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Unearthed: Read the first chapter of Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner's upcoming novel

Plus, EW has an exclusive look at the sci-fi, Y.A. novel cover

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Courtesy of Authors

Love Indiana Jones but wish it were set in space? Well, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s Unearthed has you covered.

Their latest Y.A. novel sees scholar Jules Addison team up with scavenger Amelia Radcliffe, when Earth intercepts a message from the Undying, a long-extinct alien race whose technology might be the key to undoing all the environmental damage the planet has sustained over the years.

Despite having smuggled themselves onto the planet Gaia’s — where the message was traced back to — surface for opposing reasons (him, scholarly inquiry; her, treasure), the duo forms a tenuous partnership in order to deal with the rival scavengers they end up competing against.

But with each trap they avoid, and each alien message they decode on the journey to their treasure, Jules and Amelia begin to suspect that perhaps their dueling quests aren’t as unplanned as they’d first suspected.

Unfortunately, Kaufman and Spooner’s book doesn’t touch down in bookstores until early next year. But don’t worry, EW has you covered. Not only can you get an exclusive first look at the cover (below), but you can also read the first chapter early.

Disney-Hyperion

Unearthed hits bookstores on Jan. 9, 2018. You can preorder it here.

Excerpt from ‘Unearthed’ by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

One

AMELIA

This is really, really not going the way I’d planned.

The two scavengers below are talking to each other in Spanish, laughing and joking about something I can’t understand. Lying facedown against the rock, I wriggle forward just enough to see the tops of their heads over the edge of the overhang. One of them is taller, bulky in the shoulders. He’s around thirty or thirty-five, and easily twice my size. The other one’s smaller, a woman, I’m guessing, by the way she stands—but even she’d have the edge on me if they knew I was here.

You were right, Mink, I should’ve taken that gun. At the time, it felt good to surprise the Contractor—to make her eyebrows shoot up underneath her bangs and stay there. “I don’t need a gun,” I’d scoffed, not bothering to add that I wouldn’t know what to do with one anyway. “No one will ever even see me down there.” Because if I were home, if I were scavenging a city on Earth, that would be true. But studying the topographic surveys and satellite images of Gaia’s surface didn’t prepare me for just how barren this landscape is. This isn’t like the ruins of Chicago, full of sewer tunnels and half-collapsed skyscrapers, with infinite places to hide and move around unseen. There aren’t even any plants on this lifeless world, no shrubs for cover or trees to hide in. The scans scientists took from orbit didn’t show so much as a microbe. Not surprising, given that something about Gaia’s two suns gives off a flare every generation like clockwork and nukes the whole planet. There’s just open desert on either side of the canyon, and I’m screwed.

Im screwed.

The raiders are filling up their canteens at the little spring under the overhang, the same spring marked on our pirated maps, which drew me to this spot. Though I can’t understand their language, I don’t need to know the words to tell that they’re grumbling about the dusty, sandy quality of the water in the pool. Like they don’t get how lucky they are that there’s water on this planet in the first place. That there’s air we can breathe—sort of—and the right temperature and gravity, though the solar flares dashed all hope of a permanent colony here.

It’s still the closest thing we’ve ever found to a habitable planet, besides Earth and Centauri. And one of those is rapidly dying, the other far beyond the reach of our technology.

We only found Gaia because we followed the instructions left by ancient creatures long dead. There’s no telling when we’ll find another world like it, unless we find more coordinates in the ruins left by the Undying. Ironic that the aliens called themselves that in the very broadcast describing the way they wiped themselves out.