5 stars for The Shining Ones (The Eternal Dungeon – Side Story) by Dusk Peterson #AlternateUniverse #Historical @DuskPeterson


Title: The Shining Ones (The Eternal Dungeon – Side Story to Series)
Author Name & Publisher: Dusk Peterson
Publication Date & Length: January 17, 2016 – 72 pgs


“He was skilled by now at making innocuous remarks in the presence of the Shining Ones. Nobody had even guessed that he knew what they were.”

The Eternal Dungeon is filled with prisoners who shine like the sun.

No one knows this except Barrett Boyd, a guard notorious for having survived a disciplinary punishment that should have killed him. He is also notorious for his rebellion against the authorities of the royal prison. At a pivotal time in the Eternal Dungeon’s history, when abusive practices of the past may finally be abolished, Barrett finds himself drawn to the mystery of a younger guard, Clifford Crofford, who claims that he and Barrett are love-mates.

Barrett has no memory of this. He has no memory of anything before his punishment. What does the past matter, compared to Barrett’s determination to protect the prisoners? But Barrett cannot ignore his bond with Clifford, and the closer that Barrett comes to Clifford, the more the danger arises that Clifford will question Barrett’s sanity. . . .

This novelette (miniature novel) of disability and love can be read on its own or as a side story in The Eternal Dungeon, an award-winning speculative fiction series set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips.

The Eternal Dungeon series is part of Turn-of-the-Century Toughs, a cycle of alternate history series (Dark Light, Waterman, Life Prison, Commando, Michael’s House, and The Eternal Dungeon) about disreputable men on the margins of society, and the men and women who care for them. Set between the 1880s and the 1910s, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times. One of the series in the cycle, Waterman, combines elements of the 1910s with retrofuturistic imagery from the 1960s.

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Everything Dusk Peterson writes is ridiculously deep, rich, and satisfying. The Shining Ones is no exception. It was strikingly beautiful. The prose lingers and swirls. I’ve read many of the Life Prison / Eternal Dungeon stories and this one is my favorite.
The criticisms are fair. Dusk writes beginnings, sometimes middles, but never endings. There’s no sex in this. It’s short. Past the end of this short story are tantalizing previews of other stories—also beginnings without endings.
Dusk absolutely murders world-building. I want it to all come together in some crashing one million word epic fantasy cycle. But right now I have The Shining Ones, and I am drunk on living the experiences of imprisoned men.
If you love the series, you’ll probably be okay. If you haven’t read anything by Dusk, this is a great place to start.
– C. E. Case


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Honored in the Rainbow Awards, Dusk Peterson writes historical speculative fiction: alternate history, historical fantasy, and retrofuture science fiction, including lgbtq novels, original slash, and other types of diverse fiction. Suspense plays an important role in many of the tales; the conflict in those tales is both external and internal. Peterson’s stories are often placed in dark settings, such as prisons or wartime locations. The mood of the stories, however, is not one of unrelieved gloominess; romance, friendship, family affection, and faithful service are recurring themes. Visit duskpeterson.com for e-books and free fiction.


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