|Chain of Gold|
|Release Date||March 3, 2020|
| Preceded by|
The Infernal Devices
| Followed by|
Chain of Iron
|“||Evil hides in plain sight and the only thing more dangerous than fighting demons is falling in love.||”|
Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to Edwardian London in hopes of preventing the family's ruin. Cordelia's mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride. Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assignations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.
But Cordelia's new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and force a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.
Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London... and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague.
James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero... and falling in love.
- Early on in the book will be a boating party that both Anna and Ariadne will attend, avoiding each other. Anna will flirt with other women and Ariadne will speak with Alastair Carstairs about Greek history. See Teaser #2 for more on the boat party.
- Cordelia Carstairs is set to be the character with the most pages told from her POV in this installment.
- A demon will be accidentally summoned, followed by Magnus Bane's first appearance.
James and Matthew separated, Matthew to dance with Lucie, and James to speak to his parents. Cordelia saw them glance over toward her and looked away quickly; still, she was not at all surprised when James appeared a moment later in front of her, flashing a smile at his aunt and uncle.
"Miss Carstairs," he said, with a slight bow in Cordelia's direction. "Would you favor me with this dance?"
"It's waltz," said Cordelia's mother, before Cordelia could speak. "My daughter does not know how to waltz."
Cordelia bit her lip. She certainly knew how to dance: her mother had engaged an expert instructor to teach her the quadrille and the lancer, the stately minuet and the cotilion. But the waltz was a seductive dance, one where you could feel your partner's body against yours, scandalous when it had first become popular.
She very much wanted to waltz with James.
James cried out. Lightning seemed to fork behind his vision, and suddenly he was back in Regent’s Park, kneeling on the grass. There was a firm grip on his shoulders. “Jamie, Jamie, Jamie,” said an urgent voice, and James — his breath tearing in and out of his chest — tried to focus on what was in front of him.
Everything was blurred in that moment but Matthew’s face, his green eyes wide and dark and steady. Behind him moved other figures; they seemed in that moment like the shapes James had been finding in the clouds — inchoate and untouchable.
“Jamie, breathe,” Matthew said, and his voice was the only steady thing in a world turning upside down. It had been years since this had happened. Years. The horror of it happening in front of a crowd of people —
“Did they see me?” he said in a cracked voice. “Did they see me turn?”
“You didn’t,” Matthew said, “or at least, only a very little bit — perhaps just a bit fuzzy round the edges —“
“It’s not funny,” James said through his teeth, but Matthew’s humor acted like a slap of cold water; he opened his eyes fully, saw Thomas and Christopher looking down at him. They had positioned themselves so as to block him from the crowd at the lake’s edge.
“Get up,” Thomas said. “It’s the best thing you can do, James, we’ll tell them you tripped or fell.” His hazel eyes were anxious but his tone was reassuring. “Honestly all the attention was on Ariadne — “
Matthew’s hands on James’ shoulders turned into a grip on his arms, and James was hauled upright by his three best friends. Christopher produced a handkerchief from somewhere and began to dust his lapels.
“Chris,” said Matthew. He was the only person who ever used that nickname for Christopher besides Anna. “Stop. Who cares if he’s dusty? He was just invisible.”
“But he isn’t any more,” Christopher pointed out.
“We need to get you back to the Institute,” said Matthew to James in a low voice. “If you’re going to start suddenly going all — shadowy — for no reason, then the Silent Brothers —“
“Not the Silent Brothers,” said Thomas. “Just Zachariah.”
Will had been sitting on the floor, the rug bunched up under his feet, with his back against Tessa's legs. He looked up when Jem came in, and Jem, in his Silent Brother robes, went over to Will and sat down beside him. He drew Will's head against his shoulder, and Will held the front of Jem's robes in his fists and he cried. It was the first time it had ever occurred to James that his father might cry about anything.
Cordelia was alone in the hallway. Squaring her shoulders, she pushed open the door to James' room.
