Our life is brief . . .
While vacationing with her mother, Sasha Samokhina meets the mysterious Farit Kozhennikov. A strange and unusual man with an air of the sinister, Farit challenges her conventional sensibilities and introduces her to the Institute of Special Technologies, a secluded private school located in a remote village far from her home. Though she is reluctant to go to this unknown town and school, Sasha senses it is the only place she should be.
Inside the institute, Sasha discovers “special technologies” and a curriculum unlike anything she’s known. The books are impossible to read, the lessons are maddening in their obscurity, and the work resists memorization. Most disturbing, though, is that the school uses terror and coercion to keep the students in line. Transgressions and failures are not punished directly; it is the students’ families who pay a terrible price.
Yet despite her fear, Sasha undergoes changes that defy the dictates of matter and time—experiences like nothing she has ever dreamed of . . . and suddenly all she could ever want.