Our life is brief . . . Sasha Samokhina has just met Farit Kozhenikov and her life will never be the same again. Whilst on holiday, Sasha is asked by the mysterious Farit to undertake a strange task for him. Reluctantly, she obliges, and is rewarded with a shining golden coin. The more tasks she performs, the more coins Sasha receives until Farit instructs her – against the wishes of her family – to travel to a remote village and use her gold to gain entrance to the Institute of Special Technologies. Sasha quickly discovers this is no ordinary school. The books are impossible to read, the lessons obscure to the point of maddening, and the knowledge itself refuses to be remembered. Despite this, Sasha undergoes changes that defy matter and time; with experiences that are nothing like what she could have dreamed of before… but which are suddenly all she could ever want. But this learning comes at a cost. The school uses terror and coercion to keep students in line: should they transgress at all, their families pay a terrible price… A complex blend of adventure, magic, science, and philosophy, expressed through a distinctly Russian voice, this astonishing story will transport the reader to a place far beyond imagining.