Despite his privileged lifestyle, Hayden feels trapped in an empty existence. Then one night, he is kidnapped and finds that, unlike in the past, this new captivity is something he can’t just drink away.
Felicity is well-acquainted with feeling trapped. Abducted as a child, she has been a hostage most of her life.
When the two of them meet in the secluded manor where they are being held for ransom, they form a partnership in the hopes of escaping.
But while Hayden’s focus is on obtaining earthly freedom, Felicity is determined to show him that real freedom can only come through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
At first, Hayden wants nothing to do with Felicity’s religious ideals, but he is about to realize that true freedom is never free.
Life is simple on the island nation of Melior: the just are rewarded for their good deeds, while the criminals are branded for their failings and sent to live outside the proud city’s walls.
In the midst of this society that emphasizes worth via achievement, Merritt’s sole aim in life is to earn value. When he discovers that his domineering mother has been lying to him, he leaves the city to find out for himself the truth of the Branded community. It is there, among the untouchables, that he finally begins to feel a sense of belonging.
But this acceptance comes at a terrible price. When false accusations leave Merritt guilty in the eyes of the law, he must set out to reinvent his identity and answer the question: Can a man be worth more than his actions?