by Carrie Vaughn
A mysterious murder in a dystopian future leads a novice investigator to question what she’s learned about the foundation of her population-controlled society.
Decades after economic and environmental collapse destroys much of civilization in the United States, the Coast Road region isn’t just surviving but thriving by some accounts, building something new on the ruins of what came before. A culture of population control has developed in which people, organized into households, must earn the children they bear by proving they can take care of them and are awarded symbolic banners to demonstrate this privilege. In the meantime, birth control is mandatory.
Enid of Haven is an Investigator, called on to mediate disputes and examine transgressions against the community. She’s young for the job and hasn’t yet handled a serious case. Now, though, a suspicious death requires her attention. The victim was an outcast, but might someone have taken dislike a step further and murdered him?
In a world defined by the disasters that happened a century before, the past is always present. But this investigation may reveal the cracks in Enid’s world and make her question what she really stands for.
Cover Designer: Mark Robinson
Format: Trade Paperback / Ebook
Publicity Contact: Taryn Roeder <Taryn.Roeder@hmhco.com>
Praise for Bannerless
Amazing and compelling, Vaughn brings her deft characterization and humanity to bear on a post-apocalyptic world that is all too real.
—Tobias S. Buckell, bestselling author of Arctic Rising
My favorite post-apocalyptic story in a long time. The story is well-paced with a compelling mystery, plenty of tension, and escalating stakes. It also has kindness, heart, layered characters, and cool worldbuilding, with a post-climate change pastoralism that reminds me in some ways of Leigh Brackett’s The Long Tomorrow (a touchstone post-apocalyptic book for me).
Skillfully portrays a vastly altered future America. [The] focus on sustainability and responsibility is unusual, thought-provoking, and very welcome.
Are any of your friends or family greenies? No, I’m not asking in the usual sense—although if they are Martians or other aliens, please introduce me. I’m wondering if you know any environmentalists. Because I’ve got a book they’ll surely like. […] Carrie Vaughn’s future society is well-realized, almost utopian in many aspects. She tells Enid’s story in parallel narratives: one stream follows present-day Enid as her case progresses; the other takes us back to Enid as a teen in this reshaped world. It’s a powerful technique for exploring the history of the community, as well as showing how Enid took the path to becoming an investigator. Bannerless is both a fine murder mystery and a multi-layered look at a different kind of society.
—Analog Science Fiction & Fact
Despite the worldwide apocalypse, this is actually a deeply personal story about one woman and the mores of small-town living, a deft portrait of a society departed so completely from the complexities of the now-destroyed civilization (except for some technological scraps) that survivors don’t even understand what it is they’ve lost. [. . .] Well-crafted and heartfelt.
A compelling, deft post-apocalyptic tale.
Vaughn weaves an all-too-believable account of “The Fall” of a modern world that required constant upkeep to continue functioning. Enid is flawed but earnest in her angry disbelief at others’ abuses of the system that was put in place to prevent another Fall from happening. A quiet mystery combined with an introspective look at a possible future, ideal for fans of genre crossovers.
*A “Must-Read” Selection for July 2017*
Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower mixed with a modern procedural mystery […] Wonderfully intriguing.
—Thomas Wilkerson, BookPeople
Totally fascinating as a thought experiment and compulsively readable.
—Jenny Craig, Seattle Public Library