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The Orpheus Industry
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-175-9
Genre: Fantasy/SF/Fiction/Adventure
eBook Length: 234 Pages
Published: September 2004

From inside the flap

A young guitarist yearning to hit the big time. A spurned woman looking for revenge. A rock n? roll god with a dangerous history. The Orpheus Industry takes readers on a tumultuous journey where one manís quest for stardom may lead him to sacrifice everything. Caught up in somebody elseís game, can Oscar discover who is pulling the strings, and can he bear to give up the dance?

Set in a parallel world where the Greek gods never went away, this tale of sex, drugs, rock n? roll, mythology and mayhem weaves together the patterns of classical stories with modern urban humour, dark fantasy, eroticism and political intrigue. Itís fast-paced and always entertaining, and you won?t want to put it down.

The Orpheus Industry weaves together the patterns of classical mythology with modern urban humour, dark fantasy, eroticism and political intrigue. It offers an examination of mortality and of the immortality offered by fame whilst remaining fast-paced and easy to read. Packed full of colourful characters and dramatic situations, it is sure to entertain.

The Orpheus Industry (Excerpt)

The Orpheus Industry

The crowd was roaring fit to wake the gods when Oscar and his band finished their set. The manager pleaded with them to play another encore, but Oscar shook his head. He liked to leave people wanting more. Besides, his body was aching. He scratched at his chin, itching with five o'clock shadow, and wiped back sweaty hair from his face. It was time to go and get a drink.
Twenty minutes in the dressing room was all he needed; time enough to peel off sweaty jeans and grab a shower. There were fresh clothes waiting in his case. He didn't much care about his smudged make-up. The others were also impatient to leave. Zeus be damned, it was just too hot in here tonight! Tony handed out spearmint chewing gum. Oscar tugged on his boots. They heard teenaged fans screaming outside the stage door, but fortunately there was a small window in the alleyway at the side of the Palladium which offered a safer way out.
Just five minutes down the road they slipped into the safety of a basement bar. Frustrating though it might be to still be stuck playing in their hometown, at least they knew where to get a good beer. Here, the atmosphere was pleasantly dark and smoky, double protection against search parties sent by the creatures screaming in the streets outside. Those kids were getting younger and younger. He hoped they all got home okay. What were their parents thinking of? He couldn't imagine his own father letting him out like that five years ago when he was still at school. Mind, it was more dangerous for boys.
Tony headed straight for the bar to get the beers in. Oscar eased his way through the crowd of regulars, few of them paying much attention to anything by this time in the evening. In a corner at the back, he could see an unoccupied table. Terry and Jim followed him, the latter still sneezing from the dry ice. With relief they took their seats.
Oscar loved to dance, but he never noticed the pulled muscles and cramps in his legs until afterwards. So long as he didn't have to walk with a stick again. He hated to feel like an old man. Beer would anaesthetise it for the meantime. If not, maybe Tony could get them something stronger. He coughed and pulled off his jacket.
As he leaned back and glanced towards the bar, he noticed a woman watching him from the next table. Her head, topped with a vivid crop of bleached hair, rested in one hand; the other clutched a bottle and a cigarette, long red nails against red lipstick stains. She looked very pale, edgy. Her eyes were intense. He wondered if she realised she was staring. Then he laughed and swung up one foot onto the table to strike a pose. Hell, why shouldn't she be staring at him? They had a single in the indie charts now. He was going to be a star.
Beside him, Terry was laughing. He turned, not liking the tone of it.
?Remember that lassie Jack was talking about?? Terry whispered, voice rough from Marlboro. íSee the one who was backstage with them after the Limelight? That's her there. I think she likes you.?
?Get off it!? Oscar swung back an arm, pushing him aside. ?Jack said that chick was like thirty or something.?
?There's a lot can be done with make-up.? Terry joked, running a finger across the smudges that now lined Oscar's eyes.
Before the discussion could proceed any further, Tony returned with the beer, balancing it carefully in folded arms, and they all moved back to help him get it safely onto the table. Temporarily, Oscar's view of the woman was cut off. When he saw her again, she was no longer looking his way, but was involved in conversation with a girl collecting glasses. He noticed that the zip of her leopard print jacket had come down halfway, revealing ample cleavage scarcely held in place by a tiny lace-edged corset.
?Dionysus be praised, our Oscar's in love!? Tony laughed, dwarfing the stool he sat down on. His chubby fingers set to picking bits of wax off the tabletop to make a flat space for his glass.
?You know what Jack said.? Terry smirked.
?Jack does a lot of talking, but I never heard of him turning anyone down.? Oscar was faintly annoyed with them now. He watched the woman stub out her cigarette, watched the way her breasts moved as she tilted her head.
?Aye, but Jack has his own consultant down at the clinic. You don't want to end up like that.?
?It's not as if you need to, anyhow, is it?? Jim put in, his soft tones quieting the others. Jim rarely spoke, so when he did people tended to listen. He glanced upwards now, as if looking through the walls to the haunted streets. ?You're the good looking one. Everybody knows that. And you've got the talent. You could have your pick of those kids.?
Oscar snorted. ?I like them a little older than twelve, thanks.? That was a better way to get his attention, though: appealing to his vanity. Privately, he and Jim joked about it a lot. He had never heard a better drummer. His own talent was flashy, that was all. If anyone ever paid any attention to drummers, Jim would be the star.
?As old as that??
Terry pointed. He didn't seem to care that the bleach-haired woman saw him as she got up from her seat, the curve of her hip pressed tight against a leather mini-skirt. She gave him a reproachful look, then cast her eyes once, lingeringly, at Oscar. He felt a chill go through him, as if something quite different had been communicated. As she swayed across the room towards the door, Tony dug him in the ribs.
?What are you waiting for, man? Go on!?
Downing the rest of his pint in one go, he leapt to his feet, grabbed his jacket and bolted after her.
Outside in the darkness they flitted through alleyways, too eager to wait for a cab, taking the quickest shortcut back to his flat. The snow had stopped falling now, and had started to melt on the ground, so that they left wet footprints behind them, two square Cuban heels and two stiletto points. He was wary of hunters, but believed her when she said she wouldn't leave him alone. There was hunger in her eyes. She had a weird voice, insubstantial, as if it had been echoed through a mike, but he liked it. There was something different about her. She looked like an archetypal groupie, yet he couldn't help but feel that there was something else going on.
When they reached the stairs that led into his apartment block she stopped for an instant and held him down, her lips brushing against his. He caught a whiff of perfume that spoke of grandeur and elegance almost beyond the world of men, but with something darker to it. If it weren't for Jack's stories, he might almost have feared she was a hunter herself; but they only recruited virgins. Whatever else she might be, she wasn't that. Her hands found the zip of his jeans all too quickly, tugging it down, long fingers sliding inside. He caught his breath, nervously pulling away.
?Upstairs.? he said. ?Come on.?