Author(s): Erika Johansen
In a world far in the future, society in the Tearling has reverted to feudalism. Evil forces have converged to ensure that the rich and powerful stay in control while the poor are plunged into ever-greater depths of suffering. The only hope is a prophecy, whispered about among the poor, that a True Queen will rise up and save the kingdom from succumbing completely to despotism. But, none of this affects the Mace. We meet the Mace in the beginning of his life, when he is enslaved as a paid fighter in the Creche, the clandestine and sinister underworld beneath the kingdom. The decrepit Creche is the only home Mace has ever known. Meanwhile in the Keep and in the countryside, some of the same villains at play in the Mace's world are inciting ever-escalating class conflict. Princess Elyssa must decide if she should align herself with her mother the Queen, or join the socialist rebellion group Blue Horizon, which has captured her heart. As the people rioting across the countryside decide Elyssa holds the key to the Kingdom's future, she is running out of time to make her choice--and to outrun those who hope to make it for her. When the Mace must leave the Creche for the first time in his life, his own fate intertwines with the prophecy of the princess and the battles of country peasants uniting in mutiny, and everything changes. The hope that Elyssa represented may be snuffed out by dark magic, and the Mace finds himself called into the service of something bigger than himself -- a fight for a better world.