Red Rising

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Red Rising is a series of novels by the American science fiction writer Pierce Brown .

The first part is the trilogy consisting of Red Rising (German Red Rising , 2014), Golden Son (German Im Haus der Feinde , 2015) and Morning Star (German Day of Decision , 2016).

The beginning of the second part of the series (also a trilogy) is marked by the volume Iron Gold , which was released on January 16, 2018 (German: Red Rising - Asche zu Asche , 2018). On July 30, 2019, the second part ( Dark Age ) of the second trilogy was released.

The world of Red Rising

The science fiction books are set at least 800 years in the future. Humanity has colonized the solar system and terraformed several planets and moons . This even applies to the earth's moon Luna, which now has a breathable atmosphere, seas and mountains.

During the early colonization phase, the Earth's moon Luna became the central pivot. A strictly hierarchical social order was established among the colonists, which was ordered according to color (regardless of skin color, but in the sense of the respective work activity): The golden were the richest and most powerful people who made all political decisions, while at the lowest level the Reds acted as simple workers.

More than 700 years before the beginning of the action, the now genetically modified golden rebelled on Luna and successfully rose against the nation-states of the earth. The following conflict became known as Conquering (Eng. Conquest campaign ). It is mentioned in the course of the books that there was previously a 3rd World War on earth and that empires were then established. Mentioned include the American Empire (which was not the old US), the Indian Empire (which was one of the last to capitulate to gold), the Empire of the Rising Sun (apparently Japan and new conquests) and an Atlantic Alliance; also a British Armada is mentioned, which burned the golden ones over the north pole of the earth. Despite her genetic and other advantages, Luna was almost defeated during the war when a counterattack by the American Empire led by General John Merrywater penetrated Luna's defenses. Merrywater's achievement was then taken by the Golden as a warning, so that the reputation of Merrywater ad portas ("Merrywater at the gates", a reference to Hannibal ) became common in the legions.

Thereupon the golden transferred their social order to the earth. The living inhabitants of the earth were made chemically sterile. From now on, the whole of humanity was genetically modified, so that the membership of the respective caste is clearly visible (through eye and hair color, but also the different body types and bone seals on the metacarpal bones). The very first golden ones on Luna at the beginning of the colonization did not yet have golden eyes and only wore golden uniforms. The genetic changes over time, however, were sometimes very far-reaching; The golden ones, for example, have much more strength and greater resilience than other people. The "genetic purity" is monitored by the Board of Quality Control (German quality control supervision). Rigid box thinking prevailed, not only between gold and the other colors, but also within and between the low (red, brown, pink, obsidian), medium (blue, green, yellow, purple, orange, gray) and high colors (Gold, white, silver, copper),

Each color box is assigned a special area of ​​responsibility, so that activities outside of this framework are prohibited, as is "mixed marriages". The high colors also enjoy a lot of rights - the golden ones are only accountable within their color and in this case within the framework of the so-called agreement (in the original compact ) of the golden ones - while the lower colors have almost none. While the golden ones rule and determine all central rules, the silver ones are responsible for the economy, the whites for religious questions (more ritual) and jurisdiction, the copper ones for administration and lawyers, the blue ones for space travel, yellow ones for medical questions and research, the green ones for programming and technology, violets for art and creativity, while the grays represent the bulk of the soldiers and the oranges are technicians and engineers. The reds provide the bulk of physical labor, the pinks have to offer a wide variety of sexual services, and the browns are cooks and servants. Obsidians are elite soldiers and special bodyguards, but are still counted among the lower colors and particularly monitored by the golden ones, as they rebelled against it around 200 years after the establishment of the society and almost overthrew it.

At the beginning of the plot there is only the world society of the golden, who rule absolutely and with brutal violence. The Golden place great value on an idealized code of honor and family history (with appropriate genetics); especially golden houses, which can trace their history back to the beginning of the conquest (including the houses Lune, Raa, Augustus and Bellona), like to demonstrate this. Corresponding golds on their dueling swords ( razors ) preferably depict scenes from family history. Razors may only be wielded by golden ones; they are harder than diamond and can be used in rigid sword form or flexible whip form by chemical impulses and are the only weapon able to penetrate a pulse shield directly. Gold graduates who have successfully completed the institute (an elite facility that is present in several locations) receive a ritual scar on their face and are henceforth Peerless Scarred ("uniquely scarred"). Especially these look down with contempt at other golds who indulge only in luxury. Of the approximately 18 billion inhabitants in the solar system, around 40 million are golden.

The social order is based on Roman antiquity (with corresponding official designations, language expressions and naming, especially with the golden ones). At the top is the head (in the original English sovereign ) and the senate, where the most powerful golden families are represented, which also have their own private armies and warships. The democracy of the old earth is called the "noble lie", because the quasi-feudal social order of the golden is based on the right of the strong, which is glorified by them; they see themselves as the natural leaders of humanity. While the "high colors" and partly also "medium colors" lead a relatively carefree, often even very luxurious life, the living conditions of the other colors are much worse; this is especially true of the red masses.

Space transporters and warships are sometimes several kilometers long. Modern weapon techniques such as railguns, a wide range of energy weapons and shield technology are used in space and ground combat. Grav boots make it possible to fly at sonic speed, and implanted technology is part of everyday life for many people. Holo networks are used for entertainment and information, but are monitored. Genetic engineering is very advanced.

