LOVE IN DARK SETTINGS: suspenseful historical speculative fiction with diverse characters by Dusk Peterson
 
Imprisonment. Slavery. War. Love.

HOME | New stories | E-books & free fiction | Awards | Historical research for fiction writers | Story lists and tags | About me | Contact me


DARK LIGHT: a Turn-of-the Century Toughs series ¶ By Dusk Peterson


Only in the dark can one truly see the light.

Dark Light presents short reads from Turn-of-the-Century Toughs, a cycle of alternate history series about adults and youths on the margins of society, and the people who love them. Set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times. As a result, the New World retains certain classical and medieval customs.

The series is part of the Turn-of-the-Century Toughs cycle.
 


HOW TO READ THE STORIES

Click on the linked titles of stories to read the online versions, where available. (Information about my online fiction.) For the bookstore versions, click on the appropriate links. Multiformat e-books are free.
 

SERIES CONTENTS



Honor and reviews

HONOR

Honored in the Rainbow Awards 2016 in four categories, for Risk (Dark Light #2):
 


REVIEWS

"While I normally find weakness when an author borrows a setting in which to set their stories (and initially I was concerned about the author lifting the state of Maryland), I found that I enjoyed the changes and twists the author made, essentially taking Maryland and making it their own. I can really appreciate a lot of the painstaking research the author did, and think this part of their stories really shined. These are people, not just characters. They each have their own unique voice." Rainbow Awards judge.
 



 

*

Lockup (Volume 1 of Dark Light)

Deep underground lies a prison filled with idealistic men who have committed themselves to putting the best interest of their prisoners first . . . through torture. Soaring high in an adjoining nation are two "reformed" prisons where life prisoners (and a few sympathetic guards) must band together for survival.

Friendships between prisoners and guards, romance between two torturers, a young woman's appalled discovery that a dungeon-worker is courting her, desire and companionship in prison cells, a teenage guard's struggle to survive when his train is attacked by soldiers intent on slaughter . . . The two nations are broiling with events centered upon their prisons.

This historical speculative fiction volume explores with drama and dry humor the complexities of prison life in the nineteenth century, while taking a peek at the surrounding societies in the nations' alternate universe. Characters who appear in one story reappear in other stories, seen from a different perspective and at a different age.

 
     ¶ Download the free multiformat e-bookDusk's storeSmashwordsDusk Peterson's books at other stores
     ¶ Borrow the e-bookScribd24symbols
     ¶ Buy the e-book for 99cAmazon
     ¶ Data: 50,000 words | Publication history.


VOLUME CONTENTS

In the Silence (Life Prison). He can't speak. He can barely see. He experiences only fear and the faint whispers of something he had once known. But an intruder into his secure retreat from danger will pull him into awareness of what stands before him. What stands there is renewed danger . . . and the hope of something more.

Green Ruin (The Eternal Dungeon; also published by The Slash Pile in the PDF anthology Wanderlust: A Travel Anthology). Three guards and a mysterious substance provide a temptation too great to be missed . . . especially when two torturers add their skills to the mix. Soon three very different men a married man who is committed to respect and honor, a bachelor harboring secret desires, and a soldier with an unfulfilled ambition will find themselves caught in a trap. Their rescue will come from an unexpected quarter.

Hunger (The Eternal Dungeon). Some hungers can only be satisfied by reaching out. As a prisoner struggles to find the right path, a foul-mouthed guard and an uncommon torturer will open a door . . . but stepping through a doorway with blackness beyond requires courage.

Wax (The Eternal Dungeon). The Record-keeper of the Eternal Dungeon has always prided himself on his skills in procuring any object needed by his employers. But when the head torturer makes a seemingly innocent request for wax, the Record-keeper goes in search of a very special supply.

Never (The Eternal Dungeon). She was attending the ball at the palace to dance. That was all. Which made it annoying to face a proposal of marriage from a guard who was distinctly not the sort of man she would ever consider marrying. Certainly not.

The Whipping Post (The Eternal Dungeon). Ten minutes left to contemplate what lies ahead, before the end begins.

New-Fashioned(The Eternal Dungeon). The Eternal Dungeon's youngest torturer has a special talent. He's about to discover what it is, at the worst of moments.

Broken (The Eternal Dungeon). What would happen if a technophobic torturer was plunged into the twenty-first century?

