Carmen Webster Buxton was born in Honolulu and experienced a childhood on the move, as her father was in the US Navy. She now lives in Maryland with her husband and a yellow cat with the unlikely name of Carbomb. She writes science fiction and romance, mostly set in the far future, and the occasional fantasy.
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide; the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.
The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it's the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.
Hunted. Hated. Betrayed. Outcast Dagger Ixur is on the run for his life. As one of the most recognizable members of his royal house, he has a bounty on his head that guarantees him no quarter from any friend or even family. But surrender isn’t in him. He will fight to the bitter end. A resolve that is sorely tested when he narrowly escapes a trap that leaves him severely wounded. With what he believes is his dying breath, he saves a boy born to an extinct race from a group out to enslave the kid for his legendary abilities.
Ushara Altaan has spent her entire life hating the Andarion royal house that drove her entire species into virtual extinction. As a rare Andarion Fyreblood, she is sworn to end the existence of any royal she finds. But when Dagger saves her son’s life, she is torn between her people and a debt that can never be repaid.
Yet worse than Dagger’s family that’s still out to end hers and him, are the League assassins after him who will stop at nothing to claim the lives of her Tavali family. The only hope she has to save them all is to put their future and her faith into the hands of the very enemy whose grandmother personally extinguished Ushara’s legendary lineage. But how can she ever trust Dagger when he is a disinherited outlaw whose real name is synonymous with betrayal?