Iron Gold

What happened in Iron Gold

By Pierce Brown

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown is an epic science fiction novel set in a dystopian future society divided by a color-based caste system. It follows multiple characters including Darrow, an elite Gold who led the uprising against the ruling Golds; Lysander, heir to the fallen Gold dynasty; Ephraim, a disillusioned former rebel; and Lyria, a "Red" from Mars seeking a better life.

Years after their revolution, Darrow and his allies rule the Solar System as the Sovereign of the Republic. But political divisions threaten this fragile new order. Darrow defies the Senate to continue his war against the remaining enemy Golds, causing a rift with his wife, Virginia au Augustus. Their son Pax feels abandoned by his father's absence.

Darrow's quest for victory leads him to unleash the dangerous Gold named Apollonius, who manipulates Darrow for his own agenda. Meanwhile, Lysander and his mentor Cassius are taken prisoner in the Rim Dominion. Lysander becomes entangled in political intrigues and connects with the Rim's heir, Seraphina au Raa. After Cassius dies in a rigged honor duel, Lysander embraces his destiny as heir to the fallen Society, allying with Seraphina's mother Dido who seeks war against the Republic.

In Hyperion City, former rebel Ephraim ti Horn turned to crime after the war. He reluctantly aids a kidnapping of Virginia and Kavax's children orchestrated by the Syndicate crime syndicate for unknown reasons. A "Red" girl named Lyria becomes caught up in these events when she begins working for Kavax's family on Luna.

Multiple storylines and characters intersect in the book's complex narrative about a fractured post-revolutionary society. Iron Gold sets the stage for an impending war between the Republic and Rim Dominion, even as both regimes face internal divisions among the Golds who once ruled the Solar System.

Iron Gold Chapter Summary

Chapter 1

The chapter depicts Darrow's triumphant return to Hyperion City after liberating Mercury. He leads a victory parade down the Via Triumphia boulevard lined with crowds. Darrow reflects on the losses of war and his weariness as he climbs the stairs to the New Forum. He greets his friend Wulfgar, exchanges banter with Sevro, and hands over his weapons to the Wardens. At the top of the stairs, Darrow sees his wife Mustang holding the Dawn Scepter as Sovereign of the Republic. They briefly greet each other warmly before Darrow kneels before Mustang and the assembled Senators.

Chapter 2

In Chapter 2, Darrow returns to his family's country estate on Luna after the victory parade on Mercury. He greets his steward Cedric and reunites with his son Pax, who is distant and cold towards him after being separated during the war. Darrow watches Pax duel with Sevro's daughter Electra and reminisces with Sevro.

Darrow seeks out his mother Deanna in the garden. She worries for his safety during the war and chides him for putting Mars on the backburner. Darrow's friend Dancer joins them, having given up politics for gardening. Dancer implies Darrow should have killed Lysander and warns him that his disregard for the Senate makes him seem tyrannical. Their ideological differences cause tension between the longtime friends.

Chapter 3

Darrow returns home to his family's estate on Luna after the war on Mercury. He reunites with his old friends Sevro, Victra, Daxo, Mustang, and others over a dinner party. Darrow's son Pax remains distant, still upset over being separated from Darrow during the war. Darrow's friend Dancer implies Darrow has become tyrannical and disregarded the Senate too much.

Later, Darrow and Mustang discuss the political fallout from Darrow's wartime decisions. The Vox Populi are gaining power and threaten to block Darrow's military funding request. Darrow admits he defied the Senate but believes he made the right call. Mustang says Darrow has made his own bed and she may not run for office again so they can have a normal life.

Just then, Daxo interrupts to tell them Dancer has called an emergency Senate hearing regarding Darrow's actions. Darrow realizes his problems are just beginning.

Chapter 4

The chapter follows a teenage girl named Sky living in a Mars settlement called Assimilation Camp 121. She reflects on her childhood working in the mines and how she was liberated by the Rising. Two years later, the Republic's promises of prosperity have not materialized. Sky's settlement lives in squalor and faces threats from the Red Hand marauders. She does laundry in a river, swatting mosquitoes. Her brother Tiran now works burning trash. More and more miners come up from below but are left in poverty. Sky returns to the overcrowded camp lamenting the loss of her old way of life.

Chapter 5

The chapter follows a teenage girl named Sky living in a poverty-stricken Mars settlement called Assimilation Camp 121. She reflects on the unfulfilled promises of prosperity by the Republic after being liberated from the mines. Her brother Tiran and other family members have left to volunteer with the Free Legions. Late at night, Sky hears aircraft and goes to investigate. She sees her brother Tiran confronted by armed strangers seeking out Gamma inhabitants of the camp. When Tiran tries to flee, he is gunned down along with the other Gammas. The killers are Red rebels who shout "Justice to Gamma!" before attacking the camp.

Chapter 6

The chapter follows a group of thieves breaking into the Hyperion Museum of Antiquities on Luna to steal an ancient sword that belongs to a private collector. The group consists of the leader, a middle-aged man, an Obsidian woman named Volga, a young Red man named Dano, and a Green hacker named Cyra.

The thieves make their way past the museum's security systems and into the Conquerors Exhibit, where the sword is displayed. Dano acrobatically maneuvers through the room to retrieve the sword while Volga disables security drones. The alarm triggers as planned and the leader coordinates the team's exit. Dano graffitis the room before handing over the sword. The leader examines the ivory-handled blade briefly before storing it away, eager to be rid of it. As they prepare to leave, the leader pours acid on the floor to cover their tracks.

Chapter 7

The chapter follows Ephraim, a former insurance investigator, after he receives the final payment for stealing an ancient razor. His mysterious employer, Oslo, says they will no longer require his services. Ephraim meets his crew at a bar to distribute payment. His crew consists of Volga, an Obsidian woman, Cyra, a Green hacker, and Dano, a Red thief. Ephraim and Dano get in an argument about payment distribution. Ephraim decides to leave early, rejecting Volga's invitation to stay. On his way out, he sees Gold youths enter the bar and gets angry at their entitlement. Ephraim reflects on his hatred of Golds and his regret that more weren't purged after the Rising.