Red Rising

The main character Darrow, a red man who, as a 16-year-old miner, mines helium-3 , the main source of energy for terraforming and space travel, lives on Mars, which has now been terraformed (in 736 after the Earth was conquered by the Golden) . At the beginning of the plot, Darrow is unaware of the previous events or that Mars has already been colonized by humans. Rather, the red miners who live and work under very poor conditions are pretended to work for the good of mankind, so that the overpopulated earth is relieved and they can later live on the surface themselves. The motto of the world society (whose symbol is a pyramid with the sign of the golden on top) is accordingly obedience / willingness to make sacrifices / prosperity . In return, the Reds largely accept the privations: In addition to the hard and dangerous work, food, medicine and everyday objects are rationed and the living conditions are very modest; The life expectancy of the Reds is also extremely low, which is why they get married in their youth. Resistance is also threatened by the intervention of the gray security forces and severe punishment, including death by hanging.

When Darrow's beloved wife Eo is executed due to a harmless protest (she sings a forbidden song), with the golden Arch-Governor of Mars, Nero au Augustus, present, Darrow loses his courage to live. He secretly buries Eo what is forbidden and is supposed to be hanged for it himself. But he is saved by a group of resistance fighters led by the mysterious dancer, who call themselves sons of Ares and who act against the totalitarian world society. Dancer and his right-hand man Harmony explain the real situation to the shocked Darrow. You also recognize his potential and offer him a chance for revenge. In a costly and painful process, it is fundamentally genetically modified by the purple engraver Mickey and transformed into a gold one. At the same time, he is carefully trained to infiltrate the top level of world society as a golden one, for which a fictitious identity is created for him.

As Darrow au Andromedus , after passing preliminary tests, Darrow gains access to the Institute of Mars, where the future military and political leaders of the Golden will be trained. There he met the twin brothers Cassius and Julian au Bellona. It turns out that the institute is primarily a major brutal selection process, with different groups (houses) fighting each other until one wins. The right of the fittest also applies here; half of the candidates die in the first test. Darrow is forced to kill Julian and to hide the crime from Cassius. After a few setbacks, Darrow formed a group of followers, including Cassius, the sensitive Roque au Fabii and the outsider Sevro.

Darrow acts very skillfully, although at the same time he suffers due to his double identity and his actions (Golden do not shy away from enslavement and rape of other Golden) and sometimes doubts. He is due to its preferred weapon as Reaper ( Reaper known) and appears just before the victory over his main rival to stand the brutal acting jackal, learns as Cassius, who killed his brother. Cassius lures Darrow into a trap and leaves him half dead in the snow. Darrow is rescued by the girl Mustang, who previously ran an opposing house that Darrow defeated, but saved her life. Both get closer and they learn that the test has been scheduled at the institute: The jackal is the son of Nero au Augustus, who bribed or threatened the leading persons (proctors) to ensure the jackal's victory, whereby himself Darrow's own Proctor Fitchner is involved.

Darrow and Mustang decide to play the game by different rules. They gradually liberate other aspirants and form a new group in which no one is treated as a defeated but as an equal member. Darrow not only defeats the jackal, but even storms the referee's command center, which has never happened before in the institute's history. It turns out that the jackal, Adrius au Augustus, is the brother of Mustang, whose real name is Virginia au Augustus, but who chose Darrow's path. Cassius au Bellona and Darrow split up as enemies, whereupon Darrow, now around 18 years old, enters the service of the hated Arch-Governor Nero au Augustus, the arch-enemy of the House of Bellona.

Golden Son - In the house of the enemy

The action takes place a few years after the first band ended. Darrow (now in his early 20s) is with some comrades from the institute at the academy, where the Golden train the rules of space combat in order to take up high positions if they get good results. Self-doubt gnaws at Darrow because he has not had any contact with the sons of Ares for a long time . In simulated space combat, he unexpectedly succumbs to Karnus au Bellona, ​​an older brother of Cassius. Karnus publicly humiliates Darrow so deeply that Nero au Augustus drops him. Darrow accompanies Nero to Luna, the central place of the world society, where a meeting of its highest representatives is to take place; then Darrow was left to fend for himself.

On Luna, Darrow surprisingly meets Adrius au Augustus, who also no longer enjoys Nero's favor and is now involved in illegal business. He offers Darrow a way out and Darrow apparently accepts. Darrow's old friend Roque and the young, very wealthy heiress Victra au Julii, who is drawn to Darrow, also offer their help. Shortly afterwards, the sons of Ares contact Darrow: He is supposed to detonate a bomb at the banquet on Luna, which is the starting signal for a rebellion of the Reds in the solar system. At the banquet, Darrow meets Cassius au Bellona and his new partner, who turns out to be Virginia au Augustus, both of whom are in the favor of Octavia au Lune, the head of world society. Darrow decides against a planned terrorist attack and instead devises a risky plan to shake the rule of the Golden: He plays the injured Golden and publicly challenges Cassius, who is considered one of the best duelists, to an honor duel with the Razor (a very sharp blade, which can also be used as a whip and which is a status symbol for the high gold).

