This place, Amaranthe, is the first reclaimed human city, but Silver is not its first victim. Standards for occupation in the city are high, and many don't make the cut. If you're considered unworthy, any excuse will be used—any small indiscretion exposed—to place you before the Banishment and Enforcement Council.

In Silver's case, she's lucky to have been banished. In Amaranthe's poorly constructed, two-tiered judicial system, her sentence could just as easily have been enforcement.

Capital punishment.

Death via bullet.

Fortunately, the man who raised her holds some sway in the government. Not enough to keep her from facing the gavel, but enough to keep her from facing the gun. Amaranthe's governing body, the totalitarian Omega administration, is a harsh and cruel master, feared by all who dwell within its jurisdiction.

Left with nothing more than the clothes on her back and a few small weapons, Silver begins the lonesome walk toward her new Fringe District life. Her Hunter Division boots are the last identifiable remnants of her prior occupation. Stained with blood and dirt, the Omega emblems are hard to make out on the scuffed steel plates decorating the backs of the heels. Her well-worn jeans are made from a mixture of hemp, which flourishes rampantly in the New World, and para-aramid synthetic fiber—Kevlar. Designed to last for up to a decade of use, this pair has seen at least three rotations of the year already. They've survived countless days spent off-duty, romping in the playground of the unreclaimed world outside Amaranthe's secure walls, often finding themselves covered in dirt and mud, and Chimeran blood.

Chimera.

The creatures generations of humans—including Silver—have been bred to kill. Born in the aftermath of a nuclear war, they were human once … until their humanity was lost over centuries of rapid genetic mutations. During this time, ninety-nine percent of all living things on Earth died, yet the Chimera proved to be an adaptive and resilient new species.

Outnumbering this small population of humans by 25:1, the Chimera lurk in the shadows, scavenging for food in the places where human feet no longer dare to tread. Ferocious meat-eaters, they will hunt alone or in packs, and human is their prey of choice.

Kill, or be killed.

That's a motto of the Hunter Division, whose job it is—among other things—to destroy Chimera so that Amaranthe can continue to expand. Not to mention, the whole city relies on the Hunter Division kills. Chimera is the only source of fresh meat, and no part of the animal is wasted. Their hide makes good leather, and many things can be made from bone. Some live specimens are even farmed for their milk.

Today, though, Silver's jeans are clean. Held in the detainment corridor for almost a month prior to her sentencing, she's had no time to play. Affixed to the belt loops, a utility belt contains holsters for a hunting knife, a handgun, and two spare clips of ammunition. The knife, recently sharpened, bears a ferocious steel blade and a jet black handle custom inlayed with a sterling silver design: An Ella Cross .

This is Silver's trademark; her territorial stamp. Not only is it an ancient Old World symbol once known as a warrior shield, it's a pictorial representation of her birth name. Ella Cross was born twenty-eight years ago. Silver was forged in battle when she joined the Hunter Division.

Her handgun, an HK USP, also custom engraved, is silver-plated and bears her birth father's initials. It never leaves her side, and his old Hunter Division dog tags never leave her wrist. They bear his name and rank, stamped 'DECEASED' over top. Her own set of dog tags still hang around her neck, despite her most recent fall into unemployment. Stamped 'DISCHARGED', she tucks them inside her shirt—both pairs: The ones bearing her name, and another set bearing the name of the lover she may never see again.

Alexander King has been hers since the day she first laid eyes on him, but now they're separated by one impassable bridge. Only Omega employees can walk freely between the two polar opposite worlds on either side, and Alex was discharged from the Hunter Division, just like Silver. Though, with his spotless professional record, he was unable to be charged with anything more serious than engaging in a prohibited relationship with his unit Commander. Thus, he was spared banishment.

She wasn't so lucky.

She had a secondary charge to contend with: Treason.

Suddenly aware of the pain in her wrist, Silver pulls out a strip of gauze given to her by the surgeon and wraps it tightly around her oozing stitches. Better than nothing, she surmises. Her fingers wet with her own blood, she backhands some stray wisps of dark blonde hair away from her face. Always in a ponytail, her hair could go days without brushing and you'd barely even notice. She's beautiful, of course, but not like the girls in Old World magazines. Raised for the Hunter Division, she's tall and strong. Her shoulders carry a strength that could put some lesser men to shame, and her face hasn't seen a lick of makeup since her sixteenth birthday.

Sharp, silver eyes look out upon the world with a new found cynicism, and her lips are fully prepared never to smile again.

Fuck 'em, she thinks.

Fuck Omega, and the lies they've smeared her with. Fuck truth and justice, and all the things she's ever fought for. Fuck love, and all the pain that's brought her. Fuck dying, like they hope she will. She's armed and ready.