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Broken: A Plague Journal (The Silver Trilogy: Book Three 3) Kindle Edition

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Length: 344 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Paul Evan Hughes is the seven-time Independent Publisher Book Award-winning writer and editor of Silverthought Press. His work includes the novels Enemy, An End, and Broken: A Plague Journal and the short fiction collection Certain Devastations. He lives in Evans Mills, NY with his wife and sons.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"Walk with me?"



Judith Command was being systematically dismantled around them, the billions, trillions of soldats perdus uploaded into a pattern cache that Paul would carry. The bubble around the non-place had developed great cracks on its periphery, and in places, the blackness of the unknown beyond shined down through.

They walked to the edge, the place where they could look down into the Timestream. The Alpha Point sparked an eternity below them. As they walked, his hand was close enough to Alina's so that she could hold it, if she wanted. We know the distances between us; we test the lines and hope someone crosses.

Theirs was a heartbroken silence built of everything that had gone wrong, all the fights over nothing, the context of them, the place and time out of time in which they lived. They were both machines built from life's flickers.

They sat on the edge and still said nothing. Their hands were still close enough to hold.

! Their feet dangled down over the universe.

He said, "It was good."

She said, "I know."

A thousand other lives tried to crawl into that moment, a thousand other faces, but as he sat there dying, Paul looked only at Alina. The angle of her jaw, the patterns of her freckles, the flare of her nose, eyes that smiled, upturned, even when she was crying. A thousand other faces tried but failed to replace her.

We can count down our final moments in the stillness between another's heartbeats.

We can search for a perfect moment and realize that we've already lived it.

We can ravel a ball of silver, wear a filament of it on our wrists. We can hear the music across the water, the stars falling above, and we can dance, reach out for a hand. The world falling apart around us, and none of it matters. Life is a series of moments, of splendor, of misery, the finest line woven between. We can sit on the edge with the love of our lives and not say anything at all.

He reached out,! withdrew. They looked down at existence. He coughed.

She turned back to the bubble's center. "I think they're ready."

He looked. Judith Command was empty, except for them. There was wind, and it was cold.

"Are you?"


They looked into each other's eyes for the first time in months. Years. Time had no meaning at the edges.

He held out his hand.

She smiled. Her eyes were wet. He was bleeding metal.

There were echoes.

She took his hand and jumped off the edge.

They fell, but in that scale, they were motionless. Judith Command raced away above them, the bubble's edges cracking and releasing, great plates of metallish shattering down toward them, the whole of the last fort erupting and falling. And they flew, hands held, eyes open, as shards of Command danced around them. They wove, hands held, between the pieces.

They pulled toward each other, arms frantic, grasping, bodies shuddering to relearn their symmetries, to reseat the way they fit together perfectly. They tumbled, hands held, down into the past, into the deepest night, the places hidden away for lifetimes.

Paul wrapped his arms around Alina, couldn't hold her close enough. He pulled back, looked into her colorless blue eyes, remembered the taste of her, gone so long now, tumbling, hands held, end over end, a dizzying, frightening descent, picking up speed, whirling, faster, faster, and Command was nothing above them, a cascade of countless fragments running alongside.

He never looked away. Reached out, one hand shimmering, one hand clasping hers, so small and perfect. It was a beautiful hand that he couldn't see, enveloped in his own, but he could feel it, contact, reached out, one hand shimmering, and called the silver to him, the detritus of Judith Command, and it came, an ocean of metal, swarming, singing around them, wrapping and protecting, enveloping, consuming. He would protect her. He would hold her close. And it formed around them, hands held, silver forming and reforming, merging with him, the finest silver web spidering through him. She didn't look away from the horror of him as he shifted, merged, became something else. She was caught in an expanse within him. She was encapsulated inside of him, a ship, a living ship of silver, the last of Command, the machine sea, and an ancient silent song. She looked up and saw the last of the light before he closed around her, the pattern cache falling into place above, sparking to almost-life, his hand changing, snaking, draping. His face a distended mess of metal, and then flat, and then nothing. It was dark inside of him. It was quiet. She was cold. He never looked away.

remember me
remember me on the wind
in the autumn
please remember me
the reflection

The interface webs dug into her.

and I loved you. Know that I loved you.

They fell.

