Two intergalactic, ideologically-opposed empires fight a proxy war for control of a barren but mineral-rich planet, Kia. The various tribes, factions, and religious militias are combatants. As the great powers scheme and squabble for mineral rights and economic concessions, the inhabitants of Kia suffer in a never-ending civil war that has ravaged the planet.
Amid the chaos, the Shapira Family ekes out a living by scavenging in the ruins of Kia, both ancient and new. Mirza Shapira struggles to keep her two children, Tasmit and Asor, and their orphaned friend, Gilda, provided for, while the bombs fall, human-traffickers prowl, and the militias clash.
Kids will be kids, even in a war zone, and while on a scavenging run through forbidden, ancient ruins, the children discover the body of a ritually-murdered woman. As Tasmit Shapira vows to solve the mystery of the New Akkadian Surgeon, the children are trailed by an enigmatic sleuth, a wraith, and brutal bullies, as the war escalates and the very civilization of Kia teeters on the brink, in the shadow of the capital ships, Marduk and Tiamat, that orbit the planet like vengeful gods.