Poor little Nell - orphan girl alone and adrift in a future world of Confucian law and neo-Victorian values, nano-machines and walk-in body alteration. Well, not quite alone. Because Nell has a friend, of sorts. A guide, a teacher, an armed and unarmed combat instructor, a book and a computer and a matter compiler - the Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer is all these and much much more. Illicit, magical and dangerous, for a start. And highly desirable to a number of powerful people.