Niara’s people inhabit a village within a walled enclosure on an alien planet. Humans must stay within the confines of the wall. The obedient live out their lives and die, never setting foot beyond the great barrier. Heretics dare to discover what lies beyond the wall. When the village chief dies, Niara is expected to assume leadership but to carve out a future for her people, she is convinced she must instead, disobey their alien benefactors and venture beyond the wall. She journeys east and encounters Wendi, tribal queen of the eastern village.
Niara and Wendi forge a bond stronger than blood as they uncover the secrets of their buried history and incite the wrath of an advanced alien force.
Calamity was the oldest word in the language of Niara’s people. It was the word for their old world which had fallen to pieces. They used that word for falling and for failing grace. They used it for the loss of life and for the leaving of love. Two and a half days away from her foster mother’s deathbed, Boabab’s prodigal daughter woke up shaken–from a strange dream and so she; despite her disdain for those who would rely on them; listened to the bones.
The bones telegraphed that one word repeatedly and relentlessly. Calamity–they sang. Calamity had befallen Niara and would soon again and again and again.