The world has suffered a great disaster and only those within Ark are safe. They are ruled by Jon Noa who sees luxury and frippery as the reason for the world’s collapse. Everything should be restricted to what is necessary, and that includes words. Letta is an apprentice wordsmith, she and her master collect words and their meaning. The rest of Ark only use words from the List, there are only 500 soon to be reduced to 100.
Outside of Ark there are scavengers who live on what little waste there is and what they can find form the old days. There are also the Desecrators, these are outlaws who fight against Ark using music and art.
Letta is drawn into the conflict when one of the desecrators arrives at her house hunted and wounded and she falls in love with him. She begins to learn her family’s history and the true nature of John Noa’s vision.
This is an exciting adventure set in a dystopian future and I am sure that any reader would be horrified at a world without words. Where the true tension come is from the vision of a world without art and imagination and the frightening logic of how such a world can be arrived at from the best of intentions. A fascinating read.