The Cunning Blood
By Jeff Duntemann
Cover by Todd Cameron Hamilton
Peter Novilio was going to Hell.
CAUGHT VIOLATING THE ZERO TOLERANCE for Violence laws, he was sentenced to a oneway trip to Earth's prison planet in the Zeta Tucanae system. Hell was forever: Its ecosphere had been infected with microscopic nanomachines that destroyed electrical conductors, condemning its inmates to a neo-Victorian gaslight society without computers, spaceflight, or hope of escape.
Hell was not what it seemed. Clues suggesting impossible technologies and imminent revolt forced Peter Novilio to become Earth's unwilling agent, descending to Hell's surface in pursuit of information that he could exchange for his freedom.
But Peter had a secret as well: He was a member of the outlawed Sangruse Society, and in his blood flowed the Sangruse Device, Version 9, the most powerful nanocomputer ever created. Although supposedly Peter's protector and advisor, the Device had reasons of its own for visiting Hell. Peter soon discovered that he was little more than a disguise, caught in a covert war among Earth, Hell's ingenious inmates, and the deadly mechanism in his veins. For as fearsome as it was, the Device itself was afraid — and the fates of whole worlds would depend on the threat that the Cunning Blood had discovered outside of space and time.
Jeff Duntemann's father was an engineer who wanted to know how things worked, his mother read SF to him from an early age, and his tinkerer uncle was happy to give him bits and pieces of stuff and show him how they could be assembled to make radios and telescopes. When he was ten, his grandmother gave him her ancient Underwood typewriter, enabling him to put his fascination with words and gadgets to good use.
Jeff wrote two Hugo-nominated short stories in the 1970s, then took a quarter-century detour into editing, writing, and publishing computer books and magazines. He has recently resumed writing science fiction with his story "Drumlin Boiler" in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. The Cunning Blood is his first published novel.
Jeff lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Carol, and a variable number of dogs.
You can find more info about Jeff on his website at http://www.duntemann.com.
Todd Cameron Hamilton
Todd Cameron Hamilton was born in 1962 in Chicago, Illinois. His first professional cover was for John Varley's collection Blue Champagne in 1986. In 1988, he collaborated with P.J. Beese on the novel The Guardsman. He has since created covers for numerous "Star Trek" novels. Todd's illustrations have graced the interior pages of many magazines, including Analog. He was the artist for Piers Anthony's Visual Guide to Xanth, Roger Zelazny's Visual Guide to Castle Amber and The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern. He has an interest in restoring old houses and lives in Ann Arbor.