Chapter 8

Lysander and Cassius investigate a distressed cargo ship, the Vindabona, adrift in space. They board the ship and find signs of a massacre - blood smears and missing crew. The remaining crew reveal they were transporting a mysterious Gold woman who hired them. Lysander and Cassius realize it's likely a trap set by Ascomanni pirates.

Before they can evacuate the crew, three Ascomanni ships arrive. Cassius leads the crew to evacuate while Lysander goes against orders to search for the Gold woman. He finds three Ascomanni eating in the commissary and avoids confrontation. Continuing his search, Lysander locates the missing crew bound in cages. Hanging above them he finds the naked, tortured body of the Gold woman.

Chapter 9

The chapter follows Lysander as he investigates a distressed cargo ship called the Vindabona. He boards with Cassius and finds signs of a massacre. The remaining crew reveal they were transporting a mysterious Gold woman who hired them. Lysander and Cassius realize it's likely a trap by Ascomanni pirates.

Before evacuating the crew, three Ascomanni ships arrive. Cassius leads the crew's evacuation while Lysander searches for the Gold woman against orders. He finds her tortured and barely alive in a cage with other captured crew members. After freeing her, she steals Lysander's razor and escapes despite her injuries.

Lysander tries to free the other prisoners but is unable to before fleeing from the Ascomanni. He escapes with the wounded Gold woman to Cassius's ship, the Archimedes. Cassius is furious with Lysander for disobeying orders. As they flee, Lysander discovers the Gold woman is a Scarred, a feared Peerless warrior.

Chapter 10

In this chapter, Darrow returns to the Senate to ask for more resources to continue the war against the Society. He gives a rousing speech calling for the liberation of Venus, the Ash Lord's stronghold. His friend Daxo also speaks in support.

However, Senator Dancer argues against further war. He accuses Darrow of disregarding the Senate's authority and causing unnecessary deaths with the Iron Rain on Mercury. Dancer invokes his right to present a witness - Julia au Bellona of the Society. She reveals the Ash Lord sent emissaries, including herself, to Darrow during the Siege of Mercury. They requested a ceasefire and negotiations for permanent peace between the Society and the Republic. Darrow did not inform the Senate of this offer.

The stunning revelation divides the Senate. Darrow insists only defeating the Ash Lord will bring peace. Dancer argues for negotiations to end the war immediately without more loss of life. With the truth exposed, Darrow's intentions and warmongering come under intense scrutiny.

Chapter 11

In this chapter, Darrow returns to the Senate to request more resources to continue the war against the Society. During his speech, Senator Dancer reveals that Darrow hid the fact that the Ash Lord had sent emissaries requesting peace negotiations. This causes an uproar in the Senate, with many accusing Darrow of warmongering and disregarding the Senate's authority.

Senator Caraval proposes removing Darrow from command and ceasing hostilities with the Society temporarily so they can decide between war and peace. Darrow realizes his political support is crumbling. After being escorted out, Darrow tells Sevro he believes the Ash Lord will attack if he is imprisoned. Rather than rally allies, Darrow decides the war will only end in blood. He tells Sevro to summon the Howlers, implying he intends to act against the Senate's wishes.

Chapter 12

The chapter follows Lyria, a teenage Gamma girl, as she flees an attack on her Mars settlement by the Red Hand, a group of Red rebels. After witnessing the murder of her brother Tiran, Lyria rushes home to warn her family. She and her sister Ava decide to flee towards the jungle and meet at the north watchtower. Lyria goes to the infirmary to retrieve her blind nephew Liam. At the watchtower, Ava and the children are missing, so Lyria hides with Liam in the settlement's dumpsite to avoid Red Hand killers. Terrified, they huddle together as men with flashlights and slingBlades search the area. Lyria finds other families hiding nearby. She resolves to reunite with Ava and the children at the boats by the river. But as they wait, she smells smoke and realizes fire threatens the dumpsite.

Chapter 13

The chapter follows Lyria, a teenage Gamma girl, as she flees an attack on her Mars settlement by the Red Hand, a group of Red rebels. After witnessing the murder of her brother Tiran, Lyria tries to escape with her blind nephew Liam. They hide in a dumpsite but are forced to flee again when the Red Hand sets it on fire. As refugees try to reach boats by the river, the Red Hand ambushes and massacres them. Lyria is shot but survives. Just as she resigns herself to death, Republic ships arrive and attack the Red Hand. An armored Republic knight kills the Red Hand but is shot down into the river. Lyria risks her life to pull him from the water. They discover the knight is a Gold, the first any have seen. As the knight revives, more Republic ships descend to liberate the settlement.

Chapter 14

The chapter follows Ephraim, a former insurance investigator turned thief, as he meets his friend Holiday, a soldier, in a bar to commemorate the death of their mutual friend Trigg. Their conversation reveals Ephraim's disillusionment with the Rising's failure to bring justice against the Golds after the war. Holiday tries to convince Ephraim to rejoin the cause, but he refuses, still grieving Trigg's death at the hands of a Gold years ago.

After Holiday leaves, Ephraim gets drunk and contemplates suicide, watching footage of Trigg's murder. Just as he attempts to jump off a ledge, three men stop him. They knock him unconscious, implying he will be taken somewhere against his will. The chapter provides insight into Ephraim's motivations and the ideological rift between him and Holiday.

Chapter 15

Lysander and Cassius investigate a distressed cargo ship and discover it was transporting a mysterious scarred Gold woman who hired the crew. The ship is attacked by Ascomanni pirates. Cassius evacuates the crew but Lysander disobeys orders to search for the woman, finding her tortured. After freeing her, she steals Lysander's razor and escapes despite her injuries. Lysander and Cassius flee with the Gold woman aboard Cassius's ship, the Archimedes.