She had never been in a boy's bedroom before, and it was quite a scandalous action to enter now, but the significance of it seemed small, swallowed up by her worry. James was half under the covers of the bed, moving restlessly from side to side, his face flushed with fever. His nightclothes clung to him, wet with sweat. It was a bright day outside and sunlight speared through the room, illuminating the bowls of burning herbs that Enoch had left behind.
James rolled toward her. His eyes, the color of sunlight, blinked open slowly. "Matthew?" he said. "Matthew, is that you?"
- (text edited slightly by Cassandra Clare to remove spoiler)
He took a deep breath, and crossed the floor of blades and constellations to the other boy’s side. He stood at the foot of the stairs, looking down.
“But of course,” he said, very softly, “your sentiments are reciprocated.”
He stooped over him, tilting his chin up. Their lips met. The other boy made a soft sound, almost like surrender, stretching under his body. He slid an arm around his neck and pulled him down onto the stairs.
“Good work, Cordelia,” said Anna, swinging her legs off the edge of the settee. “Arabella, how are the drinks coming on?”
Cordelia turned to see a faerie woman with tumbling blue and green hair standing by a sideboard at the far end of the room. Her hands waved in midair like fronds in water, unstoppering decanters and crystal vials full of red liquid, and busily pouring them into a variety of goblets and flutes.
“Just ready, darling!” Arabella said, and walked over to distribute drinks. Matthew accepted a drink with alacrity. Cordelia noticed that Arabella walked with a rocking, unsteady gait, as if she was a sailor unaccustomed to treading on the land.
When Arabella gave Anna her drink, Anna pulled Arabella into her lap. Arabella giggled, kicking up her French heels. Her long legs were shockingly bare, and covered in a faint iridescent pattern of scales. They flashed in the golden light like a rainbow.
A mermaid. So this was Hypatia’s “friend from the seaside.” They were rarely seen on land, since their human legs caused them pain to walk on.
Arabella noticed Cordelia’s gaze and shrugged, shoulders moving fluidly beneath her heavy masses of blue and green hair. “I have not been on land for many years. The last time I visited this city, the Downworlders and Shadowhunters were trying to form the Accords. I was not much impressed with Nephilim then, and I have not been fond of Shadowhunters since. Still, exceptions can be made.”
Before the Accords were formed. The faerie woman had not been on the land for more than thirty years.
Arabella leaned into Anna as she spoke, and Anna’s scarred fingers drifted gently though the waves of the mermaid’s hair. Tiny fish, small as sparks from a fire and bright blue, stirred when disturbed and leaped from strand to strand chasing Anna’s graceful movements.
“My lovely, your hair is like a beautiful stream,” murmured Anna. “Because there are fish in it.”
Arabella blushed. Apparently Anna could seduce multiple people in one evening ..
“But Cortana is still here,” Lucie said, indicating the shining blade. “Daisy will be miserable without it. It’s more than just a sword to her.” She started to struggle upright. "I must bring it to her."
Lucie took Cordelia’s hand and drew her over to the refreshment table, where a group of girls in colorful dresses had gathered. In the avalanche of introductions, Cordelia caught only a few of their names: Catherine Townsend, Rosamund Wentworth and Ariadne Bridgestock, who had brown skin a shade darker than Cordelia’s own. She was a tall, lovely-looking girl a few years older than the others.
“What a pretty dress,” Ariadne said to Cordelia, her voice warm. Her own gown was of flattering wine-colored silk. “I believe that’s the shade they call ‘ashes of roses.’ Very popular in Paris.”
“Oh, yes,” Cordelia said eagerly. She’d known so few girls growing up — just Lucie, really — so how did one impress them and charm them? It was desperately important. “I did get this dress in Paris, as a matter of fact. On Rue de la Paix. Jeanne Paquin made it herself.”
She saw Lucie’s eyes widen in concern. Rosamund’s lips tightened. “How fortunate you are,” she said coolly. “Most of us here in the poky little London Enclave rarely get to travel abroad. You must think us so dull.”
“Oh,” said Cordelia, realizing she had put her foot in it. “No, not at all —“
“My mother has always said Shadowhunters aren’t meant to have much of an interest in fashion,” said Catherine. “She says it’s mundane.”
