The truth won't always set you free.
Less than a year ago, Neely Ambrose’s biggest worry was having the freedom to follow a path that wasn't chosen for her.
Less than a year ago, she believed she could trust the Elders who said they had everyone’s best interest at heart and who said they were keeping them safe from the outside.
Sixty days ago, she discovered what they had planned for everyone she loved—and that all of it centered around her.
Now she’s on the run through a dangerous wasteland full of killing machines, secret organizations, and people who want to sell her back to the Elders for their own safety. The whole world outside the Compound is living proof that everything in Neely’s life was a lie manufactured by the Elders, which may even include the boy she loves.
All Neely wants is the truth, but each new piece of it drives her further from what she thought she knew. With only forty days until everyone she loves falls under the Elders’ mind control, Neely must decipher who to trust, what questions to ask, and how to get one step ahead of the Elders, who will do anything to keep their secrets buried.
*About the Author*
Danielle Ellison spent of her childhood reading instead of learning math. It's probably the reason she can't divide without a calculator and has spent her life seeking the next adventure. It's also probably the reason she's had so many different zip codes and jobs.
When she’s not writing, Danielle is usually drinking coffee, fighting her nomadic urges, watching too much TV, or dreaming of the day when she can be British. Danielle is also the author of SALT and STORM, a series about a snarky witch without magic. She has settled in Northern Virginia, for now, but you can always find her on twitter @DanielleEWrites.
As we walk through the center of town, a little boy named Jacob runs past us, his black pants covered with specks of gray from the gravel dust. His mother yells after him, but Jacob doesn’t stop. Not until he sees my father. Then he freezes, and his chest heaves.
“Jacob Teem,” my father says. His voice is rough and loud. It’s always rough and loud lately. “I believe your mother is calling for you. Tell me, Jacob, what is the punishment in your household for disobeying your parents?”
Jacob’s eyes expand three sizes. He gulps, and the freckles on his face seem to dance in trembling fear. “Director, sir, we must spend the day on trash duty throughout the Compound for each account.”
My father nods. “How many times did she yell your name?”
Jacob doesn’t answer. My father bends down toward him, and I swear the boy is about to pee his pants. Father whispers in the boy’s ear. With a nod, Jacob flees from us and back to his mother. I hear her say his name in the tone that mothers get. I’ve heard Sara’s voice change that way many times.
“What did you say to him?” I ask.
My father stands, straightens his shirt, and we walk on before he answers. “I told him the Elders were looking at his records, and if he continues to disobey, they would send him North to be a servant.”
“Father!” I say.
He doesn’t even look at me. “He will listen now. These are the cards we must play to teach the children right and wrong.”
“But you’re scaring him. How does a child running constitute a warning such as that? Since when is running forbidden? You aren’t teaching him. You’re threatening him.”
Father stops and looks at me. His face is contorted and red, very unusual for the way he’s always so composed. I miss his smile. Where is his smile? "I will not have my own daughter questioning my authority in public or in private. You should learn to tame your tongue, Cornelia. It will get you into trouble.”