|“||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.
10-year-old Lucie Herondale, daughter of the famous Will Herondale and his wife, the warlock Tessa Gray, wanders into Brocelind Forest. There she gets lost on the way back and falls into a faerie trap. She meets a mysterious young boy—whom she assumes is a changeling—who guides her back to her home. He then disappears without giving her his name.
James Herondale, his parabatai Matthew Fairchild, Thomas Lightwood, and Christopher Lightwood, chance upon a Deumas demon while patrolling. This strikes them as odd, as Deumas were rarely encountered and demonic activities have been scarce in London for years. James goes into the shadow realm for the first time in a year after seeing recognition in the demon's eyes. He manages to bring himself back and they quickly dispatch the demon.
The group heads back to their room at the Devil Tavern to clean up. James begrudgingly admits to his friends that he had briefly slipped into shadow. Matthew changes the topic of conversation by announcing a toast to Thomas, for recently returning home from his trip abroad. They then begin discussing the new arrivals coming to London: the Carstairs family and—surprising James—Tatiana Blackthorn and Grace Blackthorn. While a scene unfolds of Matthew laughing at Thomas and Christopher for spilling acid and bickering, James gets lost in his own thoughts, wondering why Grace hadn't told him she was coming to London.
The next morning, Cordelia Carstairs enters London society, along with her brother, Alastair Carstairs, and mother, Sona Carstairs. Her father has been arrested for a vampire raid gone wrong and the Carstairs wish to make powerful allies in London to save their reputation, should a trial be held. She is greeted by Tessa, James, and her future parabatai, Lucie Herondale. Whilst roaming in the park, Lucie tells Cordelia that James is in love—subtly hinting that the object of his affection might be Cordelia herself. Cordelia is stunned, for she never expected him to return the love she has felt for him since childhood.
After news of his grandparents' deaths comes, James sits in the kitchen of Herondale manor, wishing for something productive to do. Tatiana comes over and requests that he trim the briars of her home next door. Though it is late in the evening, James agrees and follows her to Blackthorn manor. After trying to cut the briars for some time with a dull blade, a young girl appears and offers him some shears to help him. He hears the call of his mother and thanks the girl—Grace—before preparing to depart. Grace then seizes his arm and asks that he come back and talk to her sometime, to which he agrees.
The next evening a ball is held by the Herondales at the Institute, welcoming the Carstairs family to the Enclave. Tessa takes the Carstairs family around the room, making the proper introductions, but soon Lucie sweeps Cordelia away to meet the other young ladies. While trying to make friends, Cordelia seems to make a faux pas, making the other girls act harshly towards her. Thankfully, James saves her from further embarrassment by asking her to dance. Halfway through, James abruptly leaves Cordelia stranded on the dance floor to greet the mysterious new arrival, Grace Blackthorn, the adopted ward of Tatiana Blackthorn. Luckily, Matthew intervenes and picks up where their dance left off, saving Cordelia's reputation. Matthew and Cordelia make polite conversation and Matthew apologizes for James, explaining that he has been in love with Grace for years. Though Cordelia is disappointed to learn that she is not the object of James's affections, she brushes it off and changes the subject. Matthew then invites her to a picnic the following day with the younger set.
It's here in this ball that Lucie once again sees the "changeling boy" from the forest all those years ago, who arrives with the Blackthorns. He pulls her out of the ballroom and into the game room to speak with her in private, upon realizing that she can see him. There he reveals himself to be Jesse Blackthorn, the late son of Tatiana. He goes on to explain that his ghostly state is because his mother had asked a warlock to preserve his body and separate his spirit so he could remain in the living realm. He is surprised to see that Lucie could still see him as only his mother and sister could see him and occasionally children.
Back in the ballroom, James is suddenly swept into the shadow realm again, and there he sees Barbara Lightwood being dragged down by shadows. Seconds later, after he comes back to himself, Barbara collapses in the ballroom. The scene causes many Shadowhunters to surround her and leads to Cordelia cutting off her corset to help her breathe. When Barbara regains consciousness, she shrugs it off as a dizzy spell from forgetting to eat. The party begins to split up when word comes in of a Shax demon attack in Seven Dials.
Later that night, Will expresses his concern for the younger set. He worries that with demon activity having been so sparse, and them being more focused on mundane activities like dances and cricket matches, have made them more vulnerable and unprepared should war come. Tessa appeases his worries in her belief that they deserve this time of relative peace and he should be happy his children aren't in the kind of danger and loss they had to go through at their age.
Meanwhile, on the roof, James reflects on the events of the last few days and his slips into the shadow realm—a demon realm with distorted images of the real world around him, drained of color. He recalls the first time his power presented itself and how his Uncle Jem was called to help him control it. Over the course of a year, Brother Zachariah had taught James how to prevent himself from falling into that world, and in the past year, he had not seen it once. Yet in a matter of days, he had been there twice, and the image of Barbara collapsing being mirrored in real-life haunted him. He struck a match given to him by Brother Zachariah that would send a message to him, that they needed to speak. As the match burns down, his thoughts drift to Cordelia, and how steady and comforting her presence is.
Cirenworth Hall, 1900
James visits and stays with the Carstairs family and develops a scalding fever. Cordelia tends to him and reads him her favorite book Layla and Majnun. While fighting the chills, he slips into the realm again and, instead of running away, Cordelia curls up in the bed beside him and lets him use her as an anchor to stay tied to their world. After he recovers, the children part on proper terms, never once mentioning what happened again.
The next morning, the young set go for a picnic to Regent's Park where Cordelia gets acquainted with Anna, Thomas, and Christopher Lightwood. Anna invites Cordelia to her flat for tea sometime. At James' arrival, Cordelia takes him aside and demands he apologize to her for leaving her in the middle of the dance the previous night. James apologizes profusely and swears to make it up to her. James then reveals his relationship with Grace and Cordelia accepts it, though she is heartbroken. She decides then that James could repay her by helping her find a suitable partner like her mother's wishes. Before James can object, they notice Grace's arrival, and Cordelia departs so the two can have some privacy.
Grace comes over to him and after a brief chat, asks him to kiss her. During the kiss, James feels something extremely wrong and burning. Before they can say anything, they are attacked by demons, in broad daylight. The demons strike and severely wound three Shadowhunters: Piers Wentworth, Barbara Lightwood, and Ariadne Bridgestock. The injured are immediately rushed to the Institute, where the Silent Brothers are called to tend to the seriously injured. Those with minor injuries receive first aid from Tessa and Cordelia who hand out bandages. Brother Zachariah singularly seeks out James who recounts his experiences of going into the shadow realm before the attacks. They agree to restart their lessons once the poison in the injured is sorted.
