Versailles

By Yannick Hill

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An epic novel about identity in the internet age

Publication date: August 2016
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About the book

Your idea could live in The British Library forever. Pledge for Versailles* on Unbound for the chance to work with author Yannick Hill and help create one of the curious rooms featured in the novel. Entry deadline 31st August 2015.

As the daughter of Silicon Valley royalty, 16-year-old Missy Baer can have anything she wants. So why has she deleted her online profile and run away from home on the morning of her birthday, never to return?

Versailles is a fable for the information age, the story of a nuclear family set to explode.

Versailles is a 100-room mega-mansion set back from the Pacific Ocean, home to Casey Baer, founder and CEO of the internet's pre-eminent social network, and his family.

There’s his wife, Synthea Baer, former industrial designer and loving mother. She roams Versailles’ corridors in a drug-induced dream-state, searching for her children so that she might wish them many happy returns.

There’s River Baer, Missy’s twin brother. He spends all day in his cavernous bedroom dressed in a bear costume, pretending to be different people online. But why does he hate his father so much?

And then there’s Missy herself, driving into the sunrise in her birthday-fresh, black SUV. But where is she going? Is it something to do with the sword she received in the mail from an anonymous benefactor? And what about the voice on her phone, telling her where to go next? Is it some kind of cult? And what is she running from?

Is it something Casey did?

Of Versailles’ 100 rooms, the majority are locked test-chambers for Casey’s ongoing investigation into the human experience. In one room, a crew of actors play out a realistic plane crash on a loop. In another, varsity athletes from around the country come together for career-ending, bare-knuckle brawls.

And then there are the cameras. The thousands of cameras rigged up throughout the mansion.

Every second of every minute of every day, month, year and decade that the family have lived in this house has been captured, available to stream on any one of Casey’s multiple devices.

In an era of perpetual connectivity and mass surveillance, Versailles explores our dual need to be witnessed and to be alone.

Above all, Versailles is an entertainment, a rite of passage story about a girl trying to make sense of her life in the age of the internet.

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