Isis Pnina Mahmoud slowly opened her eyes, stirred awake from her nap by the gentle breeze dancing across her face. It felt like fresh air, but she knew it was just the ventilation from the air system that had been recently installed, only giving the illusion of fresh air. The Retrograde may have been still a while away, but her father, her pa—Maat Mahmoud—was not the type to take chances.
And frankly, neither was Isis.
She sat up with a groan, her muscles taut and tired from the long morning of training she had endured. It was all worth it, though, as far as she was concerned. She’d been too young the last time the Retrograde occurred, but she’d been studying it extensively ever since. This time around, whether her parents liked it or not, she was going to fight it.
Isis’s eyes roamed her locked bedroom window, watching the curtains flutter with the fake breeze. She took in the glorious sky outside, which glowed in the rays of their Sun, Ra filling it with purple and orange hues. Despite the seemingly peaceful atmosphere outside, The Mahmoud complex had already been put on lockdown in preparation for what was to come. There were times when Isis found the whole thing to be a little excessive, given they still had a few months before the Retrograde even started. But this was a thought she kept to herself, not caring to receive her pa’s tirade regarding how it was better to be safe than sorry. Nevertheless, Isis always found it slightly disconcerting the way upper-class citizens of Damara handled times like these. Her father had come from wealth, and he was the third in succession of the Mahmoud Family to lead the region of Cairo, so it was important for them to be secure. But Isis still thought that the preparation process was nothing more than a showy display of their means.
Deep down, though, she knew it was probably guilt making her feel the way she did. Those who were less fortunate than her family had no such safety precautions and luxuries to rely on during the Retrograde. It was an ugly truth that no one liked acknowledging. Still, it was no secret. The Retrograde always made the poor suffer most. It was the knowledge of this guilt that made Isis train so hard; there was a dire need inside of her to help fight for those who didn’t stand a fighting chance on their own.
Isis stood and stretched, glancing down at what she knew her mother, her eva—the stunningly beautiful Rania Mahmoud—would consider the most unladylike of attires. Yet, Isis couldn’t care less.
She exited her sleeping quarters, intuition guiding her down to the foyer, where she could already feel the tension in the air. Her skin prickled, hearing the hushed voices drifting down the halls. For one wild moment, she feared the Retrograde had somehow already begun while she’d been napping. She quickened her pace, running down the corridor with her shoeless feet slapping noisily on the shiny marble floors.
When she turned the corner, she found her parents, along with Khalfani Abaza, huddled together, giving their undivided attention to the broadcast on the screen before them.
Isis moved closer, her eva being the first to turn around and acknowledge her presence, clearly annoyed by the way she’d been running through the corridors; she had told her time and time again not to do so. Rania never missed a chance to tell Isis that with her tall frame, she was too big to run in the house, and needed to adopt a more ladylike gait. Eyeing her daughter, Rania Mahmoud pressed her lips into a grim line.
Isis tried not to squirm as her eva’s gaze roamed over her unkempt hair and the training attire she had yet to change out of. Her training gear was rather form-fitting, and probably—according to her eva—not appropriate to be wearing in front of young male company.
Isis blinked back at her innocently. After all, it wasn’t like she’d known ahead of time that Khalfani Abaza was there; he usually stayed in his own wing, his presence barely detectable. Most days, Isis forgot he even lived there. “What’s going on?” she asked, ignoring her eva’s stare, although neither her pa nor Khalfani bothered to turn around when she spoke.
“My daughter, you should know,” Maat answered, his voice just as grim as Rania’s expression.
"In Retrograde: The Darkness, Godmasch brings us a vividly rendered vision of a far-off planet facing an ancient, supernatural enemy. This book isn't just flights of fancy; however, the characters are all as real as anyone you might meet in your day-to-day life, bringing human strength and vulnerability in equal measure to a world that could only exist in the imagination." — Jo Niederhoff, San Francisco Book Review
Life on Damara stands on the brink of destruction.
Isis Pnina Mahmoud, daughter of the President of Cairo, leads a privileged life, but it’s not what she wants.
She longs for purpose.
Purpose finds her when the mighty Retrograde threatens to annihilate her planet. To fend off a devastating attack, Isis defies her mother’s wishes and enlists in Cairo’s elite military unit.
Joined in battle by the mysterious and enigmatic Khalfani Abaza, Isis finds herself drawn to him in inexplicable ways. As the Retrograde barrels down on them, the force uniting them grows stronger.
Once they connect with Aurora, a fearless army brigade leader, the mystery behind their magnetic connection slowly unfolds, but only at Aurora’s will and on her terms.
The trio must rely on each other to survive a near-impossible mission. If they fail, Damara’s very existence will be no more.