Chased by the Ascomanni, Cassius reluctantly agrees to Lysander's plan to head to an asteroid where the Gold woman said help awaited. At the asteroid, they are surprised by a Rim Dominion warship which destroys the Ascomanni. Cassius realizes the scarred woman is connected to the Rim. He disguises his identity using a painful face-scrambling mask. With no choice, Cassius and Lysander surrender to the Rim warship as it swallows their ship into its docking bay.

Chapter 16

In Chapter 16, Darrow meets with Quicksilver to arrange for his ship, the Nessus, to be stolen so Darrow can escape Luna. Darrow gathers the Howlers to inform them of his plan to flee Luna and continue the war against the Ash Lord on Venus without Senate approval. Holiday refuses to join, believing it will start a civil war. The Obsidians also refuse, with Sefi stating she must do what is best for her people. Though weakened, Darrow remains determined, telling the remaining Howlers they will cut off the Ash Lord's head on Venus. Sevro pretends enthusiasm, but Victra watches in horror, realizing Darrow's actions will have severe consequences.

Chapter 17

Lyria walks among the dead in the aftermath of the Red Hand attack, searching for her sister Ava. She finds Ava murdered along with her children. Overwhelmed with grief, Lyria is sedated by medics. When she awakens, a medic tells her she and her blind nephew Liam will be sent to a regional medical center. Lyria encounters the legendary Gold Kavax au Telemanus, who thanks her for saving his life. Desperate to leave Mars, Lyria begs Kavax to take her and Liam with him to Luna. Though sympathetic, he cites regulations preventing it until his pet fox Sophocles mysteriously leads him to candy in Lyria's pocket. Kavax declares it a sign and makes Lyria his family's valet to bring her along. Lyria says goodbye to the only home she's known, ready to start a new life.

Chapter 18

Ephraim wakes up concussed and bound in an unfinished highrise, where the crime lord known as the Duke of Hands confronts him about stealing an ancient sword called the Sword of Silenius. The Duke reveals he orchestrated the theft to test Ephraim's loyalty and criminal skills. After Ephraim refuses to betray his broker Oslo, the impressed Duke offers him a dangerous new job stealing something very valuable for the Syndicate. Ephraim reluctantly accepts to protect his crew.

Chapter 19

Ephraim meets with his crew - Cyra, Dano, and Volga - to discuss a dangerous new heist proposed by the crime syndicate boss known as the Duke of Hands. Ephraim was given an artifact called the Queen's Kiss which signifies acceptance of the job offer, which they cannot refuse without facing consequences. The target is only described as immensely valuable with details provided on when it will be vulnerable. Cyra tries to find ways for them to avoid the job, but Ephraim explains the syndicate will track them down no matter where they flee. Volga vows to help Ephraim since he helped them in the past. Ephraim convinces them to accept by emphasizing the massive payout if they succeed. Cyra agrees to hack accounting databases to identify potential inside men they can use. They realize powerful forces are manipulating events, including the Senate's move against the Reaper. Despite the danger, Ephraim and his crew feel resigned yet eager to attempt the impossible heist.

Chapter 20

The chapter follows Lysander and Cassius after they have been captured by Romulus au Raa's forces. They are brought aboard Romulus's warship, where Lysander meets Romulus's daughter Seraphina and son Diomedes. Seraphina had been captured and tortured by Ascomanni pirates, but Diomedes rescued her. The sadistic secret police agent Pandora also wants to interrogate Seraphina, but Diomedes protects her.

Lysander invokes an article of the Compact to argue they should be given sanctuary, but Pandora suspects they are spies. Lysander realizes where they are and who Romulus is based on clues like the fighters' dragon sigils. Though Diomedes spares them from torture for now, their fate is uncertain under Romulus's power. Cassius seems to understand the peril of their situation.

Chapter 21

Darrow gathers the Howlers to escape Luna and continue the war against the Ash Lord without Senate approval. Sevro insists on saying goodbye to his family before leaving. Darrow reluctantly agrees and they go to his estate, where he has an emotional farewell with his distant son Pax. Darrow finds Mustang waiting for him, who has called the Republic Wardens to arrest him for treason. Darrow tries to flee but is confronted by Wulfgar and his knights. When Wulfgar moves to arrest him, Darrow resists and a battle ensues. In the chaos, Wulfgar is accidentally killed. Darrow is horrified by his death, realizing the damage he's done. Sevro pulls a guilt-ridden Darrow away as they escape, leaving Mustang amidst the aftermath.

Chapter 22

In this chapter, Lysander and Cassius are being transported as prisoners to Io, one of Jupiter's moons ruled by the Rim Dominion. Lysander reflects on their month-long voyage since being captured and the harsh conditions of their imprisonment, including being deprived of water by their sadistic captor Pandora.

On the shuttle ride down to Io, Lysander begs the guard Bollov for water. Diomedes au Raa, heir to the Rim Dominus, intervenes and gives Lysander a cup of water. Lysander tries to appeal to Diomedes's sense of honor to release them, since they saved his sister Seraphina. But Diomedes sees through Lysander and subjects him to a brutal lesson, dangling him outside the shuttle without an oxygen mask. Lysander survives the ordeal and Diomedes explains he was teaching Lysander respect. The chapter provides insight into the Rim culture and hints at brewing political tensions as Lysander and Cassius arrive at their perilous destination.

Chapter 23

The chapter follows Lyria, who now works as a valet for House Telemanus on Luna. She struggles to fit in with the other servants, who look down on her Martian manners. While searching the gardens for Lord Kavax's pet fox Sophocles, Lyria observes a strange interaction between a Copper and a Gray warden. Later, the eccentric doctor Liago shows Lyria a genetically engineered poisonous flower called Nyxacallis. When Sophocles wrecks Liago's lab, he bans the fox until finding out why he's gone "mental."

Lyria socializes with Martian workers in the Telemanus warehouse. An old servant named Garla reveals that Sophocles has been cloned over 20 times across 700 years. Back in the servants' quarters, Lyria overhears talk of political chaos as protests roil Hyperion City over the Reaper's actions. She reflects on her bittersweet new life, missing her old home but glad to be away from the hardship of Mars.

