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The Scorpion Rules

Erin Bow's novel follows the story of children world leaders who are held hostage in an attempt to keep the peace.

Erin Bow

Greta is a Duchess and a Crown Princess. She is also a Child of Peace, a hostage held by the de facto ruler of the world, the great Artificial Intelligence, Talis. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Start a war and your hostage dies. The system has worked for centuries. Parents don't want to see their children murdered. Greta will be free if she can make it to her eighteenth birthday. Until then she is prepared to die with dignity, if necessary. But everything changes when Elian arrives at the Precepture. He's a hostage from a new American alliance, and he defies the machines that control every part of their lives — and is severely punished for it. His rebellion opens Greta's eyes to the brutality of the rules they live under, and to the subtle resistance of her companions. And Greta discovers her own quiet power. Then Elian's country declares war on Greta's and invades the prefecture, taking the hostages hostage. Now the great Talis is furious, and coming himself to deliver punishment. Which surely means that Greta and Elian will be killed...unless Greta can think of a way to break all the rules. (From Margaret K. McElderry Books)

From this book

The Rider took a step forward, and one of her wings bumped against the doorframe. They tipped sideways. She grabbed at the harness strap. Dust puffed out from wings and coat. "Children of Peace," she said, and her voice cracked. Anger flashed through me. How dare she be clumsy, how dare she be tongue-tied? How dare she be anything less than perfect? She was supposed to be an angel, the immaculate hand of Talis, but she was just a girl, a white girl with a chickadee cap of black hair and sorrow-soft blue eyes. She swallowed before trying again. "Children of Peace, a war has been declared. By order of the United Nations, by the will of Talis, the lives of the children of the warring parties are declared forfeit." And then: "Sidney James Carlow, come with me."


From The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow ©2015. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books.