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Morgan Rice

Ascent. The Invasion Chronicles—Book Three

Morgan Rice

Morgan Rice is the #1 bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of the epic fantasy series THE SORCERER’S RING, comprising seventeen books; of the #1 bestselling series THE VAMPIRE JOURNALS, comprising twelve books; of the #1 bestselling series THE SURVIVAL TRILOGY, a post-apocalyptic thriller comprising three books; of the epic fantasy series KINGS AND SORCERERS, comprising six books; of the epic fantasy series OF CROWNS AND GLORY, comprising eight books; of the epic fantasy series A THRONE FOR SISTERS, comprising eight books (and counting); and of the new science fiction series THE INVASION CHRONICLES, comprising four books. Morgan’s books are available in audio and print editions, and translations are available in over 25 languages.

Morgan loves to hear from you, so please feel free to visit www.morganricebooks.com to join the email list, receive a free book, receive free giveaways, download the free app, get the latest exclusive news, connect on Facebook and Twitter, and stay in touch!

Select Acclaim for Morgan Rice

“If you thought that there was no reason left for living after the end of THE SORCERER’S RING series, you were wrong. In RISE OF THE DRAGONS Morgan Rice has come up with what promises to be another brilliant series, immersing us in a fantasy of trolls and dragons, of valor, honor, courage, magic and faith in your destiny. Morgan has managed again to produce a strong set of characters that make us cheer for them on every page.…Recommended for the permanent library of all readers that love a well-written fantasy.”

--Books and Movie ReviewsRoberto Mattos

“An action packed fantasy sure to please fans of Morgan Rice’s previous novels, along with fans of works such as THE INHERITANCE CYCLE by Christopher Paolini…. Fans of Young Adult Fiction will devour this latest work by Rice and beg for more.”

--The Wanderer, A Literary Journal (regarding Rise of the Dragons)

“A spirited fantasy that weaves elements of mystery and intrigue into its story line. A Quest of Heroes is all about the making of courage and about realizing a life purpose that leads to growth, maturity, and excellence….For those seeking meaty fantasy adventures, the protagonists, devices, and action provide a vigorous set of encounters that focus well on Thor's evolution from a dreamy child to a young adult facing impossible odds for survival….Only the beginning of what promises to be an epic young adult series.”

--Midwest Book Review (D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer)

“THE SORCERER’S RING has all the ingredients for an instant success: plots, counterplots, mystery, valiant knights, and blossoming relationships replete with broken hearts, deception and betrayal. It will keep you entertained for hours, and will satisfy all ages. Recommended for the permanent library of all fantasy readers.”

--Books and Movie Reviews, Roberto Mattos

“In this action-packed first book in the epic fantasy Sorcerer's Ring series (which is currently 14 books strong), Rice introduces readers to 14-year-old Thorgrin "Thor" McLeod, whose dream is to join the Silver Legion, the elite knights who serve the king…. Rice's writing is solid and the premise intriguing.”

--Publishers WeeklyBooks by Morgan RiceTHE INVASION CHRONICLES

TRANSMISSION (Book #1)

ARRIVAL (Book #2)

ASCENT (Book #3)

RETURN (Book #4)

THE WAY OF STEEL

ONLY THE WORTHY (Book #1)

A THRONE FOR SISTERS

A THRONE FOR SISTERS (Book #1)

A COURT FOR THIEVES (Book #2)

A SONG FOR ORPHANS (Book #3)

A DIRGE FOR PRINCES (Book #4)

A JEWEL FOR ROYALS (BOOK #5)

A KISS FOR QUEENS (BOOK #6)

A CROWN FOR ASSASSINS (Book #7)

A CLASP FOR HEIRS (Book #8)

OF CROWNS AND GLORY

SLAVE, WARRIOR, QUEEN (Book #1)

ROGUE, PRISONER, PRINCESS (Book #2)

KNIGHT, HEIR, PRINCE (Book #3)

REBEL, PAWN, KING (Book #4)

SOLDIER, BROTHER, SORCERER (Book #5)