In the infirmary, Cordelia asks Jem about her father in Idris. Jem confirms he has seen him but won't give much else for details. Cordelia begs him to convince the Clave of her father's innocence and to use the Mortal Sword on him. Before he can respond, Lucie interrupts them. When Cordelia turns back, Jem has departed, and Cordelia agrees to follow Lucie. Lucie takes Cordelia out to the carriages and tells her that they are going on a mission to Chiswick House. In the ballroom, in an effort to be useful, James decides he will attempt to completely go into the shadow realm. He gathers his friends to try to help him do so as well as cover for him. He struggles but eventually succeeds when Matthew sends him into shock by insulting him.
After his illness in Cirenworth Hall, James meets his family at Herondale Manor. A letter arrives for him and he goes to meet Grace in the forest. There he rambles on about Cordelia and that's when Grace points out that he is in love with Cordelia; which he half-heartedly denies. Later on, Grace asks him about his shadow ability. Afterward, she requests him to use it to retrieve her birth mother's bracelet that Tatiana has locked away from her. James agrees.
At Chiswick manor, Lucie seeks out Jesse and tells Cordelia to distract Grace and Tatiana. While Lucie slips into the house to search for Jesse, Cordelia wanders into the greenhouse after being rebuffed by Tatiana. She’s attacked by a Cerberus demon and rescued by James, who had suddenly appeared in the greenhouse after following a light in the other realm. The light, he realizes, was Cortana and the two of them manage to kill the demon together. Lucie meanwhile asks Jesse about the attacks and he makes her promise not to tell anyone about him before he answers. She does, and he explains that sometimes he can sense when things that do not quite belong, like himself. He felt a sinister presence at the party the previous night when Barbara fell, and that he suspects it was the same thing that attacked them at the park. Lucie notices a flash of witch light and hurriedly leaves him, believing Cordelia is in trouble. When she joins Cordelia and James in the garden, she is interrogated by James. She innocently asserts that they had come to check up on Grace. James is distracted by the sound of her name and sends the girls away. He curses himself silently for not thinking of her before and decides he will try to see her before leaving himself. As the girls depart, they notice a group of older Shadowhunter, lead by Will and Charles, marching toward the house.
James can't sleep and decides tonight is the night he will try to retrieve Grace's bracelet. He turns into a shadow and goes into the house, following Grace's instructions, he is able to find the locked box easily. He is almost home when he realized he is still a shadow. He wills himself back into solid form but cannot do it. James begins to panic and his thoughts drift to Cordelia as he tries to force himself back. This time it works but the experience of almost not being able to return terrifies him, so he vows never to do it again. The following night, he takes the bracelet to Grace who then implores him to wear it as her only friend. After putting it on, he begins to see Grace in a different light and falls in love with her.
Charles reprimands James for trespassing on Tatiana's grounds. He tells him of her claims that he had demanded to see Grace and when he was turned away, vandalized her greenhouse. James denies the claims but refuses to explain himself completely, just that he killed a demon that Tatiana was keeping there. Without clear details, Charles tells James he must stay away from the Blackthorns. The latter is disgruntled and leaves for the Fairchilds' home. There he gives some sand he had collected from the alternate dimension to Henry Branwell to assess before joining Matthew in the yard. He is joined shortly by Christopher and Thomas and James tells them of his connection to Grace and what had really happened the previous night. A letter then arrives at the house for James from Grace. The note requests James to urgently meet Grace that night. Before James departs to make the long journey, the group makes plans to meet at the Tavern later that night to research further into the attacks.
Across town, Alastair drops Cordelia at Anna Lightwood's flat on Percy Street. Cordelia initially finds a mundane woman crying on the steps. Cordelia manages to get by the woman after quite a scene when the girl's mother arrives and joins Anna upstairs. They have quite an odd conversation, where Anna asks for her secrets and then about her brother's awfulness. She continues to tease Cordelia, saying that she wanted to make sure she was fit to marry one of the boys or to be their muse. Cordelia informs Anna that she wishes to be a hero and Anna agrees to claim that is why she asked her over. They are interrupted by Matthew barging into the parlor. Matthew tries to say goodbye to Cordelia as he and Anna are headed to a Downworlder haunt. Anna stops him, saying Cordelia would be joining them and they are going there to get information and perhaps help the poisoned.
Back at the Institute, Jesse visits Lucie in her bedroom to inform her that James is in danger. He tells her of their rendezvous and that Grace is being followed by demons that are meant to protect the Blackthorn family. He explains that they will attack anyone who is not a Blackthorn and especially James as he had killed their progenitor. Lucie gathers her weapons and mentally plans to recruit more people to save her brother. Before leaving through the window, she swears to him that she will beat his mother to death if James is harmed.
At the Hell Ruelle, Cordelia, Matthew, and Anna encounter Malcolm Fade, who takes Anna to meet with someone. Before joining Anna in Hypatia Vex's inner chambers, Cordelia asks Matthew to ask his mother to use the Mortal Sword on her father, to which he concedes to write her a letter. In the chambers, they try to inquire if the Downworlders might have heard anything about the attacks but the warlocks are unwilling to help. Their mind changes when Cordelia saves the warlocks' from being poisoned by the mermaid, Arabella. In return, they tell them of a rumor they had heard that a powerful warlock had told demons to avoid London. Hypatia then promises to send for Ragnor Fell who might be able to further assist them.
Thomas Lightwood takes a break from his appointment at the Madrid Institute during his travel year to visit Paris. There, he runs into Alastair Carstairs, and they tour the city together. Thomas starts having surprising and confusing feelings for Alastair and they part on amicable terms.
James meets up with Grace as per her instructions and she asks James to forsake his Shadowhunter blood, run away, and marry her as she says that it is the only way she can escape her cruel mother. James considers it but discards the idea as there’s no way he could leave his family, friends, or parabatai. Grace is angered by his choice, declaring that he has forgotten her, but she’s cut short when demons attack them. Suddenly Lucie, Christopher, Matthew, Thomas, Cordelia, and Alastair come to their aid. The largest demon recognizes James and asks why James is fighting against the creatures who worship his own grandfather. James then demands that if they truly worship his grandfather, they will go in his name. The demon agrees and before the vanish, whispers to James that his grandfather is a Prince of Hell. After they’re gone, Tatiana pulls up in her carriage searching for Grace. James begs Grace to come to the Institute with him as his father will grant her safe haven but she says she can't. James threatens Tatiana by telling the Clave of her demons to which Tatiana retorts that she will frame Grace for it all and ruin her life. James does not respond and Tatiana departs. The remaining Shadowhunters heal themselves up, swearing to keep the incident a secret and part ways.
At the London Institute, Ragnor is visiting with Will, waiting for the others to return. Lucie, James, Thomas, Matthew, and Christopher join them in the parlor. Will and Tessa step out and Ragnor gets down to business with the group. He gives tells them of a warlock he thinks could be involved in such magic—Emmanuel Gast. Right after he leaves the room, Tessa returns with shocking news—Barbara Lightwood is dead.
