In an alternate world where a small island carries both a magical material and the scions who can wield it, the aftermath of a world war that consumed and wrapped up even the island is a tricky and dangerous time. The city of Janloon on the island of Kekon is a fraught place, with the clans that helped liberate the island kingdom from foreign occupation now the temporal behind-the-scenes powers that rule Janloon and the island of Kekon itself. After years of quiet small scale conflict, however, a change in leadership of the No Peak clan provides their stronger rival, the Mountain Clan, with a chance to push and push their advantage, to do to the No Peak what they have done to several of their smaller rivals already—to conquer it.
Into this scenario we are given a set of characters, primarily from No Peak clan, who must navigate changes in leadership, the return of a black sheep who has been living and working overseas (herself a major viewpoint character), and fateful events revolving around the power of Jade. For, you see, the magical material Jade, which is usually only usable by certain bloodlines, can be wielded by others by use of a rather dangerous drug. And so control of the drug, and the Jade, becomes a front in the conflict between the clans, with Janloon and all of Kekon caught in between.
This is the story of Fonda Lee’s Jade City.