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.
Carrie Vaughn is the best-selling author of the Kitty Norville series, the most recent of which is the fourteenth installment, Kitty Saves the World. She is also the author of several other books, including the superhero novels Dreams of the Golden Age and After the Golden Age, the young adult novels Voices of Dragons and Steel, and the fantasy novel Discord's Apple. Her Hugo-nominated short fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, as well as George R.R. Martin's Wild Cards series.
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