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A century of war with the rippers--the vampires--has brought civilization to its knees. Chicago is a walled city ruled by an intractable pope, manufacturing is non-existent, and ammunition is running desperately short. The Pope sends Alex Fitzallan--already a veteran of a major battle by his nineteenth birthday--to St. John's Keep, far north of Chicago. Fitz's mission is to convince the townspeople to abandon their fortress, hand its treasures over to the Pope and move south, closer to Chicago.
But Fitz finds a population unwilling to leave their ancestral home. They are deeply suspicious of the Pope and are hiding a dark secret, one that could see them all impaled and burned by the Church. Worse, a ripper army has swept across the Prairies and is headed straight for St. John's. Fitz must decide between his pope and the people of St. John's--between excommunication and war.

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