After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.
Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.
Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.
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With the System on the verge of complete annihilation and new factions of freethinkers emerging, Vee knows she must find a way to end the Commander’s rule quickly―and by any means necessary.
When the Union arrives in New England, it’s to discover their rebellion has already reached this part of the country. Food stores are low, medical supplies are nonexistent, and without the coal from nearby Mines, the residents are on the verge of freezing to death.
Guilt-ridden because of the role she played in the region’s downfall, and refusing to be the cause of anymore suffering, Vee is coerced into working with a group of brilliant child scientists who hope to form an independent government below the ruins of New York City. But when she’s asked to assassinate an opposing leader, Vee has no choice but to reevaluate her own morality and examine just how far she’ll really go to see victory in the war against The Tax.