At the Carstairs house, Charles visits Alastair late at night. Cordelia, afraid that her brother might tell him of the attack, eavesdrops on their conversation. In doing so, she learns that Alastair and Charles are in a relationship. Cordelia considers leaving to give them privacy but in the end, her curiosity causes her to stay longer and she learns the truth of Charles's engagement to Ariadne, that Alastair was waiting for it to be over so they could go public, and that Barbara had died.
Brother Zachariah pays a visit to James. Knowing that Jem has been looking into who his grandfather is, James tells Jem that a demon had told him he was a Prince of Hell. Jem confides he had heard it was a possibility but could not confirm it. Though he tries to convince James it does not matter who his grandfather is, he relents and agrees to look into it more.
The next morning, James picks up Cordelia and they, along with Matthew and Lucie, pay a visit to Emmanuel Gast. However, his home is empty and they break in to investigate. While the group finds drawings and strange boards, Lucie gets locked in his bedroom when she discovers Gast's body and she accidentally summons Emmanuel's ghost. She interrogates him and finds out that he is the one who raised the demon that is wreaking havoc over London but that he had been hired to do so. Later, the four head back to the Institute and question Jessamine about whether ghosts can lie to see if Gast's claims were true to which they learn they can. Then, they hear a ruckus outside: Grace is screaming and heaving a bloodied Tatiana out of the carriage. She is helped by Brother Enoch and James rushes to her side. Once Tatiana is being treated by the Silent Brothers in the infirmary, Grace pulls James aside to talk to him.
Deeming that James had been gone for a while, Lucie requests Cordelia to go check on him. On the staircase, Cordelia encounters Anna. Anna asks her to accompany her while she visits Ariadne. Cordelia stands awkwardly nearby while Anna talks to Ariadne's unconscious body. She tells Ariadne that Charles ending their engagement is not a sign of her worth, but a sign of Charles's lack thereof. Cordelia is stunned to hear this and asks about it but Anna does not reply; instead, she begs Ariadne not to die before fleeing the room.
Now alone, Lucie confronts Matthew about his drinking. Matthew tries to pass off the accusations of his drunkenness but then simply says it makes him amusing. Lucie stays serious and tells him it is not amusing to watch him hurt himself. Matthew begins to get defensive but Lucie continues, telling him others are afraid to mention it or don't see it but that she is worried he will get her brother killed. Matthew is enraged and storms out of the room.
In the drawing-room, Grace informs James that she is now engaged to Charles. James tries to fight her on this, considering she had asked for him to marry her the previous night, but Grace insists. When she demands her bracelet back from him, he asks that she not do this. She tells him it is done and he numbly returns the bracelet, feeling physical pain from the separation. He runs out of the room and finds Matthew. He tells Matthew of the engagement and leaves, telling him to leave it be. Matthew prepares to go after him and is met by Grace. Matthew begins cursing her for hurting him and hints that he should tell Charles but is stopped by Grace. She puts her hand around his wrist and suddenly he is enchanted. She demands that he kiss her and he does. When she steps back he is horrified with what he has done. She threatens to tell James and Charles about this kiss if Matthew tries to get in her way.
Matthew finally finds James sitting on Blackfriars Bridge. He tries to comfort his friend and James takes a drink from Matthew's flask. James suddenly begins to feel off and then slips into unconsciousness, nearly falling off the bridge.
The next morning, when he wakes up, he finds the pain is gone and he feels oddly light. He finds Matthew beside him who tells him that Will and Tessa have gone with the Silent Brothers to transport the poisoned Shadowhunters to the Silent City. James asks about Grace and is told she will be staying with the Pouncebys near the City to be closer to her mother. Matthew is surprised by how little James seems to care as he quickly moves on to ask about Lucie. When the mail arrives, Matthew retrieves a letter and tells James to deliver it to Cordelia in the training room. Cordelia reads the letter from Charlotte, answering her inquiries about her father: he had already been questioned with the Mortal Sword but that it was useless as Elias does not remember the attack.
Christopher arrives with the results of his tests on the shards they had found. Based on his conclusions, James realizes that the shards of wood were pieces of a Pyxis. James reads the paper they had found and sees the inscription was written in Old Persian and asks Cordelia to translate. She tells them that it mentions the name of an old, thought to be extinct demon called a Mandikhor. They head to the Devil's Tavern to research it some more and form a plan. They learn the best way to deal with the demon is to capture it but for that, they would need a Pyxis. Cordelia recalls seeing one at Hypatia's salon and they decide to approach Anna for aid. Anna agrees to help them by seducing Hypatia to steal the box but it must be done the following night. She also tells Thomas, Lucie, and Christopher of an Enclave meeting that night that she had planned to attend, but that they would now have to spy on.
James escorts Cordelia home and Sona presumes that James has marital intentions and invites him in to swoon over him. Cordelia hurries him out the door as she wishes to speak with Alastair. While Cordelia makes her escape upstairs, her mother makes a comment about how having such a handsome friend is a waste. Cordelia goes to Alastair to gently break the news of Charles's new engagement. When he tells her he knows, she asks after his well-being. Alastair is confused by this and Cordelia confesses that she had overheard their conversation and knew about their relationship. She tried to tell him that she would tell no one and that she did not care about his sexual preference, that she just wanted him to be with someone who makes him happy. Alastair defends Charles's actions and becomes enraged by how much she had overheard and orders her out.
The next morning, Cordelia receives a gift of many beautiful dresses. Though the gift is from Anna, she lets her mother believe they are from James, confirming Sona's suspicions of James's intentions. That night, Cordelia wears one of the new dresses—which better suit her skin tone and shape—to meet with James, Matthew, and Anna at the Hell Ruelle. James is stunned by her appearance. In the salon, they see Hypatia is already in the company of a man. They lure Kellington away asking to perform and Anna slips away to join Hypatia on the couch. Kellington is not enthusiastic by the idea of Shadowhunters performing in a Downworld establishment but agrees to let Cordelia do a piece.
Lucie, Thomas, and Christopher spy on the Enclave meeting held in the London Institute. To their surprise, they learn that there have been six attacks. Charles announces that London is being quarantined and all travel will be suspended. He continues on to explain that Oliver Hayward, Barbara's suitor, has passed away from the demon poison, having contracted it through Barbara's scratches just before her own death. Demon poison has never been contagious before and this understandably causes a commotion of panic in the meeting and they are still arguing on what the best path forward is when Thomas cuts off the rune allowing the three of them to observe.
In the Hell Ruelle, Cordelia performs a dance of the story of Tawaddud with Kellington on the violin to keep him occupied. Cordelia, looking majestic and seductive, stuns everyone in the crowd. Anna is successfully able to sneak off to Hypatia's chamber with her. When Cordelia leaves the stage, everyone—especially Matthew and James—remains awestruck though some are able to recover and compliment her as she makes her way to her friends. They notice Charles entering the club and Matthew tells James and Cordelia to run and hide. He states that Charles is used to finding him at such odd gatherings and would be able to deal with him.
