Book Spotlight: The Moon Dwellers by David Estes

The Moon Dwellers

Title: The Moon Dwellers (The Dwellers Saga, #1)

Genre: Young Adult Dystopain

Publisher: David Estes

Release Date: June 30, 2012


In a desperate attempt to escape destruction decades earlier, humankind was forced underground, into the depths of the earth, creating a new society called the Tri-Realms.

After her parents and sister are abducted by the Enforcers, seventeen-year-old Adele, a member of the middle-class moon dwellers, is unjustly sentenced to life in prison for her parents’ crimes of treason.

Against all odds, Adele must escape from the Pen and find her family, while being hunted by a deranged, killing machine named Rivet, who works for the President. She is helped by two other inmates, Tawni and Cole, each of whom have dark secrets that are better left undiscovered. Other than her friends, the only thing she has going for her is a wicked roundhouse kick and two fists that have been well-trained for combat by her father.

At the other end of the social spectrum is Tristan, the son of the President and a sun dweller. His mother is gone. He hates his father. Backed by only his servant and best friend, Roc, he leaves his lavish lifestyle in the Sun Realm, seeking to make something good out of his troubled life.

When a war breaks out within the Tri-Realms, Tristan is thrust into the middle of a conflict that seems to mysteriously follow Adele as she seeks to find her family and uncover her parents true past.

In their world, someone must die.


Author Bio:

Author of popular YA dystopian series, the Dwellers Saga and the Country Saga. Voted books to read if you enjoyed the Hunger Games on Buzzfeed and Listopia.

David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. David grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children’s and YA markets in 2010, and started writing full time in June 2012.  Now he travels the world writing with his wife, Adele. David’s a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad -skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.

Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads





7 months ago

Hands grope, men shout, boots slap the rock floor.

Clay dishes and pots are smashed to bits as the Enforcers sweep recklessly through our house. There are more bodies in the tiny stone box that I call home than ever before. The walls seem to be closing in.

My mother’s face is stricken with anger, her lips twisted, her eyebrows dark. I’ve never seen her fight like this. I’ve never seen her fight at all.

It takes three bulging Enforcers to subdue her kicking legs, her thrashing arms. For just a moment I am scared of her and not the men. I hate myself for it.

I realize my sister is by my side, watching, like me. I can’t let her see this—can’t let this be her last memory of the ones who raised us. I usher her back into the small room that we share with my parents, and close the door, shutting her inside alone.

When I turn back to the room, my mother is already gone, taken. Undigested beans from our measly supper rise in my throat.

My father is next.

The Enforcers jeer at him, taunt him, spit on him. As he backs his shoulders against the cold, stark, stone wall, five men corner him. Smart. They don’t underestimate him.

He makes eye contact with me; his emerald-green eyes are hard with concentration. Despite the inherent tension in the room, his face is relaxed, calm, the exact opposite of his eyes. Run, he mouths.

My feet are frozen to the floor. My knees lock, stiffen, disobey me and my father. I am ashamed. After all that my father has done for me, when it counts the most, I fail him.

One of the men lifts an arm and a gun. I hold my breath when I hear the shot, a dull thwap! that doesn’t sound like a normal gun. The man moves backwards slightly from the force, but his le gs are planted firmly and he maintains his balance.

Father slumps to the floor. I feel my lips trembling, and my hand moves unbidden to my mouth. My frozen feet melt and I try to run to him, but a big body bars my way. I kick him hard, like my father taught me. My heel catches the Enforcer under his chin and his head snaps back. Like most people, he underestimates me.

The next Enforcer doesn’t.

The Taser rips into my neck and tentacles of electricity slam my jaw shut. My teeth nearly snap off my tongue, which is flailing around in my mouth. They don’t take it easy on me just because I’m a kid, or a girl—not after what I did to the first guy. Still stunned by the Taser, I barely feel the thump of their hard boots as they kick me repeatedly in the ribs. My eyes are wet, and through my blurred vision I see the arcing nightstick.

Strangely, it feels like destiny, like it was always going to happen.

I hear my sister’s screams just before I black out.



A brief history of the Tri-Realms

They say the meteor was enormous. Any life left on the surface of the earth when it hit was wiped out by either the shockwave caused by the collision, or the resulting tsunamis unleashed across the world’s oceans. Humans were forced to move underground. Or so the story goes.

