The Book of Lamps and Banners


By Elizabeth Hand

Formats and Prices




$34.00 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around September 29, 2020. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Acclaimed crime writer Elizabeth Hand returns to her "fiercely frightening yet hauntingly beautiful" cult-favorite series: Photographer Cass Neary is hard-up for cash and in more danger than she realizes on the hunt for an ancient, legendary book (Tess Gerritsen).
Photographer Cass Neary is desperate to get home, and she's already lost her camera — like losing a limb. Now her only chance is to cash in on a deal that a friend is about to cut for a legendary illuminated manuscript: The Book of Lamps and Banners. Rumored to have been rescued from the Library at Alexandria, the Book is said to contain ancient esoteric knowledge, even an otherworldly power.

So when an intruder brazenly steals the manuscript, Cass and her ex-con lover Quinn must get it back-plunging headlong into a shady underworld where antiquarian booksellers, unhinged tech entrepreneurs, and brutal nationalists all converge. This breathless psychological thriller, featuring one of the greatest amateur sleuths of the past decade, could only come from the mind of Elizabeth Hand.
"Kaleidoscopic, dark, and mysterious . . . This novel is a jaw-punch, written with a snarling grace." — Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World

“I love Cass Neary . . . . Her latest misadventure is vivid and haunting, braiding the ancient and occult with the unholy frights of the modern world.” ―Steph Chaauthor of Your House Will Pay

"Elizabeth Hand has delivered a startling book that is dirty, wise, aching, and almost magical."Ivy Pochodaauthor of These Women


Explore book giveaways, sneak peeks, deals, and more.

Tap here to learn more.

For Death must be somewhere in a society…perhaps in this image which produces Death while trying to preserve life…Life/Death: the paradigm is reduced to a simple click, the one separating the initial pose from the final print.

—Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida




Chapter 1

Much of the Tube was still shut down. Another car had plowed through a Go Happy London! tour group the day before, this time near Tower Bridge. I’d taken the night train from Penzance, nodding off between shots of Jack Daniel’s before trying to resurrect my amphetamine jag with one of the Vyvanse I’d stolen a few days earlier. I overheard news of the attack from two train staff who stood beside the door as we pulled into Paddington.

“They’ll be coming after us next.” One of the uniformed women shook her head, her face pale from exhaustion.

Her colleague nodded. “That’s what I been telling my kids. Get out while you can.”

Inside the station, I pushed my way through crowds of people who stared hypnotized at their mobiles, or gazed in dismay at the images flashing across TV news feeds. More EU trauma, domestic terrorists here and in the U.S., images of rural food shortages and disintegrating governments on both sides of the Atlantic. The few people who took notice of me veered away.

I didn’t blame them. I was gaunt and red-eyed from sleeplessness, wearing a battered black leather jacket and even more battered steel-tipped Tony Lamas, with a barely healed scar on one cheek and another scar, star shaped, beside my eye. Forty years ago, you might have thought I was a rock star after a bad night. Now I looked like what I was: an aging punk jonesing for a drink and a handful of black beauties.

Outside the station, the people around me didn’t look much better. Shuffling hordes of black-clad commuters; a displaced army of homeless people dressed in black plastic trash bags that served as makeshift rain gear. Once, I might have seen the bleak light leaking from their eyes and photographed it. Now, the thought of my camera made me clutch the satchel that no longer held it.

Despair overwhelmed me like a fever. My old Konica, a seventeenth-birthday gift from my father, was gone, along with most of the stash of Tri-X film I’d carried like a talisman for years. I’d ditched camera and film impulsively the night before, back in rural Cornwall. Now in the broken-glass light of a London morning, the enormity of what I’d done made me sick.

I hurried down the street and into Paddington Underground, grabbed a free copy of the Metro from a guy bundled up like a refugee from the Shackleton voyage. His breath misted the air as he bellowed, “Terror suspect still at large! Secret neo-Nazi rally! New China virus named.” Just in case I couldn’t read the headlines on the placard beside him.

