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In the post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. If somewhere were to speak outside that approved lexicon, they'd face banishment. The only exceptions to this rule are the Wordsmith and his apprentice, Letta. Together, they are the keepers and archivists of all language. But when Letta's master dies, she is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith and finds the situation more complicated than she knew. While fulfilling her charge to collect and save words, she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and to rob Ark's citizens of their power of speech. Soon, she realizes that it's now not only up to her to save Ark's language but also its entire culture...