The young have stolen and now rule the world. They live in cities organised into the School System led by Monitors and Prefects under an enigmatic Head Boy and legendary, if absent, Head Girl. There are no more families, only Houses such as Retro, Bandit, Messianic and the great Parenting House where babies are grown and children reared. The dirty work of the world is done by geeks, genetically engineered kids. The cities are dedicated solely to enjoyment and indulgence whilst around them lie the ruins of the ancient world. Beyond these are The Wilds where the bulk of humanity survive in prehistoric clans, maddened by an infection that has crept into the human genome at Parenting House. Finally, there are the compounds where the aged who have regained their sanity live out their lives in squalour and anger.
Four young people are sent on a brief fact-finding assignment to a compound. When it ends in murder, Monitors, Prefects, Heads of Houses and even Head Boy himself are prompted to action. Two of the four, Sharlot and Nathan, are guilty, ruthless and brutal, the other two, Joshwa and Mree, innocent, compassionate and vulnerable. They become hunter and hunted in a conflict which undermines their society. For Sharlot and Nathan, the murders are the start of a brilliantly organised plan, for Joshwa and Mree, they reveal the corruption at the heart of their world where greed and selfishness have destroyed all that is best in human nature.