The year is 2454. Humanity has engineered a hard-won golden age, forged in the aftermath of a bitter conflict that wiped both religion and nation state from the planet. Now seven factions or 'Hives' co-govern the world by technological abundance, oracular statistical analysis, censorship and just a little blood. For three centuries, the price of peace has been a few secret murders, mathematically planned to ensure that no single Hive dominates. It is a precarious balance, but now someone is intent on pushing it beyond its tipping point. The price of imbalance is war - a war that could destroy humanity - and no one knows this better than convict Mycroft Canner, who, as his sentence, now serves the secret leaders working to forestall war. But this time he guards a secret - a wild card that no degree of statistical analysis could have prophesied. Canner's wild card takes the unlikely form of a thirteen-year-old child. A child who can work miracles - turning thought into matter, into life - a child with the power to save the world, or to doom it.