On an Earth ravaged by global warming, human-dolphin hybrids called Aquarians have built thriving reef colonies among the drowned cities of the coast. Now their world is under siege from an enemy whose invisible weapon leaves no survivors. Only Ocypode the Atavism—half-human and half-Aquarian, marooned in the genetic limbo between species—knows why. Disclosing the reason could be as deadly to Aquarius as the Medusa plague itself. Ocypode and his comrades must face the perils of flight into the open ocean, a friend’s betrayal, a killer storm, a lethal kelp forest haunted by mutant monsters, and a fundamental challenge to their most cherished beliefs if they are to have any hope of saving Aquarius from destruction. They must enlist allies of the most unexpected sort from the most unlikely of places. Even then—when confronted by rogue scientists determined to resurrect the land by slaughtering the sea—it may not be enough.
Finalist in the SF category for the 2014 EPIC eBook Awards
"For those who enjoy the simple pleasures of an adventure story, Aquarius Rising can be warmly recommended. Burt does a good job of balancing action, exposition and scene-setting to create a highly colourful page-turner, full of the vivid hues and unfamiliar sights of its aquatic world and galvanised by regular tail-breadth escapes and fishy ruckuses. He also opens up the narrative in interesting ways..."--Julian White, book reviewer for albedo1.com (full review at www.albedo1.com/2013/07/17/demons-bento-3-july-2013/)
Read an Excerpt
We were born in the tears of God.
When the First Creator wept at the fate of His Creation, His tears fell like burning rain to melt the polar ice and swell the seas, the cradle of all life. His grief swallowed the mighty human cities of the coast and gave them over to the realm of Mother Ocean. Humanity, who did not aggrieve the Maker out of malice but out of ignorance, wished to atone for their sins against the Earth. We are that atonement. We are Humankind’s offering to the First Creator, the Maker of All. The Great Father-a man, and nothing more-crafted his transforming virus and infected his own kind, so that we might be born as the children of Man and Mother Ocean. Humanity became the Second Creator, Aquarius the Second Creation, and we the stewards of its bounty.
We owe much to Man, who is our father and our brother. We must honor our debt to him. But we must always remember this: he who has the power to Create also has the power to Destroy.
- Delphis, Third Pod Leader of Tillamook Reef Colony, from a speech to commemorate the Fiftieth Aquarian Birth Day
1. BIRTH DAY
Ocypode dove through the turquoise waters of Tillamook Reef toward the fringes of the celebration. Revelers floated everywhere. Strings of limpets, whelks, and periwinkles glittered around their necks, clicking when they moved. Brightly colored pigments stained their skin of blue and gray and silver with pictograms symbolizing the history of Aquarius. Ocypode ghosted through the crowd in silence. His own flesh bore no ornaments.
Ocypode of Tillamook had no desire to draw attention to himself.
He slipped through the window of an ancient building-its barnacle-encrusted frame long devoid of panes-and hovered in the opening like a misshapen eye thrust into the socket of a skull. Birth Day throngs made him want to flee toward open ocean. He preferred to watch from the shadows.
The surface shimmered overhead as sunlight filtered down to paint the reef. The drowned Human city had been reborn, bones of steel and concrete covered with a growth of corals. Fish darted between caves marked by crumbling doors and windows, danced across the reef like fragments of a shattered rainbow. Waves soughed beneath the chatter of the crowd. When he listened, Ocypode could almost grasp the secrets hidden in that ceaseless whisper.
Ocypode hated secrets. They had ruled his life for far too long...but not today.