Golden Son (2015) Pierce Brown - Book Two of Red Rising Trilogy
· Darrow, a Red remade into a Gold named "Darrow au Andromedus" (The Reaper) Lancer of House Augustus.
· Virginia au Augustus, nicknamed "Mustang", daughter of Nero au Augustus and twin sister of Adrius.
· Adrius au Augustus, Virginia's sociopathic twin brother, called "The Jackal".
· Nero au Augustus, the ArchGovernor of Mars and father of Virginia and Adrius.
· Victra au Julii, lancer of House Augustus, half sister to Antonia au Severus.
· Roque au Fabii, lancer of House Augustus.
· Tactus au Rath, lancer of House Augustus.
· Ragnar Volarus, Stained Obsidian
· Kavax au Telemanus, father of Daxo and the late Pax.
· Daxo au Telemanus, son of Kavax and Pax's brother.
· Cassius au Bellona, lancer of House Bellona, brother of Karnus.
· Karnus au Bellona, lancer of House Bellona, Brother of Cassius.
· Octavia au Lune, the Sovereign of the Society.
· Lysander au Lune, grandson and heir of the Sovereign and grandson of Lorn au Arcos.
· Aja au Grimmus, the Sovereign's Protean Knight.
· Lorn au Arcos, the former Rage Knight.
· Fitchner au Barca, former Proctor of Mars at the Institute, father of Sevro.
· Sevro au Barca, leader of the Howlers, son of Fitchner.
· Antonia au Severus-Julii, Darrow's ruthless longtime enemy and Victra's half sister.
· Pliny au Velocitor, Nero's chief of staff.
· Dancer, Red lieutenant in the Sons of Ares.
· Harmony, Dancer's Red lieutenant.
· Mickey, a Violet carver who remade Darrow as a Gold.
· Evey, a Pink former slave of Mickey.
At the end of Red Rising our hero, Darrow, becomes a Lancer for his enemy, Nero au Augustus. At the beginning of Golden Son we see Darrow lose a mock space battle to Karnus (Cassius’ old brother). This loss prompts Nero to tell Darrow that he is going to put his contract up for bid at the next summit of the great houses. Before the meeting he sees Adrius (the Jackal) who has his own schemes. He also meets Harmony who tells him that Dancer is dead (a lie) and tells him that Ares wants him to be a suicide bomber at the House Summit. Darrow is about to do this and then has another idea. He challenges Cassius to a duel. It turns out that Darrow has been training with Lorn au Arcos (former Rage Knight) and is able to defeat Cassius and is about to kill him when the Sovereign calls of the fight to save him. Darrow chops off Cassius’ arm in frustration and chaos incuses.
The Sovereign asks Darrow to join her and has a truth telling contest with him using special scorpion-like creatures called oracles. Darrow finds out that the sovereign was planning to destroy Augustus and give Mars to Bellona. Mustang signals Sevro and the Howlers who rescue Darrow and take the Sovereign’s grandson Lysander as a hostage. As they are escaping Aja crushes Quinn’s head. On the escape, Adrius (the Jackal) pretends to operate on Quinn but actually (we find out later) kills her. Now we have war!
Darrow attacks and takes the largest ship in the Sovereign’ s fleet. He renames the ship the Pax in honor of his friend from the institute. Also of note is the appearance of a stained obsidian – Ragnar Volarus. Ragnar is one of the most interesting characters in the series. The whole culture of the obsidians is designed to make Golds as god-like figures and prevent the obsidians from uniting. For if they do they would be a massive force. Darrow, wisely, gives Ragnar his freedom. This is not an easy thing and Ragnar rejects freedom but Darrow finally convinces him. This, of course, makes Ragnar even more loyal to Darrow then before. He becomes a member of Sevrus’s howlers. I would really like to see Pierce Brown write a book with an obsidian as it’s main character. Maybe a prehistory to this when the obsidians fought the Golds (and lost).
Darrow plans an “iron rain” and to take Mars from the Bellona for Nero au Augustus. First he needs more ships and men and seeks these with his teacher Lorn au Arcos who is forced to join Darrow when the Sovereign’s forces turn up to kill his family and Darrow saves them. Darrow’s former friend Tactus escapes Darrows first trap and is in position to kill Lorn’s family. Darrow convinces him to come back to him. A very positive moment which is very short when Lorn kills Tactus for threatening his family. Second Chances seems to be a theme for Darrow which occasionally gets him in trouble. I think it humanizes him and makes him a much more believable character.
With Lorn’s forces they initiate the battle for Mars. In the fight he is rescued at one point by Fitchner who reveals himself to be Ares. Turns out that his wife (Sevrus’ mother) was a red who was put to death. Sevro had already told Darrow that he knew his secret. He tells Mustang his secret and she considers killing him until Ragnar intercedes.
As Sevro becomes closer to Darrow, Rogue is pulling away. He blames Quinn’s death on Darrow (as Cassius blames him for killing Julian). So it is not a big surprise when at a victory feast he stabs Darrow with a tranquilizer. They present him with a box containing Fitchner’s head (Cassius killed him) and Adrius (the Jackal) kills his father, Nero. Rogue, Cassius and Adrius are in a plot with the Sovereign Octavia. Antonia shoots here half-sister Victra in the back. They know Darrow’s secret and plan to dissect him to find out how it was done - we will see what that means. Probably torture and eventual death for Darrow (and Eo’s dream).
Why would Rogue betray Darrow? He blames Darrow for Quinn’s death. The sovereign ordered Aja to kill Quinn and Adrius finished the job. Well maybe to maintain the Gold’s way of life. But if Rogue didn’t betray Darrow then what would be the plot of the third book? Sort of an odd plot twist that didn’t make good sense to me. I could see Rogue fighting against Darrow but not betraying him.
Will Darrow give Rogue and Cassius another chance to get on the right side?
Where is Mustang?
Are the Son’s of Ares gone?
How will Ragnar and Sevrus fit in?
Where is Darrow and how is he going to escape and lead the revolt to victory?
Next up: Morning Star