Darrow wins the duel, having been secretly instructed years earlier by the legendary sword master Lorn au Arcos, with Cassius severely wounded. Immediately thereafter, there was an open power struggle between the head, who supported the Bellonas, and the House of Augustus regarding rule on Mars. Octavia au Lune tries to get Darrow on her side and puts him under arrest, but Virginia organizes his escape and reveals that she was only on Luna to protect her family. Nero, Virginia, and Darrow, along with Victra, Adrius, Roque, and other Golden, escape Luna, helped by Sevro and the Howlers, a group of battle-hardened outsiders. They also receive support from the Telemanus family, followers of Nero from Mars who were like a surrogate family to Virginia. Virginia explains to Darrow that her relationship with Cassius was never romantic, only to protect her family and was politically motivated. Darrow and Virginia slowly get closer, while Darrow's good friend Sevro reveals to him that he is also partly a Red and works for the sons of Ares , whose leader Sevro's father is Fitchner au Barca. Darrow also befriends the obsidian warrior Ragnar, to whom he confides that they are all the same and that colors do not matter.

Darrow proposes a multi-stage plan to Nero to get the ships and hostages they need. However, these plans are thwarted by traitors within their own ranks. Darrow succeeds in winning the highly respected and powerful Lorn au Arcos, but Nero is captured by the Bellonas. Darrow and Virginia then organize a powerful army and fleet with which they launch an attack on Mars. After heavy fighting, House Augustus under Darrow and Virginia wins the upper hand, Nero is also freed, the chief and the Bellonas have to withdraw.

Darrow reveals to Virginia that he was actually a born red, whereupon she turns away from him, irritated. At the victory celebrations of the House of Augustus, betrayal takes place. Adrius, who learned of Darrow's identity from another source, allies himself with the Bellonas and Roque au Fabii, who, as a Golden, is shocked that Darrow is a Red. Together they kill friends of Darrow and Nero's allies, including Lorn. Nero, who despises his son, is personally killed by Adrius. Darrow himself is caught alive, who now also learns of Fitchner's death.

Morning Star - Decision day

Darrow has been held for several months in an unknown location in a narrow box-like dungeon in complete darkness and isolation and has been artificially kept alive. He is on the verge of despair, having not only been betrayed but also having lost all hope for a new era without repression by the Golden. Eventually he is taken out and has to realize that he has been imprisoned in a sarcophagus that is located in the premises of Adrius au Augustus, who is now the new Arch-Governor of Mars and gives free rein to his sadistic streak. Cassius au Bellona is now supposed to transfer him to Luna when Darrow is freed from a secret cell belonging to the sons of Ares (including the gray elite soldiers Trigg and Holiday ti Nakamura), where Darrow also saves Victra au Julii, who has stood by him since the academy and had also been betrayed by Adrius. You will be brought to Sevro, who has continued the war against world society. There is now an open rebellion, with the secret of Darrow's identity now well known. At the same time the world society is waging a civil war, because the golden ones of the outer solar system (the moon lords) have separated from Luna.

Darrow participates with Victra in Sevro's plan of attack on the richest man in world society, who is called Quicksilver and who resides on the Martian moon Phobos. However, Quicksilver reveals that he worked in secret with Fitchner to break the Golden dominance. Darrow also meets Virginia, who has continued to fight the world society with her warships, but is in a hopeless situation and therefore wanted to negotiate with Cassius au Bellona on Phobos. They flee together from Phobos, but are intercepted by Cassius and make an emergency landing in the polar region of Mars.

Here, in archaic conditions, the obsidians of world society are raised, a pure warrior caste, from which, centuries ago, after a rebellion, all technology was taken away and they pretended that the golden beings were divine beings. In the group is also Ragnar, a prince of the obsidians who is one of Darrow's closest friends and who hopes to convince the other obsidians of the right to rebel. They manage to catch Cassius, but Ragnar dies on the ice. Darrow can still prove to the obsidians that the Golden have only betrayed them and de facto enslaved them, whereupon they join him under Ragnar's sister Sefi.

Darrow makes a daring plan and moves Virginia's ships to the outer rim. Here he can use a ruse to pull the rebellious golden moon lords under the leadership of Romulus au Raa to his side. He plays to them that the chief has handed over nuclear weapons with high destructive power to their commander Roque au Fabii; Since Octavia au Lune destroyed one of the moons with nuclear weapons decades ago, Romulus fears another nuclear attack and joins Darrow. Darrow destroys the fleet of the world society, which is led by his former friend Roque and even conquers his flagship, where Roque takes his own life, which Darrow saddened despite all the circumstances. At the same time, he tricked the rebellious golden moon lords and destroyed their largest shipyard near Ganymede so that they would not pose a threat for the near future. Darrow and Virginia grow closer again while Sevro begins a relationship with Victra; both marry shortly afterwards. The tensions in the fleet, in which golds, reds, obsidians and other colors have to interact, always confronts the new alliance with new problems. Darrow and Cassius speak out and Darrow gives him data that open Cassius' eyes to the chief.

Darrow and Virginia pretend that they are now heading for Mars when they are actually heading for Luna. There the head of the world meets them with the assembled fleet, supported by the fleet of Mars, because Adrius has seen through the plan. Before the actual battle begins, Darrow releases the captured Cassius, who uses the opportunity and kills Sevro and brings Darrow and Virginia to Luna as prisoners. There they are received by the chief in the heart of their citadel on Luna.

Unexpectedly, Cassius now frees Darrow and Virginia; together with Sevro, who was also apparently dead, they defeat the head's bodyguards and kill him, with Cassius previously revealing the reason for his change of sides to Octavia: he now knows that it was the jackal who massacred the Bellonas, not Darrow, which was the head has covered. They take Adrius and the chief's grandson, Lysander au Lune, prisoner. Adrius has one last trump card, however, in that he detonates nuclear weapons deposited on Luna (which he had previously stolen from the arsenal of the chief) from a ship in the Mars fleet before it is destroyed. Adrius is executed, Cassius takes Lysander into his care and leaves Luna, where Virginia now rules after the overthrow of the chief. It promises a new time in which the other colors are equal. She and Darrow now finally get together, with Virginia revealing that they already have a son named Pax together.