Chapter 24

In Chapter 24, Ephraim, Volga, and Cyra arrive in Hyperion City to meet with their Syndicate contact Gorgo and prepare for an upcoming heist. Ephraim reflects on the political turmoil gripping Hyperion after the Reaper killed the ArchWarden. At a tech shop run by Kobachi, they acquire illegal equipment using Ephraim's connections to the Syndicate, represented by an iron rose. Kobachi is fearful of the Syndicate but shows Ephraim his backroom stockpile of military-grade weapons and technology. Ephraim requests an assassin drone be specially modified for their heist. The chapter provides insight into Hyperion's seedy underworld and the far reach of the Syndicate crime syndicate as Ephraim's crew prepares for their high-stakes job.

Chapter 25

Lysander and Cassius arrive as prisoners at a remote fortress on Io ruled by Romulus au Raa. Lysander meets Romulus's children - Seraphina, Diomedes, and Marius. Seraphina had been tortured by Ascomanni pirates but was rescued by Diomedes. To hide her disobedience, Romulus imprisons Seraphina at the fortress. Lysander and Cassius are also sentenced to death as witnesses. Before the sentence can be carried out, the fortress is attacked by incoming ships. Romulus realizes it is his estranged wife leading the attack.

Chapter 26

Dido au Raa, wife of Romulus au Raa, arrives at the fortress with armed soldiers to confront her husband about imprisoning their daughter Seraphina. Dido's men move to arrest Romulus, but his son Diomedes fights to protect him. A battle ensues between Diomedes and Dido's men before Romulus surrenders to prevent further bloodshed. Dido takes Romulus prisoner and Seraphina is freed.

Lysander and Cassius emerge from hiding and ask Dido for aid. She is initially suspicious but accepts them as guests when Seraphina vouches for them. Dido provides Lysander and Cassius with food and water, recognizing they had saved her daughter. The chapter reveals political tensions within the Rim Dominion as Dido moves against her husband's rule.

Chapter 27

Darrow and a team of Howlers infiltrate Deepgrave Prison at the bottom of the ocean to free a prisoner, but find he is missing from his cell. An injured Obsidian guard indicates the prisoner escaped on his own. Darrow insists on finding the missing prisoner, believing he is key to their mission. Sevro cautions against lingering, fearing the alarm will trap them underwater. The Obsidian guard seems to know where the prisoner went. Darrow decides to search the prison, despite the risk, unwilling to leave empty-handed.

Chapter 28

In Chapter 28, Darrow and a team of Howlers infiltrate Deepgrave Prison to free a prisoner, but find his cell empty. An injured Obsidian guard indicates the prisoner escaped on his own. Darrow insists on finding him, believing he is key to their mission. The Obsidian leads them to the warden, who reveals the prisoner, Apollonius au Valii-Rath, paid to leave solitary confinement. The warden brings them to Apollonius's lavish cellblock. Apollonius agrees to leave with them, believing it is at the request of his brother. But he first blinds the warden in revenge. Darrow tries to stop Apollonius, who realizes Darrow's deception. A fight ensues until the Obsidian guard knocks out Apollonius. With their target unconscious, Darrow decides to bring the Obsidian along and orders his team to continue the prison break.

Chapter 29

The chapter follows Lyria on her first day off exploring Hyperion City on Luna. She visits the museum and feels overwhelmed by the crowds and grandeur. After almost getting arrested when a Gold woman falsely accuses her of theft, a mysterious Gray man named Philippe intervenes. He takes Lyria under his wing for the day, giving her a personal tour of the city.

Over oysters and cocktails, their conversation turns intimate as they share stories of tragedy and loss. Lyria opens up about her family being killed on Mars. Philippe reveals his late husband gave him the Bacchus necklace he always touches. They visit Hero Center and talk about the Iron Reaper statue. Their emotional connection deepens. At the end of the long day, Philippe bids Lyria farewell at the train station, telling her not to let Hyperion make her feel small.

Chapter 30

In this chapter, Darrow and the Howlers infiltrate Deepgrave Prison to free Apollonius au Valii-Rath and other high value prisoners. They successfully escape in a submersible with their captives. Darrow struggles with doubts over his actions.

The Howlers travel to Baffin Island where the stolen frigate Nessus awaits. Darrow says farewell to his brother Kieran and niece Rhonna, who will not be joining the dangerous mission. Sevro convinces Darrow to bring along Tongueless, the Obsidian prisoner who aided their escape.

Before departing, Darrow views a holo of his wife Mustang and son Pax, feeling the distance growing between them. In orbit, Darrow watches Earth shrink away, wondering if this makes him a bad father, finding reasons to be gone from his family. The Nessus sets course under stealth for Venus and an uncertain future.

Chapter 31

Ephraim, under the guise of Philippe, meets Lyria in the park for another outing. Ephraim reflects on his mission to plant a tracking device on Lyria for an upcoming heist, feeling conflicted about deceiving her. During their picnic, Lyria opens up about her grief over losing her family on Mars. Ephraim finds himself wishing she wouldn't confide in him, wanting to think of her as selfish instead of kindhearted.

As planned, Ephraim gives Lyria a locket necklace with a hidden tracking device, pretending it has sentimental value. Lyria is touched by the gesture. When they part ways, Ephraim feels the full weight of his duplicity and questions if his old friend Trigg would approve of his actions. But he feels resigned to follow through with the dangerous heist, not seeing another way forward.

Chapter 32

Lysander and Cassius arrive in Sungrave, the capital city of Io carved into a mountain. They are brought by Dido's forces after being freed from Romulus's imprisonment. Lysander admires the architecture and is eager to explore the city. He reflects on the differences between Io and his home on Luna.

Lysander and Cassius receive massages from Pinks, pleasure slaves bred for Golds. When the Pinks make sexual advances, Lysander is disturbed and dismisses them. Cassius teases Lysander for being sexually inexperienced. Their conversation hints at growing distrust between the longtime friends.

