In a world reduced to walled cities of survivors, only the pure are allowed into mainstream society. Anyone displaying signs of genetic mutation is immediately ripped from their homes and cast into a Compound. Here they are tattooed, forever marking them as an outcast. On the day of their sixteenth birthday, they are forced into the Trials and tested for the extent of their mutation. If they Fail they will be Banished into the wilderness of a world three hundred years after the DNA Wars, a certain and unpleasant death.
Keira has lived in Keimusho Red Compound all her life, training with her knives, hoping she will survive her sixteenth birthday. Born with orange eyes, she’d been taken from her family too early to remember them, cast into the compound with all the other twists.
But when her best friend is taken by the guards she must decide; rescue him and expose a mutation she has carefully kept hidden and risk immediate execution or leave him to die.
‘I stare at my reflection, noting how the anger simmers just below the mask of my indifference. I grimace and try to dampen down. I will need to add extra whorls today, a distraction I hope. When the minders get a look at my face this morning I want them to see arrogance and disdain in my embellished tattoo… not the expression of someone fighting for control. My sixteenth birthday isn’t here yet, I reminded myself. Today is not my day to die.’