List Price: $17.00 Details
Save: $3.51 (20%)
Get Fast, Free Shipping with Amazon Prime & FREE Returns
Return this item for free
  • Free returns are available for the shipping address you chose. You can return the item for any reason in new and unused condition: no shipping charges
  • Learn more about free returns.
How to return the item?
FREE delivery:
Get free shipping
Free shipping within the U.S. when you order $25.00 of eligible items shipped by Amazon.
Or get faster shipping on this item starting at $5.99 . (Prices may vary for AK and HI.)
Learn more about free shipping
Thursday, Dec 9 on orders over $25.00 shipped by Amazon. Details
Fastest delivery: Wednesday, Dec 8
Order within 4 hrs and 28 mins
Details
In Stock.
As an alternative, the Kindle eBook is available now and can be read on any device with the free Kindle app. Want to listen? Try Audible.
$$13.49 () Includes selected options. Includes initial monthly payment and selected options. Details
Price
Subtotal
$$13.49
Subtotal
Initial payment breakdown
Shipping cost, delivery date, and order total (including tax) shown at checkout.
Your transaction is secure
We work hard to protect your security and privacy. Our payment security system encrypts your information during transmission. We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others. Learn more
Ships from
Amazon.com
Sold by
Amazon.com
Ships from
Amazon.com
Sold by
Amazon.com
Return policy: Returnable until Jan 31, 2022
For the 2021 holiday season, returnable items purchased between October 1 and December 31 can be returned until January 31, 2022
Fantastic Hope has been added to your Cart
Get Fast, Free Shipping with Amazon Prime
FREE delivery:
Get free shipping
Free shipping within the U.S. when you order $25.00 of eligible items shipped by Amazon.
Or get faster shipping on this item starting at $5.99 . (Prices may vary for AK and HI.)
Learn more about free shipping
Thursday, Dec 9 on orders over $25.00 shipped by Amazon. Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Book is in good condition and may contain underling/highlighting and minimal wear. The book can also include "From the library of" labels. May not contain miscellaneous items (toys, dvds, etc.). We offer 100% money back guarantee and 24/7 customer service. Free 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime!
<Embed>
Other Sellers on Amazon
$14.69
& FREE Shipping
Sold by: Books Unplugged
Sold by: Books Unplugged
(2965 ratings)
89% positive over last 12 months
Only 1 left in stock - order soon.
Shipping rates and Return policy
$13.70
+ $3.99 shipping
Sold by: allnewbooks
Sold by: allnewbooks
(268494 ratings)
92% positive over last 12 months
In stock.
Usually ships within 4 to 5 days.
Shipping rates and Return policy
$18.53
& FREE Shipping
Sold by: Publisher Direct
Sold by: Publisher Direct
(84331 ratings)
94% positive over last 12 months
Only 7 left in stock - order soon.
Shipping rates and Return policy
Loading your book clubs
There was a problem loading your book clubs. Please try again.
Not in a club? Learn more
Amazon book clubs early access

Join or create book clubs

Choose books together

Track your books
Bring your club to Amazon Book Clubs, start a new book club and invite your friends to join, or find a club that’s right for you for free.

Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more

Read instantly on your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.

Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.

QR code to download the Kindle App

Enter your mobile phone or email address

Processing your request...

By pressing "Send link," you agree to Amazon's Conditions of Use.

You consent to receive an automated text message from or on behalf of Amazon about the Kindle App at your mobile number above. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Message & data rates may apply.

Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Follow the Authors

See all
Something went wrong. Please try your request again later.


Fantastic Hope Paperback – April 7, 2020

4.5 out of 5 stars 597 ratings

Price
New from Used from
Kindle
Paperback
$13.49
$8.50 $2.69
when you buy $20 of select items. Shop items

Enhance your purchase


Give the gift of Audible
Put the joy of great stories at their fingertips. Learn more

Frequently bought together

  • Fantastic Hope
  • +
  • Sucker Punch (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter)
  • +
  • Rafael (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter)
Total price:
To see our price, add these items to your cart.
Choose items to buy together.

Special offers and product promotions

  • Save $5 when you spend $20 Offered by Amazon.com. Shop items
  • Create your FREE Amazon Business account to save up to 10% with Business-only prices and free shipping.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Laurell K. Hamilton is a full-time writer and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series and the Merry Gentry series. She lives in a suburb of St. Louis with her family.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Twilight Falls

 

A Joe Ledger Rogue Team International Adventure

 

Jonathan Maberry

 

1.

 

Phoenix House

Omfori Island, Greece

 

"They're not chem-trails," I said with the last fragment of patience. "They're contrails."

