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Catalyst

S. J. Kincaid
"Tom Raines is about to break through the impossible..."
Catalyst – picture

Tom Raines is about to break through the impossible…

Tom Raines and his friends return to the Pentagonal Spire for a new year, eager to continue their training for the elite Intrasolar Forces. But they soon discover troubling changes. Strict new regulations, suspicious agents in positions of power and the revelation that the Spire is under military control. The trainees are now cadets.

What begins as an irritating adjustment soon reveals a dangerous shift in reality. Those in control have a ruthless agenda. And when the military academy begins welcoming suspicious new cadets, they reveal a plan with horrifying worldwide ramifications. Tom is desperate to stop it, and it seems he is not alone. But when the enemy comes for Tom, how much can he endure in the battle to save himself?

In this exhilarating, explosive and heart-rending conclusion to the INSIGNIA trilogy, CATALYST puts Tom and his intelligent, passionate and brave young friends through stunning tests, dangerous confrontations and into an impossible future they could never have predicted.

Publication Date: Thu 6 Nov 2014
ISBN Paperback: 9781471400711
ISBN Ebook: 9781471400728

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Author

S. J. Kincaid

US author S.J. Kincaid originally wanted to be an astronaut, but she decided to become a full-time writer after spending a year studying in Edinburgh and living next to a haunted graveyard. Her favourite place to write is her apartment, and she has reverted back to being a lover of print books after a brief flirtation with (and expensive destruction of) an e-reader. Her debut novel, INSIGNIA, was nominated for the Waterstones prize, and its sequel VORTEX was met with equal delight by her fans. Follow S. J. Kincaid at www.sjkincaid.com or on Twitter: @SJKincaidBooks

Extract

When Tom walked into the laundry room, he found Giuseppe Nichols and Wyatt Enslow already hard at work. He ignored Giuseppe and picked his way over the stray bags of uniforms to Wyatt, realizing this was the first moment he'd been free from supervision since returning to the Spire. "Tom!" Wyatt called, sounding as happy to see him as he was to see her. He drew her into a hug that she returned stiffly, hitting his back in a way that was meant to be friendly, not slightly painful the way it was. Tom pulled back, seeing the frantic, harried look on her face. "How are you doing?" "Bad. I have five penalty hours," Wyatt said sadly. "I can't believe I've already gotten five." "I've wanted to ask someone what those are," Tom said. "I've got sixty." Her eyes shot wide. "You just got back from vacation. How have you already gotten sixty?" Tom raised his eyebrows. "Are you actually surprised by this?" She considered that. "Now that I think about it, not really." "Yeah, thought not. Why'd you get yours?" He was puzzled, since she almost never got in trouble. She ticked them off on her fingers. "First, Yuri and I got an hour for holding hands when we got back from break." "Are you serious? You got penalized for holding hands?" "General Mezilo has new policy against fraternization." "Wait," Tom sputtered. "Wait, we can't fraternize now?" She shook her head. "Nope, not when we're inside the Spire. Only the problem is, Mezilo's banned us from leaving the Spire indefinitely, or even making external calls without supervision. He wants us on lockdown until we've demonstrated proper discipline." "What about the internet?" "Nope." Tom was aghast. No internet? He wasn't sure how people could exist without even the internet. "Yuri and I got the first hour for holding hands even though we didn't know the new regulations yet," she went on, "then I got one hour because a few strands of my hair were touching the collar of my uniform at the weekly haircut inspection-" "Weekly haircut inspection?" "Haircut and boot inspection," she clarified, as though that made it any less ridiculous. "Then I got an hour for putting all the information about the Pentagonal Spire in the civilian classes homework feed. General Mezilo wants everyone to have to memorize how many lights are in the Spire, how many windows, how much square footage, that type of stuff-the old-fashioned way. Never mind that we have photographic memories anyway and only need to read the blueprints once. He even asked techs if they could disrupt our photographic memories so we have to rely on our brains. He doesn't seem to get that the neural processor atrophies parts of the brain. If you disable the memory function in some of the people who have been here for years, they don't have a hippocampus to compensate anymore." "Wait, wait . . . What techs?" Blackburn was a complete control freak with the software writing around the Pentagonal Spire, Tom knew. He'd never retained techs for very long. He preferred to sleep two hours a night rather than trust other people with his encryptions. Well, people other than Wyatt, that was.