HERO, TRAITOR, DAUGHTER (Book #6)

RULER, RIVAL, EXILE (Book #7)

VICTOR, VANQUISHED, SON (Book #8)

KINGS AND SORCERERS

RISE OF THE DRAGONS (Book #1)

RISE OF THE VALIANT (Book #2)

THE WEIGHT OF HONOR (Book #3)

A FORGE OF VALOR (Book #4)

A REALM OF SHADOWS (Book #5)

NIGHT OF THE BOLD (Book #6)

THE SORCERER’S RING

A QUEST OF HEROES (Book #1)

A MARCH OF KINGS (Book #2)

A FATE OF DRAGONS (Book #3)

A CRY OF HONOR (Book #4)

A VOW OF GLORY (Book #5)

A CHARGE OF VALOR (Book #6)

A RITE OF SWORDS (Book #7)

A GRANT OF ARMS (Book #8)

A SKY OF SPELLS (Book #9)

A SEA OF SHIELDS (Book #10)

A REIGN OF STEEL (Book #11)

A LAND OF FIRE (Book #12)

A RULE OF QUEENS (Book #13)

AN OATH OF BROTHERS (Book #14)

A DREAM OF MORTALS (Book #15)

A JOUST OF KNIGHTS (Book #16)

THE GIFT OF BATTLE (Book #17)

THE SURVIVAL TRILOGY

ARENA ONE: SLAVERSUNNERS (Book #1)

ARENA TWO (Book #2)

ARENA THREE (Book #3)

VAMPIRE, FALLEN

BEFORE DAWN (Book #1)

THE VAMPIRE JOURNALS

TURNED (Book #1)

LOVED (Book #2)

BETRAYED (Book #3)

DESTINED (Book #4)

DESIRED (Book #5)

BETROTHED (Book #6)

VOWED (Book #7)

FOUND (Book #8)

RESURRECTED (Book #9)

CRAVED (Book #10)

FATED (Book #11)

OBSESSED (Book #12)

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Copyright © 2018 by Morgan Rice. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior permission of the author.  This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

CHAPTER ONE

Kevin stared up in horror at the small ship dragging him and Chloe inside it, feeling completely helpless as it lifted them up with its beam of light. They dangled in the air, turning over helplessly as it drew them up.

It had seemed so certain that they would be able to stop the aliens using the virus they’d taken from the tar pits, but the aliens had sent the vial back empty, almost with contempt.

That wasn’t the worst part though. The worst part was that Luna was gone. They’d made Luna one of them, and that hurt more than Kevin had thought anything could.

Chloe screamed beside him as they rose, tumbling in air that no longer seemed to know which way was down. Kevin could hear the fear there, but also the anger.

Metal closed around them, and they tumbled together onto the floor of the small ship that had sucked them up. Kevin struggled to stand, bracing himself, half expecting to be attacked by some alien force.

Instead, he found himself standing in the middle of a large, round, white-walled room. There was a circular portal on the floor that looked as though it opened and closed like the aperture of a camera, and nothing else.

Chloe went over to one of the walls and banged a fist on it.

“Kevin, what are we going to do?”

Kevin wished he had an answer. But after everything that had happened down below, he didn’t think he had answers for anything anymore.

“I don’t know,” he said.

Chloe hit the wall again, the thud sounding dull against the interior.

“Chloe, that won’t—”

Suddenly, they were standing in thin air. The wall was now as translucent as glass, giving Kevin a clear view of Sedona falling away beneath him, and the larger ship above that they were rising up to meet.

This close, Kevin could see the door—more like a cavernous mouth—open to accept them, letting their ship into what must have been a hangar. There was a ripple of something as they passed into it, some shield or membrane that must have been there to hold its atmosphere in place.

“Incredible,” Chloe said with a gasp.

Kevin had to agree. The hangar was large enough for dozens of the ships, all connecting to walkways. Their ship connected to one.

They stopped abruptly, and a section of the wall slid aside, revealing an open doorway.