Iron gold - Ashes to Ashes

The book takes place ten years after the Morning Star , in the 10th year of the " Solar War " and in 753 after the Golden had conquered the earth. Virginia au Augustus is married to Darrow and rules as the new head of the Republic, which includes Luna, Earth and Mars. The republic is the first democracy in over 700 years after Luna conquered the earth under the leadership of the first genetically modified Golden. The other colors now enjoy new freedoms and are represented on an equal footing in the Senate, but there are still considerable social tensions and inequalities, especially since many golden people continue to live in the republic and work for it. Political sentiment is further heated between representatives of the lower colors (led by Dancer) and the high colors (the Optimates who support Virginia)

The war against the remnants of the world society, which have gathered around Mercury and Venus, continues, as does a continued terrorist fight against rebellious Reds on Mars (the terror group “Red Hand”). Luna, Earth and Mars were only liberated after years of campaigns against the remnants of world society. The outer worlds (the moon lords of Jupiter and their allies) have made themselves independent and are still ruled by golden ones who want nothing to do with either the republic or the decadent and disintegrated world society. In the course of the plot it becomes increasingly clear that it was easier to destroy the corrupt empire of the Golden than to establish a completely new and stable order.

Darrow (now 33 years old) has become a hero figure, but self-doubt gnaws at him as well as the desire to finally end the bloody war and spend his time with Virginia and her son. He succeeds in conquering Mercury, but in the Senate on Luna, especially among the Reds, there are increasing voices calling for an end to the war and fear that Darrow might use his power.

Three new narrators are introduced. Lyria is a red from Mars and was bitterly disappointed by the revolution. Lysander au Lune, the last of his house, is traveling in the asteroid belt with Cassius au Bellona and is trying to find a new meaning in life. Ephraim ti Horn is a gray, disaffected former soldier and now involved in illegal business.


Darrow has the Mercury after two years of siege by a lossy "iron rain" ( Iron Rain conquered a massive planetary invasion), yet a direct arrangement of the Senate ignored. He is now taking part in the triumphal procession with his 7th Legion on Luna. He warns leaders that global society is not yet defeated, as Venus remains under the control of Magnus au Grimmus, the new leader of the golden hardliners at the core. For this reason Darrow wants to ask for more troops and ships for an invasion of Venus to finally end the war. Darrow's wife Virginia tries to illustrate the political complications and how strong the resistance in the Senate can be. Darrow's former mentor Dancer in particular is opposing another costly war with his Vox Populi movement and also expresses concerns that Darrow could abuse his power. In the family circle, Darrow has to experience how his son Pax has distanced himself due to the frequent absence of Darrow.

The political situation comes to a head when Luna is informed that the global society has offered Darrow peace talks, which Darrow rejected and kept from the Senate and his wife because he suspected a trap. In the Senate, the peace forces around the radical Vox Populi gain the upper hand and Darrow is placed under house arrest. He is now threatened with indictment, but he rejects Sevro's proposal to undertake a coup with the loyal 7th Legion and eliminate the Senate. However, Darrow plans a secret operation on Venus to eliminate Magnus au Grimmus. To this end, he deserted with Sevro and a large part of the Howlers (the core of the special forces in Darrow's legions) and raided the maximum security prison Deepgrave on earth in order to use trapped gold as leverage on Venus. One of these golds is Apollonius au Valii-Rath, a convicted war criminal and half-insane, but also a capable general who had made fun of Magnus. Darrow installs a small explosive charge in the head of Apollonius and forces him to cooperate, especially since this also gives the golden his desired vengeance. Darrow also accompanies his niece Rhonna and his adjutant Alexandar au Arcos, the oldest and most capable grandson of Darrow's old sword master Lorn au Arcos, who was murdered at the end by Golden Son .

Arrived on Venus, Darrow discovers that only a miserable remnant is left of Apollonius' former forces. Nevertheless, they are planning the attack on Magnus au Grimmus, who is located on a fortress island, where he has not granted audiences for years. After hard fighting, Darrow manages to get to the island with the Howlers and Apollonius. To their surprise, they find a seriously ill Magnus who, since an attack ordered by Apollonius, has only been wasting away and can no longer carry out government business. Magnus explains to Darrow that he is no longer leading global society, but his only surviving daughter, Atalantia au Grimmus, who is already on her way to Mercury with her fleet and fresh legions to massacre Darrow's men who have stayed behind. Darrow now also learns that his son Pax and Sevro's eldest daughter Electra have been kidnapped. Apollonius sets Magnus on fire, who dies screaming in the flames, and is left behind on Venus by Darrow. Darrow plans to go to Mercury, but Sevro angrily breaks up with him and vows that he will free his eldest daughter.


The young Red Lyria has lived in a desolate and overcrowded refugee camp of the Republic on Mars since being liberated from the mines. She feels disappointed by the uprising and has no sympathy for Darrow, who has married a golden girl and, in her opinion, does not care about the needs of the common people, as does his wife, the new head. The living conditions in the camp are very modest and there does not seem to be any improvement in sight. Lyria's oldest brothers serve in the Republic legions, but her other relatives are still in the camp, including her favorite nephew, blind Liam. The camp is ambushed by the red terrorist organization “Rote Hand” (run by Harmony, a former subordinate of Dancer); all of Lyria's relatives and friends except Liam perish. Lyria herself helps a golden knight who came to the rescue and who is Kavax au Telemanus, a close friend and ally of Virginia au Augustus and Darrow. Kavax is persuaded to take both Lyria and Liam to Luna, with Lyria working as a servant.

