The Eternal Dungeon: a Turn-of-the-Century Toughs omnibus

      Dusk Peterson
The Eternal Dungeon: a Turn-of-the-Century Toughs omnibus

A man of deadly impulses, Layle Smith binds himself strictly by the royal prison's code of conduct. His efforts to maintain this delicate balance are altered, though, by the introduction into his life of Elsdon Taylor, a vulnerable prisoner who is coming to terms with his own darkness.In the Queendom of Yclau lies an underground royal prison that embraces the worst of the past and the best of the future. The Eternal Dungeon is old-fashioned in its equipment and ahead of its time in its treatment of prisoners, seeking to put their best welfare above all else. Torture is part of the process of assisting the prisoners.The High Seeker, Layle Smith, embodies this contradictory institution: a man of deadly impulses, the head torturer binds himself strictly by the dungeon's code of conduct. His efforts to maintain this delicate balance are altered, though, by the introduction into his life of Elsdon Taylor, a vulnerable prisoner who is coming to terms with his own darkness.A winner of the 2011 Rainbow Awards, this 2016 edition of the omnibus on love and adventure is 460,000 words long, containing the first four volumes in the Eternal Dungeon series, as well as the prequel novella "The Unanswered Question."The Eternal Dungeon is a speculative fiction series set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips. The series is part of Turn-of-the-Century Toughs, a cycle of alternate history series (Young Toughs, Waterman, Life Prison, Commando, Michael's House, The Eternal Dungeon, and Dark Light) about adults and youths on the margins of society, and the people who love them. Set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times. As a result, the New World retains certain classical and medieval customs.Review"It takes really hard subject matter, and a character that in most books would be the major villain, and makes you love every single word. . . . If you want oh my god world building, read this." —LGBT Fantasy Fans and Writers.Excerpt"If you should grow bored, you might want to peruse this. You'll need to know the contents."Elsdon took the book from him and looked down at the title stamped in gold upon the cover. "Yes," he said slowly, "I'm eager to read this anyway. Mr. Sobel made your Code sound interesting. I'll do my best to finish this before I have to leave here." He looked up as he stopped speaking, and his voice caught.Standing beside him was a man with a face. His eyes were the color of summer leaves, and his coloring was a pale yellow-brown. He looked to be fairly young, in his thirties. He had high cheekbones that gave him a somewhat foreign appearance, but otherwise he had quite an ordinary look to him. Elsdon might have passed him on the street without taking notice.His expression held a stiff formality that reminded Elsdon of a voice that had become familiar to him.Suddenly the stiffness in the mouth relaxed into what might have been the beginning of a smile, if it had not been so faint. "We do have faces, Mr. Taylor," the High Seeker said. "I know that children are commonly put to bed with scare-tales about faceless Seekers.""I'm sorry." Elsdon swallowed. "I didn't mean to stare. I just didn't realize that Seekers were allowed to raise their hoods around prisoners.""We're not allowed to lift our face-cloths when we're in public," Mr. Smith replied. "It's part of our uniform, which we must wear at all times; it helps to keep our relations with the other dungeon inhabitants on a professional level. However, when we're in private with friends or neighbors, we are permitted to show our faces."Elsdon couldn't speak for a minute; he stared down at his shoes. Finally he looked up and said diffidently, "I'm glad you think of me in that way, as a neighbor. I – I'm starting to think of the Eternal Dungeon like that. As a place to live, not just a place to be imprisoned."The High Seeker made no reply. . . .
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    Re-creation: gift for a slave (The Three Lands)

      Dusk Peterson
Re-creation: gift for a slave (The Three Lands)