“Someone ought to tell Matthew,” said Ariadne. “Or is that rule only for girls?”
Rosamund rolled her eyes. “Ariadne, really —“ she began, and broke off with a laugh. “Speak of the devils,” she said. “Look who’s just come in.”
She was looking toward the far doors of the ballroom, through which two boys had just spilled. Cordelia saw James first, as she always did. He was tall, beautiful, smiling: a painter’s vision in black and white with tousled ebony hair.
She heard Lucie groan as the girls whispered among themselves: she caught James’ name in the whispers, and then a second name in the same breath: Matthew Fairchild.
They raced away from the greenhouse, through overgrown grass and tangled weeds. When they were some distance away, in a clearing near the entrance to what had once been the Italian Gardens, James came up short.
Cordelia nearly stumbled into him. She was dizzy, her vision blurring. The pain in her leg had returned, redoubled. She dropped her witchlight into the grass, and sank to the ground.
They were in a small hollow of overgrowth; the greenhouse was a great dark star in the distance, capping a rise of garden. Dark trees leaned together overhead, their branches knotted. The air at least was clean and cool, and Cordelia gulped it in as she reached for her stele.
“Daisy.” James went down on his knees, facing her in the grass. “Daisy, let me see.”
She looked at him. He had put the gun away, though she could still see it tucked into his waistband. His black hair was tangled, full of leaves and bits of grass.
“Daisy.” James placed his hands gently on her ankle, above her low leather boots, and began to raise the leg of her trousers. The hem was soaked through with blood, and Cordelia couldn’t hold back a small noise as her ankle was bared.
The skin looked as if it had been torn with a serrated knife. The top of her boot was drenched in blood.
James drew his stele from his inside pocket. With infinite care, he touched the tip to her calf — the horror, Cordelia thought, that her mother would have experienced at the idea of a boy touching her daughter’s leg — and traced the outlines of a healing rune.
It felt as if someone had poured cool water over her burning skin. She watched as the injured flesh began to knit itself back together, slashed skin sealing up as if years of healing had been compressed into seconds.
“You look as if you’ve never seen what an iratze can do,” James said, a small quirk to the corner of his mouth. “Have you not been injured before?”
“Not this badly,” said Cordelia. She sighed. “I know I should have — you must be thinking what a baby I’ve been.”
“Not at all. I was thinking that you reminded me a bit of Catherine Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights. My mother has a favorite passage about how she was bitten by a bull-dog — “She did not yell out—no! she would have scorned to do it if she had been spitted on the horns of a mad cow.’”
“The natural state of Shadowhunters is battle,” said Tessa. “When it is always ongoing, there is no time to stop and think that it is not an ideal state for happiness. Alas, we have had that time for the past decade or so. Perhaps we had begun to think ourselves invincible.”
“People are only invincible in books,” said Cordelia.
“I think you will find most of the time, not even then,” said Tessa. “But at least we can always pick up a book and read it anew. Stories offer a thousand fresh starts.”
It was true, Cordelia thought. She had read the story of Layla and Majnun a thousand times, and each time the beginning was a thrill, even though she knew—and dreaded—the end.
“Last night,” Cordelia said, “you were most appallingly rude to me, and I would like an apology.”
James looked up at her. So this was what it would be like to be taller than James, she thought. She didn’t mind it. His expression was calm, unreadable even. It wasn’t an unfriendly look, but it was entirely closed off, letting no one in. It was an expression she had seen on James’ face before: she had always thought of it privately as The Mask.
She raised an eyebrow. “You’re not going to apologize?”
Maybe it wasn’t better to be taller than him, she thought. When he looked up at her, he had to do it through his eyelashes, which were thick and black as the silk fringes on a scarf. “I am trying to think of the best way to do it. What I did—leaving you on the dance floor—was unforgivable. I am trying to think of a reason you ought to forgive me anyway, because if you did not, it would break my heart.”
She cleared her throat. “That is a decent start.”
His smile was faint, but real. “You’ve always had a charitable heart, Daisy.”