On Luna, Lyria gets to know a lot that was unknown to her. But although she is grateful to Kavax, she still has a grudge against Virginia au Augustus, who accuses her of only making promises but leaving many inferior colors to their fate. She befriends a gray named Philippe, who cheers her up and makes her feel like something. Philippe gives her a medallion in memory of him. After a party at Quicksilver, at which Lyria had accompanied Kavax as a servant and Virginia's son Pax and Electra (Sevro's eldest daughter), an incident occurred in the shuttle: Philippe's gift turned out to be an EMP drone and part of a plan that Shut down the shuttle and incapacitate all occupants. The shuttle is then boarded by Philippe and a team who kidnap Pax and Electra. Philippe wants to kill Lyria because she knows too much, but he can't do it and kidnaps her too. Philippe travels to a secret meeting where the children are handed over. Lyria awakes from her stupor, steals Philippe's pistol and, with a lot of luck, can escape. She makes terrible accusations that Kavax was seriously injured while escaping from the shuttle and that two children are now in the hands of criminals.

Lyria surrenders to the authorities and is questioned by the chief's security team, led by Holiday ti Nakamura, to whom Lyria reports everything about Philippe. Lyria is seen by them as a terrorist or agent of global society, who can be tortured if necessary. Virginia steps in, takes over the questioning and asks Lyria why she has returned. Lyria confesses that she despised the Chief and Darrow and blamed them for their bad lives; but she has a debt to pay to Kavax and she wants Liam never to be ashamed of her. Lyria can provide important clues; Philippe is identified by the traces on the stolen pistol: It is Ephraim ti Horn, a former soldier and now a freelance agent who specializes in art theft. He is also the former fiancé of Trigg ti Nakamura, who, together with his sister Holiday, freed Darrow at the beginning of the storyline of Morning Star , but was killed in the process. Virginia realizes that her son is in the hands of the Syndicate criminal organization. Lyria is later drugged and kidnapped in her quarters, apparently on behalf of Victra au Julii-Barca, Sevro's wife and mother of Electra.


Ephraim ti Horn had worked as an insurance agent before the uprising. He fell in love with Trigg ti Nakamura, after whose death he joined the sons of Ares for revenge. During the skirmishes for Luna, Ephraim was traumatized by further atrocities, so that he became a drug addict. Now he works as a thief for expensive objects with a team of three other people (the obsidians Volga, the hacker Cyra and Dano). Ephraim receives an extremely lucrative offer that he cannot refuse, even if he wanted, because the client is the syndicate. It is the largest and most powerful criminal organization in all worlds, covering everything from drug trafficking, smuggling, extortion to murder. The “Prince of Hands” (an expensive pink, who apparently served as a sex slave for golds in the past), who commissioned the “Queen of the Syndicate”, gives him all the necessary information, which apparently comes from the inner circle of the head. The aim is to kidnap Pax au Augustus and Electra au Julii-Barca.

Volga, who serves as the “muscles” of the team, but is very sensitive inside, finds the assignment reprehensible, but her unconditional loyalty to Ephraim, who serves as her father's substitute, lets her participate. In his cover identity as "Philippe" Ephraim contacts Lyria and becomes friends. In truth, however, their naive openness enables indirect access to the mission's goals. The shuttle with Pax and Electra is intercepted by Ephraim's team in a spectacular action that kidnaps the children and Lyria when Ephraim can't bring himself to kill them. Unexpectedly, however, Kavax au Telemanus is able to free himself and kill Dano before Volga can neutralize him. Ephraim travels to meet the Prince of the Hands and hands over the children. The prince points out the disloyalty of the hacker Cyra, who is killed on site. Unexpectedly, Lyria frees herself and flees, which annoys the prince, who, however, lets Ephraim, in whom he has taken a liking, and Volga go. Shaken by the murders and child abduction, Volga argues with Ephraim, who is still under the influence of drugs, who deeply hurts her feelings and harshly reminds her that they must both get away from Luna.

The next day, Volga does not appear at the meeting point, but Holiday ti Nakamura, the sister of Ephraim's dead fiancé Trigg, and Lyria. Lyria despises Ephraim for just using her, and Holiday despises Ephraim for his actions. She says the same would apply to Trigg if he were still alive, whereupon an angry Ephraim blames her for Trigg's death. Ephraim has only contempt for Virginia, Darrow and the new republic, for which he once fought so resolutely because golden war criminals were pardoned and the new chief and Darrow would only enjoy benefices while his own team was tortured to death by golden ones back then has been. Holiday, as the commander of the chief's guard, blackmailed Ephraim's cooperation: The security forces have Volga in their power and Ephraim's escape is out of the question. Only if he brings the children home can he be and save Volga's life.

Ephraim contacts the Prince of Hands and arranges a private meeting. They eat together and Ephraim is open to the offer to work for the prince. Ephraim also offers himself to the prince, who wants to accept the offer, when Ephraim disarms him and forces him to show him the children. He frees Pax and Electra, who by no means seem desperate, but rather act quite professionally due to their origins and training and also arm themselves with razors. They manage to escape in the prince's private ship, which they have to leave behind. But before they can reach a team of the chief, their ship crashes on Luna.


