In a bleak 22nd century London, a little girl is found washed up on a beach. Deemed worthless, she’s taken to the Home, where children of no societal worth are put into service away from citizens. Matron takes an instant dislike to the little girl, but Cook sees a spark in the bedraggled child who calls herself Karrin and takes her under her wing, knowing the girl is special and needs extra protection. She knows how much that might cost her, and those around her, but she realizes Karrin is unlike any child she’s ever met in her 60 years.
Far away, on the planet Ispepyein, a greedy king, Kargan, and his scheming wife, Zelka, are in search of a girl who escaped with her parents, a child of two extraordinary beings who possesses astonishing powers that will fully unleash at maturity. They call on the planet’s best assassin, Lurga, who just happens to be the Queen’s brother, to track down and kill the girl. What neither fully realizes is how much Lurga despises them, as well as their native society, where he has never fit in.
Having plucked Karrin from London after making an unbreakable — and bloody — pact with Cook, he takes her to the deserted planet Switch, where he trains her over a period of seven years, marveling at her growing powers and abilities, which Lurga has never witnessed in another race. When he returns with Karrin to the planet to answer the call of his sister, she stuns the royal couple with her powers, fearlessness, and sheer moxie, which marks them both as targets.
Although there are female heroes aplenty these days, it’s still unusual and encouraging to see a strong male leader help a young female warrior develop and grow into her powers, as Lurga nurtures Karrin. The book’s open ending sets the stage for readers to accompany Karrin on her future journeys.