Sarla is one of the Populus, a “Dud” like most of the population, who never showed signs of giftedness as a child to be whisked away into the Senate. But when Sarla’s gift manifests at age sixteen—far later than any gift in recorded history—she’s smuggled into the Populus underground and given a task to complete on pain of death. Sarla must use her powerful illusion gift to take the place of a kidnapped Senator named Joelle and dig up dirt on the Senate to publish among the Populus.
Caught between fear of discovery and the demands of the underground, Sarla worries that any action could lead to disaster. But she has no choice—she must wade into the politics of the scheming Senators while leading on Joelle’s charming suitor and fending off barbed replies to her articles in the Populus magazine. But the greatest danger of all could come from the stubborn demands of her own heart.