 

We were in the briefing room and I was pretty close to throwing my cup of coffee at the smug little bastard who hosted the conspiracy theory radio show. Jim Peabody. He had a lean, oddly angular birdlike body and looked like an affronted egret. He had the kind of face you wanted to throw a coffee cup at. Even if you like coffee as much as I do. It was very hot coffee and it would hurt. So, the struggle was real because I wanted him to shut the fuck up.

 

"Just listen to him, sugar," said Joan Holliday, the head of our integrated sciences division. She looks like a six-foot-plus version of Dolly Parton. All the glam, glitter, curves, and sass of the singer, but thirty years younger and a shelf full of MDs and PhDs. She called everyone sugar. Or honey bunny. Or sweet cheeks.

 

"Why bother?" I demanded. "We've got some freaks threatening to release bioweapons in fifty countries. Fifty. Five-zero. We're standing on the brink of the actual apocalypse. We are a couple of very bad days away from living in either a disease-infested wasteland or a dystopia in which only those entitled assholes who can afford it are going to survive. That isn't the plot of a summer blockbuster, it's happening right now. So excuse the living fuck out of me if I'm not all that concerned about some crackpot belief trending with the tinfoil hat crowd."

 

Peabody actually recoiled from me, then took a half step forward. "Colonel Ledger, if you'd just listen to-"

 

"I've been listening," I said. "And all I'm hearing is bullshit."

 

"No, sir," said Peabody officiously, "you're hearing but not listening. You're not paying attention."

 

"'Paying attention'?" I had to smile. "Do you want to know what I was doing when I got the call to come in for this briefing? I was hunting for a group of terrorists suspected of smuggling a bioweapon delivery system into Athens. Do you know how many people live in Athens? Do you know how many people we're trying to keep alive in Athens? And Rome, and London, and Paris, and New York, and-?"

 

"Colonel . . ."

 

It was Mr. Church who'd spoken. A single word. Quiet, without emphasis.

 

I stopped my rant. We all looked at him. Church is a big man, black and strong. Somewhere in his sixties, but that isn't what made him the adult in the room. He was the adult in any room. You look at him and immediately want to check your fingernails to see if they're clean. I've seen generals and heads of state react that way, too.

 

"Every JSOC and private SpecOps team in the world is on the hunt for the bioterrorists. Our people, MHI, SEAL Team 666, Chess Team, Sigma Force . . . It's doubtful there's ever been a more concentrated hunt than what is currently ongoing. And, as valuable a field asset as you are, Colonel, cutting you out of that pack to deal with this is not likely to be the deciding factor in keeping the world on its hinges."

 

Doc Holliday pretended to whisper, but said, "You got spanked." And she said it in a little musical singsong. I glared nuclear death at her.

 

"Okay, okay," I said with bad grace and turned back to Peabody-who, for the record, looks like a Peabody. A classic example of the type. "Chem-trails. Sure. Fine. Explain to me how that's not a conspiracy theory."

 

Peabody pushed his glasses up his nose and said, "Well, Colonel Ledger, understand that I would normally agree with you. In all circumstances. Contrails are actually condensation trails. Line-shaped cloud formations created by changes in air pressure as aircraft cruise at certain altitudes and under certain atmospheric conditions. Water vapor in the engine exhaust interacts with low ambient temperatures, leaving lines of ice crystals. And some contrails are formed by changes in air pressure in wingtip vortices. Some disappear quickly and others can last for hours."

 

"Thank you, Bill Nye," I muttered. "Get to how that equals some kind of conspiracy."

 

"Regular contrails are harmless," said Peabody. "As you say, there are plenty of conspiracy theories about chem-trails. That nonsense got started after a 1996 air force report was published in which induced weather modification theories were discussed. Alarmists like William Thomas, Richard Finke, and Art Bell stoked the fires of the belief that some contrails were actually the release of ether chemicals or biological agents intended to accomplish a variety of goals. Mind control, pacification of the population for easier rule by the Illuminati, human population control, chemical warfare, and . . . well, the list goes on and on past into genetic seeding by reptilian aliens. Any notable outbreaks of disease, higher statistics of genetic disorders, cancers, and so on in given areas are then linked to these chem-trails."

 

I twirled my finger to indicate Doc Holliday, Church, and myself. "Choir," I said. And then pointed to him. "Preacher."

 

He flushed a little. "I had to establish certain things in order to tell you something that is actually happening."

 

Very quietly I heard Mr. Church say, "Ah."