“Don’t you Daisy me,” she said. “Have you taken the time to understand what it is to be a girl in such a situation? A girl cannot ask a gentleman to dance; she is at the mercy of the choice of the opposite sex. She cannot even refuse a dance if it is asked of her. To have a boy walk away from her on the dance floor is humiliating. To have it happen when one is wearing a truly frightful gown, even more so. They will all be discussing what is wrong with me.”
His eyes flew wide. “Wrong with you?” he repeated. “There is nothing wrong with you. Everything you say is true, and I am a fool for not having thought of it before. All I can do is swear to you that you will never lack at any social event in future, someone to stand up with or dance attendance on you. You might not credit it, having met Thomas and Christopher and Matthew, but they are quite popular. We can make you the toast of the season.”
“Really?” she said. “Thomas and Christopher and Matthew are popular?”
He laughed. “Yes, and I can make you a further promise as well. If I offend you again, I will wear a truly frightful gown to the next significant social gathering.”
As they came out from the avenue and into the broad circular drive in front of the house, Lucie was struck by the destroyed beauty of the manor. A double set of stairs, wonderfully constructed, led up to a broad entryway: blackened vines twisted their way around fluted columns. If she cast her gaze up she could see the balconies her mother had spoken of-but they had been taken over by clusters of thorns.
James broke off. The wind caught the edges of his black morning coat. They flew like wings at his sides.
“You worry about Lucie?” asked Cordelia, a little puzzled.
“It’s not that,” James said. “I suppose I worry we all tumble into our roles too easily—Christopher the scientist, Thomas the kind one, Matthew the libertine. And I—I don’t know what I am, exactly.”
“You are the leader,” said Cordelia.
He looked amused. “Am I?”
“The four of you are tightly knit,” said Cordelia. “Anyone could see that. And none of you is so simple. Thomas is more than just kind, and Christopher more than beakers and test tubes, Matthew more than wit and waistcoats. Each of you follows his own star— but you are the thread that binds all four together. You are the one who sees what everyone needs, if anyone requires extra care from their friends, or even to be left alone. Some groups of friends drift apart, but you would never let that happen.”
James’s amusement had gone. There was a little roughness in his voice when he said, “So I am the one who cares the most, is that it?”
"Ah Magnus Bane," said Matthew. "My personal hero." "Indeed you once described him as Oscar Wilde if he had magic powers," said James.
"I'll ruin her life, if you want to play that game." Tatiana jabbed a finger towards James' chest. "You care, Herondale. This is your weakness."
"The point of stories is not that they are objectively true, but that the soul of the story is truer than reality. Those who mock fiction do so because they fear the truth."
“I hear you have come to London to be parabatai with our Lucie,” said Cecily. She looked nearly as young as Tessa, though since she wasn’t an immortal warlock, one wondered how she managed it. “I am pleased—it is high time more girls became parabatai. It has been a state monopolized by men for far too long.”
“Where is he, then?” Thomas inquired. His shirtsleeves were rolled up, and Lucie could just glimpse the edge of the colored ink design on his left forearm. It was unusual for Shadowhunters to get tattoos, as their skin was so often Marked by runes, but Thomas had done just that in Spain. “Did you bury his body in the park somewhere?”
“Don’t scream,” said a voice above her. “It’ll bring them.”
Lucie threw her head back and stared. Leaning down over the side of the pit was a boy. Older than her brother, James—maybe even sixteen years old. He had a lovely melancholy face and straight black hair without a hint of curl. The ends of his hair almost touched the collar of his shirt.
“Bring who?” Lucie put her fists on her hips.
“The faeries,” he said. “This is one of their pit traps. They usually use them to catch animals, but they’d be very pleased to find a little girl instead.”
For a moment James had the fantasy that Tatiana Blackthorn had brought him here to kill him. She would cut out his heart and leave him lying where his blood ran out across the ground.
Instead she shoved the knife into his hands. “There you go, boy,” she said. “Take your time.”
He thought for a moment that she smiled, but it might have been a trick of the light. She was gone in a rustle of dry grass, leaving James standing before the gates, rusty blade in hand, like Sleeping Beauty’s least successful suitor. With a sigh, he began to cut.