Product Details

  • File Size: 655 KB
  • Print Length: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Silverthought Press (January 12, 2012)
  • Publication Date: January 12, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006X1SGLK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,341,132 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Paul Evan Hughes is the seven-time Independent Publisher Book Award-winning writer and editor of Silverthought Press. His work includes the novels Enemy, An End, and Broken: A Plague Journal and the short fiction collection Certain Devastations. He lives in Evans Mills, NY with his wife and sons.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rk future unwritten on June 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book - the question remains if it amazingly wonderful or amazingly awful. It is certainly uncoventional. Personally, I loved Ulysses but could not get past the first sentence of Finnegan's Wake (sorry, meant the first page. Bad joke there) There are several very interesting SF aspects to this book, but they are overshadowed by the parts which concern the play within the play, and the role of the author in the work itself. In this case, the putative author is the major character in the novel, and a frail and pitiful god he is. Personally, I hope that this is not an autobiographical work by Paul Hughes, and I suspect that it is not. His writing is so far above par for SF (especially for SF available in Kindle format alone) that I suspect that this is not his unedited journal of sorry soul searching. I think instead that it is a legitimate attempt to stretch the bounds of the novel and to merge the idea of the writer and his motivations with the world contained in the work. I've read Hughes' collection of short stories, and while I cannot say that he is the most upbeat writer in the world, he seems to be both and excellent writer and a rigorous self editor.
Read the first two books first, and then if you are willing to endure (no other word for it) a fascinating examination of the role of an author into his universe, read Broken.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David LaBounty on July 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If one has read enemy and an end, then Broken is like that last leg of a journey to that place you just can't wait to get to.

And Hughes delivers one hell of a ride.

The novel dances around storylines and times and settings and it is probably the most cerebral novel I've ever read, intellectually indulging and also entertaining as the reader is constantly challenged by fear and anguish and loss.

Do not let this be the first book you read by Mr. Hughes, it is the third in a remarkable trilogy. Broken would be very difficult to read if read out of turn.

Hughes is a brilliant writer, and this is speculative fiction not aimed at the casual reader. I can't wait for more.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pamela W. Yaste on May 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Let me start off by letting you know that I have been an avid science fiction reader for over 40 of my 63 years. I can follow difficult concepts and convoluted plots. I am also a very forgiving reader. I make great allowances for grammatical, spelling and typographical errors. In other words, I usually can find something good to say about every book I read. That ended with this book.

As I have previously reported in reviews of books one and two, when I began this trilogy, I was intrigued by the concept and eager to travel with the characters on their adventures. Book one was disappointing and difficult to read, but I am not a quitter and was determined to continue. Book two was just barely an improvement, but still difficult to read. However, both of those books were worlds better than this waste of print.

Not only was it as frustrating to read as the other two books, this one really seemed to be nothing more than the self aggrandizing ramblings of the author. It wasn't until this book that I realized that one of the main characters was actually the author. The further into the book I got, the more unbelievably asinine it became and the more abysmally bad it got. Totally disjointed and irrelevant ramblings were inserted to such a point that I have come to the conclusion that they were nothing more than filler to get the page length of the book to meet some pre-determined criteria. Unless, of course, the author suffers from schizophrenia.

Upon completion of this trilogy, I can very honestly say I will NEVER bother myself to read another book by Paul Evan Hughes. Perhaps Mr. Hughes would be better served to sell his plot ideas to those who can actually write something that is readable.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark R. Brand on March 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Reading Broken-

First off, it bears mention that someone who would try to read this book as a stand-alone work is likely to find themselves utterly lost. Broken references characters, races, locations, and theoretical knowledge that is explained in detail in the previous two books involving this storyline (Enemy, and An End). Therein lies, as far as I can see, the book's single major flaw: while Enemy and An End could conceivably be read individually, Broken does not stand thematically on its own. That having been said, if you have read Enemy and An End, you do yourself a significant disfavor NOT to read Broken, which answers probably 90% of the lingering questions and mysteries from both books, and finally provides some lasting closure for the tortured characters of both plotlines.

Speaking of torture, it also bears mentioning that this book contains scenes of extreme violence. Surprisingly, I'll be willing to bet that if you read the entire book the ultra-violent scenes of rape, mutilation, and murder will not be what you remember most about it.

Broken was originally first released as a serial publication, as it was written, on This format, while entertaining on the short-term, did not lend itself particularly well to the reader understanding the incredibly cohesive continuity of the eventual complete novel. Hence, if you have only read Broken in serial form, I highly recommend that you re-read the novel in its entirety. The effect is completely different than piece-by-piece. Much of the subtle character interaction that makes this novel so terrific is lost and choppy in serial form, not to mention Hughes' propensity for constant revision, which makes the novel (until it finally reached print) a growing organism.
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