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In the safe haven of the Oblate, Master Hyperion and the Guardians decide what's best for everyone. They tell people which village to live in, they raise children in underground facilities, and they modify anyone who's different. Roxan is different. She's seventeen turns old now, but she was modified when she was a young child. Driven by her questions about what was done to her-and why-she ventures into the forbidden woods beyond the village and discovers a group of Outcasts, led by a strange boy named Altrist. Altrist thinks Roxan's the answer they've been hoping for, the one who can help them escape through the Balustrade-the great wall that surrounds their world. The Outcasts aren't the only ones who think Roxan can help them, though. Hyperion's guards are after her too. They think she's the perfect bait to lead them to conquering Hyperion's adversary. Lost and confused, Roxan feels like her world is totally messed up and broken. Only when she confronts her defeat does she discover freedom and hope, forgiveness and love.