A year after the first book, Orient City finds that progress comes with consequences. Just as pollution and an energy crisis affected them previously, we see how addiction can be used as a weapon of control against the poor and destitute... As a new, more potent drug is introduced and sweeps through the city.
As a power struggle rages for control of the city, Nessa must navigate the political waters of the city’s power hungry elite while teaching them how to harness electricity. That struggle doesn’t just take place in polite society as two gangs vie for supremacy of the underworld; Devil Hanzo’s Dead Eels and the Golden Mantises of Dorado led by the Dragon Head. As violence spills onto the streets, Jun-Fan and Nessa do what the Orient City Guard won’t… fight back.
With electricity introduced, coal use plummets and Black Rock has become the poorest of the rocks. From the ashes of The Muskrat massacre at the Drunken Buffalo, a young opium dealer born on the lowest terrace of Black Rock rebuilds the gang; skyrocketing to power through a new form of opium mined on Black Rock. Orient City will quickly learn that he may not be as brash as Khan the Butcher, but this young buck is more cunning… and just as ruthless.
We find Rooster alive, but with his legs and hand cut off. Using his technical prowess, the man becomes part-machine… completely bent on revenge. He sends for the twin of the deadly Crow and promises them vengeance on those truly responsible for their sibling’s death: Jun-Fan and Nessa. Rooster also brings the young buck from Black Rock under his wing, fueling his rise in power.
Without a place for her in this new world order, Koji goes back to the only thing she knows… stealing from the rich. Even though a connection clearly exists between her and Jun-Fan, they drift apart. She knows that Jun-Fan and Nessa cannot help solve the massive debt she owes Taheiki, the largest fence in all of Orient City. She ends the season being caught by Taheiki and sold to Devil Hanzo.
Although Jun-Fan believes Koji to be dead, he and Nessa are able to destroy the mine where the new opium is created. However, the damage is done… Koji is missing and Rooster has ended the gang wars and taken control.