Phobos VII is a tragedy set in a doomed dystopia of magic and marble. The young protagonist, Stas, is a promising arena fighter at the start of his career. After a conflict with a peer caused by his naïve idealism, Stas ventures out of his gilded cage and learns of the cracks in his society. Lured in by charismatic revolutionaries and a gruff serial killer, he embarks on a foolish mission to fix the broken world and defeat the immortal monster that rules it.
Over the course of the novel, Stas is stripped of his unthinking optimism as the world fails to live up to his unexamined assumptions. He, in his trials, confronts the nature of morality, and what it means to be good when the world doesn't seem to care. And through his struggles, failures, and triumphs, he grows: firmer, wiser, more disillusioned. In the end, even though he succeeds in his goal, despite winning every hard-fought battle, society collapses all the same.
And Stas is forced to choose a purpose in life for himself, no longer able to childishly rely on others to give him direction.