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Christopher Valkenburg is an English novelist based in Eastern Europe, where he writes copy for one of the Big Four. After film school, he worked around the world as a film Gaffer, lighting TV commercials, music videos and feature films. His non-literary interests include Art Deco design, Soviet Brutalist architecture and mountain biking. EMPYREAN is his debut novel.


Some people deserve to die. Marci Kovács chooses who.

Budapest, 2132.In a city this big, opportunities for promotion are rare unless you’re willing to do anything, and Kovács is. As an Adjudicant, he oversees state computer MARTHA's Employee liquidation program. The winners get a shot at eternal life. The rest end up as statistics.

MARTHA is infallible—so Marci believes. That’s until colleague Alex discovers eighty-three murders concealed in her archives. The link? All had friends or relatives who vanished overnight. No mean feat in a sealed city.

But Alex and Marci aren’t the only ones intent on learning the truth. And the deeper they delve, the closer they come to unravelling a conspiracy that threatens the lives of millions—starting with their own.

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