I scanned the paper as I waited for the train. The virus was long-running news by now, source of a constant simmering dread slow to abate. There was still only speculation about whoever had rammed the van into the crowd. The main articles were about a white supremacist gathering in East London and the even more dire situation back in the U.S., where two shooters wearing MAGA caps had burst into a sanctuary-city meeting in Portland, Maine, and killed two city council members along with representatives of the refugee community.

I barely skimmed the piece. I’m like one of those artificial ecosystems that creates its own bad weather: I don’t need to read about the rest of the world’s.

On page 5, I finally found the headline I was looking for: CROUCH END TRIPLE MURDERER STILL ON THE LOOSE. The killings were thought to be drug and perhaps gang related. No mention of me or any other suspects, so I made my way to King’s Cross.

I wandered through the construction zone surrounding the station, until I found a side street where nondescript row houses had been converted into cheap tourist hotels with names like Hail Britannia and Windsor Arms. I settled on the Royal Garden, which was neither but cost only sixty-five quid a night.

I paid cash and went upstairs. The room was small and dank and, despite the NO SMOKING sign propped on the rickety side table, reeked of cigarettes and roach spray. I was so beat, I wouldn’t have cared if I’d caught a roach puffing away on a Marlboro. I dropped my bag, pulled off my cowboy boots and tossed them into a corner, lifted my head, and saw my face reflected in a mottled mirror above the nightstand.

Along with my camera, my straw-blond hair was gone—I’d hacked it off, then dyed it black. I was a person of interest in several countries, but the passports I carried—my own and one nicked from a Swedish junkie named Dagney, who bore a passing resemblance to me—showed a six-foot blonde.

At the moment, I needed to distance myself from both of those women. I couldn’t do anything about my height, but the rest could be dealt with, given enough makeup and a decent hairstylist. I combed my fingers through my ragged hair and shrugged out of my leather jacket.

For a few minutes I sat, trying to ignore the black sparks that spun across my vision, like specks on damaged film stock. They’d started after I first arrived in London a week before. I finally popped two Xanax from the stash of stolen pharmaceuticals in my bag, and collapsed into bed.

I woke to the sound of sirens and the brass-knuckled thump of bass from a car blasting grime in the street below. Ashen light filtered through the window. I clutched the coverlet around me as I sat up, still groggy from the Xanax. The digital clock beside the bed read 1:32 p.m. I had to keep moving. I took a shower, changed into a moth-eaten black cashmere sweater and black jeans, unpacked my bag, and took stock of its contents on the rumpled bed.

A dozen pill bottles stolen from the medicine cabinet of a small-time gangster in Crouch End, one of the three dead mentioned in the Metro. A couple of striped boatneck shirts. Socks and underwear, another worn cashmere sweater, some T-shirts, all black. Two passports, my own and Dagney Ahlstrand’s. A UK mobile phone that wasn’t mine. Finally, a wallet containing my New York driver’s license, a thousand euros, and the black-and-white photo I’d taken of the teenage Quinn O’Boyle back when “Walk on the Wild Side” first burned up the airwaves.

Even now, decades later, that photo made me shiver. Quinn had been the one constant in my life since we were lovers back in high school. He’d been my first muse, the boy whose face I still saw when I closed my eyes, the face I imagined when I stared through a camera’s lens. We’d lost touch after he went to prison in the late 1970s.

For years, I thought Quinn was dead. We had reconnected just months ago, after I tracked him down in Reykjavík. Seeing him again had broken some kind of psychic ice dam—thirty-plus years’ worth of emotions flooded me, everything I’d successfully frozen with alcohol and drugs.

And now Quinn was gone again. Three days earlier, he’d left the Canary Wharf flat where we’d briefly sought refuge, before my ill-fated excursion to Cornwall. Since then I’d had no message from him, no email, no phone call. Nothing but a two-word text message Quinn sent to someone else, after I’d last seen him:


rotherhithe darwin

Rotherhithe was in East London. Quinn had told me he knew a guy there who was supposed to help us get out of the country without running afoul of the authorities. But I’d never been to Rotherhithe, and I had no clue as to what “darwin” might mean.

