The time is the not-too-distant future. London is in ruins. A bombed-out shell. A picked-over carcass where the only rule of law is might makes right. What remains of the city is being fought over by two ruthless gangs of warlords. In an effort to create peace, however, a truce between the two families is suggested by Val, patriarch of the Volson clan. His collateral? The hand of his fourteen-year-old daughter, Signy, in marriage to his blood rival, Conor. A rebellious, headstrong teenager who has dreamed all her life of joining her father's forces as a soldier in the war against Conor, Signy is stunned by the announcement. To agree to such a plan is unthinkable! Conor is her mortal enemy. To live as his wife is no better than to live as a slave...for the rest of her life. But what of the alternative? Does she dare defy her father? And what of the consequences of her rebellion? Her decision will set in motion a series of events--events both horrifying and tragic--that will change her life forever. Melvin Burgess has fashioned a powerfully dystopian vision of a young woman's coming of age against the backdrop of war that is shocking, harrowing, and compelling.