Forbidden. I will start off by saying that this is a quality work of fiction. A futuristic tale of adventure, suspense, love, intrigue, and compelling, well-developed characters. The quality of writing is top-notch and I could not put this one down.
The story takes place several hundred years into Earth's future after nuclear war has decimated and reshaped the planet. Life in this time has too been reshaped. Gone is the hatred, the violence, the warring, the anxiety, and the ambition. The world is united under an all-encompassing peace. The peace, it turns out, is due to a genetically engineered virus that has stripped humanity of every emotion save fear. The center of government and power of this new world order lies in Byzantium. There we meet Rom Sebastian, a man in his mid-20s, whose life is centered on living by the precepts of the Order. One day he is found by a wild old man who relates to him a brief and confusing narrative about the murder of his father and about life, blood, and the truth that all of humanity is actually dead. He slips Rom a small box and tells him to guard it with his life. Inside is the only key that can restore humanity, a key that has been guarded by a secret group for ages. Moments later the secret police come upon them. While Rom flees, the old man is murdered in cold blood. A short while later, Rom watches as these same secret police invade his home and murder his mother.
Rom barely escapes with his life and his world is undone. Inside the box the old man gave to him, he finds an ancient vial of blood and a scrap of vellum with some cryptic prose and a coded message. The prose speaks of new life emerging after drinking the blood. It speaks too of the prophesy of a boy who will restore humanity. With great trepidation, Rom drinks a portion of the blood and is transformed, feeling and sensing life for the first time. The story then takes us on a great adventure following Rom as he learns about what has happened to humanity and who the young boy alluded to on the vellum is and what his role is to be. Yet nothing comes without great cost as there are others who also know of the ancient prophesies and the great power that is there for the taking. It seems that violence, hatred, and ambition are not as extinct as some would have believed. Neither is the remnant of love.
Now, onto the next part of the story, Mortal.