 

Peabody had visual aids and sent images from his laptop to the big flat-screen in the conference room. The first image was a Google Maps satellite view of a stretch of nearly featureless desert. Endless sand dunes.

 

"This is TŽnŽrŽ, a desert region in the south-central Sahara that stretches from northeastern Chad to western Sudan. One hundred fifty thousand square miles of nothing. It is ostensibly owned by Niger and Chad, but sparsely populated and of little value to anyone. You can't farm it and there is very little water. It is, for all intents and purposes, a dead land."

 

He clicked and a picture appeared of a pair of dark-skinned men dressed in white robes leading a string of starved-looking camels.

 

"There's a scattering of ethnic groups, but the area in question for us is used mostly by Toubou people, who are descended from the original Neolithic inhabitants of the Sahara region. They are genetically Ethiopians, and are regarded as a tough, nomadic, and noble people. Most of the Toubou are salt miners. They live at the very edge of poverty and starvation."

 

Click.

 

"This is one of the Toubou salt camps," he said. The image was that of several tents clustered in the lee of a vertical pillar of natural rock that stood up from the sand. A few pine trees leaned away from the sun's fists, and there were some handfuls of grass. "The oasis is called the Finger of God for obvious reasons. This photo was taken eleven days ago by a National Geographic photographer doing a story on nomad peoples."

 

We waited, and I found myself becoming invested now. There were people in the mix and I had a bad feeling this was not going to be a story with a happy ending. In my job we don't get to read a lot of those kinds of stories.

 

Click.

 

The next shot was of the same camp. Clearly days later. Had to be days, because even in the brutal heat of the Sahara, bodies don't bloat that much. They don't warp and expand into grotesque parodies of the human form. Doc Holliday made a soft gagging sound. I walked over to the screen and stood looking at it for a long time.

 

Men and women. Children. Even the camels.

 

All of them dead.

 

Sprawled in the sand. Covered in blowflies. Mouths thrown wide, but if with screams or prayers to an unheeding god there was no way to tell. Fingers knotted into fists on stilled breasts, or clutching handfuls of sand, or entwined with those of children. Reaching to each other for help, for support, or to make sure that when the darkness took them, they fell together.

 

None of us spoke.

 

Click.

 

The next image was of a plane flying high above, leaving a double trail of silver-white vapor.

 

"That was taken by the Nat Geo reporter the same day the first oasis picture was taken," said Peabody. "The other picture . . . well, that was forty-eight hours later."

 

I turned.

 

"It doesn't prove a connection," I said.

 

"No, no . . . but . . ."

 

Click.

 

It was an aerial view of another oasis. A substantially bigger one, with many healthy palms, a big pen of goats, and a sophisticated building whose pitched roof was lined with solar panels. Several pickups and Jeeps were parked in the shade of an angled canopy, and beyond the house were several acres of land covered with sand-colored cloth tarps. But what caught my eye was what was behind the building. There, at the end of a short, flat stretch of hard-packed sand, was an aircraft. A small, tidy jet.

 

Sticking out from beneath its wings were large chemical tanks.

 

"That's not proof," I said.

 

"Show him the rest," said Church.

 

Peabody nodded. "There are three other oases in the same area."

 

Click.

 

The same jet, flying at a height of maybe four thousand feet, dragging white lines behind it.

 

Click.

 

Another camp. More tents. More trees. More bodies.

 

Click.

 

That jet again.

 

Click.

 

The third oasis. The third horror show.

 

Click.

 

Click.

 

Into the silence I said, "Tell me about the people who own that jet."

 

2.

 

Undisclosed Landing Zone

TŽnŽrŽ

South-Central Sahara

 

We had no idea what kind of tech our potential bad guys had. The days when a radar unit was some big obvious thing were long gone. Now that stuff was small, easily mounted on a Jeep or pickup.

 

So we did a HALO jump to get in.

 

High altitude, low open. That's three of us-Top Sims, Bunny, and me-throwing ourselves out of a perfectly good airplane at thirty thousand feet. Wearing goggles and breathing bottled air, and falling six fucking miles before we deployed our chutes. Yes, I was an Airborne Ranger in the army. Yes, I've done scores of combat jumps. No, I have never liked a single one of them. I have a good game face, especially in front of my men, but inside, my nuts crawl up into my chest cavity before I'm out the door, and they do not descend until about half an hour after I'm on the ground.

 

We didn't die, though, so . . . there's that.

