When Julie skips school and sets off with her best friend and some local boys for a camping trip in the desert, she finds herself the target of unwanted, drug-fueled sexual attention. Running away in fear, she takes a dangerous fall down the shaft of a vast underground cave, and it takes two days for her to be rescued. Lying unconscious in her hospital bed, Julie hovers between life and death as she travels in a seductive parallel universe inspired by remarkable cave paintings left behind by prehistoric humans. Marko, her attacker, tries to cover his tracks, menacing those who know what happened in the desert that night. Jamal, the youngest son in a family of Iraqi refugees living in Julie's small town, is one of his prime targets. He defies Marko, keeping him away from Julie's bedside and refusing to fall prey to his threats of violence.Meanwhile, Marissa, who gave Julie up for adoption fifteen years earlier when she became pregnant as an adolescent, is following an instinct that leads her back to the daughter she once abandoned. With the aid of Jamal and a local Native American hitman/shaman, she attempts to draw Julie back to consciousness.
Madison Smartt Bell is best known for his trilogy of novels about Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution, including All Souls' Rising, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award.
Jessica Anya Blau was born in Boston and raised in Southern California. Her novels have been featured on The Today Show, CNN and NPR, and inCosmo, Vanity Fair, Bust, Time Out, and other national publications. Jessica's short stories and essays have been published in numerous magazines, journals and anthologies. Jessica co-wrote the script for Love on the Run starring Frances Fisher and Steve Howey. She collaborated with Regina Calcaterra and Rosie Maloney on Girl Unbroken. For many years, Jessica taught writing at Johns Hopkins University and Goucher College. Currently, Jessica divides her time between Baltimore and New York.