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The French edition from Lumen 
puts the water wars front and center.  This book is also available in Spanish, Italian, and Russian, with other languages coming.
Hardcover, September 2015
McElderry Books at Simon & Schuster
New look paperback, 2016
from McElderry Book at Simon & Schuster

The Scorpion Rules

"Welcome to  the craziest and best book you'll read this year.  This is far above the set by other dystopians [...] an utter white-knucker of a triumph.  The Globe & Mail   



The world is at peace, said the Utterances. And really, if the odd princess has a hard day, is that too much to ask?

Greta is a duchess and crown princess—and a hostage to peace. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Go to war and your hostage dies.

Greta will be free if she can survive until her eighteenth birthday. Until then she lives in the Precepture school with the daughters and sons of the world’s leaders. Like them, she is taught to obey the machines that control their lives. Like them, she is prepared to die with dignity, if she must. But everything changes when a new hostage arrives. Elián is a boy who refuses to play by the rules, a boy who defies everything Greta has ever been taught. And he opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the system they live under—and to her own power.

As Greta and Elián watch their nations tip closer to war, Greta becomes a target in a new kind of game. A game that will end up killing them both—unless she can find a way to break all the rules.




  • Book of the Year for Young Adults, from the Canadian Library Association
  • Winner of the Monica Hughes Award for best book of science fiction or fantasy published in Canada​
  • On the American Library Association YALSA Quick Picks List
  • Shortlisted for the Amy Mathers Award for best novel for teens published in Canada
  • Shortlisted for the White Pine (the Ontario Public Library Association's teen readers' choice award)
  • Shortlisted for the Manitoba Young Readers Choice Award
  • The Scorpion Rules made the best of 2015 lists at Barnes & Nobel, Chapters/Indigo, The CBC, and The Globe & Mail.  



Reviewers say: 


"Slyly humorous, starkly thought-provoking, passionate and compassionate -- and impeccably written to boot: not to be missed." Kirkus (starred review)
"Masterful, electric prose and wit ... a knockout dystopian novels that readers will devour with their hearts in their months."  School Library Journal (starred review)
"Bow continually yanks the rug out from under readers, defying expectations as she crafts a masterly story with a diverse cast, shocking twists, and gut-punching emotional moments."  Publishers' Weekly (starred review)
"If you haven't read Erin Bow, start now."  Quill & Quire (starred review)
Recommended by Booklist, Hornbook, and VOYA


Readers say:


I know, I know, another dystopian.  You think you know exactly what this book is, and how it's going to play out.  YOU ARE WRONG AND YOU NEED TO READ THIS.


Authors say:  

"This is fearfully superlative storytelling.  The finest fiction I've read this year."  -- Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity

"Erin Bow's Greta is my kind of princess."  -- Megan Whalen Turner, author of The Thief
"Bow's amoral AI overlord is one of my favorite characters in a while."  -- Maggie Stiefvater, author of the Raven Cycle
"Elegant world-building, white-knuckle plot, and wonderful characters. I couldn't put it down."  -- V.E. Schwab, author of A Darker Shade of Magic
"Bow's vision of our apoocalypse is stark, beautiful, and terrifying.  This is my favorite book." --  E.K. Johnston, author of A Thousand Nights 
"One of the most inventive, devious, exciting, and thoroughly enjoyable books I've read in years." --  Jonathan Maberry, author of Rot & Ruin
"A game-changing novel about the consequences of war and the brutality of peace. Unforgettable!"  -- Suzanne Young, author of The Program
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