Or at least, he began to try. The dull blade sliced nothing, and the briars were as thick as the bars on the gates. More than once he was stuck sharply by the wicked points of the thorns.
His aching arms soon felt like lead, and his white shirt was spotted with blood. This was ridiculous, he told himself. Surely this went beyond the obligation to help a neighbor with her gardening. Surely his parents would understand if he tossed the knife aside and went home. Surely—
A pair of hands, white as lilies, suddenly fluttered between the vines. “Herondale boy,” whispered a voice. “Let me help you.”
There was a rattling sound, and a moment later a pair of briar cutters—perhaps not entirely new but certainly serviceable—were pushed beneath the gates. James bent to seize them up.
“Thank you, Grace,” he said. “You are Grace, aren’t you? Grace Blackthorn?”
Anna was in trousers and a jacket of sharp French tailoring. Her blue eyes were the exact color of Will’s, darker than Lucie’s: they matched her waistcoat, and the lapis head of her walking stick.
“Have you seen James?” Cordelia demanded without preamble. “No,” said Anna shortly. “No clue as to his whereabouts, I’m afraid.”
Cordelia frowned, not because of James, but because of Anna’s expression. “Anna? What’s wrong?”
Anna scowled. “I had come here to horsewhip Charles, but it appears that he is elsewhere.”
“Charles Fairchild?” Cordelia echoed blankly. “I believe he’s at home—he called a gathering at his house for high-ranking Clave officials. You could go horsewhip him there, but it would make for a very strange meeting.”
“High-ranking Clave officials?” Anna rolled her eyes. “Well, no wonder I don’t know about it. So I suppose I’ll have to wait until later to puncture him like the pustulant boil he is.”
- First editions: The US first editions will include colored frontispiece portraits of the main characters, drawn by Cassandra Jean, and the short story Fairy Tale of London.
- Though majority of the action will take place in 1903, the narrative may move back and forth in time, covering some things that happened in the "20 odd years since Clockwork Princess" (1878), with chapters subtitled "Time Now" and "Time Past".
- Cassandra Clare is set to release ten short stories revolving around the characters from The Last Hours, including Matthew Fairchild, Thomas Lightwood, James Herondale, Lucie Herondale, Cordelia Carstairs, Anna Lightwood, and more. It will be released online to be read for free. One story will be released each month until the publication of Chain of Gold.
- The book was initially slated for release in 2018. However the release date was switched with Queen of Air and Darkness's 2019 release due to writer's block with Chain of Gold and as agreed upon with the publisher. An initial release date of November 19th of 2019 was announced in December, but the release was pushed back due to Cassandra Clare's health problems and need for surgery during the writing phase of the book.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Chain of Gold publication" — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ Amazon.com: Chain of Gold (The Last Hours Book 1)
- ↑ Chain of Gold | Simon & Schuster
- ↑ http://cassandraclare.tumblr.com/post/129784385204/tlh-snippet
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 "Early on in Chain of Gold, there's a boating party..." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ "... she's our main lady with the most POV page time in Chain of Gold,"- Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ "There’s a brief Matthew POV in Chain of Gold, and a flashback from Thomas’ perspective." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ "... Magnus shows up for the first time just as our unlucky group of heroes have accidentally summoned a demon..." Cassandra Clare on Instagram
- ↑ "It’s very likely Fairytale will end up being the short story printed at the end of Chain of Gold for the special editions." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ Cassandra Clare's August 2019 Newsletter
- ↑ "About the special edition of Chain of Gold" – Cassandra Clare on Instagram
- ↑ http://cassandraclare.tumblr.com/post/159325012584/hi-ms-cassandra-is-the-last-hours-going-to-pick
- ↑ http://cassandraclare.tumblr.com/post/160747016344/will-we-ever-get-more-stories-of-young-james
- ↑ The Last Hours on Shadowhunters.com
- ↑ "2018 probably." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- ↑ Cassandra Clare's September 2017 Newsletter
- ↑ "Coming November 19, 2019:" Cassandra Clare on Instagram