Kevin and Chloe stared at each other. Why weren’t they being greeted? Attacked?

“So they want us to just walk out?” Chloe asked. “Why haven’t they killed us yet?”

Kevin wondered that himself.

“Maybe it’s a trap,” he said.

She started to cry.

Kevin put a hand on her arm. He knew how bad things could get, and he found his thoughts caught between concern for her and worries about what might be happening here. Why were they alone? Why weren’t they greeted by the aliens’ equivalent of police or soldiers waiting for them?

“Should we walk out?” Kevin asked. “Or stay in here?”

She looked at him.

“Neither option seems safe,” she said.

Chloe stepped to the opening, to Kevin’s surprise, and he followed. But suddenly she stopped, walking right into something. It was an illusion—a translucent wall that stopped her from walking but allowed her to look out.

Then their small ship starting moving again, slowly, through the massive hangar.

Kevin stepped up beside her and looked out in awe. The hangar was huge and rounded, looking as much grown as built, the walls seeming to pulse faintly with power. But other than the rows and rows of ships, the space was empty.

There were no captured people, no machines working on things, and no aliens.

“Where is everyone?” Chloe asked, echoing his thought.

Kevin didn’t answer, because he was too busy looking back at Earth. Sedona sat below them, seeming so close, yet so achingly far.

“Why aren’t we falling down toward it?” he wondered aloud.

Chloe frowned at him, looked around, and then shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe the gravity works differently here. I’m kind of glad we aren’t, though.”

Kevin was glad too, because it would have been a really long way to fall. It took him a moment to realize that it seemed to be getting further with every passing moment, receding little by little, the buildings growing smaller until Kevin could no longer make them out.

“We’re still moving!” he said. “We’re going up into space!”

In spite of everything, in spite of the horrors that had been inflicted on the world, and the danger they were probably in, in spite of the fact that they’d failed to destroy the aliens, Kevin had to admit a part of him was excited. The idea of actually going into space was almost too incredible to believe.

“It would be cool except for where we’re going,” Chloe pointed out.

Kevin could hear the fear there, and he could even feel some of it himself. If they were heading up, then there was only one place where they could be going, and that would be a dangerous place for them both. The world ship hung above, its rocky surface punctuated by spike-like towers, but almost blank aside from that.

It was frightening, yet the thing was, it might also be their best opportunity to actually do something about all of this.

“I know you’re afraid,” Kevin said. “But there’s nothing we can do to stop it. And look at the bright side: we had no way of stopping them back on Earth. Maybe up here we can.”

Chloe scoffed. “How?”

Kevin shrugged. He didn’t know yet. There had to be something. Maybe there would be some way to shut down the things the aliens were doing. Maybe there were ways to drive them off, or fight back against them, or even kill them.

“We have to try,” Kevin said.

He couldn’t help thinking about Luna. What had happened to her was a lot worse than being transported in some alien ship.

They stood there quietly, watching as the Earth grew smaller and smaller beneath them. Soon, it was the size of a watermelon, then a baseball, then a marble against the night sky.

Kevin turned and looked at the mother ship. He hadn’t realized quite how big the alien world was before, and it was only as the craft turned and shifted in space that he got a real sense of how large it was.

“It’s an actual world,” Kevin said, unable to keep the awe out of his voice.

“We knew that,” Chloe said. “It’s been up in the sky.”

“But an actual world…”

There was a big difference between seeing something far off and being there. Like the moon, Kevin could have covered up the world ship with the palm of his hand from Earth, but now that they were here, it stretched out as far as he could see in every direction. There were structures on the surface, although most of it looked barren and empty, with only giant towers sticking up from it like the spines of a sea urchin. There were also mouthlike apertures, big enough that even a ship like the one they were on could fit into them without touching the sides. Kevin couldn’t imagine what might have carved gaps like that into a world, but right then they had bigger things to think about.

“I think we’re going into it,” Kevin said. Not just to a world, but inside it, down past the outer shell of its surface.

Chloe didn’t look happy about that. “We’re going to be trapped. We’ll never find our way out.”

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