In a society where kindness toward others is punishable by death, can a boy find a way to be a hero?
Born in the Commonwealth of Ashes, where citizens live and die by the tenets of the Seven Deadly Sins, teenager Ari Westergaard has known little but violence and deprivation. Though attachment to others is forbidden, he's struggled all his life with the desire for connection—and the sin of pride—only to be rebuffed and punished repeatedly. Then, one day, during a routine execution of a sinner, he sees a girl dare to defy one of the Commonwealth's High Priests…and falls hopelessly in love.
Lust is one of the Seven Sins, and love is seen as the first step down the road to dissolution. Ari's feelings for Eva Marteinn are forbidden—a temptation and a secret, a virtue and a sin. Though Ari and Eva have never spoken, his thoughts of her sustain him as he battles his instincts in order to survive in a world where cruelty is the norm and kindness is for the weak. But when Ari is faced with a fellow citizen in need of protection, he must make a difficult choice: Stand up for what he believes in—or pay the ultimate price.