James and Cordelia hide in the Whispering Room and begin talking. James asks where she learned that dance and Cordelia encounters faerie fruit. The conversation turns to the longing one feels after having it and how not knowing what it tastes like is its own kind of torture. Someone tries to enter the room and James kisses Cordelia. As he pulls her closer to him and deepens the kiss, Cordelia realizes he is doing so to give them an excuse to be there when the door opens. They break apart when the door closes again and James whispers under his breath "my Daisy." Cordelia whispers back that she thinks more people are coming, though they both knew it isn't true, they collide back together. The passion is real this time, not as mimicked and gentle as before. He bends her back over the desk, his hands feeling the curves of her body, and he takes off his coat. As he bends to kiss her below the neck, the door opens. They quickly pull apart and Cordelia covers herself, though she is not undressed. Matthew stands on the threshold stunned but Cordelia explains that it was just a pretense and they begin discussing why Charles had been there. They hurriedly try to warn Anna before they depart. Anna is successful at stealing the Pyxis and remarks about the wonderful dance before closing Hypatia's bedroom door on them. The boys drop Cordelia off at home but she is scarcely able to sleep that night; engaged in thoughts regarding her and James in the Whispering Room.
The next morning the Merry Thieves, Lucie, and Cordelia take advantage of the fact that Will and Tessa are gone for day-patrols—an added precaution by the Clave—and learn about how to use the Pyxis to trap the Mandikhor. They realize that the box is not empty and decide to empty it by letting out a Palpis demon named Agaliarept. They kill the demon in the Sanctuary and Magnus walks in on them. He begins inquiring about their actions and they explain to him their plans. Cordelia implores Magnus to help them out by casting an illusion over Tower Bridge, where they believe the demon would be, to protect and distract the mundanes. Magnus agrees.
While they are walking towards Tower Bridge, Magnus has a word with James and informs him that Henry had sent him the dust James had given to the latter to inspect. He reveals that it belonged to a realm of the Prince of Hell, Belphegor. He quickly disproves James's theory of Belphegor being Tessa's biological father and tells James to stop looking as the answer does not matter and that finding out who his own father is was the worst mistake Magnus had made. They arrive at their destination before the conversation can continue and Magnus focuses on setting up the illusion over the bridge.
As they cross onto the bridge, the world seems to darken and the color leaches out of everything. James sees his shadow realm and looks up at blinking eyes in the sky. The Mandikhor strikes at the Shadowhunters, releasing Khora demons. They fight and manage to capture the demon relatively easily. After a moment, however, the Pyxis explodes and the Mandikhor demon re-emerges, twice as large as before.
It calls for James to come with it in order to finish the suffering. The Mandikhor also says that it knows James's grandfather's identity. James is tempted to agree but refuses and tries to get answers instead. Cordelia charges at the Mandikhor and wounds it but is thrown into the Thames. The demon tells James that it is tied to another world and they can not kill it here before vanishing. Lucie runs off the bridge to the water's edge in an effort to save Cordelia. In the distance she sees a barge and calls for assistance; as it disappears, she screams in despair for someone to help her and bring Cordelia out of the water. The water begins to turn and she sees figures rising—ghosts—and one carrying Cordelia to the shore-side. She thanks them and they disappear. She falls on her way to where the ghost put Cordelia down and calls her name. Cordelia begins to stir and cough up the seawater. As the boys come running down the steps to join them, she notices Jesse, clutching his locket and staring at her disbelievingly. She asks him why he helped her but instantly loses consciousness.
Cirenworth Hall, 1900
There is an argument between the Carstairs siblings regarding the possession of Cortana. When inquired as to why she thinks she is worthy of the sword, Cordelia states that she wants to be a hero albeit a merciful one, as the blade's composition implies. Alastair merely says that the sword belongs to him as he is the Carstairs heir and only his children would have the Carstairs name for it to be passed onto. Elias seemingly agrees with him and Alastair takes it and starts to leave. Outraged, Cordelia screams that she knows it to be hers, and Cortana flies through the air back into Cordelia's hand, choosing its owner. Elias, knowing this would happen, tries to comfort his son who is noticeably frustrated and stalks from the room. Elias turns to Cordelia to remind her that while Cortana is a gift, it is also a great responsibility that may prove to bring her sorrow. Cordelia nods in agreement but cannot imagine it not making her happy.
Lucie wakes up to Will scolding James for not informing him about the Mandikhor. James cooks up stories claiming that they stumbled upon it accidentally. In order to avoid further questioning, James announces that he is going to return Cortana—which he had picked up during the battle after Cordelia had fallen into the river—to Cordelia.
Matthew, Thomas, and Christopher escort Cordelia home from the bridge. They discuss the events of the evening until they arrive at her home. Matthew gets out to accompany her to her door. He asks if her mother will be angry and Cordelia jokingly confirms. Cordelia makes to return his jacket but he tells her to keep it. She asks what the green carnation in his shirt means, and he explains that it is an indication of the love of arts as well as his bisexuality. Cordelia expresses her support and Matthew says that he couldn't imagine their group without her. Just then Risa opens the door and calls for Sona who swoops her inside.
Cordelia takes a bath and gets wrapped up in a cozy dressing gown by a fire to get warm. Her mother begins asking after Cortana when James arrives with it in hand. Sona leaves them to be alone and they begin discussing what he had told his parents of the situation. James thanks Cordelia for saving him and helping them in their investigation. As the conversation continues, he confesses that he had kissed her in the Whispering Room because he wanted to and that his feelings for Grace were difficult to understand. He starts speaking again but they are rudely interrupted by Alastair demanding that James leave as he should not be alone with Cordelia. He accuses James of trying to compromise Cordelia to get back at him. James responds that he would never hurt Cordelia and that her presence and love for Alastair is the only thing stopping him from hitting Alastair. As Alastair begins yelling back, Cordelia asks James to leave as she did not want things to get physical. Once he's gone, Cordelia is furious and demands the reason behind Alastair's cryptic comment about what he has done for her. Alastair informs her that their father is a drunk, and the raid which had failed might have been because of his callousness. He goes on to explain how he sacrificed his childhood to shield her from her father's true nature and give her a chance at a real childhood and an ability to respect her father as he never could. Cordelia is overwhelmed by her brother's love for her and Alastair warns her that James would always be in love with Grace and would subsequently break her heart.
