Every time it is invaded the City gets a new name, but to the natives it is the Nameless City, and they survive by not letting themselves get involved. Now the fate of the City rests in the hands of Rat, a native, and Kaidu, one of the Dao, the latest occupiers. The two must work together if the City is to survive.
To the native inhabitants, it is know it as the Nameless City. Only conquerors try to name it, and it has changed hands many times. Kaidu is a member of the Dao nation, the current occupiers. He travels to the Nameless City to meet his father and join the military, having no idea how much the locals will despise him.
Training is harder than he expected, but his father’s kindness is a bright spot in his new life. If only his father, a busy military leader, had more time to spend with him. That’s why Kaidu sneaks out into the city alone, where he meets a native called Rat. She runs and jumps across the rooftops, even leaping over the river. Impressed, he asks her to teach him how. Her distrust for Kaidu is immediate and she does not hide it, but he doesn’t give up. After sneaking her some food and new boots, he convinces her to teach him. Soon his days are split between military training and secret running lessons.
Just as their friendship is growing, Rat learns that the Dao’s highest general is the target of a dangerous plot. Torn between her hatred for the Dao and her fondness for Kaidu, she must decide whether or not to keep the information to herself.
The Nameless City is a beautifully illustrated and imaginative graphic novel for middle grade readers. Faith Erin Hicks creates a setting rich in history and culture, as well as compelling characters.