I removed the old photo and stared at it, drew it to my face and inhaled, as though his scent might be imprinted there, some molecular code I could break that would help me find him. I smelled nothing but the hotel’s cheap carnation soap and the chemical tang of my own fear.

I slid the photo back into my wallet, finished dressing, and stood. I kept five hundred euros in my wallet. The rest I sealed in a ziplock bag that I shoved into the bottom of my right boot, along with my U.S. passport. I zipped up my leather jacket and headed downstairs.

Outside, the cold wind froze my damp hair into stiff spikes. As the Xanax I’d taken wore off, paranoia and anxiety filtered back into my nervous system. I walked fast, boot heels echoing along the sidewalk, turned onto a crowded street. My hand moved reflexively toward my chest, reaching for the camera that was no longer there. I fought waves of vertigo by focusing on the only other thing that had ever made me feel alive—my obsessive love for Quinn, an emotion as corrosive as battery acid.

At the corner, people swathed in overcoats and scarves waited for the light to change, mobiles glowing in their hands. I didn’t realize I was talking to myself until a woman stared at me, wide-eyed, then edged away. I cursed under my breath, elbowed my way to the curb to join the flow of commuters headed toward King’s Cross, and finally halted in front of a hair salon.

Pink LED lights blazed from behind a wall of glass. Inside, banks of mirrors created an infinity of blondes in chrome chairs, all waiting to be young again. I felt a twinge of envy that these women could let themselves believe in such a futile ritual, if only for an hour.

A skinny white guy with long platinum hair glanced at the window. His eyes flashed disgust as he clocked me, then turned back to his customer. I shoved my hand into my pocket, touching my wallet, hefted my bag, and walked in.

Vintage Daft Punk blasted from the sound system. A young woman at the reception desk looked up from her mobile, displaying a Medusa’s nest of snakes tattooed on her neck.

I said, “I’d like to get a trim.”

Medusa’s gaze flickered from me to the guy with the platinum hair. Almost imperceptibly he shook his head. The woman pursed lips glossy as pomegranate syrup and shrugged. “I’m sorry, do you have an appointment? We’re fully booked.”

I cocked my head toward the front window. “Sign says walk-ins welcome. And that looks like an empty chair over there.”

“I know, but we’re booked. Fully booked.”

As my foot tapped at the faux-marble floor, a wad of brown hair stuck to the steel tip of my cowboy boot. I bent to pluck the mouse-colored clump and held it up, peering at it intently as I raised my voice.

“Oh my god, is that what I think it is?”

Several heads swiveled to stare as I extended the hand with the offending hair, as though holding a dead rodent. A redheaded woman craned her neck, horrified.

“Todd?” The receptionist called imploringly to the platinum blond whose mouth had become a perfect O of dismay. Before he could say a word, a woman stylist darted toward me.

“I’ll take care of this.” She touched my hand with one silvery fingernail, gesturing toward the back of the salon. “I’m Troya. Did you have something in mind?”

Half an hour later my ragged hair was a more polished version of the same, Chrissie Hynde circa 1981.

“This really makes your eyes pop,” Troya said as we regarded my reflection in the mirror.

I couldn’t imagine who would think that was a good thing. Still, I tipped her fifty pounds, making sure that Medusa and Todd got an eyeful.

“Where’s the ladies’?” I asked.

Troya pointed toward the back of the room. As I headed there, I passed a counter crowded with hair products and noted a Mulberry bag gaping open to display its contents. Wallet, cosmetics bag, hairbrush, an iPad mini. In the restroom I splashed some water on my face and swallowed another Vyvanse. I only had a few left, medicinal speed similar to Ritalin. Not much kick but better than nothing. On my way back out, I nicked the cosmetics case from the Mulberry handbag, dropped it into my satchel, and headed onto the street.

A few doors down was a high-end boutique where I dropped a wad on a black cashmere hoodie and slouchy black leather bag soft as a baby’s instep. Next: Tesco, where I bought a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.

Finally I returned to my hotel room, hurrying through streets slick with rain. I peeled off my worn sweater and replaced it with the one I’d just bought. I cracked the bottle of whiskey, did a pop, and checked out the cosmetics bag.

