Meridian Six remembers the days before the Troika enslaved humans. She also remembers her mother, a freedom fighter murdered in the final battle between humans and vampires. But it is her mother's final words that have haunted her:
Red means life.
In the years since her mother's death, she has been used as both a propaganda tool and a blood slave by the Troika. She's withstood their indignities because the alternative meant bleeding out in a blood camp. But their abuses finally go too far, and she decides to run towards freedom and her mother's red light.
On the other side, she finds the Sisters of Crimson. They help her just as her mother promised, but they also hand her to the human rebels. The vampires used her famous name to keep human slaves biddable, but now the humans want to use it inspire a revolution.
When the world is at war, freedom is a luxury paid for with blood.