While Pierce Brown’s original Red Rising trilogy technically concluded with 2016’s Morning Star, the story is far from over. In Iron Gold, the saga continues with a new story that picks up 10 years after Darrow’s revolution — the one that was supposed to change everything for the better, but has instead resulted in war.
Below, EW can exclusively reveal an excerpt from Iron Gold before it hits shelves January 16, 2018. Iron Gold is available for pre-order now, and if you’re in the Los Angeles area, join Brown for the book’s launch at HowlerFest on January 13.
Excerpt from Iron Gold by Pierce Brown
Servant of the People
The room bursts into a chaos of thrust fists and rippling togas. Only the Obsidians do not move. Sefi watches the reaction with a neutral expression, unreadable as ever. Mustang turns on me in a fury. “Is this true?”
“He never wanted peace,” I say coldly. Sevro is rocking in his seat in an effort to keep himself from strangling Julia au Bellona in the middle of the Forum.
“But he did send emissaries?”
“He sent provocateurs. Her and Scorpio. It was a ruse that I did not warrant worth the time of this body.”
Mustang can’t believe what she’s hearing. “Darrow . . .”
“Scorpio au Falthe was on your ship and you did not report this to us?” Dancer asks, incredulous. Someone betrayed me. Someone in the Howlers. How else would he know?
I fix my gaze on Dancer. “The Ash Lord burned Rhea. He burned New Thebes. He’d burn every city left to win back Luna. He wants the home we’ve stolen from him.”
Dancer shakes his head. “You had no right.”
Caraval and those Coppers who cheered me watch with uncertainty. Mustang has not moved from her chair, nor can she. Whatever she says will be dismissed as a wife defending her husband and might indict her as well. If they think she knew, she’ll be impeached, possibly worse. Which is the very reason why I hid this from her.
My star is falling. If she holds on, it will drag her down too. Better to stay quiet, my love. Better to play the long game. I know better than to struggle. A Red senator lurches up from her seat and rushes across the floor. For a moment, I think she means to speak in my defense. Then she spits at my feet. “Gold,” she says. Wulfgar eases forward to dissuade any others from breaking protocol.
For years I waited for this day to come, but as the Republic grew in strength, it never did. And I suppose I tricked myself into thinking it wouldn’t. But now that it’s here, now that I feel the blind hate rising and see the unpitying lenses of the cameras in the viewing deck above, I know how words will be lost on them. The noble newscasters will sanctimoniously peel at every decision, every secret, every sin, and stream them across the worlds, feigning duty, but delighting in the moral bloodshed, masticating my bones, cracking them for the marrow of ratings and feeding their vulture appetite for gossip.
I’m not surprised, but I am heartbroken. I don’t want to be the villain. Wulfgar looks back at me pityingly, as if wishing he could carry me away from this public shaming. Sevro is standing from his seat in a rage.
“You f—ing backstabbing little rat . . .” he says to Dancer.
“How can we trust you with our armies,” Dancer booms, “when you disobey the Senate? When you lie to the People?” He does not give me time to respond. “My brothers and sisters, there is no place in our Republic for warlords or tyrants. They are the death of demokracy. Our seven
hundred years of slavery stands testament to that! But tyranny did not just spring up. It bubbled up slowly, as the leaders of Earth watched and did nothing. We must choose. Is our Republic ruled by its voice, or by its sword?”
He sits, his work done. Amidst a roar of approval that spreads to more than just his usual supporters, Dancer of Faran, the hand of Ares who pulled me from the grave to make me a weapon, buries me under my own designs. And across the room, like a noble old olive tree neither flame nor axe can fell, Julia au Bellona watches me with hate in her gnawing eyes. Slowly, as if a long-forgotten promise is finally being delivered, she begins to smile.
Publius cu Caraval stands in the chaos. Only by Mustang hammering her scepter on the ground can she quiet the senators enough for the Copper to speak. If anyone could find something to say to defend me, it would be him.
“I do not share all the convictions of the Red senator. There cannot be peace while there is no justice. But in one matter, I fear he strikes the mark. You have overstepped, ArchImperator. You have forgotten your oaths made to serve the People.” He turns to the senators. “I propose a vote to remove Darrow of Lykos from high command and to place him under house arrest pending a trial for acts of treason against the Republic.” Applause follows this. “And I propose a temporary cessation of hostilities with the Golds of the Core so that we may decide ourselves between war and peace.”
The sanctimonious bastard.
There is little Mustang can do. At her instructions, Republic Wardens come to escort all non-senators from the room. I let Wulfgar guide me out. Over the heads of his men, I see my wife watching me from her chair, fear in her eyes because she sees the rage in mine.
Outside the building, the world is quiet and untouched by my humiliation. Republic Wardens stand illuminated by the warm glow of orange lamps as we collect our weapons. Lesser bureaucrats thread their way across the plaza, tending to the affairs of a government responsible for ten billion lives. Dusk is over now and the sky is black. Autumn leaves roll across the white marble expanse.
“Darrow, you are not to leave the city,” Wulfgar says to me. “Do you hear me?” He puts his hand on my shoulder again. “Darrow . . .”
“Am I under arrest?” I ask.
“Not yet . . .”
“You need to step back,” Sevro says, his fingers tightening around the razor at his side. Wulfgar looks down at Sevro, who comes barely to his sternum, and steps back. I descend the stairs away from the Forum, heading for the landing pads in the North Citadel. Sevro catches up to me. I stop and look back at the Forum as a loud cheer leaks out the open door.
“Some little s— told them,” Sevro says. “I should carve Caraval’s balls off. Treason? They can’t actually arrest you, can they?”
“They might not put me in Deepgrave, but they’ll lock me up for as long as they think they don’t need me. Long enough for the Ash Lord to make his move.”
Sevro sneers. “The Seventh Legion will have something to say about that. Should I call Orion? The Telemanuses? Kavax should be on his way back from Mars. . . .”
I look back to the Forum. Inside, Mustang will be attempting to repair the damage done. But with Copper lost, she won’t have the votes to protect me. There’s nothing more I can do here. This isn’t my world. I knew it before, and Dancer just reminded me. The man says all I know is war. And he is right. In my heart, I know my enemy. I know his mettle. I know his cruelty. And I know this war will not end with politicians smiling at each other from across a table.
It will only end as it began: with blood.
“No, Sevro. Summon the Howlers.”
Excerpted from IRON GOLD by Pierce Brown. Copyright © 2018 by Pierce Brown. Excerpted by arrangement with Del Rey Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.