Have you ever felt like the stork got the wrong address? So she left you where you're not supposed to be: in a cage that you can never escape? That's exactly how 15-year-old Neph Baker feels, hated by literally everyone in his town for an arson whose perpetrator remains at large, yet for some reason everyone blames Neph. But he himself can't recall where he was when it happened.
Nonetheless, the rumors were strong enough to grant him the ill-favored epithet that induces terror in all who hear it: The fire kid. But things aren't all bad, because even with everyone against him, he still has the company of the ever-loyal Grasshead, an otherworldly creature known as a hiphomoy and the only means of comfort Neph has. But with no money, no friends, no support and nowhere to go, Neph is forced to bide his time until the moment when he will leave his wretched cage of suffering and loneliness… for that is his one and only desire.
Everything changes when he discovers the Natin, a group of humanoids who invite Neph to their home, for they believe he is the composer of the calm horizon, the long-lost hero of legends, who will defeat the Airatsmeka, the Natin's eternal enemies. Neph enters the novaverse, a utopian parallel world dominated by the Natin. Yet the utopia may be destroyed by the Airatsmeka if Neph doesn’t live up to his supposed destiny as the composer. Because they have no alternative, the Natin are open-minded to the idea that Neph is the composer, since they waited seven centuries for an opportunity like this, and time is running out.
But there's an even bigger problem: no one is certain Neph is actually the composer. But the Natin are willing to test him if it means the defeat of the Airatsmeka. Realizing this might be his only shot at a better life, Neph is willing to go through any and all trials to prove himself. Should he fail, he will return to a life of condemnation and to the world from which he came, for the Natin have no tolerance for failures… and Neph can’t to go back into the cage.
About the Author
Al Romano graduated in philosophy, video game design and screenwriting from various academies. He always strives to discover new things, but never manages to find them, which is what led him to create his debut novel. And with his experience with video games, he believes he can present works of fiction from a different perspective that people are not entirely familiar with.