Sixteen-year-old Mattalina Thorn grows up believing that she is one third of a typical 21st century family. Her mother leaves the military to start a life coaching and security agency with Mattalina’s aunt, after the latter decides that she no longer wants to be a counselor for the wealthy. All is perfect for Mattalina. Until right before her seventeenth birthday, when someone takes a knife to her aunt’s face; no one is telling Mattalina why.
Bran Van Dyke knows he is different from most eighteen-year-olds. While other boys his age graduate from high school, play sports and perhaps flirt, Bran is training to become the protector of the family to whom the Van Dykes owe their freedom. He likes his role in life, and when he gets reacquainted with the youngest—and most excitable—of the Thorns, Bran goes from liking his role to absolutely loving it.
But in war, love and Stories things are rarely what they seem. In Thorn in Red, typical becomes uncanny very quickly: reality is crafted by imagination; tradition uses fresh and deadly methods to preserve the old ways; Matt and Bran enter a realm where life and progress depend on death, on the reshaping of ancient lore, and on the heart of a couple of teenagers.