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Prisoners of the Game
Ground Zero of the Fractured Earth Saga
by Tim Allen
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"The latest sci-fi thriller from Tim Allen, author of the Spring 2016 bestseller Apocalypse Orphan, has all the ingredients of an exciting story: hacking, conspiracy, government corruption, and six gamers trapped in a virtual reality nightmare, fighting for their lives against a seemingly unbeatable cyber-entity determined to enslave the human race."
During the Cold War, Russia developed over 100 nuclear suitcase bombs, some capable of destroying a small city. In 2019, a Qatari terrorist acquired them on the black market. One summer day, he unleashed the fury of hell, raining destruction on the West. World War III engulfs the planet, and the superpowers develop super-intelligent androids to gain the upper hand. But the machines turn on their masters, slaughtering humans by the millions. The Robotic Wars rage on for years, but finally, the swarming androids are defeated.
Determined that the world must never again fight a physical war and suffer mass destruction, a new alternative to bombs in the sky and boots on the ground is developed. Spy agencies begin recruiting and training an elite army of video warriors to battle in vast computer matrixes where life-like virtual worlds are maintained. Every nation develops its own cadre of highly trained video gamers, called, “Irus,” who defend their homelands against conquest. Wars are fought in virtual reality for control of territories, natural resources, and wealth.
But after decades of world peace and prosperity, something is going wrong with the global network of computer servers. Irus are suffering grisly deaths in real life, and ghostly apparitions are defying the laws of science, escaping from the virtual realm and manifesting in our physical world.
Six young Irus are dispatched into the holo-cloud to investigate the glitch that is causing havoc with the war servers, and all hell breaks loose. Trapped in dangerous, computer-generated alien worlds, these video warriors must time travel through treacherous scenarios and fight off bloodthirsty aliens, zombies, enemy soldiers, and the vast legions of Rome to escape torture and death as prisoners of the game.
About the Author
Tim Allen is a 28-year veteran fire captain for the Peoria (Illinois) Fire Department. His writing career began the day he responded to a structure fire. Tim and a fellow firefighter were nearly cooked in the inferno, and his supervisor told him to write a report on the incident. He was so upset by the experience that he left out details and wrote a brief summary that glossed over the terror of that moment. His supervisor felt that Tim's report wasn't detailed enough and ordered him to write a more descriptive fire report.
In the rewrite, Tim gave a highly descriptive narrative of the event. He titled it Faraday Street and included vivid details about what he had seen and felt during those two minutes of hell. His boss stated that this report contained too much detail, and it earned Tim a reprimand with the most severe punishment possible: an insubordination charge and a day off without pay.
Over the next few months, word of Tim's Farraday Street narrative got around, and the incident flared into controversy. Eventually, the report began circulating among his fellow firefighters, and when several co-workers wanted to read more of his stories, he began writing in earnest. Today, Tim devotes most of his free time to writing, while teaching courses on Hazardous Materials Response, Confined Space, Rope Rescue, and Structural Collapse to firefighters and local businesses.
Tim is currently writing a murder mystery entitled Tethered, but his primary love is science fiction. He has nearly a dozen sci-fi novels in development that run the gamut from planetary colonization and aliens to time travel. He also writes horror stories based on well-documented crime reports and true stories.