Time's Plague by C. David Belt


Time's Plague

Llyrica sent Edgar to Hell:

Hades Penal Colony

on the forbidden moon Callisto.

Now Edgar must escape to save her.

Edgar has awoken in Hell--or more specifically, in the Hades Penal Colony on Callisto, moon of Jupiter. The year is 2175, and interplanetary freighter captain, Edgar Kent Cordell, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for a murder he didn't commit. He was framed by his best friend and business partner, Edmund Reagan, his ex-wife, Llyrica, and Edgar's cargomaster, Georgie "Goner" Cornwall.

Hades is a hellish place, populated with murderers and rapists, the worst of the worst--all of them male. There is no warden. There are no guards. All sentences are for life. There is no reprieve, no appeal, and no escape from Hades. No ship ever lands there--it is forbidden and illegal. Prisoners and necessary supplies are dropped from orbit. A brutal gang-lord rules--a man who calls himself "Lord Lucifer."

Within an hour of his arrival, Edgar is savagely beaten and raped. Within days, his face is disfigured and his throat is cut. But Edgar survives.

No ship ever lands on Callisto... that is, until a shuttle crash-lands. There is only one survivor--Llyrica, Edgar's ex-wife, the one person in all the solar system Edgar hates most--the only woman Edgar has ever loved. No woman can survive on Callisto. There is a plague on the moon that kills all females. When the colony was originally settled, all the women and girls became sick. 80% of them died before the colony could be evacuated. And then there is the danger from the prisoners themselves.

Edgar must find a way to protect Llyrica from the other men, get her off-world, and escape from Hades. Llyrica is blinded in the crash. Edgar, with his scarred voice and face, is unrecognizable to her. She has no idea who her protector is. And Edgar isn't about to reveal his identity. He assumes the persona of mad Tom Bedlam (his "prison name"). Edgar will save Llyrica, he will protect her, but he desperately needs to know why she betrayed him... and what she was doing on the forbidden moon Callisto.

"Time's Plague" borrows themes and character names from Shakespeare's "King Lear". It is a tale of blindness, both physical and spiritual. It is a tale of love, loyalty, and betrayal, of hatred and madness, of violence and horror, and of honor, sacrifice, and friendship in the unlikeliest of places.

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S. S. Hera


Praise for Time's Plague:

"There must needs be an opposition in all things." Time's Plague is a deeply moving testament to the truth that opposition and resistance are crucial to the growth of the human spirit. The vivid descriptiveness of the prose makes it easy to immerse oneself in Edgar Cordell's struggle to be good even when he has every reason not to be. Set in the future, the technology and social concerns and behaviors still seem believable and relatable. This book brings a broad spectrum of emotions out in those who read it, the writing so good that it can make you love artificially intelligent characters and feel for them just as much as you do for the human characters. At various points while reading this book, I laughed, I cried, I was on edge, and even horrified and disgusted. It made me feel, but most importantly it made me think. It's my favorite story by C. David Belt thus far.

Aubrey Stewart, UT

Time's Plague will take you on a ride of epic proportions. A thrilling tale set in a future that appears more bleak than hopeful, Edgar battles to survive hell, on the Hades Penal Colony on one of Jupiter's moons, and beyond. It's full of unexpected twists and turns. Just as you think the journey surely must end, the author throws in another threat to overcome. Laced with love and hate, Time's Plague will keep you up all night so you can finish the read. Outstanding!

Marsha Ward, Payson, AZ
Award-winning author of The Owen Family Saga novels

Time's Plague is a fast-moving thriller that never lets up. Set in a time when most of humanity has conveniently discarded the criminal refuse of their society to a deserted moon, the story chronicles the plight of an innocent Edgar Cordell as he works to regain his freedom and good name. Doomed to spend the rest of his life in "Hell," on one of Jupiter's moons, Edgar, a Mormon, must battle every facet of evil known to man. Corruption, greed, rage, murder, carnal indulgence, and every other vice imaginable combine to stop him. He must learn to fight with everything he has, all while attempting to maintain his commitment to live a life of righteousness. The plot is engaging. The action thrilling, the moral conundrums realistic and the story thought-provoking. C. David Belt takes his readers on a wild ride through the solar system and shows that with faith and God's help, even our darkest times can burst forth with the most glorious light, fulfilling God's purposes in ways we could never imagine. I loved it!