Lysander au Lune is the last member of one of the finest golden houses that can trace its origins back to the founder of the world society, Silenius au Lune. Together with Cassius, the last male Bellona, ​​and the pilot Pytha, he travels on the old corvette Archimedes through the edge zone between the Republic and the edge Dominion, where the golden moon lords of Jupiter rule independently. Lysander suffers from exile, but has built a friendship with Cassius. Lysander is still convinced that mankind should be ruled by gold, whereas Cassius, while suffering that Virginia is now married to Darrow, has come to terms with the need for a republic as an alternative to the old system.

The Archimedes encounters a freighter, the so-called Ascomanni , which was probably attacked by obsidian pirates from deep space . Lysander goes on board with Cassius, where they find a slaughter and a few survivors. Among them is a young golden girl who steals the Razor from Lysander and takes part in the subsequent fight against the Ascomanni. The woman has coordinates with her and Lysander persuades Cassius to go there. On site, they are intercepted by ships from the Rand Dominion. The young Golden is Seraphina au Raa, daughter of Romulus au Raa, Lord of the Dominion. Lysander, Cassius and Pytha are their prisoners and brought to Io, where they meet Romulus and other members of the Raa family, Lysander and Cassius pretending to be a false identity as unsuccessful golden brothers who ended up on the fringes. Seraphina had sought evidence that Darrow had deceived the fringe ten years ago, for which she was leaked data that is now in the Archimedes safe . Romulus, on the other hand, refuses to believe this story. There is a coup against Romulus on Io because his wife Dido believes in these dates and has supported Seraphina.

At a meal with the Raa family, Dido reveals that she knows who Cassius really is: the Razor that Seraphina Lysander had stolen bore the mark of the Bellona family. House Raa despises the Bellonas because they were then (at the end of Golden Son ) after the triumph of Nero au Augustus involved in his murder, whereby Romulus' father and one of his daughters were brutally murdered. Dido, however, believes that Lysander is a surviving younger Bellona. Cassius is asked to open the safe so that the evidence of Darrow's act ten years ago can be examined, but Cassius steadfastly refuses. Despite his earlier life, Cassius does not want to be responsible for a new war against the republic, he would rather be killed; He accuses the Raas of being naive because they don't know what to expect in a war with Darrow and his people. He also forbids Lysander to reveal the code. A duel is then ordered, as Cassius is responsible for a blood debt. Diomedes au Raa, a son of Dido and one of the best duelists in the fringe zone, refuses, however. Other duelists compete against Cassius, who gradually defeats them, but sustains more and more injuries. Lysander, who feels no love for the republic and is impressed by the golds on the fringes, intervenes and reveals that he is in truth a member of the Lune house and knows the code.

After the duel, Lysander is told that Cassius has passed away. The data in the safe enables Dido to indict her husband, Romulus. Your goal is to start a new war against the Republic and maintain power in the Dominion; then she would exonerate her husband and they would fight together. But Romulus unexpectedly admits that he knew ten years ago that Darrow had outsmarted him, but that he didn't want to wage a war at heart. Dido is appalled when the court accuses Romulus of treason because no other option is available. Romulus says goodbye to Dido (for whom he fought a war on Venus decades ago to win) and his family and commits suicide by exposing himself to the toxic environment of Io. Dido, deeply affected by the death of her husband, does not want to know anything about Lysander. But he offers Dido an alliance: the edge zone and the remnants of the world society are to unite against the republic, which is supposedly incapable of ruling the worlds. Darrow and the Republic must be destroyed.

Dark Age - The dark age

Dark Age follows the plot of Iron Gold almost immediately and takes place a few weeks afterwards. Narrators are Darrow, Lysander, Lyria, Ephraim and (newly added) Virginia au Augustus, the head of the republic and Darrow's wife. The action takes place in the 11th year of the " Solar War " ( Solar War ) and in the year 754 after the conquest of the earth by the Golden. It is probably the darkest and most brutal band in the Red Rising series so far .

Darrow has gone to Mercury and taken command of the Free Legions of the Republic, which are threatened with annihilation by the enemy superiority under Atalantia au Grimmus, whose spaceships rule the skies. Under the most adverse circumstances, Darrow tries to find a way out, although he is insecure about surviving Mercury. A risky plan develops unpredictable consequences, and in the last held city on Mercury, Darrow faces its end.

Lysander au Lune arrives at Mercury and an alliance between the golds of the rim and the core seems possible. Lysander is obsessed with the idea that only gold can really rule. He takes part in the invasion, but is betrayed and then, via detours, reaches a point where he can acquire the fame he longed for.

Meanwhile, Virginia tries everything on Luna to send help to her husband and his troops, but the political situation on Luna polarizes more and more. Nevertheless, Virginia believes that it will be able to win the majority of votes necessary for the decisive vote. There is also hope for her kidnapped son Pax. Her old friend Victra au Julli-Barca, both rich and unpredictable, is also determined to use all means to free her daughter Electra and Virginia's son. But both Virginia and Victra fall into a trap of their enemies.

Ephraim ti Horn is with Pax and Electra on Mars with the obsidians. Its Queen Sefi pursues its own goals that can benefit the republic, but also damage it. Tensions become noticeable and messages of obsidians arrive from deep space from the edge. Ephraim has only one goal: to get out of the affair safely, to see Volga again and to protect the two children in the process. But then everything turns out differently than planned, especially since the obsidians are not protected from traitors in their own ranks.

