The year is 2454.
The sun is setting on a hard-won golden age. For three centuries, humanity has enjoyed peace and prosperity fuelled by technological abundance, oracular data analytics, careful censorship... and just a little blood.
In a world dominated by seven factions, or 'Hives', the price of peace has been a few secret murders, mathematically planned to ensure political and economic balance. But now the secret is out, the balance is slipping and war beckons.
Convict Mycroft Canner knew this war was coming - he committed his terrible crimes to forestall it. Now, he has just one card left, a wild card no degree of statistical genius could have predicted: a thirteen-year-old child with the power to work miracles. Turning thought into matter, matter in life, this child has the power to save the world, or to doom it.
Ada Palmer is an author, historian and composer. She did her PhD at Harvard, teaches History at the University of Chicago, blogs at ExUrbe.com, composes close harmony folk music and performs with the a capella group Sassafrass.