Apple has taken the task of carrying a friend's ashes beyond the safety of the City's parameters. To her surprise she is met by a stranger. Humans and other forms of life are not even thought able to live in this dreaded terrain! Graham is not only healthy, he is kind and attractive, and he plays a pipe that makes music -real music, something that has not been heard in decades. But with his fantastic tales of a homeland which lies over the hills and far away, Apple believes this intriguing man must be quite mad. It is only after seeing him drive off a pair of rats with just the lull of his pipe music Apple understands this man is not delusional, but gifted. Apple also realizes quite keenly that despite the emotional abstinence expected by City law, she is falling in love with Graham. And when the City elders attempt to use the piper's gifts without meeting his asking price, they will face a swift penalty that jeopardizes the foundations of their heartless world.