I cannot recall the exact moment when I decided to become a Reader. This is unusual for me, as I am always precise about beginnings . . . Imagine a future without a past, a time without memory, a state in which nationality, ancestry, tradition, language, history have no place. Governing this world is a hyper-organised system of corporations, a network of companies, each responsible for a particular product, each with a workforce conditioned to one end. . . But somewhere, a clandestine group is operating to preserve the past . . . In the Olive producing region of Olea, the Readers are smuggling and storing books in a secret library hidden away in the house of Jephzat and her family. When her sister disappears under suspicious circumstances, and her parents are hastily relocated by the Company, Jephzat is ordered to remain behind. Alone and facing the suspicion and hostility of the villagers, she falls in love with Homer, an olive picker she once rescued from the hands of Company Commissioners - and a long-time member of the Readers. As Homer introduces her to the library, and her hunger for knowledge grows, so do her questions, and soon she finds herself closely involved not only in the recovery and preservation of books, but in a secret plan which endangers Jephzat herself . . .