Lysander learns Cassius's lover Pytha is alive, after assuming she died. They reminisce about better times aboard Cassius's ship the Archimedes. But the nostalgia fades as they realize their relationship has fundamentally changed. Lysander feels he has outgrown Cassius and their former life together.

Chapter 33

In this chapter, Lysander is brought to his room in the Raa family residence to prepare for dinner. Seraphina secretly enters and engages him in a tense conversation, during which Lysander feels both drawn to and wary of her.

Seraphina implies Lysander does not understand the dangers on Io. She advises he cooperate with her mother Dido's wishes for his own safety. Their conversation reveals political tensions and intrigue within the Raa family and the Rim Dominion. Lysander senses Cassius was right - they are not truly guests, but prey. The chapter explores the growing connection between Lysander and Seraphina, while hinting at hidden motives and agendas surrounding the two young Golds.

Chapter 34

Darrow returns to the Nessus after recovering from injuries sustained during his escape from Luna. He trains, meets with Sevro, and discovers his niece Rhonna stowed away on the ship. Darrow allows her to stay as punishment.

Darrow and Sevro visit Apollonius in his cell to propose he join their mission against the Ash Lord. Apollonius recounts his imprisonment and self-improvement. Darrow reveals Apollonius's brother betrayed him and offers revenge. Apollonius agrees in exchange for meeting demands.

They dine together where Apollonius angers Alexandar by insulting his lineage. Darrow explains their plan to use Apollonius's appetites against his brother to acquire intel on Venus defenses. Then Apollonius will lead Darrow's men in a coup against the Ash Lord. Apollonius agrees, hoping to rule Venus after. In private, Darrow tells Sevro he intends to use Apollonius as a distraction, not a ruler.

Chapter 35

Lyria attends a birthday party for Regulus ag Sun (Quicksilver) with the Telemanuses. She overhears Virginia au Augustus and other Golds discussing the political situation. Dancer has gained power in the Senate and threatens the war effort against the Ash Lord. After the party, Lyria has a tense interaction with Virginia's son Pax, where she lashes out at him for asking about her life in the mines. On the shuttle ride home, Lyria discovers a tracking device hidden in a necklace given to her by Philippe. It releases a gas that knocks out everyone on the shuttle, causing it to crash. The shuttle is brought somewhere and the door is cut open from the outside.

Chapter 36

Lysander and Cassius attend a tense dinner with Dido au Raa and her family on Io. Dido interrogates them about a mysterious item Seraphina retrieved but was lost when their ship was attacked. The conversation reveals Io's culture of honor and austerity. Dido implies Lysander and Cassius are hiding the truth. At the end, Dido's men bring in Lysander and Cassius's safe, implying they know more than the two are admitting. The chapter builds suspense around Lysander and Cassius's precarious situation as virtual prisoners of the powerful Raa family.

Chapter 37

In Chapter 37, Lysander and Cassius attend a tense dinner with Dido au Raa and her family on Io. Dido reveals she has discovered their safe containing Lysander's razor. She demands they open it to retrieve evidence for her war against the Republic. Cassius tries to bargain for their freedom in exchange for the safe's combination, but Dido refuses due to the urgency of her war preparations.

Dido's advisor Bellerephon pushes her to torture Lysander and Cassius for the combination, but Dido's son Diomedes argues against violating their honor as guests. Dido threatens to unleash a vile creature brought in by her Violet servant Pelebius if they do not comply.

Dido emotionally recounts the death of her daughter Thesalia, who was killed along with her grandfather years ago. Dido blames Cassius for Thesalia's death, as well as other Golds like Roque and Adrius. Lysander realizes Cassius is in grave danger from Dido's quest for vengeance over her daughter's murder. The chapter builds suspense as Lysander and Cassius face pressure to open the safe containing evidence that could ignite war across the Solar System.

Chapter 38

In Chapter 38, Lysander and Cassius attend a tense dinner with Dido au Raa and her family on Io. Dido reveals she knows Cassius's true identity and has discovered Lysander's razor containing evidence in their safe. She demands they open the safe to aid her war preparations against the Republic. When Cassius and Lysander refuse to betray each other, Dido threatens torture to get the combination. Her advisor Bellerephon whips and disfigures Cassius with a creature called a gruesli.

Despite the pain, Cassius proudly reveals his identity but still refuses to open the safe. Dido tries to convince her son Diomedes to execute them out of duty, but he refuses to break guest right. Seraphina and Bellerephon volunteer instead. Bellerephon formally challenges Cassius to a duel to the death to settle their blood feud. Cassius boldly accepts the challenge. The chapter builds tension as Lysander and Cassius face escalating threats but remain loyal to each other and their principles as the situation grows dire.

Chapter 39

In this chapter, Ephraim and his crew carry out their planned heist to kidnap Pax and Electra, the children of Virginia au Augustus and Kavax au Telemanus. Using an EMP drone and gravity device, they cause the shuttle carrying the children to crash in an abandoned hospital construction site. Ephraim, Volga, and Dano enter the shuttle and find the passengers paralyzed by knockout gas. After a confrontation with Kavax's pet fox, they retrieve the unconscious children.

On exiting, Kavax attacks despite being drugged, killing Dano. Ephraim hesitates to shoot Lyria, instead deciding to take her with them. They flee to a staging area where Syndicate technicians remove the children's tracking implants. Ephraim lies to Lyria, telling her he will let her go after delivering the children. Volga destroys evidence from the heist before they escape through tunnels. Ephraim reflects somberly on Dano's death and his own conflicted actions.

Chapter 40

In this chapter, Cassius and Lysander await Cassius's duel with Bellerephon in the Bleeding Place, an amphitheater where the Raa family settles disputes through ritual combat. Cassius reflects on his past and prepares himself mentally for death, believing he has no chance of winning the duel.

The duel begins and Cassius struggles against Bellerephon's superior skill with the razor. After losing much blood, Cassius manages to sever Bellerephon's arms, expecting the duel to end. But Dido continues the feud, sending more Raa warriors to fight Cassius. Despite being grievously wounded, Cassius defeats each one. Dido manipulates the situation, sacrificing her own kin to turn the room's anger against Cassius and the Republic.