Trevor O'Donnal - Salem, UT

"Time's Plague" is an exciting read, an interplanetary adventure with the Shakespearean flair. This moving story highlights both extremes of humankind, both the angels and the demons among us and sometimes within a single person. The settings, the characters in the plot are all expertly realized, and I would highly recommend it.

Michael Young - Eagle Mountain, UT
Author of The Canticle Kingdom, The Canticle Prelude, and The Last Archangel

At the beginning of last summer, I decided I wanted to help edit good work. The way to become a great writer is to read good writing, and so I found my Partner in crime, David Belt. I had previously edited a few chapters of his and decided to take on a full manuscript, "Time's Plague". The only way I could do this as a teacher was to take a chapter or two at a time, edit them, and return them within a few days. Unfortunately, his writing was so engaging and "mouse-scrolling-worthy" that the chapters he sent me for a day or two never seemed enough.
"Time's Plague" was a book that brought out so much emotion as I read, I COULDN'T STOP. To learn about the sad situation of Edgar, to meet the robotic and emotionless Doc, to fall in love with the innocent and selfless Ted, to understand the motives behind Edgar's ex-wife's and other enemies' actions... it was all too much to wait for. Never to disappoint, David's writing techniques are complex, well-thought-out, and page-turning.

Jenny Rabe - Ogden, UT

Time's Plague has a way of getting under your skin and keeping you in suspense to the very end. It begins in a dark and loathsome place, in the worst circumstances imaginable, and provides an exciting journey where the main character finds a way to miraculously grow beyond his current circumstances and discover an inner strength that sustains him to a better end. He finds forgiveness towards some who wronged him, and grows to trust, where his trust had been broken. It is an action packed drama that really delivers. David Belt is an amazing story teller, and even while being in suspense until the final chapter, I was sad to see the story come to an end.

Dean Giles - Provo, UT

When Edgar Cordell wakes up in a prison colony--appropriately called Hades--little does he know that he will have to face his past along with the woman he both loves and hates--his ex-wife. Edgar tries to remain faithful to his beliefs in spite of being surrounded by murderers and rapists all led by a man who has declared himself "Lucifer, Lord of Hades." Edgar's journey is both physical and emotional as he tries to keep from being attacked and discover the truth behind the murder for which he was convicted.
David's use of quotes from Shakespeare's King Lear reminds us that the theme of blindness to our surroundings is a familiar one. It was Edgar's blindness to the treachery of his "friends" that landed him in prison. It is there in Hades that Edgar must face his "demons"--both physical and spiritual--or lose everything permanently.

V. J. O. Gardner - Springville, UT
Author of Blood of Ancient Kings and Dracona's Rebirth

Murder, mystery, drama, intensity... these are just some of the characteristics in this "glecking" thriller by David Belt. He has a talent for keeping you on the edge of your seat at the end of each chapter, and you might just find yourself being plagued by lack of time so you can find out what happens next!

John Abercrombie - Bountiful, UT

Time's Plague is a unique story about an innocent man, falsely accused of murder by his business partner and his ex-wife. Banished to "hell," along with the worst of the worst criminals in the solar system, Edgar must deal with all manner of depravity and evil. Mr. Belt takes the reader on a journey from Edgar's struggle for survival and escape from the Hades Penal Colony to deep outer space for action-packed space battles.
Buckle up for suspense, drama, and exciting action--along with some uncomfortable prison situations and violence. Mr. Belt is a great storyteller, and this book will keep you entertained from start to finish.
It may be cliche--but in this case very true--Time's Plague is a real page-turner.

Paul Shafer - Springville, UT