17-year-old Aeneas doesn't belong to a Colony. As the bloody scars on his back remind him, he was one more than needed. One more than necessary. He lives as a thief in the lawless Ilium Underground, a haven for mobsters, freaks, and outcasts from the Colony Spires above. When the band of pirates that raised him is slaughtered in cold blood, he finds himself lost, on the run, and worst of all, alone. His first instinct: get on a hoverbike and leave the high-walled city of Ilium for good.
It takes the chance rescue of Casseopea, a beautiful young Apprentice from the Colonies, to make the running stop. Obsessed with obtaining the ancient and powerful Key of Ilium, the Chieftain of her Colony has sent her into the depths of the Underground to search for it. If she can survive long enough to find it, she'll pass her Trials and stay part of the 150. If she fails, she'll be banished to the Underground forever. On the run or not, Aeneas is just the help she needs.
But the Key, they'll soon realize, is more than just a token relic. For Casseopea, it will be the edge she needs in order to spark a rebellion against her Chieftain and free the members of her Colony. For Aeneas, it will not only reveal the secret behind his scars, it will unlock the startling truth about where he belongs.
First 150 Words:
“What d’you know of the Key, boy? Tell me, or you die.”
Aeneas looked up into the bulging brown and purple eyes of the man called Gore, one of the most powerful Titans of the Ilium Underground. The yellow scar that ran down the tip of the man’s bulbous nose throbbed in time with his heavy breathing. His question hung in the air between them. Aeneas lifted his head slightly higher, his mop of short black curls drenched from the sewage leaking from above. The metal chains that tied his arms behind his neck cut into his wrists. His steel-coloured eyes were almost drained of life.
“The Key of Ilium!” Gore snorted, saliva dripping from the sides of his mouth and down his winding goatee. “Where is it?”
Aeneas’ mind clouded with confusion as he searched through his memories from the past 17 years. “Don’t... know anything about any key...”