With Cassius on the brink of collapse, Dido orders her daughter Seraphina to fight him next. The chapter ends with Lysander realizing Dido's true motivations and debating whether to open the safe containing his grandmother's journal to stop the bloodshed.

Chapter 41

In this chapter, Cassius is forced to duel members of House Raa in their amphitheater as retribution for past crimes against them. Despite being grievously injured, Cassius defeats several Raa warriors. Dido manipulates the situation to turn the room against Cassius and the Republic. With Cassius near death, Dido orders her daughter Seraphina to fight him next.

Lysander, unable to watch his friend die, reveals his true identity as the heir to House Lune. He invokes the honor of their ancestors and shames House Raa for their lack of honor. Lysander demands Dido bring him the safe containing his grandmother's journal to stop the bloodshed. The chapter builds tension as Lysander tries to save Cassius's life.

Chapter 42

Ephraim and Volga meet with the Duke of Hands to deliver the kidnapped children Pax and Electra. The Duke pays them but insists they stay to celebrate. He sadistically torments Pax to make him cry, angering Ephraim and Volga. Lyria is discovered spying on the meeting and flees. The Duke puts a bounty on her. Cyra is brought in, beaten and accused of betraying Ephraim to the Syndicate. Ephraim convinces the Duke to let Cyra go, but his enforcer Gorgo throws her off the building instead. The Duke offers Ephraim a permanent job with the Syndicate. Ephraim declines for now but takes the Duke's contact information before leaving with Volga.

Chapter 43

Lyria flees from Obsidians pursuing her after she witnessed the kidnapping of Pax and Electra. She escapes into the slums of Hyperion City, where she is threatened by a group of vagrants. In self-defense, she shoots one of them in the leg before fleeing again. Lyria climbs up along the old tram lines to avoid the kidnappers searching the streets. Exhausted, she finally reaches the upper levels of the city and heads for a checkpoint to turn herself in to the authorities. Lyria reflects on her guilt over her role in the kidnapping and her desire to do the right thing despite the consequences. She hopes the authorities will believe her story so she can help find the missing children. Lyria steadies her resolve and continues toward the checkpoint with her hands up, ready to surrender.

Chapter 44

In this chapter, Lyria is taken into custody by Holiday and Lionguard soldiers after turning herself in to authorities about the kidnapping. She is muzzled and restrained for her protection before being escorted to a warship headed for the Citadel. In transit, they are intercepted by Victra au Barca demanding they hand over Lyria. Victra threatens to attack their ship to get to Lyria, blaming her for the kidnapping of Victra's daughter Electra.

Holiday refuses to hand Lyria over, insisting she is their only lead in finding the missing children. Their ship speeds toward the Citadel as Victra's forces pursue and begin drilling into the hull. Niobe au Telemanus rises to greet them with her forces, ready to escalate into open conflict over Lyria's custody. The chapter builds tension as opposing sides clash over Lyria, seen either as a terrorist or a key witness, while the kidnapped children's lives hang in the balance.

Chapter 45

Darrow and the Howlers arrive on Venus with Apollonius to meet his brother Tharsus. They pose as Apollonius's liberators to gain access to Tharsus's island estate. Apollonius manipulates the guards into leaving so he can confront Tharsus, who believes Apollonius is dead.

They find Tharsus and his entourage swimming and lounging by a pool. On Apollonius's signal, Darrow and the Howlers massacre Tharsus's companions. Sevro stuns Tharsus with an electric shot. Apollonius drowns his brother to incapacitate him for interrogation about the Ash Lord's defenses on Venus. Darrow is disturbed by Apollonius's rash violence, realizing he will be difficult to control. With Tharsus captured, their plan to use Apollonius as a Trojan horse against the Ash Lord can proceed.

Chapter 46

Darrow and the Howlers arrive on Venus with Apollonius to meet his brother Tharsus and gain access to the Ash Lord's fortress. They pose as Apollonius's liberators and massacre Tharsus's companions. Apollonius confronts Tharsus about betraying him to the Ash Lord. Tharsus admits he complied out of fear. Apollonius forgives him, intent on using Tharsus to reach the Ash Lord.

Tharsus reveals the Ash Lord has not granted audiences in three years after an assassination attempt. His daughter Atalantia controls access but has disappeared. The Ash Lord is cloistered on the fortress Gorgon Isle, surrounded by defenses and the Ash Legions. Tharsus claims it is impossible to reach without an army. Apollonius suggests bringing their own army to gain access. Darrow is disturbed by the Valii-Rath brothers and wonders if reuniting them was a mistake.

Chapter 47

Lysander rushes to the injured Cassius after his brutal duels, begging him to stay alive. Dido agrees to let Cassius receive medical care in exchange for Lysander opening the safe containing his grandmother's journal. Lysander complies, revealing his true identity. Seraphina retrieves the journal from the safe, which contains a holodrop showing Darrow's forces destroying the Ganymede dockyards years ago. Dido plays the footage for the Moon Lords, exposing Darrow's deception about the dockyards' destruction. She rallies the Moon Lords to declare war on the Republic in retaliation. Caught in her political ploy, Lysander realizes Darrow's unpredictable violence must be stopped. He watches helplessly as the Rim calls for war against the Republic.

Chapter 48

In this chapter, Lysander is informed that Cassius has died from his injuries sustained during the duels with Bellerephon and other members of House Raa. Overcome with grief and regret, Lysander reflects on his complicated relationship with Cassius, remembering their first meeting years ago on Luna when Lysander was a child. Though Cassius betrayed his grandmother, Lysander felt bound to him for saving his life during the Rising. Lysander is devastated that Cassius died believing Lysander betrayed him by opening his grandmother's safe. When Lysander requests to see Cassius's body, he learns it was desecrated and discarded by Bellerephon's allies. Lysander struggles to maintain his composure, realizing he has lost one of the last remaining ties to his old life. With Cassius gone, Lysander feels the weight of moving forward into a precarious future alone.