It was a good score—Charlotte Tilbury mascara and eyeliner, a shade of frosted lipstick called Poison Pearl, some Touche Éclat concealer, an enameled compact with a mirror and a reservoir for loose face powder. Stuff that would have cost a hundred quid if I’d bought it in Selfridges.

I don’t bother with much makeup—who’s going to believe I’m on the south side of forty, or even fifty? Still, I used the concealer on the star-shaped scar beside my eye, a reminder of a bad time I’d had three months earlier. Wincing, I took on the barely healed gash below it, sustained during my more recent, near-fatal trip to the Icelandic wilderness. When I finished touching up the scars, I made use of the eyeliner and mascara and Poison Pearl. I surveyed myself in the mirror.

I’ve spent the last thirty years looking like my own ghost. There was nothing to be done about my gaunt face and the dead, ice-gray gaze that people would cross the street to avoid. Still, if I was a living ghost, so were most of the people I saw walking the Lower East Side, filing in and out of the boutiques and high-end bars that had replaced CBGB and Brownies. If they weren’t lining up outside burnt-out tenements for a hit, it was because they no longer needed to. Their suppliers had medical degrees. Mine couldn’t afford to finish Bergen Community College.

But it’s impressive what you can do with a good haircut and concealer that costs as much as a decent bottle of cabernet. I got a towel and did what I could to clean my boots. Then I carefully transferred everything from my worn satchel to the leather bag I’d just bought, including the now-empty satchel. Last of all I knocked back another mouthful of whiskey, and put the bottle of Jack Daniel’s where I could reach it easily in the bag. I scanned the room to see if there was anything worth stealing.

Nope. So I left.

It was still cold out, but the rain had stopped. Between the looming construction cranes and half-built skyscrapers, fast-moving clouds streaked a mother-of-pearl sky. I headed for the Regent’s Canal and walked along the towpath, dodging bicyclists and dog walkers, until I found myself momentarily alone in the dark passage beneath a stone arch.

I dug in my bag for the mobile phone I’d taken from a dead woman. It had seemed like a good idea at the time. Now the mobile was a liability. I glanced around, tossed it into the middle of the canal, and hurried on.

I left the towpath for the street. Within minutes I was lost. After wandering around for nearly an hour, I found myself at Russell Square, an area filled with cops and tourists headed to the British Museum. Lines of schoolchildren in matching uniforms, a cluster of well-dressed matrons who followed an Asian woman bearing a red umbrella like a standard. I made a wide detour around a couple of cops, stopping to buy a pair of knockoff Ray-Bans from a street vendor. I put them on, found an alcove where I sneaked a mouthful of Jack Daniel’s, and cut over to a main drag where the street sign read SHAFTESBURY AVENUE.

Booze and cheap shades and pharmaceutical speed made the late-afternoon glow like burnished steel. Without the weight of my camera, my new bag felt preternaturally light, almost empty. I comforted myself by thinking that on the Wall of Death it’s best to travel light.

Chapter 2

I walked until I reached a familiar marker—Charing Cross Road. I’d never been there before, but for decades I’d worked at the Strand Bookstore in Greenwich Village. After some early run-ins with customers, I was delegated to the stockroom. I’d remained there until the previous November, using my five-finger discount until security got beefed up. But I had enough contact with buyers and sellers to know that Charing Cross was where famous bookstores lived.

Or used to. The bookshops here had taken a hit. I slowed my steps, searching in vain for Neuman’s or Blackwell’s among the bakeries and cheap restaurants and souvenir shops. Finally I ducked into Any Amount of Books, stashing my bag with the woman behind the counter. I was neither stupid nor fucked up enough to try lifting anything from these shelves. I perused the photography books, then asked to look at a first edition of Nan Goldin’s The Ballad of Sexual Dependency kept safely behind glass. A day ago, the girl behind the counter might have kept a raptor’s eye on me as I handled it.

Now, makeup and my chic gamine hair gave me a new kind of invisibility. The girl unlocked the case and didn’t bat an eye as I glanced at The Grapes of Wrath—five thousand pounds, not a bad price—and a mint first of The Maltese Falcon in dust jacket. You could buy a house for what that one was worth.

