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“Kali Wallace, the world needs you—and this book. Salvation Day is a taut thriller, a near-future look at where we’re headed next, a mirror reflecting the best and worst of humanity. It is all that, and so much more. I’d follow the rebellious heroine Zahra anywhere—especially into another nail-biter of a story like this.”

—James Rollins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Last Odyssey

“Salvation Day is a masterful story set at a screaming pace. It had me holding on for dear life all the way through. I loved it.”

—Mur Lafferty, Hugo Award–winning author of Six Wakes

“Breakneck pace with real thrills and chills—plus lots of meaty stuff to think about. One of the major science fiction debuts of 2019. Kali Wallace is a force to be reckoned with.”

—Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award–winning author of The Oppenheimer Alternative

“A smart, gripping thriller you just can’t put down. Explosions, betrayals, morally gray choices, and twisty secrets; all set in the world that comes after the end of ours. Perfect for fans of Aliens and locked-spaceship murder mysteries.”

—Kameron Hurley, Hugo Award–winning author of The Broken Heavens

“More than a science fiction novel, it’s a good old-fashioned thriller set in the future—every page filled with breadth and scope and twists and turns. An exciting, dangerous, magical quest for truth.”

—Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Kaiser’s Web

“A suspenseful journey with complex characters and a riveting universe that is as bold as it is fascinating, Salvation Day is a space thriller that will infect you with its gripping narrative as much as its mind-bending viruses.”

—Peter Tieryas, author of Cyber Shogun Revolution

“Wallace delivers an exciting science fiction thriller that shines a light on government secrets, shifting blame, and elitism and class in a future society. The tight plot and well-developed characters create an engrossing read.”

—Library Journal

“Salvation Day is a terrific space thriller. Wallace is an excellent writer, and she maintains tight control over her story as it progresses.”

—New York Journal of Books





An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC


Copyright © 2021 by Kali Wallace

Penguin Random House supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin Random House to continue to publish books for every reader.

BERKLEY and the BERKLEY & B colophon are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Wallace, Kali, author.

Title: Dead space / Kali Wallace.

Description: First Edition. | New York: Berkley, 2021.

Identifiers: LCCN 2020036159 (print) | LCCN 2020036160 (ebook) | ISBN 9781984803726 (trade paperback) | ISBN 9781984803733 (ebook)

Subjects: GSAFD: Science fiction.

Classification: LCC PS3623.A4434 D43 2021 (print) | LCC PS3623.A4434 (ebook) | DDC 813/.6—dc23

LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2020036159

LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2020036160

First Edition: March 2021

Cover images courtesy of Shutterstock

Cover design by Adam Auerbach

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.


For Link and Mochi, for being very good company in a very bad year



Praise for Kali Wallace and Salvation Day

Berkley Titles by Kali Wallace

Title Page



Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six


About the Author


The kid was bleeding from his eyes, but he hadn’t noticed yet. He sat on the edge of the narrow lower bunk, hunched over and swaying slightly, as though every one of Jackson’s questions was a gust of wind he could not withstand.

“Where’d you get it? Who did the work?” Jackson leaned her shoulder against the upper bunk, made a face, thought better of it, and pulled away. Everything in the room was filthy. The air was filthy. “Just give us a fucking name and we’ll be gone.”

The kid didn’t answer. He wasn’t looking at her, wasn’t looking at me, wasn’t looking at anything at all. Scabs and pus had crusted around the wounds where the black market augment was drilled into his head. His artificial eye was already glitching like hell; the muscles of his face, from his eyebrows down to his chin, twitched with waves of tremulous spasms. He was completely naked but for his tattoos, which showcased a brief, angry history of joining just about every outer systems political group that had ever gathered in a grubby station canteen to rail against one thing or another.

The lack of clothes also gave us a good look at the freshly sealed surgical scar that snaked down his spine. Whoever had done the surgery was worse than a hack. The kid would be lucky if he knew his own name after the doctors got the tech out of his brain. Every time he blinked, another droplet of blood squeezed from his tear ducts and rolled down his cheek.

“Can’t have been cheap,” Jackson said. “You sure as shit don’t have the money for that. Who paid? Who sent you here?”

I read through his file while she worked through the script. The kid was a contractor, one of several brought to Hygiea for a six-month stint upgrading the industrial water filtration system. His anticorporate tendencies were more boastful talk than meaningful action, and mostly subsided now that he was making good money. He had a weakness for sexy new tech. As far as I could tell, four or five days ago he’d paid somebody to give him an illegal neural augment and ocular prosthetic. Stupid and dangerous,

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