The remarkable debut novel from a distinctive voice in speculative fiction boldly maps an ambivalent future -- and the perilous, provocative terrain of the mind.
Since the moment she came into the world, Ren "Jackal" Segura has been treated differently. As a hope, she is a symbol of the highest principles of human society and is guaranteed a position of influence in the global government once she comes of age. But two months before she is to assume the role she has been preparing for her entire life -- when she will leave her home to represent the massive corporate entity that houses, feeds, and employs her and everyone around her -- Jackal discovers that everything she believes, everything she is, is a lie.
Saddled with a crushing burden she dares not share with anyone -- not even Snow, her closest web mate, her dearest heart -- she must live as if nothing has changed. But on a recreational outing with the others in her web, she inadvertently finds herself at the center of a maelstrom of terror and catastrophe ... and in a single instant, Jackal Segura is a Hope no longer. In the collective eyes of the society that once revered her, she has become someone else: a pariah...and a murderer.
Now she must suffer a terrible punishment. Agreeing to participate in a "rehabilitation" experiment, she surrenders to a virtual solitude, imprisoned alone in a cold gray box in her mind, where months will seem like years and the demons of her psyche will be allowed free rein. But Jackal's history as a Hope has given her strengths and skills other prisoners lack -- powers she will need to endure the tormenting loneliness; to survive, branded and despised, back in a world she doesn't know; to uncover the truth about her cruel betrayal; and to rediscover her life, her love, and her soul -- in a strange place of shattered hopes and new beginnings, called Solitaire.
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Ren Segura, Jackal to her friends, is the Hope of Ko Island, the world's only corporate nation state. Born at the right time, she is part of an elite group that will inherit powerful positions representing their nations in EarthGov. She has been groomed for the moment of her ascension her entire life--it is her birthright and her destiny. But a deadly secret makes her an inconvenient liability to her corporate masters and, in Solitaire, destinies are not always in the cards. Caught between corporate loyalty and self-doubt, Jackal finds herself cast away to an experimental, virtual solitary confinement program that will change her forever.
Author Kelley Eskridge's first novel is an intense and powerful tale of self-discovery set in a convincingly articulated future. She skillfully keeps the reader turning pages as Jackal's fate unravels. Meanwhile, Eskridge deals with issues of crime and punishment, corporate power, and even fame with a deft touch that keeps the reader painfully close to the young Jackal's journey into oblivion and back again. --Jeremy PughAbout the Author:
Kelley Eskridge is the Tiptree and Nebula Award-nominated author of numerous works of short fiction. Her stories have appeared in Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, and other compilations. Solitaire is her first novel.
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