Chapter 49

Lyria is brought before Daxo and Niobe au Telemanus to be interrogated about the kidnapping of Pax and Electra. Daxo threatens torture to get answers. When Lyria struggles to identify the exact building where she saw the children, Daxo and Theodora manipulate her grief to imply she aided the kidnappers for revenge. Lyria denies working for anyone. Just as Daxo uses a parasitic creature to interrogate Lyria, Virginia au Augustus intervenes. She chastises her council for torturing Lyria without permission and kills the creature. Virginia dismisses the others so she can speak with Lyria alone, hoping for answers without cruelty.

Chapter 50

Lyria is interrogated by Virginia au Augustus about the kidnapping. Virginia deduces "Philippe" is an agent of the Syndicate crime organization. Lyria describes the leader she saw, allowing Virginia to identify him as the Duke of Hands. Searching the checkpoint, they find the gun Lyria stole from Philippe. It belongs to Ephraim ti Horn, who is revealed to be Holiday's brother-in-law. Virginia realizes the Syndicate has kidnapped her son Pax and Electra.

Chapter 51

Ephraim awaits Volga at a private skyhook to flee Luna, but she does not arrive. Holiday and Lyria confront Ephraim, revealing they have captured Volga to force his cooperation. Ephraim admits his role in the kidnapping and provides information on the Syndicate. Lyria appeals to the goodness she believes is in Ephraim, reminding him of his late friend Trigg.

Ephraim agrees to help rescue the children in exchange for pardons. Mustang contacts him and threatens consequences if he defects. Ephraim negotiates terms, demanding Volga's release after the children are recovered. He insists on covertly signaling their location instead of using a traceable transponder. Mustang agrees to provide a communication pad. She warns Ephraim her family will hunt him if he betrays them. Ephraim feels resigned to carry out the dangerous mission to save Volga and the children.

Chapter 52

In this chapter, Darrow meets with Apollonius before his army departs to attack the Ash Lord's fortress. Apollonius gives a rousing speech to rally his remaining forces. Darrow, Sevro and Thraxa watch via holo. Sevro expresses doubts about the small size and readiness of Apollonius's army. Darrow remains determined to proceed with the plan, leading to an argument where Sevro accuses Darrow of arrogance and taking too many risks.

Darrow and Apollonius say farewell, with Apollonius promising to meet them at the rendezvous point. Darrow reminds him his head bomb will be activated if he betrays or abandons them. After Apollonius leaves, Darrow tasks Rhonna with being a gunner on their ship. As Apollonius's forces depart, Darrow wonders why the Ash Lord has been in seclusion for years instead of leading from the front as usual. Despite Sevro's doubts, Darrow proceeds with the risky plan to use Apollonius as a distraction to reach the Ash Lord.

Chapter 53

In this chapter, Darrow and the Howlers arrive at the Ash Lord's fortress on Venus. They launch a surprise attack, breaching the island's perimeter defenses. Darrow's friend Sevro provides critical air support, allowing them to gain a foothold on the islands surrounding the Ash Lord's central stronghold.

Meanwhile, Apollonius leads a frontal assault as a distraction. Despite heavy losses, his forces push inland. Darrow is briefly incapacitated by a sniper, but recovers. Sevro uses a nuclear missile to disable the fortress's shields. With defenses down, Darrow spots enemy reinforcements mobilizing from the fortress interior. He rallies the Howlers to press the attack before the Ash Lord can bring his full strength to bear. Darrow leads the Howlers toward the Ash Lord's fortress, intent on defeating the warlord and ending his family line.

Chapter 54

Darrow leads the Howlers in an aerial assault against the Ash Lord's elite dragoon guards at his fortress. A brutal battle ensues with heavy casualties on both sides. Darrow's forces struggle to gain the upper hand against the Ash Lord's superior numbers and defenses. Just as Darrow is nearly killed by an Obsidian, Apollonius arrives with his army for a dramatic last minute rescue. Apollonius revels in the violence as he slaughters the remaining enemy forces on the roof. Darrow is disturbed by Apollonius's unpredictable nature but accepts his aid. With the roof secured, Darrow prepares to lead Sevro and Apollonius inside the tower to find the Ash Lord.

Chapter 55

Lysander is visited by Gaia, Romulus's elderly mother, who brings him to meet Pytha. Gaia reveals she wants Lysander's help freeing Romulus from prison so he can defeat Dido's coup, preventing war with the Republic. Lysander agrees to sneak into the prison with Pytha and free Romulus. Gaia's servant Goroth guides them into tunnels under the palace. Before leaving, Gaia gives Lysander a razor called Shizuka to aid their mission. Lysander and Pytha set off into the tunnels, intent on freeing Romulus despite the danger.

Chapter 56

Lysander, Pytha, and Goroth travel through tunnels beneath the city of Sungrave on Io to free Romulus from prison at the request of Gaia. Lysander attacks Goroth to prevent him from alerting authorities and escapes with Pytha. They are soon captured by Dido's soldiers. Lysander claims they were following Gaia's orders and shows Dido the razor she gave him. Dido decides not to confront Gaia directly to avoid appearing weak. She sends soldiers to hunt for Goroth in the tunnels.

Dido questions whether to summon Vela au Raa for support using a device Lysander provided. Seraphina advises against this to avoid more bloodshed. Dido agrees for now. At Lysander's trial, she plans for Romulus to be found negligent but freed so they can lead Io's war effort together. Lysander's fate will be decided jointly by Dido and Romulus. Seraphina escorts Lysander back to his cell, both wary of each other's motives.

Chapter 57

Ephraim meets with Gorgo to prepare for a meeting with the Duke, leader of the Syndicate crime organization. Ephraim is brought to the Duke's trophy room, where he sees disturbing displays like a human hand being eaten by ants. The Duke implies Ephraim will have an important role in the Syndicate if he joins. When they are alone, Ephraim pretends to come on to the Duke as a distraction before breaking his nose and demanding the location of the kidnapped children. The Duke reveals they are in a vault two floors down.

