Genre: Dystopian Literary Fiction
Word count: 97,000
On a planet ravaged by a horrific virus, a family blessed with genetic immunity controls a growing empire with a treatment derived from their blood. As the virus spreads, so does their power; as their power grows so do their secrets.
To the public, the Verkovs put out a strong united front. Unity. Order. Happiness. Behind closed doors they do everything they can to undercut each other. Anton Verkov has set out to eradicate the disease. He blames it for the tragic accident that tore him and his wife apart. But when his quest threatens the power of his sadistic uncle, the Tsar Regent, Anton’s access to treatment doses is cut off.
Once hailed as a savior cleansing a diseased world of the virus and his family’s tyranny, Anton faces a new reality: having to fight a virus with an army instead of medicine. He is left with the few doses he can squeeze from his own blood, with every donation he grows weaker. Yet his most difficult task still looms ahead: eradicating the virus in the war-torn homeland of his estranged wife, Tia, a radiant beauty who hides a deep sorrow behind her delusional optimism.
Anton finds a shocking solution to the problem of who to save when you can’t save everyone, but when the local militias fight back and Tia becomes infected his solution is thrown into chaos. Tia and Anton must face the traumatic past that first tore them apart in order to save each other and the people of her homeland.
WHAT THE WATER GAVE US is a dystopian novel complete at 97,000 words.
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“Time enslaves all in the past.” – Ver Westarian Proverb
The two memories always bled together in Prince Anton’s mind: the oscillating dark waters of the Western Ocean surrounded by burning debris from the royal yacht his parents perished on. Elias’s large hand, which had reached down to save him now reached down to ensnare him. The scene shifted insidiously from the traumatic deluge to the bow of a dive boat moored off the southern coast of the island of Ver Westar. Beyond the dunes a tropical paradise gave way to an urban utopia. This was the safest place in the world to live, the only place truly safe from the virus.
“Come on Anton!” Elias, Anton’s uncle, encouraged. Anton, a young-looking fifteen year-old, stared up at him, terrified. He stood firmly on the dock, dive knife strapped to his leg. An oyster bag circled his waist, a dive mask hung from his neck, and traditional leather straps covered his trembling fingertips.
“I can’t go. I’m not going!”
“Anton, it’s an important tradition. Pearl diving teaches perseverance and hard work.” Elias recited the same words he’d told Anton all week. Being the strongest swimmer in the family it was Elias’s favorite tradition.
Diving for pearls had been a rite of passage for the Verkovs long before the founding of the New Virtue Imperial Order. Before their blood immunity had rendered them powerful beyond measure simply by being born they used pearl diving as a measure of respect. An internal determination of family hierarchy.