Ten years after the doomed mission to Carthan, a terrible disease is turning human Mindguards into a threat to society. The Enforcement Unit, the ruthless, peace-keeping arm of the Interstellar Federation of Common Origin, has outlawed their activity and is keeping them under strict surveillance.
Forty-seven prototech Mindguards who call themselves the Vintages have fled to the Hando Desert and seized control of the territory's thoughtenhancing drug trade. Under the leadership of the mysterious Jaycen Nemeth, the Vintages are rapidly becoming a danger to the IFCO, bringing them into direct conflict with the Enforcers. As Nemeth's influence grows among the Desert Dwellers, the prospect of a new Mindwar threatens the future of mankind.
There's power in stories. This is a story of power.
Dead bodies aren't unusual in the alleyways of Fenest, capital of the Union of Realms. Especially not in an election year, when the streets swell with crowds from near and far. Muggings, brawls gone bad, debts collected – Detective Cora Gorderheim has seen it all. Until she finds a Wayward man with his mouth sewn shut.
His body has been arranged precisely by the killer and left conspicuously, waiting to be found. Cora fears this is not only a murder, but a message.
As she digs into the dead man's past, she finds herself drawn into the most dangerous event in the Union: the election. In a world where stories win votes, someone has gone to a lot of trouble to silence this man. Who has stopped his story being told?
'An utterly absorbing tale set in a fascinating world' MICK FINLAY.
'If you love storytelling, you'll love this' S.J. MORDEN.
'It's rare to find such a richly imagined world about the art of myth and storytelling' CHRISTOPHER FOWLER.
'Irresistibly thrilling, weaving together gaslit crime, fantasy and mystery ... I can't wait for more' TIM MAJOR.
'There is more than meets the eye in this gripping and inventive debut ... Rife with intrigue, deceit and cultural tension' JAMES AITCHESON.
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