In a world where everyone is genetically engineered, what happens to the rejects? They're sent to a tropical island populated by freaks and misfits, cripples and madmen. And among their number, tucked away in the hinterlands, amid the drumbeats of civil war, a boy is coming of age.
Vladimir has been raised on a prison plantation because of the statistical likelihood that he'll commit a violent crime. But his record, despite the occasional hallucination, is clean, and the authorities have nominated him for parole. A life of ease in the Holy City awaits him.
When war destroys his home he must fight his way to freedom through a nightmare world of feudal brutality and nanotech wonders. Guided by visions and a strange band of allies, navigating the dangers of the jungle and a maze of political intrigue, Vladimir has two choices: to defy his fate and redeem himself, or to die trying.