Lucie is visited by Jesse in her bedroom where she says she is grateful he helped her save Cordelia but expresses her distaste in having to lie to everyone about it. He proclaims he didn't do anything; that she in fact called the dead to her aid and he was only there because he answered that call. Lucie wants to deny it but realizes that it makes sense that she could control the dead, given her demonic blood and what had happened with Emmanuel Gast. At her inquiry, Jesse confesses that he was holding his locket because it contains his last breath and that when he arrived he thought it was she who was in danger. He explains how he died and what his mother did to preserve him and how his last breath could potentially be used to resurrect him with the right ingredients. But that he would have given up his last breath by the bridge to save her life, surprising Lucie. Before they can say anything else, he disappears at daybreak.
Grosvenor Square, 1901
On the night of Queen Victoria's death, Matthew grieves for a life he had taken unknowingly. He stands in front of Jonathan Shadowhunter's statue and confesses. From that day, he decides to cut himself off from the world, never sharing his burden as he did not deserve forgiveness; stating that he was a murderer.
The next afternoon, James joins Christopher and Matthew on working to complete Christopher's antidote for the Mandikhor poison. Christopher tells him that he is close to a cure but without the final ingredient—which is hard to obtain as it is illegal—it did not seem plausible. James recalls having seen the needed ingredient, malos root, in Tatiana's greenhouse and they set out to retrieve it. However, Khora demons attack them in the courtyard of Matthew's house before they can make it to the carriages. The Khora seem to focus their attention on Christopher and succeed in injuring and infecting him. Having accomplished their goal, the demons leave just before Charles and Alastair roll up in a carriage.
Cordelia shares a moment with her mother and—after her revelation the night before in all Sona and Alastair had done to protect her—apologizes for being a bad daughter. She agrees to help her mother with some more unpacking and while doing so, Sona reveals that she is pregnant. She also tells Cordelia that she need not marry if she doesn't want to. They are interrupted by a message for Cordelia, sent by James, informing her that Christopher is wounded. Sona offers her daughter her gear and tells her to join her friends.
At the Devil Tavern, James requests Thomas to make the antidote as he is the one closest to Christopher and had seen the latter work in his lab every step of the way. As the group plans to depart to get the plant, James receives a letter from Brother Zachariah, calling him to the Silent City. They decide to split up: James, accompanied by Matthew and Cordelia, will go to the Silent City, while Thomas and Lucie endeavor to obtain the malos root from the Chiswick House.
James, Cordelia, and Matthew reach Highgate Cemetery. While James searches for the ever-changing entrance to the City of Bones, Matthew tells Cordelia that he is afraid James might hurt her. Cordelia responds that he should not worry as she has received the same warning from her brother. James returns then to tell them he has found the entrance and they make their way into the Silent City. There, they sneak into the infirmary to remain unseen as the letter had asked, but they find Jem absent. Instead, they see Christopher and rush to his side. When they ask after Jem, the ill Shadowhunters all around them begin chanting James's name. Christopher claws into James and warns to get out of there as it all is a trap and it has always been about him. A possessed Ariadne informs James that he is being summoned by the Lord of Thieves and that his blood would open the gateway. Jem comes into the room upon the noise and demands to know why they are there. James tells him he received his message to which Jem replies that he sent no message, that something evil was at play and they are in danger.
The three leave the place immediately. Once outside, James moves mechanically towards a shadowy grove in the cemetery. It is observed that Christopher has passed on the demon poison to James when he grabbed at him. When Matthew and Cordelia begin protesting to take him back to the Silent City, James points out an archway to them, between the trees, making up a Portal. He walks up to it and lets his blood fall to the ground near it. The Portal begins to clear and shows a gateway to James's shadow realm; just as Ariadne had said. Cordelia and Matthew move to stop him but he tells them they have to let him do this as only him going through would put an end to it all.
Meanwhile, Thomas and Lucie reach the grounds of Chiswick House and head for the greenhouse. Thomas has Lucie stand watch while he tries to enter through the back to grab the malos root. Lucie quickly grows bored and is relieved when she notices something in her peripheral vision. She wanders off to a shed where she sees Grace Blackthorn standing by Jesse Blackthorn's body in a glass coffin. She spies on Grace as she talks to her brother's body about her fears that Charles will stop her from visiting him but how she must free herself from their mother. As she goes on to begin discussing her mother's plans to harm James and how Grace truly feels about him, she is interrupted by a demon. It reprimands her for removing an enchantment—which Lucie assumes has to do with Jesse but is actually in reference to James's bracelet—without permission and demands she put it back and that he will see to its strengthening. He reaches out to destroy Jesse's coffin as a consequence of betraying the oaths her mother made when Lucie reveals herself and helps Grace against the attack. Just as they are cornered and Lucie is captured by the demon, Jesse appears and kills it with the Blackthorn sword. Lucie utters his name, astonishing Grace and befuddling her as to how Lucie could see Jesse.
James is surprised that his friends do not try to stop him again after he explains that he has realized the demon controlling the Mandikhor is his grandfather and that he must face him to put a stop to the attacks. Matthew volunteers to go with him but James refuses, knowing that he could not follow him. Matthew decides to tie a rope around James's waist and his own so that James can pull on the rope should he need help. Before James makes for the gateway, he goes to say goodbye to Cordelia. She cuts him off with a kiss on the cheek, telling him to come back. James nods and enters the archway.
The world beyond the archway is black and gray. James traverses the land following a path until he comes face to face with Belial. James greets Belial by calling him grandfather which excites the Prince of Hell. They converse about how James came to the realization of who he was. Belial confirms that this is Belphegor's realm, though Belial had stolen it from him, and which he sent visions of to James. He continues that he has been controlling the Mandikhor and is the reason that demon attacks in London had lessened in the past couple decades. He also informs James that because he loved humans, his punishment when he became a fallen angel was such that he cannot walk upon the earth in his true form; unlike the rest of his brothers. He goes on to say that only by possessing someone of his own blood, could he walk the earth again without destroying the body shortly after possession. He explains that James has to voluntarily become his medium, propositioning him by offering him not only power and immortality but the end of the Mandikhor's killing. James refuses to volunteer and Belial threatens to go after Lucie instead. James stands his ground and enrages Belial who tells him that by refusing he has brought destruction over himself.
At Chiswick House, Lucie confesses to Grace that she can in fact see Jesse. Jesse then asks Grace about the demon but Grace is hesitant to speak on such matters in front of a Herondale, though Jesse vouches for his trust in her. Thomas approaches Grace, Lucie, and Jesse but doesn't notice the elder boy. Grace is curt toward Thomas, asking why they are trespassing and pressing the issue. Lucie has a sudden quick vision of James in danger. When Lucie gasps for air saying she needs to join her brother, Jesse asks where he is, offering to check on him. Unable to answer a ghost in front of Thomas, Grace repeats the question to which Lucie could answer and Jesse vanishes. She sends Thomas on ahead to complete the antidote. Now alone, Lucie confronts Grace on what she overheard and Grace immediately shuts down any mention of the Clave. Jesse reappears, having found no sign of James at the graveyard. Grace is muddled but offers Lucie her pony, which she declines. Instead, Lucie commands Jesse, with her mysterious power, to take her to the cemetery the way that ghosts travel. Jesse is apprehensive and disapproving of it but is compelled to do so.
