This dystopic tale unfolds in a future where megacities have swallowed up remaining wild and green spaces, where bureaucrats rule and the economic divide between the privileged and the poor is vast. Nadia, abandoned by her parents as a child with the instructions to "Look to the North Star and we will always be there," has become a survivor. Unable to watch the TV due to an eye condition, she has read everything she can get her hands on and is intelligent and resourceful. In flight from the Forensics, whose presence means a certain unpleasant end, she meets James, one of the last of the cartographers, and together they plan to escape to Lighthouse Island – a place that may or may not be real but holds out the hope of a freer existence. Jiles indulges in biting critique of the wasteful ways of the 20th and 21st century in her vision of this grim world while still holding out a ray of hope for humankind and our innate quirkiness and resilience in the face of terrible odds.