is set in a harsh and broken world.
A calamitous change in climate has seen seas rise and consume coastal cities while shifts in rainfall have left the remaining landmass to bake and burn .
It is an unforgiving world where brutality and fear are ever present in the daily struggle for survival.
Like George R. R. Martin's Westeros, the world Jane Abbott has created is one where ruthlessness reigns and trust, integrity and compassion will get you killed.
Jem is a Watchman of the Citadel, a walled city with a fuedal economy where goods and services are paid in quarts of water.
Jem takes his orders from the Tower. He's unusual because he can read. All surviving books have been collected and are locked behind the walls of the Tower. The knowledge they contain is restricted to the shadowy and repressive Council whose rules are enforced on a down trodden society by the bully boys in their Guard.
Watchmen have no friends. They work alone to quell insurgencies and quietly take out dissidents with lethal efficiency. Jem is their best assasin but he is not prepared for the events that over take him.
A word to the wise: trust no one.
This is an exceptionally good novel of intrigue, violence and secrets. Jem is up against it and his survival, to find love and his own way in in the world, balances on a knife edge.
A great first novel by Jane Abbott.