Matthew feels the rope connecting him to James pull taut as it knocks him off his feet and slams him into the archway repeatedly, unable to pass through. Cordelia grabs hold of the rope and cuts it to free Matthew from further harm. She lets the rope pull her toward the doorway and slashes downward with Cortana, cutting through the barrier, allowing her to cross over to the other world. Once in the realm, she follows the lead of rope to a weakened James. He pleads her to return but she is obstinate and refuses. The Mandikhor demon, doubled in size, looms over them.
Thomas arrives at the Consul's house to complete the antidote but is turned away by Charles. Alastair comes to the door behind Charles and convinces him to let Thomas in. When Thomas explains what he plans to do, Alastair says that he trusts Thomas and will keep an eye on him while Charles steps out. Thomas is touched and thankful for the help in the lab. Once alone, Alastair asks after his sister's whereabouts. Thomas complies and Alastair agrees to stay and help for 20 minutes before he must go after his sister.
James and Cordelia prepare to fight the Mandikhor, but Belial interrupts, freezing the Mandikhor in its place. He chastises James for bringing in reinforcements and binds Cordelia to the ground with vines and stealing Cortana, rendering her useless. James is left to face the demon alone but is unsuccessful. He nearly accepts defeat when he is encouraged by Cordelia's strength and resilience, still struggling to fight free of her bindings. He has the idea to try to command the realm to obey him since he is Belial's blood and it listens to him. He manages to bend the realm to his will and to eliminate the Mandikhor demon by turning the realm against it. James moves to go toward Cordelia but Belial blocks his path. Though he is impressed by James's trick, he is also angered at James's continued attempts to rebuff him. His self-control begins to slip as he rages that James will have no choice but to accept him when Cordelia retrieves Cortana back from him and runs Belial through with the blade. Black ichor spills from the wound and Belial howls in agony. Belial grumbles away to sand, the ground cracks underneath, the world dissolving. James and Cordelia fall through the fissures.
When Lucie reaches the cemetery, she faces a disgruntled Jesse and an unconscious Matthew. She gives Matthew an iratze and inquires about James and Cordelia when they hurtle out of the sky. As Lucie and Matthew move to tend to their parabatais, Cordelia shrugs off Lucie's help and tells her to see to James first. James is dying of the demon poison, having exerted all the remaining strength he had to destroy the demon. The healing runes Matthew draws vanish immediately and he feels through their connection that he is dying. Lucie begs for James to stay and take another breath when Jesse offers her his. Lucie is concerned about what will happen to Jesse should she use his last breath, but Jesse is unequivocal in his decision. Lucie takes his locket and opens it to James's mouth, the breath flushing the poison from his body and lifting his chest once more. Having been on the precipice of death, James sees Jesse before the ghost vanishes.
James requests a private audience with Cordelia and Lucie and Matthew oblige, Cordelia struggles to get near to him with her broken leg. James thanks her for saving his life and both of them recall her reading Layla and Majnun to him. He imparts his wish to sit and read with her again, which gives her hope as she could imagine nothing more romantic. Thomas and Alastair arrive, having completed the antidote. Matthew takes Thomas to the entrance of the Silent City to pass along to the brothers while Alastair approaches his sister and picks her up to bring her home. Cordelia protests, not wanting to leave James and Lucie alone, just as their parents and the rest of the Enclave arrive. Before departing, Cordelia calls at the top of her lungs for all to hear that James had killed the Mandikhor, as she felt it was important for them to know given how they treat him for his lineage—and how they would once his grandfather's true identity was made known. Alastair whisks her away before she could be swarmed with more questions to be taken home for healing.
Cirenworth Hall, 1898
Cordelia often felt alone, but especially so since her brother's departure to the academy. Months later, during his brief return for the holidays, he ignores her and won't speak to her. Her father excuses that as a normal phase of life that teenage boys go through. Cordelia does not accept this answer. Instead she goes out of her way to try to get his attention; mentioning that she is off to partake in activities he would enjoy or even throwing her spoon at him in frustration.
One day, while he is out for one of his long walks, she follows him. It turns out that Alastair doesn't go anywhere and simply walks around the woods. After a couple of hours, she falls down, alerting him of her presence. He helps her up and leads her home. On the way she confronts him directly. He brushes her off but later, while watching her train, he confesses that he doesn't feel lucky like she thinks he is. That he, in fact, was bullied at the Academy and was made to choose to be a bully back which was awful. Cordelia then offers a change of subject, allowing Alastair to help with her knife throwing. He tells her to stay with him and she silently promises she would.
For the next few days, James is sequestered to bed rest where he drifts in and out of consciousness and nightmares. Matthew stays resolutely by his side, helping him pass the time and heal. Others visit, bringing him things meant to cheer him and news; such as James and Christopher's new hero status, stories of those recovering from the poison, and even updates on Cordelia, who is also on bed rest due to her badly fractured leg. Though he longs to see her, he refrains from asking others to send along his compliments, not wishing to speak with anyone about Cordelia but she herself of fear of all he would say.
Matthew jokingly asks if James would make any demands of the Clave, now that he is a hero. James, however, wishes to avoid them entirely. He reflects that the group has decided not to relay all the details of that night and all the Clave has been told is that James had slain the Mandikhor in Highgate Cemetery. James has told his family of Belial, and his relation to them. Tessa was practical about the news of her birth father while Will became angry and gone to see Jem. Jem agreed to keep Tessa's parentage secret and informs them that a serious wound like the one Belial endured would keep him away for at least a century. As Belial is not considered a current threat, they all agreed it is not necessary to tell the Clave as for now.
His reverie is interrupted by his mother's knock announcing that Grace is there to see him. James is disappointed that it is not Cordelia and reluctantly agrees to meet with her, despite Matthew's comments to send her away. Grace tells him of Tatiana's extensive research and attempts at practicing necromancy to raise her son from the dead. She continues on to say that since Tatiana woke up, she has been raging that James stole Jesse's last breath and that now there is no hope of resurrecting him. That Tatiana's plans have changed and that she plans to kill herself and, when she does, an enchanted automaton in Blackthorn Manor will be activated and massacre the Shadowhunters in Alicante. James responds that they must inform his parents but Grace implores him not to as she fears that she will be blamed as well. He tells her that would not happen because Tatiana is clearly mad and there could be mercy for her. Grace suddenly apologizes to him, saying she never wanted to do this to him but that Tatiana and he insisted that she bind him. She grabs his arm and pulls out her bracelet. He tries to pull away but she snaps it into place before he can. Pain flashes up his arm and the last thing James sees behind his eyes before it all changes is Cordelia just out of reach, covering her face and turning away from him.
