Rats in the Pipes is my first novel. You can read it for free by clicking on the link.
300 years since the climate catastrophe overwhelmed the last remnants of 21st century civilisation and humanity retreated into biosphere cities. Esperance was built with high ideals but life has become a grim existence for most of its inhabitants. Only the privileged few enjoy a life of comfort and luxury. Seven years ago Vallen Norin was one of them. Now he is Ben Lir, delivery boy. He has learnt to survive in the precarious lower levels where every free citizen lives with the fear of debt bondage and slavery.
His boss Dom Di hates him and he’s hanging on to his job by a thread. He’s amazed when his boss asks for a favour and offers better jobs as a reward. It becomes clear the favour is no favour when it turns out to be an unofficial delivery to the most dangerous level of the city. Ben doesn’t have much choice, refuse and he can kiss his job goodbye. Trouble doesn’t take long to find him and up against a wall with a knife to his throat he’s cursing his luck when he’s rescued by the last person he’d expect to find anywhere dangerous, a Community Safety Officer called Per Das.
Esperance runs on graft and corruption and the Community Safety Bureau are the best in the business so when Per Das, says he doesn’t want money for doing his job Ben can’t believe it. He decides to find out more about his rescuer. Per is amused by Ben’s ill concealed curiosity and they agree to meet for a drink.
Per doesn’t expect his life to change but then his Chief dumps a ‘special duty’ on him and everything goes rapidly downhill. From tentatively exploring the edges of friendship and trust Ben and Per are thrown together by events that spiral out of control. Per risks telling Ben the truth about himself and Ben reciprocates with his own story.
From friendship Ben and Per find it is only a short step to love; adding the danger of an illegal same sex relationship to their already precarious lives. As if that wasn’t enough they hide a small boy to save him from the brutality of life in the City Orphanage, a horror Per experienced as a child.
Faced with ever increasing danger in the City their only choice is to set out on a perilous journey through a hostile environment and violent and unpredictable weather to try and find a settlement called the Warrens that is somewhere in the vast swamps that used to be Northern Europe.