Lyria is in the hands of Victra au Julii-Barca, as is Volga. All three women find themselves on the run on Mars after mutant obsidians capture Victra's ship. Victra is in the final stages of her new pregnancy, so her goal is to communicate with the Julii-Barcas house legions on Mars. But persecutors threaten to catch up with them before that happens.


On Mercury, Darrow is in command of ten million soldiers of the republic, whose fleet has been destroyed and who only protect the planetary shields from their complete extinction by Atalantia au Grimmus. The situation is desperate, especially as Atlas au Raa is already waging a brutal guerrilla war against the Republican troops on the ground. Atlas succeeds in largely sabotaging the planetary shields. Darrow is completely taken by surprise because he carefully prepared a trap that did not strike. Within a short period of time, millions of Darrow's legionnaires are being destroyed by nuclear weapons. With no choice, Darrow activates the Storm Gods , relics of the ancient terraforming process that still exist and were a well-kept secret of the House of Lune that the Republic got. But Darrow's confidante Orion increases the performance of the machines without his consent in order to harm the Mercurians they hate. The consequences are fatal storms that trigger an ecological catastrophe: the enemy troops prevent further landing, but the sea level rises rapidly and floods the capital, Tyche. Darrow has the choice of gathering the remains of his troops or destroying them together with Atalantia's elite legions. He decides to save his troops and lead them to the big city of Heliopolis, towards which the enemy is also heading. He allows his loyal adjutant Alexandar au Arcos to go to Tyche on a suicide squad and rescue civilians.

Before Heliopolis, Darrow succeeds with a bold plan, with large parts of his army under Thraxa au Telemanus crossing the Ladon desert, destroying the enemy's elite and conquering the city. Nevertheless, the situation is critical. Only Heliopolis is still held by Darrow and he doesn't have enough ships to evacuate his troops. If the shields fail, they are all dead, but even so, they slowly die from food shortages and the effects of radiation from the nuclear weapons used by the enemy. Darrow tells his officers - including Harnassus (who sympathized with the radical Vox Populi on Luna), Thraxa and the howler Screwface (whose real name is never mentioned, but who has known Darrow for almost 20 years and is responsible for espionage) - into conscience: You must believe that Luna will be saved, her chief Virginia will not fail you. Then Darrow received a message from Atalantia: There was a coup on Luna by the Vox Populi , Virginia was apparently dead and the new head of government Publius cu Caraval will not send any help. Darrow should surrender, then he would be honored and at least some of his men and women would survive. Darrow stoically accepts the news that is catastrophic for the morale of his own legionnaires and for himself personally, but inside he is almost ready to give up if his officers want it too. Shortly afterwards, automated cloaking capsules arrive, bringing supplies and a message from his now apparently dead wife: she loves him and has never given up on him.

Darrow's officers unanimously refuse to surrender, and he draws up a plan himself. Alexandar unexpectedly arrives in Heliopolis, who escaped from captivity together with a disfigured golden man named Cato. Alexandar and Rhonna get closer, while Darrow forces the master technician Glirastes (who supported Darrow until the Storm Gods were deployed ) to prepare a powerful electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that should turn off the enemy's technology and allow Darrow's legions to escape. But Glirastes reveals Darrow that he has switched to the side of world society. Loyalist uprisings break out in Heliopolis, where the EMP was triggered too early. Darrow realizes that Cato is really Lysander au Lune, about whom no data was available and whose face was disfigured during the battles on Mercury. It was Lysander who persuaded Glirastes to overflow and who is now launching an assault attack by his Praetorians who overrun Darrow's troops on gigantic, genetically modified horses, which due to the EMP effect cannot use modern heavy weapons.

Darrow is unleashed. He never seriously expected to survive Mercury. His aim was to bleed the troops of world society to death and he succeeded. In this hopeless situation, where his legionnaires are slaughtered and he thinks his wife is dead, he becomes the famous Reaper again , brutally eliminating every opponent he meets. There is a fight with Lysander, who has a learned mental technique that gives him considerable advantages ( Mind's Eye ), and who is not already ailing like Darrow. Darrow is pierced by Lysander's Razor and forced by Thraxa to go to the last bastion.

In the bastion it is clear to everyone that it is over and that if they are arrested they will only face torture and death. Screwface is near death. Thraxa says they have tried everything, now she will commit suicide. Darrow no longer seriously clings to the idea of ​​rescue and agrees to Harnassus that they want to die in battle. A completely surprising rescue arrives in the form of Cassius, who is still alive and has arrived with a modified Archimedes and a Republican strike team and saves Darrow and part of the leadership.


Lysander arrives at Atalantia au Grimmus with a delegation from the Rand Dominion and meets his childhood friend, the capricious but now fatal Ajax au Grimmus, Atalantia's nephew. Dominion and global society are hostile to each other, but agree an alliance against the republic. Lysander, together with Seraphina au Raa and Kalindora au San (an aunt of Alexandars au Arcos, but also a friend of Lysander's dead mother), accompanies the Ajax troops, which land on Mercury. There are also parts of the old Praetorian Guard of the Lunes, who made it to Mercury and are now back in Lysander's service. Everything goes according to plan until unexpectedly violent storms break out, costing people and materials. Lysander realizes what Darrow has done and is hired by Ajax to take out the next Storm God . Seraphina dies in battle while Lysander and his team are betrayed by Ajax and left to their own devices in the desert. Apparently Ajax, who is even the lover of his aunt Atalantia, now saw Lysander as an unpleasant competitor who bears the old name Lune. Lysander's team is getting smaller and smaller, he himself falls into a trap by Ajax and his face is disfigured. Thanks to the mental technique of Mind's Eye , which his grandmother Octavia au Lune learned from his grandmother and which allowed him to have heightened abilities and reflexes for a while, he can make a living.