Torture (The Eternal Dungeon / Life Prison). When the High Seeker of the Eternal Dungeon visits a foreign prison, he discovers that his dark reputation has preceded him. So has the dark reputation of his dungeon. The host is eager to show him that matters are run very differently at Mercy Life Prison. The High Seeker has his suspicions about what he will find in that prison, but even so, he is not prepared for what the prison has to teach him about man's nature . . . and his own nature.

Cell-mates (Life Prison). Sentenced to life in prison, Tyrrell didn't have many opportunities for bed-play . . . unless he could count what the guards did to him as "play." So his future seemed brighter when he was paired with a cell-mate he'd been eyeing for a long time with affection and lust. If only Tyrrell could keep from becoming his cell-mate's latest murder victim . . .

Coded Messages (Life Prison). One of them rapes prisoners. The other wants to help prisoners. So why are they talking to each other?

Lord and Servant (Life Prison). A tramp and a lord may seem to make an odd pair. But Compassion Life Prison is an odd place to start with, and the tramp has his own perspective on life there.

Rain (The Eternal Dungeon / Life Prison / Commando / Michael's House / Waterman). Five boys. Five rainy days. Five opportunities for trouble. In this cycle of five short stories, five young men in troubling situations must make choices that will change the path of their upcoming lives . . . and the path of the societies they dwell in.
 


*

Risk (Volume 2 of Dark Light)

"I hesitated. Was Fairview dead? Was it worth my while to risk my own life for a dead man?"

Until risk arrives, you never know how important the things are that you're required to risk.

A soldier must decide how high a price he is willing to pay for an unspoken bond. A journeyman must choose between an assured future and an untroubled conscience. A boy learns that his life is a lie and must decide which truth he desires. A servant and his beloved master face stark truths as their lives are endangered. A young torturer, satisfied with his lot, gambles everything he has ever valued to learn a new way of treating prisoners. A master must risk the future of his slave, or else risk his own future. . . . "Risk" looks at the dangers and rewards of taking risks.
 

     ¶ Download the free multiformat e-bookDusk's storeSmashwordsDusk Peterson's books at other stores
     ¶ Borrow the e-bookScribd24symbols
     ¶ Buy the e-book for 99cAmazon
     ¶ Data: 50,000 words | Publication history.
     ¶ Reviews (may include spoilers): The Unanswered Question: LibraryThing. Spy Hill: Goodreads | Top 2 Bottom Reviews (website includes not-worksafe images).
     ¶ Honors: Four honors in the Rainbow Awards 2016: Honorable Mention. Finalist. Winner, Best LGBT Alternative Universe/Reality. 3rd Place, Best LGBT Book.


VOLUME CONTENTS

The Unanswered Question (The Eternal Dungeon). No weapons, no allies, and no guarantees that he will survive the test.

The Lure (Young Toughs). His entire life has been a secret. Now he must rip open the secret.

Lost Haven: a master, his servant, and a disappearing island (Waterman). Amidst a servant's nightmare, can a haven of hope be found?

Journey to Manhood (Young Toughs). "Perhaps, when they spoke next, the other young man could tell Simmons of any masters here who were in need of an apprentice who was perilously close to the age of journeymanship."

Master's Piece (Waterman). He was his master's piece: the model for his master's sculptures. But his master was different.

Spy Hill (Commando). On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.
 


AI, Commoners' Festival, Queue, and The Shining Ones  have been moved to other series pages. The contents of Servant or Slave ("Lost Haven" and "Master's Piece") are now published in Risk. Click on the appropriate links in the previous sentences.


Maps and series resources

Maps for this series and related series.

Turn-of-the-Century Toughs, a cycle of historical speculative fiction series that includes this series. This page includes resources such as a chronology of major political events in the cycle.

Shared Universes: Works set in the Turn-of-the-Century Toughs worlds by other authors and artists.
 


Other series by Dusk Peterson:

[ Archived series ]



 [ HOME ] [ E-mail ]

Creative Commons License: Some Rights ReservedThis text, or a variation on it, was originally published at duskpeterson.com as part of the series Darkfics. Copyright © 2002-2017 Dusk Peterson. Some rights reserved. The text is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0). You may freely print, post, e-mail, share, or otherwise distribute the text for noncommercial purposes, provided that you include this paragraph. The author's policies on derivative works and fan works are available online (duskpeterson.com/copyright.htm).

E-bookstore logos are provided for the sake of identifying e-book links and are not intended to indicate affiliation with the e-bookstores.

Dusk Peterson is an Amazon Associate.

Permission is granted for the reposting and reprinting of the banner, covers, and story summaries for the purposes of providing information on Dusk Peterson's writings. Please link to duskpeterson.com if possible.