The world is in chaos: war, plague, global ecological collapse. Seeking sanctuary for their children, parents enrol them in the elite Clothos Academy. Run by a mysterious man known only as Sarge, set in a former monastery atop a sheer cliff on a tiny island, Clothos will admit only one hundred children before it is sealed off - perhaps permanently - from the terrors outside. These precious, protected children are hardly the best and the brightest: empty-headed, anorexia-thin 'starlets'; troublemakers barely one step ahead of the law; cast-off junior royals too embarrassing to be let out in public. The staff isn't much better, from the alcoholic doctor and lovelorn guidance counsellor to a teacher with a lust for power and an ancient monk with secrets of his own. The dangers from which these castaways are being protected? Stored on hundreds of DVDs, ready to be trotted out whenever Sarge needs to terrify his little flock. And yet...Two boys discover there are real dangers beyond Clothos' thick stone walls when they hack the Academy's self-contained computer network and connect, for a brief but disastrous moment, to the outside world.
Worse, a stranger has penetrated the Academy's defences. And he has brought Death.