Isle of Savages
by T. Briar
Date of Publication: June 13th 2017
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Cover Artist: Eerilyfair Design
Genre: New Adult Action Suspense Thriller
Tagline: Eleven souls are shipwrecked on an island teeming with sub-human cannibals. Who will survive to tell the tale?
On July 20, 20— a charter school’s sponsored sail from San Diego to Hawaii hits a reef during a violent storm. Sixteen souls abandon ship. Nine students, along with the hated captain and first mate, wash up on what they believe is a deserted island.
Separated into three groups by circumstance and mutual distrust, treachery and death lurks for all. Over the course of a single day, one student betrays all the others. Another drowns. Two others get ambushed by a great white shark. And, like falling dominoes, the captain, first mate, and six students fall prey to a tribe of bloodthirsty cannibals.
In the face of almost certain death, who will escape from the isle of savages to tell the tale?
Date: July 20, 20—
General Location: Pacific Ocean
Definitive Longitude and Latitude: Unknown
Through strangled, sputtering coughs, Eric Kovac’s eyelids flickered open to stark darkness. He lay face down in receding wave-wash, naked except for a pair of board shorts, drenched to the bone. A tortuous grittiness seared the tender linings of his mouth, nose, and throat; pain wracked his body, inside and out. As he struggled to make sense of his peril, the sound of crashing waves thundered. A sudden rush of warm saltwater buried him underwater.
Choking and coughing violently, he forced himself up onto his hands and knees, stomach clenching in excruciating spasms as he vomited up great bouts of saltwater. Although the purging left him weak—on the verge of blacking out—it cleared the irritating sand from his breathing passages. Survival instinct, more than cognizant reasoning, sent him crawling up the shoreline. After only a few feet, his battered body could go no further and he collapsed onto wet sand while his feet and legs still lay in the incoming tide.
The sound of crashing waves slowly returned, and with it, the recognition of something new. Wind buffeted his body from all directions…storm-washed, freshly cleansed wind. Beneath the dizziness threatening to overwhelm him, he had only one coherent thought.
What happened to me?
For the life of him, he couldn’t remember how he’d come to be on this beach, hurting and possibly grievously injured. Despite the horrendous pain, he rolled over onto his side to lift himself on an elbow and scan the darkness for clues.
In the edge of the surf, a dark silhouette resembling the shape of a human body floated, the incoming and outgoing surf pushing and pulling at it. It was a tossup as to which would win the tug of war.
Instantly, the memory of the ship’s boom careening into his forehead materialized out of nowhere. In something akin to shock, distorted memories of the chain of events leading up to the blow that had laid him low flitted through his mind…
The storm had come out of the northwest late yesterday evening, the leading edge blue-black and roiling. It’d chased after them relentlessly, finally howling down on their sixty-foot blue water cruiser in the middle of the night, crackling long streaks of lightening that were blinding in their frequency and intensity. Fierce winds and towering waves tossed the yacht to and fro as if it were a toy. Deafening claps of thunder reverberated through the vessel to drown out the terrified shrieks of the sixteen students cowering below deck. Then, without warning, when only the tiniest tendril of hope remained, the yacht ran into something, cementing their fate—
That’s right! We’d run from the storm well into the night, hoping to angle out of its path to safety. But we hit something…
Snapshots flashed through his mind, one after the other in quick succession: the sickening crunch of fiberglass shattering; the non-stop rush of water breaching the hull; the ear-splitting cries of his classmates’ despair; the captain ordering everyone from below deck to abandon ship; the screeching wind and stinging rain above deck merciless; brilliant veins of lightening illuminating the pitch blackness to reveal the shoreline of an island; so much water in the air, breathing seemed almost impossible; a boy and a girl at the very end of the line of joined hands snatched up like kites and flung out into darkness; the terrifying fear that the rest of the line would quickly follow; the glassy, shock-stricken stares of his classmates waiting their turn to be helped over the side into the life raft; the white boom breaking loose from its mooring and whipping toward him; trying to duck and almost making it; total blackness…
Eric, trembling in the aftershock of surviving the impossible and being grateful simply to be alive, remembered something else…there had been a girl he was intent upon saving…and one of her friends. He’d helped them into the raft right before his accident. But what were their names? Who were they to him?
He concentrated on summoning their faces, unable to shake the feeling they had been his close friends, or perhaps, one of them had been more than a friend.
Slowly, like gooey fluid forced through a half-clogged strainer, the image of a dark-haired girl—seventeen years old and of Asian-American descent—with a beautiful oval face, olive skin, and dark eyes took form in his mind’s eye. The face of a pretty, blue-eyed blonde with curly, shoulder-length hair quickly followed.