Meanwhile, Lucie has Jem take her to visit Jesse's grave in Idris. Though she knows he is not buried here, it brings her comfort. She thanks him for being a true friend and swears that she will never tell what she had seen at Chiswick House. She apologizes for using her power to control him and imparts her confusion regarding her powers and her lack of faith that she will ever understand them without him. Jesse's ghost appears in front of her, but his strength is fading. He tells her she'll figure them out and he thanks her for letting him be a Shadowhunter. She tells him she owes him and promises to bring him back or lay him to rest peacefully, heedless of his objections.
In the Institute, James feels himself in love with Grace. Grace asks James to destroy the automaton in Blackthorn Manor, and James readily agrees. They kiss and James remembers kissing Cordelia. His inner voice explains to him that everything he had done with Cordelia was pretense; that it was physical desire, not love; that they are friends and Cordelia feels nothing for him. James tells Grace that they will have to tell the Clave of Tatiana's black magic practices and Grace requests he waits till after her engagement to Charles is announced. He goes to kiss her once more when Matthew and Cordelia enter the room.
Cordelia is shocked and hurt at the sight of the bracelet on his wrist, having prepared for a long-awaited romantic reading date with James. Grace leaves and James explains how everything Grace has done was for him and that he must now do something for her as he loves her too. Cordelia feels a stab of pain at this comment and feels foolish to have ever believed he could love her. James heads for the crypt to use the Portal there to get to the manor and Matthew and Cordelia follow as he explains the plan. He commands Matthew and Cordelia to stay put as he needs them to open the Portal for him to return. Cordelia and Matthew are disgruntled but stay behind. Matthew expresses his distaste for James's attraction with Grace reviving, having thought Cordelia had cured him. She assures him that what he had seen in the Whispering Room was truly an act and that she is not hurt. They discuss James's odd behavior before noticing through the Portal that the manor is on fire and go through to rescue James.
At the manor, James finds the automaton and hacks it apart with a nearby sword. As he turns to leave, the heap of metal catches fire and the fire quickly spreads. James is briefly hypnotized by the flames but snaps out of it and goes to leave. He runs into Matthew and Cordelia on the staircase. Though he questions why they are there, they agree to leave immediately. On their way out, a beam breaks free and makes for Cordelia, but James saves her. He then carries her out of the house which seems to oddly upset Matthew. They head to the greenhouse to use the Portal there.
The Portal brings them to Chiswick House and from there they go to the Devil's Tavern, where they send for Thomas and Christopher—and afterward Lucie—for a fresh change of clothes. All of them agree that it is best to keep the story between them and toast to being secret heroes and staying by one another no matter what. Though Cordelia's heart still aches from the heartbreak of James loving Grace again, she feels the pain ebb a little to have friends such as this.
During the Enclave meeting the next day, while they await the Consul's arrival, Tatiana accuses James of being in cahoots with demons and having orchestrated the attacks. She claims that James burned down her manor to destroy her proof of his plots. While Gabriel, Gideon, and Will start defending James and imply that Tatiana is lying, she shouts that James had told Grace that he did so himself. Before Grace can confirm it, Cordelia speaks up stating that James could not have done this as he was with her in her bedroom all night, tarnishing herself. Tatiana tries again for Grace to implicate James but instead Grace agrees with Cordelia. Enraged, she begins accusing the other Merry Thieves when Charlotte enters and confirms there was a fire to the Enclave. Though Tatiana took this as proof that the others were guilt, Charlotte informs them that objects of dark magic were found amongst the wreckage. Tatiana breaks down saying she needed them for Jesse because no one would help her. The fire is then chalked up to the dangerous items being in the wrong hands and Tatiana is arrested.
Amidst the hubbub, James asks to speak to Cordelia alone and takes her to the drawing room. He tells her she must take her statement back, but soon realizes that no matter what they said to the contrary, Cordelia would forever be ruined in the eyes of society. He then proposes to have a marriage blanc; they would get married to save her reputation and divorced after a year. Cordelia, knowing she may never have a chance at such intimacy with him again, accepts. Will, Tessa, and Sona storm in and begin reprimanding the pair but are overjoyed at the announcement of marriage and give their blessings.
Tatiana is shown leniency for madness and is being sent to live with the Iron Sisters in the Adamant Citadel; not quite prison, but almost, as Alastair informs Cordelia. He also reports that Ariadne had insisted Grace live with her family till her marriage and that Elias is being released. To Cordelia's shock he explains that the incident was deemed an accident as it would be unfavorable to try him with Cordelia's hero status and with a baby on the way. The siblings discuss their father's illness and Alastair suggests that Cordelia write him a letter asking that he seek treatment at the Basilias. Cordelia agrees and after a brief conversation on their happiness and the complications of love, Alastair leaves to die his hair back to its natural color.
Tessa throws a magnificent engagement party for James and Cordelia. Lucie notices that her mother appears worried at the party, noting that she herself is as well. She knows that the wedding is a sham but wishes the wedding could be real. She wishes she could express her concerns to someone but the only other people who know the truth are the Merry Thieves and they find it to be a lark.
Cordelia feels guilty for deceiving Will and Tessa and for "trapping" James into marriage. Her thoughts are interrupted by Charles announcing his engagement to Grace. After James stops Charles's speech from derailing further into Charles's accomplishments, Charles seeks out Alastair. Alastair grabs Cordelia's arm to bring her with him as support. Alastair affirms to Charles that he did mean the things he wrote in his letter, ending their relationship. Charles tries to convince him to stay but Alastair sticks his ground and leaves.
James is joined by Grace on the balcony and he tells her they should no longer talk. He becomes angered when she mentions Cordelia, leading to James complimenting her and revealing their marriage blanc. He re-asserts that they could not be friends and prepare to say goodbye, saying they hope the other will be happy. Grace then suggests that she could prolong her engagement so that they could be together in a year's time when he divorces. James feels physical pain as he fights back the voice telling him to say yes. She leaves him and he notices Cordelia and Matthew smiling and dancing gaily.
Anna suspects the whole marriage to be false; she is certain Cordelia would never spend the night with a man she was not married to and James wouldn't compromise an unmarried girl. She is disappointed as she had been trying to get James to realize that Cordelia is the girl for him. Anna encounters Ariadne in the game room where the latter tells her that she heard Anna when the former came to visit her in the infirmary and told her not to die. Ariadne tells her she made a mistake when she told Anna years ago that she wanted to marry a man and live a false life. Ariadne then assures her that she will change Anna's mind about love and win her back.
Will dances with his prospective daughter-in-law. Will offers to throw a welcome home party for her father and notices that Cordelia does not seem excited. When she tells him the situation is complicated, he advises her that it is important to remember that parents are human and make mistakes. She thanks him before James asks to cut in.
