A secret beats inside Anna Thatcher's chest: an illegal clockwork heart. Anna works cog by cog -- donning the moniker Technician -- to supply black market medical technology to the sick and injured, against the Commissioner's tyrannical laws.
Nathaniel Fremont, the Commissioner's son, has never had to fear the law. Determined to earn his father's respect, Nathaniel sets out to capture the Technician. But the more he learns about the outlaw, the more he questions whether his father's elusive affection is worth chasing at all.
Their game of cat and mouse takes an abrupt turn when Eliza, a skilled assassin and spy, arrives. Her mission is to learn the Commissioner's secrets at any cost -- even if it means betraying her own heart.
When these uneasy allies discover the most dangerous secret of all, they must work together despite their differences and put an end to a deadly epidemic -- before the Commissioner ends them first.
In this intriguing science fantasy debut, the population is divided between preindustrial settlers who live on Earth Adjacent and the aristocratic people of the Tower, a space station ruled by the enigmatic Queen Elizabeth. Successfully terraforming Earth Adjacent hinges on the society curing a congenital heart defect that some element of the planet's environment causes in everyone born there. Although the authoritarian Commissioner has found a way to protect his Settlement, those whose lives have been saved by illegal clockwork tech have formed an outlaw village. When Nathaniel, the Commissioner's son and heir apparent, goes on the hunt to arrest Anna, a mechanic who services illegal medical tech, his belief that technology is inherently dangerous undergoes a seismic shift, and is further rocked by his first meeting with his Tower fianc e, Eliza, who reveals that she's been sent by the Queen herself to overthrow the Commissioner. As Eliza and Anna decide what their budding mutual attraction means, and Nathaniel struggles to choose a life not defined by his father's expectations, they also make daring plans that will decide the future of a whole world. This is a fun and unusual blending of space-age tech and steampunk-style clockwork that readers with a love of adventure will enjoy. Ages 14 up.