Despite his father's desire that the imperial heir maintain a formal distance from servants, Peter finds himself drawn in friendship to the younger boy who serves as his slave. But a shocking revelation on the eve of the New Year forces Peter to confront his own motives for keeping the slave close by. And that in turn will help him understand the deeper meaning of the gift-giving festival."He could not leave this room without his father's permission. And he could not imagine going to his father and saying, 'Please let me go gather moss so that my slave can have a proper New Year for once.'"What can you give a slave who, by law, can own nothing? That is the question faced by Peter, the teenage heir to the throne of an empire. Despite his father's desire that the imperial heir maintain a formal distance from servants, Peter finds himself drawn in friendship to the younger boy who serves as his slave.But a shocking revelation on the eve of the New Year forces Peter to confront his own motives for keeping the slave close by. And that in turn will help him understand the deeper meaning of the gift-giving festival.This holiday novelette of romantic friendship and a young man's quest for true manhood can be read on its own or as part of The Three Lands, a fantasy series on friendship, romantic friendship, romance, and betrayal in times of war and peace. The series is inspired by conflicts between nations during the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages. The Three Lands is part of The Great Peninsula, a cycle of fantasy series (Young Spies and The Three Lands) about an epic battle between cultures, set at a time when a centuries-old civilization is in danger of being destroyed.ExcerptPeter looked down once more at the pathetic little object in his hand that purported to be the Balance of Judgment. Judgment weighing vengeance and mercy."We've forgotten about the Heart of Mercy," he said suddenly."I know how to make that too," Andrew replied, inspecting the tip of the clay sword in his hand."You're a wonder," Peter said, setting the lopsided Balance aside and rolling over onto his stomach. They were in his chamber, of course, which meant that the only places to sit were some stiff-backed chairs, the bed, and the floor. Andrew seemed to prefer the floor, though Peter had invited him onto the bed each day since the younger boy became his slave. Peter supposed this was due to some Koretian custom; he resolved inwardly to ask Andrew about that. After all, Peter's ostensible reason for having Andrew as his slave was to familiarize himself with his empire's southern dominion of Koretia. Peter's father – who was legally Andrew's owner – had said that mastering Andrew would help Peter learn how to rule his subjects."How did you learn to make crafts?" he asked Andrew."From a friend."Peter waited, but no further details emerged. Finally Peter said, "Was he a craftsman?""He was a boy. But he lived with the priests, and they trained him at artisan work, in case he should need such work when he grew up and—" Andrew shut his lips tightly. He bowed his head, as though concentrating all his thoughts on the clay he was flattening with his fingers.Peter felt then that he deserved the beating Andrew had received. A friend. A boy whom Andrew had known in the Koretian capital. Probably the boy had been enslaved during the final battle there, if not killed outright. And Andrew had been forced to speak of him.To Peter, Chara To Be, son of the ruler who had conquered Andrew's native land.
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    Mercy's Prisoner (Life Prison, Volume 1)

      Dusk Peterson
Mercy's Prisoner (Life Prison, Volume 1)

A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy. All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks...and so may their closest allies."'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.A runner-up in the Rainbow Awards 2014, the book bundle "Mercy's Prisoner" can be read on its own or as the first volume in the Life Prison series. Friendship, desire between men, and the costs of corruption and integrity are examined in this multicultural speculative fiction series, which is inspired by prison life at the end of the nineteenth century.VOLUME CONTENTS"Life Prison." In the unmerciful world of Mercy Prison, there is no rule but unending pain. For Merrick, the arrival of his new guard provides hope that he may break beyond the boundaries of his life prison. But appearances can be deceptive, and Merrick does not yet recognize the danger this guard poses to his future."Men and Lads." Two guards. Two prisoners. A multitude of problems."Milord." He was the model prisoner, respectful to his guards and loyal to his fellow prisoners. What no one knew was that he held the key to destruction."Isolation." Being locked in a prison cell can cause a man to re-examine his priorities. Especially when the door never opens."Curious." His job is to guard the prisoners. But against what?"Mercy's Prisoner: Epilogue.""Mercy's Prisoner: Historical Note."REVIEW"Liveprison. Der Name sagt alles. Sehr düster." - Mllesatine: Empfehlungen.PREVIEWHis face came full into the light as he stepped forward. Wearing the uniform of a Compassion guard, he looked even more like his father: he had the same thin lips and the same straight eyebrows. But the eyes were empty of all coldness – indeed, of all expression of any sort – and there was no smile on his lips, cruel or otherwise."My name is Thomas," he said. "I'm your new guard."I noted the use of his given name rather than his paternal name, and with the instinct of a veteran fighter I dropped and made my attack accordingly. "Ah, yes," I said. "The son of Compassion's Keeper. I can expect great deeds from you, I'm sure."His lips grew even thinner, but that was all; it seemed that he was well used to this mode of attack. He said, as though I had not spoken, "My job is to provide service to you during your stay at this prison, and to make your stay as comfortable as is possible under your circumstances. If you have any needs, I hope you will let me know of them."I stared at him open-mouthed for a moment, and then I gave a hoot of laughter that resounded through the entire level. The early-morning conversations across the fire-pit paused briefly, and Sedgewick, who was passing my cell, glanced in with narrowed eyes before continuing on."Let me – let me understand you correctly," I said, struggling to gain control of myself. "You'll give me any service I want?""Any service that is in accordance with the rules of your stay.""But the only rule is that I should not be permitted escape, either through death or any other means. So you'll give me anything else?""If it's within reason, yes.""Anything at all?""Tell me what you want, and I'll be able to give you a firm answer." His patience, I saw with delight, was wearing down."Fine," I said, leaning back and pulling off the blanket to reveal my body underneath. I had given up wearing clothes at bedtime several guards before. "I want you to come over here and service me on your knees."
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    Rebirth (The Eternal Dungeon, Volume 1)

      Dusk Peterson
Rebirth (The Eternal Dungeon, Volume 1)

