For three quakes, a girl’s skill with bow and brush lets her survive alone in the Shadows. In this mysteriously abandoned underground city—part of a vast system called the Known Caverns—Shikayne listens to thousands of stones in efforts to uncover secrets her mother kept from her in childhood.
Shikayne wants to know how and why her mother escaped Rienna, the prison city, and why the gemstone mother gave her when she left her quakes ago still stirs in unpredictable moments. Shikayne follows the stories in stones and the gemstone’s stirring, joining a cross-world migration. This movement of people takes her out of the Shadows to the Desolates, a fringe region of the Known Caverns where multiple species now vie for territory in anticipation of an Opening. This rare split in the earth carrying lava-borne resources could change fortunes and the balance of power for an entire ecosystem of sentient creatures.
Having settled in the tumultuous Desolates, the stories in stones and the music in a weird set of bones lead Shikayne deeper into a strange murder mystery. Sensing the mystery might relate to her own questions, she focuses on solving it, despite the Known Caverns changing and forces around her preparing for conflict at the Crossroads, the anticipated position of the Opening in the Desolates.
Even equipped with knowledge gained from surviving in the Shadows, Shikayne must earn friends and recruit the help of others if she is to discover the secrets Mama hid from her.
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