|Published on||November 5, 2013|
|Published by||Thomas Nelson|
The Markless protests are over. Logan Langly's friends presume him dead, and Daniel Peck is still missing. Chancellor Cylis has supreme control of the Global Union. But the Global Union does not yet have full control of the world. The Dark Lands--once known as Africa, Asia, and South America--remain disorganized and ungoverned. When the old, highly advanced vestige technology stopped working during the Total War, these regions lost power permanently. Dark Landers began using formerly valuable pieces of "smart" technology to build shacks in poverty-stricken shantytowns.
Ali was born in one of those shacks. When she was four years old, her mother traded her to a stranger who promised to give Ali a better life. The stranger--a man named Obaid--did no such thing. He ran a begging ring in al-Balat, using young children to lighten the pockets of Global Union tourists and wealthy Dark Landers. For many years, Ali did her best to meet her "quota" and avoid Obaid's cruel brand of punishment, fearing his threats of "tinchers" in the basement.
But in one terror-filled night when Ali is nine years old, she discovers that the tinchers were no figment of her imagination. These robotic creatures are real--and the old hospital near Mount Olivet is filled with them. Worse, they come to life around Ali, just like the "smart" technology that sometimes lights up when she nears it. While Ali fears her discovery, the government of the Global Union begins to fear Ali. When its attempt to force her "secret" out of her fails, the GU reverts to alternative means.
Taken in by a man who calls himself "Uncle Nico," Ali finds a new world beyond the electronic classroom where she is being educated. This world, called the Ultranet, is made of the software that connects all the world's technology. It is being run by an artificial intelligence that Ali comes to call "Mother." Mother shows Ali what the Global Union is really like and brings Ali through virtual space to the brain-computer interface of the imprisoned Logan Langly. Ali has more in common with Logan than she initially realizes. Cylis knows of Ali's connection to the Ultranet. Concerned that Ali could prove the downfall of the GU's technological monopoly, he intends to manipulate her into serving his purposes, just as he did with Logan.
Ali is determined to resist. But then she hears of a mysterious man who intends to attack her new home with an army of tinchers and take her by force. In terror at the news, Ali finds that she cannot distinguish friend from foe--just as Cylis intended. Yet in the end, neither Ali's frightened attempts at logic nor Peck's determined endeavor to intervene prove sufficient to overthrow Cylis's machinations. Instead, Cylis is overthrown by the very Ultranet that he thought he could so easily control.
- Main Characters
- Secondary Characters
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