Over the centuries since its founding, the landlocked and iron-poor realm of Galesa has developed a social and religious horror of mechanical devices. But the modern world is creeping through the mountain passes. Farm machinery and the printing press have already arrived; steam engines and repeating rifles are on the way. How will these backward people cope?
And in this realm, so removed from the rest of its world, we find Aleria, equally out of touch with her society. Born into a Ranked family, she has no interest in the mannerly social world of her classmates. All their activities seem flat, pale and useless, and she constantly schemes to spice up her life. Her loving parents despair for her future, in fear that her next prank will prove harmful to herself or someone else. Only a few close friends support her.
And then one of her stunts goes wrong, and throws her into an ordeal that destroys her confidence and cripples her emotions. Seeking a solution, Aleria starts down an unusual path for one of her station. Her Battle Arts Master warns her, “Use violence to solve a problem and you become a different person. Violence will be one of your options for the rest of your life. There is no going back.”
That suits Aleria. For her, there has always been only one direction: forward.
About the Author
Brought up in a logging camp with no electricity, Gordon Long learned his storytelling in the traditional way: at his father’s knee. He now spends his time editing, publishing, travelling, blogging and writing fantasy and social commentary, although sometimes the boundaries blur. Gordon lives in Tsawwassen, British Columbia, with his wife, Linda, and their Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Josh. When he is not writing and publishing, he works on projects with the Surrey Seniors’ Planning Table, and is a staff writer for