Elsdon Taylor, a prisoner accused of committing a terrible murder. Layle Smith, a torturer with a terrible past. Their meeting appears certain to bring out the worst in both men. Yet neither man is quite what he appears. As the prisoner and his torturer begin to be drawn toward each other, the ripple effects of their meeting will have a powerful impact on other inhabitants of the Eternal Dungeon."'This prisoner deserves special treatment.' The hooded man looked over at the young man again."Elsdon Taylor, a prisoner accused of committing a terrible murder. Layle Smith, a torturer with a terrible past. Their meeting in the Eternal Dungeon appears certain to bring out the worst in both men.Yet neither man is quite what he appears. As the prisoner and his torturer begin to be drawn toward each other, the ripple effects of their meeting will have a powerful impact on other inhabitants of the Eternal Dungeon: Layle's faithful guard, struggling to contain his doubts. A younger guard determined to take any shortcuts necessary to ensure that his life follows the path he has already chosen. An old love from Layle's past, still sorrowing. And most of all, a prisoner who has not yet arrived at the Eternal Dungeon, but whose fate will depend on how Layle handles Elsdon Taylor . . . and on how Elsdon handles Layle Smith.A winner of the 2011 Rainbow Awards (within the "Eternal Dungeon" omnibus), this tale of love and adventure can be read on its own or as the first volume in The Eternal Dungeon, a speculative fiction series set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips.The Eternal Dungeon series is part of Turn-of-the-Century Toughs, a cycle of alternate history series (Waterman, Life Prison, Commando, Michael's House, The Eternal Dungeon, and Dark Light) about adults and youths on the margins of society, and the people who love them. Set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times. As a result, the New World retains certain classical and medieval customs.
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    The Breaking (The Eternal Dungeon)

      Dusk Peterson
The Breaking (The Eternal Dungeon)

The prisoner knew that the Eternal Dungeon was a place where suspected criminals were broken by torture, and he was prepared to hold out against any methods used against him - except the method he could not anticipate. . . . A winner of the 2011 Rainbow Awards, this suspenseful novella is the introductory story for the alternate history series The Eternal Dungeon."'Do you have any questions?' the Seeker asked. 'About the routine of the dungeon? The times you will be fed? The questions you will be asked? The instruments of torture I use?'"The prisoner knew that the Eternal Dungeon was a place where suspected criminals were broken by torture, and he was prepared to hold out against any methods used against him – except the method he could not anticipate.Arrested on the charge of committing a particularly horrendous murder, Elsdon Taylor arrives at the Eternal Dungeon in fear of the harsh methods used by the torturers, called Seekers, to draw confessions from their prisoners.But his Seeker's methods are for more devious than Elsdon had expected. Now Elsdon is faced with a choice that will shape his future . . . as well as the future of his Seeker.A winner of the 2011 Rainbow Awards (within the "Eternal Dungeon" omnibus), this suspenseful novella (short novel) can be read on its own or as the introductory story for The Eternal Dungeon, an alternate history series set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips.The Eternal Dungeon series is part of Turn-of-the-Century Toughs, a cycle of diverse alternate history series (The Eternal Dungeon, Dungeon Guards, Michael's House, Life Prison, Commando, Waterman, Young Toughs, and Dark Light) about adults and youths on the margins of society, and the people who love them. Set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times. As a result, the New World retains certain classical and medieval customs.
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    Law Links (The Three Lands)

      Dusk Peterson
Law Links (The Three Lands)

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods when a blood feud breaks out in his village. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life."Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.This novel on a young man's encounters with soldiers and spies can be read on its own or as part of The Three Lands, a diverse fantasy series on friendship, romantic friendship, romance, and betrayal in times of war and peace. The series is inspired by conflicts between nations during the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages.
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    Master and Servant (Waterman)

      Dusk Peterson
Master and Servant (Waterman)

When he and other students at his boarding school become the latest participants in an ongoing battle between the oystermen of their Bay, Carr finds that his position of power may bring danger, not only to himself, but also to a schoolfellow he is drawn toward."Carr turned his head toward the water in time to see an Oyster Navy schooner dash round Bentley Point, hot in pursuit of the skipjacks. The cannon on the schooner's bow boomed."Born into a society with a strictly ranked system of masters and servants, Carr has sought to tread his way delicately between the clashing values of the parents who raised him and the uncle whose household Carr will one day live in. Yet when he and other students at his boarding school become the latest participants in an ongoing battle between the oystermen of their Bay, Carr finds that his position of power may bring danger, not only to himself, but also to a schoolfellow he is drawn toward.This novel can be read on its own or as the first novel in Waterman, a historical fantasy series and retrofuture series inspired by the Chesapeake Bay oyster wars, boarding school rivalries in the 1910s, and 1960s visions of things to come. VOLUME CONTENTS"The Abolitionist." When a foul-mouthed, seditious foreigner turns up at your door, what are the benefits of letting him in?"The True Master." In a society where the rank of master or slave defines every aspect of a person's being, what do you do when you're a master and you envy your slaves?"Unmarked." "Fair play" is the motto of the Third House at Narrows School, but that motto takes on a different meaning when a lonely member of the Third House is secretly wooed by a young man from a rival House.
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