As Matthew mentions that James asked him to be his suggenes, Lucie notices that he is drinking from his own flask and therefore oddly determined to be very drunk. Alastair attempts to join them and Thomas, wanting to bridge the gap between them and become friends. Matthew says he cannot make up for what he has done and finally tells Thomas that Alastair spread rumors about Thomas's father and Matthew's mother's having an affair that produced Matthew. He continues that Alastair had also said Thomas was a sickly, little child because his mother had been a mundane servant and whore. Thomas icily tells Alastair to never speak to him again or he'd knock him into the Thames. Alastair runs away crying out into the entryway, where he is stopped by Lucie. She implores him to stay for Cordelia's sake but he leaves anyway.
Lucie turns back to return and notices Grace in the shadows. She asks if Grace is leaving and Grace assures her that it is not because she is hurt by the engagement. Lucie tries to level with her by mentioning Jesse, to which Grace retorts that she has no use for another person who would not help. Lucie informs her that she plans to help Jesse whether he wants her to or not. Grace is intrigued and urges her to tell her more.
Magnus Bane finds Matthew feeling desolate and tries to talk to the boy, having made note of the boy's obvious drinking problem and needing help. However, Matthew is too absorbed watching James and Cordelia merrily dancing to be engaged in conversation. When Magnus offers his sympathy for love unrequited, Matthew reveals that the marriage is false. Magnus is startled and confused as the pair looked to be a love match. Still pondering the revelation versus what he sees in the couple, he decides that he needs to stay in London for a little while longer and send for his cat.
Cordelia reflects on how drastically her life has changed since her arrival in London. James interrupts her reverie and tells her that he hopes she will be somewhat happy in their marriage. In his explanation on the fun they could have, he mentions how they had fooled everyone in Hell Ruelle, indirectly suggesting that the events of the Whispering Room had been a pretense, despite what he had said previously and Cordelia had hoped. Cordelia is hurt but recalls what James had said then about faerie fruit: the more you had, the more you wanted, and the more painful it was when it was gone; and yet that not knowing what it tasted like was also a form of torment. She sees her marriage to James as to similar the fruit: rather than pine in silence wondering what it would be like to be with him, she would get to spend a year sharing his life, living with him and loving him. Though it may ruin her for any other possible love, at least she would know what it was like to have such a relationship with him and could blaze up in glory.
Tatiana, who is to be imprisoned in the Adamant Citadel, visits her home to collect some of her things. She is escorted by guards that include her brothers, Gideon and Gabriel, who await her outside. She asks to bid farewell to the memories of her husband and father in the back garden and they allow it. There she visits her son's coffin for what she believes to be the last time.
Belial presents himself in the form of an illusion and promises that Jesse will be well cared for. Tatiana angrily lashes out at the Prince for allowing her to fall ill and to now be punished while her enemies receive no revenge. Belial assures Tatiana that this was part of his plan and explains that more is to come. He will rise much earlier than the Nephilim assume—as he has a link connecting him to the mortal world that will allow this—and they will get something much worse than death. He continues to explain that with Tatiana in the Citadel, they can strike at the heart of the Shadowhunters: their adamas. Tatiana smiles as she realizes the whole of what they have in store for the Herondales, Lightwoods, and Carstairs.
Epilogue: Chiswick House, London
- Cordelia Carstairs — a young Shadowhunter arriving in London trying to make powerful friends in order to save her family from disgrace.
- James Herondale — Cordelia's childhood friend and crush, James struggles with his demonic ability to see another realm.
- Lucie Herondale — Cordelia's soon-to-be parabatai, Lucie is an aspiring writer who is more than thrilled to begin training for their parabatai ceremony.
- Matthew Fairchild — James's parabatai who is a cheerful but often intoxicated presence and appears to be keeping a secret.
- Thomas Lightwood — having recently returned from his travel year, Thomas is happy to be home and with his friends.
- Christopher Lightwood — with the mind of an inventor, he is often absent-minded and found experimenting in his or Henry Fairchild's lab.
- Alastair Carstairs — Cordelia's stern older brother, who has a secret of his own.
- Anna Lightwood — regarded as a bit of a bohemian, Anna is quite popular with the ladies but disapproved of by the older generation for her lifestyle choices and for dressing like a man. Nevertheless, she views the others as her underlings and often does her best to look out for them.
- Grace Blackthorn — the mysterious adopted daughter of Tatiana Blackthorn whom James is in love with.
- Tatiana Blackthorn — a maddened woman who seeks revenge and to resurrect her dead son.
- London Enclave — governing body of the local Shadowhunters, which consists of Will Herondale, Tessa Herondale, Charles Fairchild, Henry Fairchild, Gabriel Lightwood, Gideon Lightwood, Sophie Lightwood, and Cecily Lightwood.
- Brother Zachariah — a Silent Brother, and the former parabatai of Will Herondale, who acts as a kind of uncle to James, Lucie, and the others.
- Hypatia Vex — a warlock who owns the Hell Ruelle.
- Malcolm Fade — High Warlock of London, succeeding Ragnor Fell.
- Magnus Bane — a powerful warlock, and old friend of Will Herondale's.
- Jessamine Lovelace — the ghost guardian of the London Institute.
- Jesse Blackthorn — Tatiana's deceased son and Grace Blackthorn's adoptive brother. His spirit can only be seen by his mother, Grace, and Lucie Herondale.
- First editions: The US first editions included colored frontispiece portraits of the main characters, drawn by Cassandra Jean, and the short story Fairy Tale of London.
- Waterstones exclusive edition: This edition included a letter from Ragnor Fell to Magnus Bane; as well as the above extras.
- Litjoy Crate exclusive: Those who pre-ordered through their Chain of Gold special preorder, received an exclusive letter from Lucie Herondale to Cordelia Carstairs.
- Though the majority of the action takes place in 1903, the narrative moves back and forth in time, covering some things that happened in the 25 years since Clockwork Princess (1878), with chapters subtitled "Days Past".
- Cassandra Clare released 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. They were posted on her site and on her Tumblr to be read for free. One story was be released each month leading up to 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.
- The chapter titles, like in The Infernal Devices, are all taken from poetry of the Victorian and Edwardian era that the characters would be familiar with.
- This book is told from several characters' points of view; namely, Cordelia, James, and Lucie; as well as briefly from Tessa, Thomas, Matthew, Anna, Magnus, and Tatiana.
- The cover model for Cordelia Carstairs is Pakistani model and actress, Nida Khurshid.
- The actress who portrays Cordelia in the book trailer is half Persian (Iranian).
- Amazon.com: Chain of Gold (The Last Hours Book 1)
- Chain of Gold | Simon & Schuster
- "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
- Description on Waterstones' site
- Description on Litjoy's site
- "Chain of Gold publication" — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- 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
- "poetry the characters would have been familiar with." — CC on Tumblr