Brother To Dragons is the story of a man born in the midst of a terrible time, in a deep city charity ward with extreme birth defects. Early in life he is, without knowing it, exposed to the illegal drug trade, because of which he ends up in a supposedly unescapable juvenile delinquint house with purposely lethal conditions, but somehow manages to escape. He then spends about ten years as a multi-lingual street vendor, until the government pulls him out by way of blackmail (his recent first love was, without the protagonist's knowing it, a member of an important political family). The government then uses him to find out what's going on in the country's biggest complete security prison/Toxic And Nuclear Disposal Installation facility. He comes back not only with what he was sent for, but also with a way to save the world, which he himself puts into action shortly before dying. Although I have read lots of science fiction, this book is the first book of its kind I have read (3 times!), and I look forward to reading more of Sheffield's work.