Ark, the Final City, a glass dome drifting in space. For centuries the remnants of humanity have fought over the scraps of the city using the mask of civilisation to obscure brutal ambition. All this under the watchful gaze of the Potentate – a mortal god.
This is but one episode in the history of Ark. It starts with a fire at the city Asylum. From this event ripples the consequences that shake the city and change humanity. We follow five characters.
Isador, an escapee from the Asylum is convinced he is heir to a cursed family – Iuda. Years of chemical restraint have made him a drug addict prone to vivid hallucinations. The Iuda district – a wasteland – is his inheritance, and it is his duty to save it for the desperate people that flock to him by proving his legitimacy and defending his claim.
Anna Veleno, a wheelchair bound noble well past her first century finds herself thrust back into the arena of politics. She becomes the new Veleno Contessa and quickly discovers why her House is failing. Family are as good as enemies, and her rule must be tempered with both compromise and terror. All of this is complicated when a strange girl is delivered to her.
Lily is that girl. The nine year old daughter of the Asylum Warden, Dr Ellis. Her father is flayed as the horizon burns and Lily sees the killer – a man with the head of a raven. Lily runs, but does not escape the violence – her face is torn and in her escape she meets something more horrible than the Raven or her attackers. A creature that calls itself an Angel. Taken in by Anna, Lily refuses to accept her loss, and ensures she has her vengeance.
Matheau, a Watch Inspector is investigating the death of Dr. Ellis. A crippled man working for his freedom, he finds himself overwhelmed by the influence of nobility and family politics in the city. He finds a wary ally in the form of his highborn partner, though once he is removed from the case, he is unsure who he can really trust. He strikes out independently, and finds more than he bargains for, ultimately leading to a confrontation, a final battle in a war he did not want.
Zacharius, Master of Lamps. A high councillor of a weak House. Zacharius is privy to the political cogs grinding behind the façade of civil society. As a rule, he does not play the game, but is forced to in order to keep his position, and his life. To save the city, he must help the Mad Duke Isador, and make a deal that he knows will destroy him in one way or another.
The book finishes as it begins, with fire. Momentarily, the city is still. But this will not last long. Already the pieces are being set for the larger game. There is more to uncover, and one last question remains unanswered:
“Who is E. Needleman?”