I picked up the Goldin with care. I had my own copy back in New York, boosted from the Strand when it first came out. I was curious as to what it went for now. Five hundred pounds: not bad.

Mine was inscribed—me and Nan shared a drug dealer. I thanked the salesgirl and set the book back on its shelf. She closed and locked the case, giving me a cheerful goodbye as I walked back into the street.

Early dusk had fallen. The streets were packed with people hurrying to the Underground, pretheater dinners, and pubs. I continued along Charing Cross till I saw another name I recognized from my days at the Strand: Cecil Court, an alley that had been made into a pedestrian way, lined with small specialty bookshops whose brightly lettered placards swung in the wind.

I entered the alley, the sounds of traffic diminishing to a soft drone. In the sudden hush my footsteps echoed loudly on the pavement. A young man glanced up at me, nodded absently, and went back to browsing a table stacked with antique prints.

I pushed my sunglasses to the top of my head and peered into the window of a shop that had just closed for the night. Children’s books were displayed like sweets, with dust jackets in marzipan colors. The shop next door sold theatrical ephemera, its window crammed with black-and-white publicity stills of forgotten stage stars arranged like headstones, alongside books on Shakespeare and the glory days of music hall. Music wafted from an upstairs window. Lotte Lenya, “September Song,” Tom Waits and “Hold On.” A playlist for the death of the publishing industry.

At the end of the alley, I turned and retraced my steps, halting in front of a shop with a green placard in front:


Back at the Strand, we used to special-order titles from this place for Sarah Lawrence students and aging musicians who played the theremin. Until recently, my own interest in the occult began and ended with a former lover who’d broken up with me after a bad night with the I Ching. I’m not a believer, and the last few months had made me increasingly gun-shy of those who are. The real world is weird enough.

Still, I found myself staring at a sign that advertised a talk and signing that night by Lawrence Caccio. Caccio had been a minor player in the Warhol crowd during the Factory’s Union Square days, a not-bad photographer who’d had the unenviable distinction of being the guy who opened the door to Valerie Solanas the afternoon she shot Andy. Caccio had just released a tarot deck based on vintage photos he’d taken at the Factory, with an introductory note by Julian Cope.

I peered into the shopwindow, spied a clock on the wall. Almost six. Caccio’s event started at seven.

I wasn’t hungry, and I didn’t feel like fighting the crowds to get a drink at a pub. Wind gusted down the alley, colder than it had been. I hunched my shoulders and entered the shop.

It was warm inside, with the musty, once-familiar scent of a place that traded in both new and used books. New paper, old ink, and leather bindings, with underlying traces of the store’s clientele—weed smoke, a powerful base note of sandalwood incense shot with sesame oil. An old white hippie sat behind the counter, his gray hair pulled into a scraggy ponytail. He glanced up from his bowl of noodles and pointed his chopsticks at me.

“Can I help you with something?”

I shook my head and he went back to his udon. The room was surprisingly well lit for an occult bookshop. Maybe not so surprising, when I considered the number of shoplifters the Strand used to bust in the act of making off with paperback copies of Aleister Crowley’s autobiography. I glanced at the prominently displayed stacks of the Factory tarot—at forty quid a pop, more than I was willing to spend on a novelty item.

I wandered toward the back of the store. There was less Anton LaVey than I’d expected, and more Asatru. Reprints of Éliphas Lévi and Elias Ashmole; a monograph on Guido Bonatti, a thirteenth-century Italian sorcerer who conjured a sailing ship from wax.

Crouching, I pulled out a cheap paperback dictionary of the occult. I leafed through it, stopping at random upon the entry for “onychomancy”—divination by means of reflection of the sun’s rays, a fair description of old-school print photography. I replaced the book and straightened, bumping into someone behind me.

A tall, stoop-shouldered guy stood there. Gangly, his longish dark hair threaded with gray, wide mouth parted to speak, and a hand raised in apology, so that I could clearly see the familiar scrawl of scar tissue that ran from the middle finger down his palm to his wrist. He was maybe fifteen years younger than I was, with a beaky nose, wire-rimmed Lennon glasses, an amused expression that swiftly darkened as he stared down at me.

