Fifteen-year-old Augustus Hale was born to be perfect.
A product of the great post-Earth city-station known as Arvun Cristi, his genes were chosen at conception, his body enhanced with nanotechnology, and his right arm replaced with a bionic computer. He is a Preset, a creation of the Genetic Revolution that has allowed the survival of the human race.
But when an atmospheric breach forces him to evacuate Arvun Cristi and crash-land on the barren planet Spes, he finds himself abandoned and helpless. He and another boy, Jack, are pulled from the wreckage by scavengers and held for ransom. Their only hope comes when a Watch cruiser chases the scavengers into the deadly Rift, a thousand-mile valley preserve filled with creatures from across the galaxy.
Stranded without means of survival, the mysterious Jack offers the scavenger crew an impossible map to an Arvun Cristi compound hidden deep within the Rift. It is only then that Augustus learns that Jack is a Bones – an illegal, natural-born human – with a hidden agenda all his own. Together the boys begin their journey across the treacherous Rift, unaware that what they find will change them both, and redefine humanity.