Unless you are like Anthony Jackson who loves history, I mean real history, not what is taught in schools, you probably think history is boring and of no particular interest. Now I would agree with you in most instances, but to understand this story, some small part of history is necessary.
When you think of history, if you ever do, it would be earth history. Nyrandian history is not the same as earth history, but there are comparisons. There is, however, no connection between earth history and Nyrandian history.
Some differences, for example, between earth history and Nyrandan history is that the use of electricity and advances in medical and chemical technology occur earlier in Nyrandan history than earth's, but the development of flight and wireless communication comes later in Nyrandan history. At the time of this story internal combustion engine technology is about the same as that of the early 1900s on earth. There are telephones, sound recording and some radio, but there will be no television for another thirty years. There are airplanes, but most are privately owned. There is no commercial aviation industry yet.
There are movies but the industry is very different from earth's. Motion pictures are mostly technical, informational, and educational. Movies, and even radio, for entertainment purposes is just beginning.
Nyrandan history itself is also important to this story. The entire history of Nyranda is not important, but a small piece of it is. If you read the first story of Nyranda, you know what the despicable Nebers are. Nebers are still around, but are no longer called Nebers, and they have changed, but not for the better.
In the days of the childrens' parents, the Nebers were mostly dirty, ignorant, and vicious, seeking nothing but pleasure. Anthony once described them:
"Nebetrastians don't have a religion because they don't believe in anything. They don't believe there is any such thing as good and bad, or right and wrong. They don't think it matters how you live, that you can do anything so long as it is what you really want. They live almost entirely for pleasure and believe it does not matter how you get it."
When asked if they were dangerous he said, "Yes. Very! Because they will do anything to get what they want and they are frequently cruel just for the fun of it, and they don't care what they destroy or who they hurt."
While the character of the Nebers has not changed, their methods have.
Nebetrastians never referred to themselves as, "Nebers." That is the derogatory term others used for them. Nebers now describe themselves, "New Nebetrastians," but the common derogatory name for them is now "Neo-Trashers" or more often just "Trashers."
Unlike the Nebers, Trashers are clean, at least in appearance, and are considered, "modern," sporting bizarre hair styles, wild tatoos, and radically trendy clothes that appeals to naive and restless youth.
Trashers promote themselves as sophisticated, "freedom loving," "modern," and "free thinking," making themselves heroes of rebellion and novelty to the young, like Briana's sister Brittany, even though Brittany has nothing to rebel against.
Changes in the appearance and overt practices of the Trashers is all a facade. They are still as evil and vicious as ever, but even their evil is more sophisticated. While they were still Nebers their crimes were as crude as themselves. The trashers are more systematic and organized and resemble what on earth is call organized crime.
While Nebers were famous as drug users, Trashers are Nyranda's drug producers and dealers. There is almost no vice or self-destructive behavior they do not exploit. One growing Trasher practice is the abduction of children of the wealthy, and the extortion of the parents for their release. It is that practice that is important to this story.