In the future after humanity has conquered death and replaced government with a super intelligent computer, the Thunderhead. To stop overpopulation the people created scythes. These scythes would glean people to keep the population in check. They would also take on apprenticeships for new scythes.
But after Faraday supposedly gleaned himself, Rowan and Citra were separated and put with other Scythes Curie and Goddard.
Rowen and Citra were both taken on as apprentices for Scythe Faraday and it was decided at conclave, a scythe meeting that happened every few months, that Rowen and Citra would be competing to become scythes and the loser would lose their life at the hand of the winner.
Rowan's life with Scythe Goddard was full of extravagant parties and intense training. He was terrified he would end up being just like Goddard.
While Citra's life with Scythe Curie was more studying history and fighting theories. She also cooked for all of the families of the gleaned.
Some time later, Citra was blamed with the murder of Scythe Faraday and was on the run. When she got to the address Curie gave her, she was shocked to find Faraday was living there after faking his own death.