Welcome to Dominion City. After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated…and their genetics damaged beyond repair. The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plague-resistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared…
And then there’s Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are. When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, led by the charismatic Nolan Storm and the beautiful but deadly Jared Price. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters? As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood.
“Isn’t it a little weird that we have to do our tests again? Was there some kind of mistake with the first one?” Margot says it innocently enough, a slight twang to her voice to match the nurse’s rabble-like twang.
“Well, hon, sometimes they get mixed signals, you know? Like when you think a boy likes you but then he goes all hot and cold?” She winks. Margot’s fingers tighten on mine.
“Uh huh.” Margot nods. “So there’s a problem with your machines? Or with the staff?”
The nurse frowns. “Not this staff. They’re five-star amazing. Must have just been a bad sample or something. Try not to worry about it, sweetie.” She pats Margot’s arm just before she shoves the needle in my sister’s vein.
I squirm on my seat. The skin on my arm crawls from the sharp pain originating in my sister’s arm. Relaxed beside me, Margot doesn’t move a muscle. She knows what I’m feeling even if she can’t do anything about it. This is just how it is with us.
“How much are you going to take this time?” My voice shakes as our coltish nurse comes around to me and drives a needle into my arm. It doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as Margot’s did. Our hands stay folded together. There’s a note in our file about letting us. One of the perks of being born us.
“Oh.” For the first time she looks a little dismayed. “I’m sorry, hon. Didn’t they tell you? We gotta go through the whole protocol again. The whole shebang.”
My twin and I did know. We’d been told. Still, it bothers us. A full day’s worth of giving blood, going through tests, having your organs measured and documented. Urine samples, more blood samples, hair samples. We’d already been through this two times in the last two months. We no longer believe they’d gotten “bad” samples—not that we’re going to let on to the nurse.
And funny thing is, each time we come, the Protocols Nurse is new. This is the third we’ve had, each as clueless as the last.
We know better than to ask our parents. The deepening silence and constant rounds of testing and lies must mean the news is the worst. Late at night we lie together, holding hands and whispering under the deep canopy of one or other of our beds. We’ve thought about what it will mean if one of us turns out to be a Laster. We’ve talked until dawn about what we’d want, what we’d do. I tell Margot I’d want to go with her, but she’s against the idea.
“One of us needs to survive,” she said to me, her gray-green eyes as serious as I’ve ever seen them.
“What if it’s not that?” I asked her.
“What do you mean?”
“What if we’re, you know,” the words mere whispers, “True Born?”
L.E. Sterling had an early obsession with sci-fi, fantasy and romance to which she remained faithful even through an M.A. in Creative Writing and a PhD in English Literature – where she completed a thesis on magical representation. She is the author of two previous novels, the cult hit Y/A novel The Originals (under pen name L.E. Vollick), dubbed “the Catcher in the Rye of a new generation” by one reviewer, and the urban fantasy Pluto’s Gate.
Originally hailing from Parry Sound, Ontario, L.E. spent most of her summers roaming across Canada in a van with her father, a hippie musician, her brothers and an occasional stray mutt – inspiring her writing career. She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.
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