Samantha Berry lives in a world devastated by war. A fragile peace has allowed hopes for rebuilding to blossom, but they rest on the shoulders of those who run the Gauntlet, the lethal trail to the stronghold of the man whose strange creatures started the war many years ago. The stronghold lies deep in Torrent's Valley, protected by deadly weapons that defeat every attempt to penetrate it, and it holds information crucial to the survival of Samantha's world.
Samantha wants to go to Harknell School, where Gauntlet Runners are trained. The only trouble is, she's the wrong gender. Determined not to let a little thing like that stand in her way, she disguises herself, calls herself "Sam," and risks everything to learn the skills she needs.
Fraught with unimagined dangers, Harknell shows Sam a whole new world and forces her to keep a cool head as she fights to maintain her place and become a Runner. Along the way, she'll make lifelong friends, watch loyalties crumble, and learn what it is to love.
In this scorching world that no one saw coming... until it arrived.