 

We gathered up our chutes and kicked sand over them. Bradley "Top" Sims is the oldest member of Havoc Team. Pushing fifty, but clearly made out of boiler plates and scrap iron. Dark brown skin, eyes that missed nothing, and a patchwork of earned scars all over his tough hide. Beside him was Harvey Rabbit-sadly, that's his actual name. Everyone calls him Bunny. He's six and a half feet of Orange County white boy with a surfer tan and more muscles than anyone reasonably needs. They were my right and left hands. We'd joined Church's little gang of science geeks and shooters together. I trusted them more than anyone else I knew.

 

The equipment had landed a few hundred yards away, and we jogged over and uncrated three sound-suppressed dirt bikes. Very high-end stuff. Not as fast as regular motorcycles, their speed topping out at forty, but the engines purred like kittens. The cases were sand-colored and with the easterly wind blowing they'd be covered and invisible in a few hours. There were no markings of any kind on any of the gear we brought. No badges or rank insignias on our clothing. We were ghosts.

 

Top glanced at me, then up at the sky in the direction from which we'd come, and then down at the blowing sand. "World's going to shit and we're a long damn way from the fight," he said.

 

It was true enough. The bioterrorists had already begun limited releases on towns in Europe, Asia, and North America. A weaponized version of the Shanghai flu in Duoyishu, a village in southwest China's Yunnan Province. A superstrain of tuberculosis in Otranto, Puglia. And a dreadfully hardy strain of Yersinia pestis in a Navajo village in New Mexico. Right now the death toll was low. Comparatively low, anyway. Seven hundred infected, with seventeen deaths. No one was actually encouraged by those numbers. None of us believed that the death toll was going to stay low.

 

The threats about these attacks had been coming in via anonymous snail mail, social media posts from dummy accounts, and emails sent from internet cafŽs and fake profiles. The first one we knew about was nine months ago, and it wasn't taken seriously-except in retrospect. It was directed at the government of India and was filled with political and quasi-religious histrionics. All about how the current world is corrupt and that overpopulation is proof of a deliberate desire to pollute and destroy the world. The viewpoint of the group amounts to the belief that humanity has become a kind of thinking virus on the skin of the living earth. What was once a symbiotic relationship, back when humanity could be counted in the tens of thousands, has been thrown out of balance by industrialism and overpopulation. The group consider themselves to be the voice of reason.

 

Their "reasonable" suggestion, sent via email to the heads of state of the fifty most populous countries, was for the leaders to initiate a lottery to pick ninety percent of their populations and systematically euthanize them. Failure to do so would result in the group launching a program of bioweapon releases. How they planned to do that, and where they would get these bioweapons, was something we were working on figuring out.

 

The limited releases were incentives. Kicks in the ass.

 

That's why everyone with a gun was out hunting these freaks.

 

All we had for the group was a name-Silentium. Latin for "silence," which didn't tell us much. However, from the rhetoric in their messages it was pretty clear they were some kind of millenarian cult. Their rants were all about how mankind was corrupt and how a new age was going to dawn after the manufactured cleansing program. There were going to be seven years of violence, struggle, and death before the population was whittled down to a number in harmony with the earth.

 

Funny how these groups present a model of a societal golden ideal that is any rational person's concept of a dystopia.

 

And the three of us seemed to be in the wrong damn place for the fight. Church said this was worth doing, and I had to take him at his word. But it felt like we were throwing punches at the wrong chins out here. Top and Bunny and I shared a long look, each of us knowing what was in the others' hearts.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Berkley (April 7, 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 432 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593099206
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593099209
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 12 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.44 x 0.93 x 8.21 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 597 ratings

Schedule a Holiday eGift card

About the author

Follow authors to get new release updates, plus improved recommendations.
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Laurell K. Hamilton is the bestselling author of the acclaimed Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, novels. She lives near St Louis with her husband, her daughter, two dogs and an ever-fluctuating number of fish.

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
597 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on June 3, 2020
Verified Purchase
27 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on April 20, 2020
Verified Purchase
14 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on April 18, 2020
Verified Purchase
12 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on April 10, 2020
Verified Purchase
16 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on May 8, 2020
Verified Purchase
7 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on April 8, 2020
Verified Purchase
5 people found this helpful
Report abuse

Top reviews from other countries

Paws For Louise
5.0 out of 5 stars Feel good fantasy at its best!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 4, 2021
Verified Purchase
Mrs. K. S. Cullum-hanshaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Varied Collection
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 9, 2020
Verified Purchase
One person found this helpful
Report abuse
Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 10, 2021
Verified Purchase
STU
5.0 out of 5 stars Does what you wouldnexpect from a book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 14, 2021
Verified Purchase
Jo
4.0 out of 5 stars A great collection, nice variety
Reviewed in Australia on July 1, 2020
Verified Purchase