The crimes of the past—the perils of the future. Five hundred years ago the Earth’s most prosperous people went to live in glittering colonies in space, promising to return one day. Killian Morningcloud has always dreamed of that return, wishing he could leave behind his dreary village life to join the elite among the stars. Colonial aristocrat and video celebrity Natira Celestia is fascinated with Earth and longs to meet the wise and noble souls she is sure must live there. But when a contingent of colonists lands in Killian’s community, his fateful encounter with Natira shatters the dreams of both, and triggers a chain of events that could cost their lives. In pursuit of a dangerous secret, Killian and Natira’s fire-and-water pairing will shape the future of humanity.
Killian Morningcloud turned twenty-seven on the day the colonists returned to Earth. They’d been gone for five hundred years.
He’d dreamed all his life of that day. In his mind it was a scene of glowing golden clouds and floating crystalline cities descending from the sky accompanied by unearthly music like wind chimes tolled by moonbeams, and peopled with beings so full of knowledge and wisdom that it shone through their skin.
When the event finally came to pass, the spacecraft that landed was noisy and disappointingly small. Its passage through the air left a taste on the tongue like lightning and burnt fur.
There was no music, no majesty.
And Killian wasn’t even there to see it.
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As an armload of newly split birch clattered into the rough-planed wood-box beside the stove, Killian’s uncle looked up from his chair.
“I thought you’d be climbing to the top of the ridge to look for more spaceships on the way.”READ MORE
Lewis Partridge had a reputation for dry humor and a perfect poker face. Killian froze and looked hard at the man.
“Very funny,” he said.
“Not joking. There’s no mistaking sunlight off metal, and on a day like this, the flash was visible for kilometers up in the sky. Nothing left on Earth can get that high. Has to be the colonies.”
Adrenaline flooded Killian’s bloodstream like a torrent.COLLAPSE