Secretly, government scientists expected it for years, using covert teams of miners to dig the world’s largest caverns in preparation for the inevitable. But still: There wasn’t room for everyone. It would’ve been terrible: the Lottery. Families ripped apart; friends lost; blossoming relationships cut off at the knees. Of course, key individuals, like politicians, doctors, scientists, and farmers received a free pass, but all others just got a number. The number gave them a one in a hundred chance of getting selected to move into the underground facilities.

All the rest were destroyed.

And that was just the United States. No one knows for sure what happened to the rest of the world. Perhaps they weren’t so prepared. Perhaps they were all dead.

Year Zero would have been difficult for everyone. Losing relatives who didn’t make the cut; eating from the rations of rice and beans and hoping it wouldn’t run out before the leaders and their teams of advisors could com e up with a way to grow food underground; most people becoming miners; living in darkness.

Now all of that is just a part of everyday life.

These days, time is measured from the day the meteor hit. Its 499 PM (Post-Meteor). Time before Armageddon is referred to as Before-Meteor, or BM. The funny thing about Armageddon: we survived. Well, some of us anyway.

Year Zero’s first president was Stafford Hughes. Things were run much like before Armageddon, albeit in a slightly more haphazard manner.

The U.S. Constitution was upheld, laws were revised as required for our new living situation, new laws were created.

But it didn’t last. It couldn’t last.

Things were too different. People were too scared. There was too much chaos.

More structure was required.

The first Nailin was elected to president in 126 PM. His name was Wilfred Nailin. He was my great-great (and a lot more greats) grandfather. At that point elections were still held regularly. Congress decided that given the state of America, elections should be held every five years instead of four, with the opportunity for reelection after the first term. But Wilfred wasn’t satisfied with ten years in power, so after his first reelection he pushed a new law through Congress that allowed for a third presidential term, but only if supported by the people, of course.

There were rumors of ballot-rigging.

After his second reelection, he passed a law that allowed him to remain in power indefinitely, assuming he obtained approval from Congress every five years. At the same time he passed a law that also permitted Senators and Representatives to maintain their elected positions indefinitely, unless the president released them from service. It was a circular system, one where bribery and deep pockets ruled. Who you knew meant much more than what you knew.

The people had lost their voice.

That wasn’t the end of it.

Wilfred’s next move was to secure his family’s future. He had one son, Edward Nailin. With the full support of Congress, Wilfred managed to pass a law that allowed positions to be handed down from generation to generation within each family, so long as Congress and the president unanimously approved it. Public elections continued to be held, but they were fixed so that no new contenders could infiltrate the inner circle of the government, which was holding all the cards.

It worked for a while. In fact, people seemed to like the more rigid and consistent structure. Soon, however, the gap started to widen between the classes. The wealthy began to take more and more liberties, much to the mid dle and lower classes’ frustration. The complaints started pouring in from those who were being disadvantaged, but they were largely ignored. It got to the point where fights were breaking out in the streets. “Elected” officials couldn’t walk down the street without being accosted by the poor and depressed. Something had to be done!

The Tri-Realms were created from 215 PM to 255 PM. First the Moon Realm was excavated, using the advancements in mining technology to create massive caverns deep beneath the original caverns, to build more cities in. Natural caves were used as a starting point, widened and heightened to the extensive size required to house thousands of people. Heavy beams of rock were used to support the caverns’ roofs, which were prone to cave-ins. Middle and lower class citizens were used to do the work, having been convinced by large salaries and the opportunity to “advance our civilization for the good of humankind.”

Once the caverns were complete, the workers were forced to take their families to live in them. Then the work on the Star Realm began, digging even deeper below the earth’s surface. Fewer resources were allocated to excavating the Star Realm, and therefore, the caverns were smaller, more confined, more densely populated. The poorest citizens were sent to live in the deepest caverns.

The top level was given the name of the Sun Realm.

Each of the Tri-Realms was split up into eight chapters, and each chapter into between two and six subchapters depending on its size, each of which was populated by between ten and a hundred thousand people.

Over time, taxes were increased annually for the moon and Star Dwellers, as those living in the Moon and Star Realms were called, until th

Sun Realm was receiving significant resources to improve their own caverns. Life was good for the Sun Dwellers. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for anyone else.

The U.S. Constitution was legally abolished in 302 PM.

A Nailin has been in power for more than 350 years.

My father told my brother and me the whole story when we turned twelve. I still remember the smug smile on his face when he finished. He’s proud of what Wilfred accomplished.

I’m disgusted by it. Sometimes I think about it, and it makes me sick. Like now, lying in bed and wishing my mother was still around. I don’t know why I’m thinking about history right now, but I am.

 Buy it here:


See you next time!