The Fifteens of Stone House have reached Attainment: the day a girlie may Beseech for the privilege of serving as a Perfected womanidol in the Orchid Nursery. When vivacious, irreverent Pearl goes missing, pious Mica hopes fervently that her friend has been chosen for Perfection and has not, as she fears, absconded from the State. Mica feels bound by love and duty to seek Pearl — to save her from punishment if she is caught by the Ecumen or, worse, if she has left Civilisation.
Mica’s search will take her into a frightening physical and moral terrain where insurgents and outcasts are still fighting a strategic war against the clerical regime. But first Mica must bring herself to violate the secret–sacred space that is the Orchid Nursery.
Through its youthful protagonists The Orchid Nursery explores sexual politics and the co-opting of religion to perpetrate extremes of misogyny, violence, control and obliteration of the cultural and historical record. It also sees the possibility of hope emerging from the worst kind of dystopia.