Mia! I was trying to save Mia Miller! And her best friend, Keri Shaw!
Peering at the floating body again, a burst of adrenaline coursed through his veins, energizing him into action. The sickening hollowness in his stomach and the aches in his body disappeared. He flipped back over onto hands and knees to scramble toward the dark silhouette in the white surf. As of yet, he couldn’t tell if the body was male or female.
Please don’t let it be Mia. Please, anyone but her.
His eyes made out what he thought looked like the muscled back and arms of a young man and his fear receded…somewhat. Grasping the corpse by the hair of its head, he lifted the face out of the water to ascertain that it wasn’t Mia—instead was Charles Darry, a Low Country kid from South Carolina. He’d been the only other Southern student on their cruise of horrors, which had given Eric and him something singularly in common, although they had never become what one would call friends. He released Charles, frantically glancing around the darkness.
“Mia!” he attempted to yell, but the name came out strangled and weak. He tried again and it came out clearer and louder this time.
“Eric!” answered a frightened, high-pitched voice. “I’m over here!”
MY INTERVIEW WITH T BRIAR
How would you describe your style of writing to someone that has never read your work?
Above all, I strive to be suspenseful. I mean, it’s all about entertaining readers should they choose to read my book. And readers have expectations. As a writer hoping to win them over as long-term fans, it’s my responsibility to fulfill those expectations. In short, I must take them where they want to go. But I must also hold things back in the process to build suspense. Can’t spill all the plot twists and turns at the beginning or there is no suspense. So, I’d have to say my style of writing is suspenseful. Yeah, that sounds right.
What are some of your writing/publishing goals for this year?
Got two new books contracted in my other genre and I hope to see at least one of them released later this year. Seeing both released would be even better. But who knows if that will happen? I’ve found publishing to be a study in developing patience.
Do you feel that writing is an ingrained process or just something that flows naturally for you?
You know, been writing a while now, and I think it’s a little of both. I know that I’ll never stop. Not so long as I draw breath. Simply can’t stop now. So that part is ingrained in my psyche. But without the words flowing naturally, why would I want to spend the necessary time in the chair. Just wouldn’t make any sense to me.
Do you have a character that you have been working on for a long time that still isn't quite ready, but fills you with excitement to work on the story?
I’m excited to return to my next thriller that I’ve recently started. That is, after I finish my next book in my other genre. Presently, I’m about an eighth of the way into the thriller, so I know very little about my characters. But I’m certain once I return to their story, the pertinent details will pretty much come to me all on their own, just like always.
If you could spend one-week with 5 fictional characters, who would they be?
Wolf Larsen from Jack London’s The Sea Wolf. Provided he didn’t want to exploit my interest for personal gain.
Jack Reacher from Lee Child’s Jack Reacher Series. Would love to kick back with him to see what trouble he’d get us into. Yeah, I don’t run for my life near enough.
Sanger Rainsford from Richard Connell’s The Most Dangerous Game. I’d ask him for a few more details about his time on Ship-Trap island. Also, I’d like to know if he gave up hunting.
Mike Gardener from John Kruse’s Alone in Shark Waters. I’d like to know if he goes back into the ocean after his ordeal. And, if he does, maybe he would teach me the finer points of spearfishing. That’s right, I got an adventurous streak.
Hannibal Lecter from Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs. But he’d have to be securely confined. The guy is fascinating to no end, but I don’t want to become anyone’s dinner.
Where would you spend one full year, if you could go ANYWHERE? What would you do with this time?
A deserted island with my wife. There would be no phones, email, or Internet. Just tropical breezes and beautiful sunsets. We’d simply enjoy each day together, laughing and swimming in the surf. Probably wouldn’t ever want to leave.
Can you share your next creative project(s)? If yes, can you give a few details?
Started two new books. One is an action suspense thriller, the other erotica/erotic romance. Presently, it looks like both are going to be long novellas, if not full-fledged novels. Who knows? I just go where any story takes me while implementing the various skills I’ve acquired over the years.
Always striving for pulse-pounding action, sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense, and hair-raising thrills, T. Briar’s mainstream thriller writing places courageous heroes and heroines in the fight of their lives against the elements, hostile surroundings, morally bankrupt villains, and any other obstacles T. can think of.
But be warned, once the wheels are set into motion with the first sentence, it’s a twisting, turning journey to the end to see who lives and who dies. And make no mistake, someone’s going to die. Some will even die badly. That’s just the way it is when fighting for survival under perilous conditions. The only question is: Will it be the heroes and heroines, or the villains?
T. Briar’s target audience is New Adults who boldly step up to meet life’s challenges with the confidence of youth urging them on.
Please checkout T. Briar’s page at http://thomasbriar.com to find out more about T. and his thriller writings.