The Surface Cities

Welcome to the setting of this year’s NaNoWriMo novel!

(Note: Secrets of the UnderRivers is a working title. I’m not in love with it.)

Gangs of New York goes steampunk in a dried-up city where she who controls the water holds the power. Read on for a little more info on the world and story, but take a moment to enjoy with me the map I made!

Concept map

The dry, rocky lands of Karskairn: a chaotic city ruled by gangs and bastardized technology, a blend of steam and solar power.

Below ground is another world entirely. A lush utopia of high society: the UnderRivers, home of the Merpeople, who are fabled to heal the ill, even the dying, but are seldom seen by human eyes.

Charlie Rothstone is a smuggler with a habit for rerouting water shipments from rival gangs to her mother’s station. Her accomplice is Kyran Darrow, a talented hacker who spent the last four years before they met doing forced labor in the mines. They’re in love, while their families have been locked in a battle for power ever since Karskairn dried up.

Worse, Kyran is dying of the wasting sickness.

Luella Rothstone, Charlie’s mother, has come up with a scheme to destroy her rival once and for all, by starving him out. She sends Charlie to go undercover into the high society of the UnderRivers to do what she does best: steal trains.

Eager to make her ruthless mother proud but desperate to save Kyran, Charlie is caught between duty and love. She’ll have to smuggle her boyfriend between cities, avoid an escalating free-for-all gang war, and find the elusive creatures at the depths of the UnderRivers, creatures she can’t even prove to exist.

Kyran is running out of time and Charlie will do whatever it takes to save him.


Let me know what you think in the comments or hit me up on Twitter!



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