“Cass?” His voice rose in disbelief. “Cass Neary?”

Behind the wire-rimmed glasses, his eyes were topaz. A miniature nova bloomed above the pupil of the left eye, emerald striated with black.

Gryffin Haselton. I wanted to run, yet my lifelong curse held me. I couldn’t look away.

“You look different.” He touched my hair warily, as though it might emit sparks. “Jesus, it is you.”

I started to turn, but he already had hold of my arm. Anger crowded out his astonishment as he pushed me against the bookshelf. “What the hell are you doing here, Cass? The police still need to talk to you—you know that, right? Where the hell did you go?”

Back in November, I’d met him on the remote Maine island where I’d gone to interview his mother, the legendary photographer Aphrodite Kamestos. Things did not go well. Not for Aphrodite, at any rate. I was complicit in—some might say guilty of—her death.

But I did get some beautiful shots of her, postmortem.

Now I looked toward the door, tensing to make a run for it. Before I could move, Gryffin’s pissed-off tone grew thoughtful.

“You look good,” he said. “What happened? You knock off a liquor store?” At my stony glare, he added, “Right, I get it. Too close to home. Seriously, you clean up very nicely. Want to grab a bite?”

“What, so you can call the fucking cops? Just let me go, okay?”

I pushed past him, but he followed me out into Cecil Court.

“Cass, wait!”

He caught up with me at Charing Cross, took my arm again, and pulled me close. “Listen—the autopsy said she died of natural causes,” he said in a low voice. “She fell, she hit her head, she’s dead. She was my mother, but she was also a drunk who lied to me her entire life. It was stupid not to talk to the cops, Cass. Now they are interested in you. Before that it was strictly pro forma.”

I took a deep breath, fighting to keep my voice even. “What the hell were you doing in that bookstore? Are you stalking me?”

“Stalking you? Are you out of your mind? I was ready to pay cash never to hear your name again! As for what I’m doing here—”


