Thirteen-year-old Darci lives in a future of near genetic perfection. In the year 3028, gene research has reached such heights that terminal diseases no longer exist and celebrated scientists and artists are chosen for "umbellation," or cloning, so that their great brains can live on forever. In Darci's society, genetic laws are made by the Bio Union, a governmental agency that closely tracks all genetic research and severely punishes those who dare to commit the worst crime of all: illegal umbellation. Despite all this, Darci's life is a normal one, if not somewhat boring. After all, she knows all of her traits intimately – she has extensively studied her own DNA and that of her family. What fascinates her is the past, when life wasn't so predictable, "a time of cripples and geniuses... a time of grace and mystery when not all could be controlled and not all known." Darci soon discovers that she herself has been cloned. Not knowing if or when she will be found out, Darci fears for her life and wonders for the first time about the meaning behind a long-extinct word: soul.
Kathryn Lasky is the American author of many critically acclaimed books, including several Dear America books, several Royal Diaries books, 1984 Newbery Medal-winning Sugaring Time, The Night Journey, and the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series.