Ephraim calls Holiday, who says backup is two hours away. Knowing he can't hold the Duke that long, Ephraim tortures the Duke for the vault combination but learns it requires the Duke's biometrics. Ephraim forces the Duke to take him to the vault. After a bloody shootout with the Duke's men guarding the vault, Ephraim opens it to find the children locked in a cage amongst the Duke's hoarded treasures.

Chapter 58

Ephraim rescues Pax and Electra from their cage in the vault. Electra is initially suspicious but Pax convinces her to cooperate. Ephraim takes the Duke hostage to escape the tower. After a bloody shootout, they make it to the Duke's personal aircraft. Before they can escape, Ephraim is shot by Gorgo. Badly wounded, Ephraim manages to fly them away from the tower.

On the ship, Pax and Electra realize Ephraim is mortally wounded. Ephraim calls the Sovereign and shows her the children are alive. She insists Ephraim bring them to the Citadel, but he refuses to risk imprisonment. When Ephraim threatens to dump the children, Pax pulls a razor on him and forces him to fly to the Citadel.

Chapter 59

Lyria watches a squadron of ships depart the Citadel to rescue Pax and Electra after Ephraim revealed their location. She and Holiday discuss Ephraim's past working for the Sons of Ares. The Sovereign meets with advisors about the political implications of the kidnapping. She believes the Ash Lord orchestrated it to destabilize the Republic and accuses herself of weakness for allowing Darrow to be chased away. When Lyria arrives, the Sovereign apologizes for failing Mars and asks for forgiveness, which Lyria grants. Lyria secures a promise of medical care for her nephew Liam in return for testifying about the kidnapping before the Senate. After a shower in her room, Lyria is drugged and captured by an agent of House Barca seeking revenge.

Chapter 60

Darrow, Sevro, and Apollonius infiltrate the Ash Lord's fortress and discover him diseased and barely alive, having been poisoned by Apollonius years ago. The Ash Lord reveals his daughter Atalantia has secretly been leading his forces. Darrow realizes coming here was a mistake, as Atalantia is likely attacking the Republic fleet over Mercury.

The Ash Lord implies Darrow and Sevro's children have been kidnapped. Enraged, Sevro beats the Ash Lord, who commits suicide with a false tooth before revealing more. Apollonius kills the Ash Lord by dousing him in chemicals and setting him on fire. Darrow feels only sorrow, having lost his son and broken his family for nothing.

Chapter 61

Romulus faces trial before the Olympic Council on Io, accused by his wife Dido of negligence during wartime for not investigating the destruction of the Ganymede docks. Dido presents evidence showing the docks were destroyed by Darrow's forces, not the Ash Lord. Romulus does not contest the charges and is found guilty, leading to his removal as Sovereign. Unexpectedly, the young Fate Chance levies an additional charge of treason against Romulus. Though confused, Romulus confesses to knowing Darrow destroyed the docks and concealing it to avoid war with the Republic. With no choice, the Council sentences Romulus to death for his admission of treason. Romulus urges the Rim not to seek vengeance, fearing it would unite the Republic against them. His daughter Seraphina weeps as Romulus is taken away to be executed.

Chapter 62

Romulus says farewell to his children before his execution, offering each wisdom and asking for forgiveness. He tells Lysander that unity brought the Society strength, and though war is likely inevitable now, Lysander could still prevent total destruction by honoring the past. At his execution, Romulus walks naked into the frozen wastes towards the tomb of his ancestor. He makes it within ten steps before collapsing and freezing to death, just short of the monument. His family mourns his brave death. Lysander and Seraphina watch together, with Lysander feeling the weight of expectations on him as heir to the lost dynasty. Seraphina whispers "we are but dust and shadow," as the Raa leave Romulus's body behind.

Chapter 63

In this chapter, Lysander goes to speak with Dido after the execution of her husband Romulus. Dido is distraught over the loss of her husband, whom she considered a paragon. Lysander offers his condolences but Dido questions what use he could be to her cause. Seraphina also doubts Lysander's abilities as a warrior.

Lysander asserts he is not a king without a kingdom, but has the same birthright as Dido to shepherd and unite the Golds. He says he is not his grandmother or godfather, but his own man. Lysander asks Dido to send him as an envoy to the Core to tell his godfather Darrow that the Rim is coming, but that past sins should be forgotten so Gold can unite against him. Dido smiles at the proposition and seems amenable to the idea of allying with Lysander. The chapter shows Lysander embracing his identity and seeking to bridge divisions between the Rim and Core.

Chapter 64

Ephraim is flying Pax and Electra to the Citadel in the Duke's ship when they receive a threatening message from the Syndicate Queen, who reveals she controls the ship remotely. The ship turns back toward the Syndicate against Ephraim's control. Desperate, Ephraim arms thermal grenades in the engine room before stumbling back to strap Pax and Electra into their seats. The resulting explosion disables the ship's gravity and engines, sending it spiraling down over the city. Ephraim laughs bitterly, having expected his efforts to rescue the children would end this way.

Chapter 65

Darrow leads an assault on the Ash Lord's fortress on Venus, seeking to defeat the warlord. But after breaching the defenses and confronting the diseased Ash Lord, Darrow learns his enemy's daughter Atalantia has secretly been leading the Ash Lord's forces. Darrow realizes coming to Venus was a mistake, as Atalantia has likely attacked the Republic fleet over Mercury in his absence.

The dying Ash Lord implies Darrow's son Pax has been kidnapped before committing suicide. Overcome with grief and regret, Darrow decides not to return to Luna to search for Pax. He believes he must stay to defend his stranded army on Mercury. Darrow's friend Sevro, also distraught over his daughter's kidnapping, refuses to join Darrow and departs with the other Howlers.

Alone except for a few followers, Darrow takes the Ash Lord's shuttle to race back to Mercury. He sets aside his identity as a father and husband, embracing his wrathful persona as the Reaper once more. Darrow is determined to turn the tide of the war, despite his personal anguish.