Cult author Neal Stephenson's unstoppable sci-fi classic The future is small. The future is nano . . . And who could be smaller or more insignificant than poor Little Nell - an orphan girl alone and adrift in a world of Confucian Law, Neo-Victorian values and warring nano-technology? Well, not quite alone. Because Nell has a friend, of sorts. A guide, a teacher, an armed and unarmed combat instructor, a book and a computer: the Young Lady's Illustrated Primer is all these and much much more. It is illicit, magical, dangerous. And it isn't Nell's. It was stolen. And now some very powerful people want to get their hands on this highly desirable object. Nell is about to discover that the world can feel very small indeed . . . Neal Stephenson is the author of the three-volume historical epic 'The Baroque Cycle' (Quicksilver, The Confusion and The System of the World) as well as the novels Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age (winner of a Hugo Award), Snow Crash, Zodiac, Anathem and Reamde. He lives in Seattle, Washington.