  • “I love Cass Neary, the smart, messy, substance-abusing, death-marked ghost of punk. Her latest misadventure is vivid and haunting, braiding the ancient and occult with the unholy frights of the modern world. A thrill ride crackling with sulfurous brilliance.”—Steph Cha, author of Your House Will Pay
  • “Cass Neary is a remarkable heroine. As with Sherlock Holmes, her power lies in the act of seeing what ordinary people cannot, only where Holmes brings clues to light, Neary is content to linger in the dark. Her eye catches the liminal spaces between clarity and shadow so well I found myself rereading passages for the beauty of her way of seeing.”—New York Times Book Review
  • "The ancient manuscript at the center of The Book of Lamps and Banners is as kaleidoscopic, dark, and mysterious as Hand's amateur sleuth. This novel is a jaw-punch, written with a snarling grace. Cass Neary--the aging punk photographer living within darkest edges of our broken civilization-is my hero. And so is Liz Hand."—Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin atthe End of the World
  • "It's hard to imagine a more perfect novel than The Book of Lamps and Banners. In her fourth Cass Neary outing, Elizabeth Hand has delivered a startling book that is dirty, wise, aching, and almost magical. Hand expertly marries muscular prose to sophisticated detail, resulting in an enviably smart, fearless novel that conjures demons, evokes an immediate sense of place, and summons the surreal."—Ivy Pochoda, author of These Women
  • "A wild ride that defies comparison: pill-popping idealist Cass Neary’s obsessive hunt piles on teeth-grinding, story-propelling tension, and Hand’s gifted portrayal of subcultures seamlessly
    links Cass’ past in New York’s ’80s punk scene, London’s rare-book dealers, and Odinist neo-Nazis." —Booklist (starred review)
  • "What a story! Powered by pure adrenaline and excitement, engrossing and yet human to the core—Elizabeth Hand has written a barn burner of a thriller. What a delight." —Rene Denfeld, author of The Child Finder
  • “A hair-raising, mind-bending trip… Exquisitely suspenseful, and the paranoia suffusing the story is very much of our present moment. The idea that any single source can make sense of everything happening around us is as alluring as it is dangerous [and] half of the mystery in The Book of Lamps and Banners is wondering whether Cass Neary will save us or take us down with her.”—BookPage (starred review)
  • “Cass Neary is a tough, self-destructive character who still exudes compassion, courage, and love for the beauty and the pain of life—even more so because she recognizes its impermanence. Part The Club Dumas, part The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, all punk attitude and beautiful ache.”  Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • “A propulsive exploration of obsession and addiction.”—Sarah Weinman, The Crime Lady
  • “If The Book of Lamps and Banners had a playlist, it would feature Patti Smith and the Ramones…The high-speed narrative, jittery and swift, mirrors Cass's addiction. . . . Fans of Scandinavian crime fiction will enjoy this excellent series offering an intelligent puzzle along with gritty reality.”—Shelf Awareness
  • "Picture The Maltese Falcon, but instead of a black bird, there's an ancient and mystic manuscript, and instead of a private eye with a code, there's an aging punk photographer amped up on booze and speed. Elizabeth Hand's genre mash-up is a dizzying ride."—Peter Swanson, author of Eight Perfect Murders
  • Intense and hard to put down... Elizabeth Hand’s writing is crisp and vividly imagined.”
     —Mystery Scene
  • "If Dan Brown wrote TheGirl With the Dragon Tattoo, you'd have something like Elizabeth Hand'sThe Book of Lamps and Banners. A tight, gritty page-turner that gnaws at your fingertips and gets under your skin -- the best kind of addiction."
    Peter Clines, New York Times bestselling author of Paradox Bound
  •  “Brilliantly entertaining and surprisingly heart-wrenching . . . Pure triumph, from end to end."—Gemma Files, author of Experimental Film
  • “Enjoyable . . . The action hurtles toward an exciting climax on an island off the Swedish coast. That this adventure ends for once on a positive note for Cass, who so far has been living on an addict’s ragged edge, will please series fans. Newcomers will find this a good entry point.”—Publishers Weekly
  • "With each new book, Elizabeth Hand's great creation Cass Neary grows more complex, and fascinating. She's tough, smart, f*cked up. And I love her. If you've been following her since Generation Loss, you already know all this. If you haven't, read this book."—Ellen Datlow, winner of the HorrorWriters' Association and World Fantasy Life Achievement Awards

"Nerve-jangling and addictive.... With Cass--relentless in her dangerous curiosity, her ruthless art of survival--Hand has created an anti-hero for the ages. We'd follow her anywhere, into any glittery abyss, and do."—Megan Abbott, author of Dare Me
  • "I love Elizabeth Hand's Cass Neary novels -- they're tough-minded, beautifully written, and unique. One of the best series out there."—Jeff VanderMeer, author of Dead Astronauts
  • "Fiercely frightening yet hauntingly beautiful, with a startling heroine you'll never forget.... I've long been a fan of Elizabeth Hand's amazing books, and once again she proves why she is truly a writer's writer, her prose so glowing it makes all the rest of us jealous."—Tess Gerritsen, author of the Rizzoli & Isles series
  • "Elizabeth Hand's Cass Neary novels, rightly praised for their icy tension and remarkable darkness, are threaded, like the best of punk in any medium, on a bloodied yet admirably stubborn humanism."

  • William Gibson, author of Neuromancer
  • "Intense and atmospheric.... An inventive brew of postpunk attitude and dark mystery. Elizabeth Hand writes with craftsmanship and passion." —George Pelecanos, author of The Man Who Came Uptown
  • On Sale
    Sep 29, 2020
    Page Count
    352 pages
    Mulholland Books

    Elizabeth Hand

    About the Author

    Elizabeth Hand is the author of more than fifteen cross-genre novels and collections of short fiction. Her work has received the Shirley Jackson Award (three times), the World Fantasy Award (four times), the Nebula Award (twice), as well as the James M. Tiptree Jr. and Mythopoeic Society Awards. She's a longtime critic and contributor of essays for the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Salon, Boston Review, and the Village Voice, among many others. She divides her time between the Maine coast and North London.

    Learn more about this author