One day, it was a remote stretch of American coastline, wild and beautiful. The next, it began to change. Now Area X is threatening more densely inhabited areas, and the secretive government organisation known as the Southern Reach wish to send in a twelfth expedition to try and understand it. But only one person from the first eleven expeditions ever returned…

Nell Crane is the girl with the clockwork heart, daughter of two revolutionary thinkers whose contributions have improved the lives of everyone in Black Water City. Great things are expected of her, but she’s running out of time to make a contribution that will keep her free of a life of manual labour. When inspiration finally strikes, her idea is so bold it may destroy her ties to everyone she loves…