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THE AVALON JOB (Hollow Moon #4) by Steph Bennion


Ravana O'Brien is confronted by her past in more ways than one. Secret agent Kedesh is back on the scene, seeking help for a mission to Alpha Centauri. Artorius, the young boy taken by Que Qiao agents after fleeing the Dhusarian Church, has been traced to a shadowy American base on the moon of Avalon. A second alien portal has been found, a mysterious ancient machine that can twist space and time.

Avalon is no ordinary world. The moon hosts epic holovid events, not least the vicious celebrity show Gods of Avalon, a game based on the legends of King Arthur where players fight to survive against cyberclone beasts. Infiltrating the secret base means getting past the game arenas, but Ravana cannot trust the slippery Kedesh and has enemies old and new out to see her fail. The rejuvenated Priest Taranis, now with the might of the new Terran Federation of Worlds at his disposal, is pulling the strings. He has a new chosen one, a man called The Raven who seeks Ravana's doom. A rumour of hidden gold is sowing confusion. Artorius is the key to those who want the alien portal open. Watchers are playing the ultimate game.

(First published 14 August 2020; approx. 136,000 words.)

Cover artwork by WyrdStar. [Individual images by Willgard, Parker-West, pendleburyannette, tony241969 and Jansen-G on Pixabay.]

Read an excerpt from Chapter One now!

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EBOOK recommended retail price:
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Book 1
Book 2
Book 3
Book 4
Book 5
Main Sequence
Intro Anthology

The Barnard's Star player in the holovid games is not doing well...

“A lark?” Maia scowled. “This place is horrible. Why did I ever agree to take part?”

“You craved what every contestant wants,” Nurori said solemnly. “Your five minutes of fame. You all think that appearing on the show will help your career. How many Gods of Avalon veterans have actually gone on to do great things?”

“It’s not like that!” Maia protested. “I’m doing this because, err...”

Nurori gave an infuriating smile. “Exactly.”

“They said I’d put Bradbury Heights and Ascension on the map!” Maia said defiantly. “Nobody pays Barnard’s Star much attention. I was told it would be good to have someone on the show from a Commonwealth world.”

“How’s that working out?” asked Hreidmar, a mischievous grin visible through his beard. “Are the people of Ascension basking in your glory?”

Old enemies are back...

“Lieutenant Dana of the Chinese space fleet,” she growled. “You and your fellow rebel scum caused me a great deal of trouble during the peace conference on Daode. You threw a cat in my face!” she persisted, waggling her gun.

“Oh, that Dana,” Ravana said wearily. “Demoted to lieutenant, eh?”

The scheming Priest Taranis has a new champion of prophecy...

"You’re alive," said the man, halting before her. He sounded disappointed.

"You must be Uttar," Ravana replied coolly. "Taranis’ new chosen one."

"There was no other," he retorted. "I’m aware of your past exploits. You are an anomaly, Ravana O’Brien. The so-called demon king of prophecy, led astray by unbelievers, a she-devil who conversed with the greys. The thief of the holy Isa-Sastra who turned on our guide of guides. You meddled on Falsafah and here you are again!"

"Life has been interesting," she admitted. "And mostly not my fault."

Even for the rebels of "Psyche's Seven", infiltrating Avalon is a dangerous game...

“A Knight of Mordred,” Brokkr remarked. “One of those dumb cyberclones viewers operate through VR from home. You need to step carefully inside this castle.”

“Hey, it caught me by surprise!” Galar protested. “Poetry is my weapon. A satirical song cuts deeper than a blade of steel.”

“Maybe you should swap your sword for your guitar,” suggested Litr.

“Yeah, he’d have its ears bleeding in no time,” teased Brokkr, dashing to the door. “Galar, how on Taotie did you survive as a freedom fighter?”

“I was more the public-relations man. I wove the legends that made us heroes.”

And much, much more!

CHAPTER TITLES: Prologue: The mountain and the mammoth / An unexpected reunion / Almost famous / Ghosts in the machine / The halls of Valhalla / Fright knight at the Round Table / The god, the bad and the ugly / Monsters, murder and mystery / Between a rock and a hard place / Games without frontiers / The wandering wizard of odd / The boy who would be king / Battle Royale / Rime of the ancient watchers / Parting of the ways.

* * *

Map of Gods of Avalon holovid game arenas

A map of the terraformed region of Avalon (moon of Thule) known as West Celtica, as used by the Avalon Broadcasting Corporation. Hand-drawn (badly) by the author. A smaller version of this map can be found in 'Ebook Extras', the ebook endpapers.

Gods of Avalon

* * *


“On the other hand, Alpha Centauri is the one system where we haven’t made loads of enemies!” Ostara said brightly. “It’s a long way from Taranis and his Federation.”
[The Avalon Job, Chapter One: An unexpected reunion.]

Alpha Centauri Barnard's Star Solar System

"You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!" - Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) in The Italian Job (Troy Kennedy-Martin, dir. Peter Collinson, 1969).


Do you have the latest version? Ebooks are periodically revised to update endpapers following new releases and to correct any errors...

EBOOK: ISBN: 978-1005266943 (Smashwords); ASIN: B08DMVWS65 (Kindle).


AUGUST 2020 - First ebook edition (pre-order/pre-sales in July) (approx. 380 pages).

NOTE: If you obtained this ebook from Smashwords, you can download subsequent updates at no extra cost.

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