Despite the atrocities and betrayal seen, Lysander continues to believe that only the golden can rule and lead humanity as “good shepherds”, while the lower colors have to accept their place. He is eventually captured by Atlas au Raa, who wages a war of terror against Darrow and uses rape and impalement. In this captivity is also a tortured and disfigured Alexandar who was able to save people in Tyche with a few golden knights, only to end up in Atlas' hands. Atlas knows who Lysander is and reveals that In a few days Atalantia will use poison gas against Heliopolis and kill everyone there. Lysander doesn't think this is fair and persuades Atlas to fake flight, for which he assures Alexandar's support. They reach Heliopolis, where Darrow enthusiastically receives Alexandar, has Atlas locked up and Lysander (who continues to pretend to be Cato) allows him to meet with Glirastes. He knows the cover identity of Cato, which Lysander used years ago. Glirastes justifies his earlier support for Darrow with the fact that gold has become too cruel, with death rates and very open slavery. Lysander manipulates Glirastes, however, and can persuade him to transfer. Lysander relies on the loyalists in Heliopolis who, if the EMP pulse is activated early, will open the prison camps and thus give hundreds of thousands of soldiers a free hand in the midst of Darrow's legions.

On the day of the attack, Lysander (aka "Cato") is suddenly visited by Alexandar au Arcos and Rhonna, who have no idea who he really is. Lysander notices the proximity of the golden and the red, which he detests because of Alexandar's high descent and the different colors. Alexandar and Rhonna are informed via implemented communication modules that Cato is really Lysander. Lysander notices the change in behavior in good time: he brutally switches off Rhonna, but leaves her alive to threaten her. This saves Lysander's life at the last moment, as Alexandar almost killed him with his Razor, but gives up worrying about Rhonna. Alexandar, a distinguished Golden and even a cousin of Lysander, but completely devoted to the cause of the insurrection, despises Lysander for his actions. When Alexandar, who is an excellent swordsman, realizes that Lysander is not going to duel with the Razor, he declares Lysander dishonorable, who shoots him in the head. Lysander barely escapes Darrow when the EMP pulse is triggered, creating confusion. As planned, loyalists attack Darrow's troops and free world society prisoners who are hunting the Free Legions with Lysander. Darrrow's forces are overrun as expected, with Praetorians and Kalindora joining Lysander. Lysander does not manage to clearly defeat Darrow in a duel, but he is now trapped with no way out. Ajax arrives, not hiding his murderous anger at Lysander, but realizing that Lysander has achieved the victory. Then a ship manages to escape, whereby Lysander recognizes it and now also knows that Cassius is not dead and works for the Republic.

The surviving Legionnaires of Darrow are expected to die (2 million are impaled) or to die long in labor camps. A triumphal procession takes place in Heliopolis, but Lysander realizes that he is now too dangerous a rival for Atalantia to stay alive. He proposes an alliance that should be sealed by a bond between the two of them. Atalantia, who Lysander also sexually desires, agrees, although it is clear that she leads. Lysander visits a badly injured Kalindora who was unable to cope with Darrow in a duel and is now dying of poisoning (implying that Darrow, who never used poison, is not responsible). Kalindora urges Lysander to warn of Atalantia, who is morally and spiritually depraved. She also admits that it was Atalantia and she who are responsible for the death of Lysander's parents: On the orders of Octavia au Lune, both were eliminated at the time because they had worked with reformers against the head. Kalindora admonishes him that this is the wrong way to go. Lysander allies with Apollonius au Valii-Rath, who wants Atalantia, Atlas and others dead.


Ephraim ti Horn wakes up after the shuttle crash. Together with Pax and Electra, he is now in the control of the obsidians, who were able to save the three. The obsidian queen Sefi brought them to Mars to have some leverage against the republic. Sefi wants ships and safe land for her people, who have largely left the service of the republic. Victra au Julii-Barca should pay for that. The children would be guarded while Ephraim would use his skills to train obsidians in covert operations. Ephraim realizes that neither Pax nor Electra are intimidated, whereby Pax explains in a clever speech that the obsidians are making a huge mistake if they no longer want to work with the republic: The world society sees the obsidians not as people, but as cattle, that serves the fight; soon the mushroom clouds would also overtake the obsidians. Ephraim learns of tension in the leadership of the obsidians, not all of whom agree with the course of the queen, who is advised by a white man named Xenophon.

Pax reveals that there is information that obsidians from the deep space in the edge zone are noticeable and are united under a certain volsung. In addition, the obsidians rebelled against gold 500 years ago and were almost successful. Subsequently, the Golden have killed most of the obsidians and left only a few alive, whose society has been completely rebuilt and manipulated by the Golden. Survivors have fled into the deep space. Ephraim helps the obsidians, which in a stroke of a hand bring the continent of Cimmeria on Mars largely under control. They take action against red terrorists and other criminals and create order and security, which is very positive.

Then they get the news from Mercury and Luna; it appears that Darrow and Virginia are both dead. Subsequently, it is reported that obsidians believed to be part of Sefi allegedly attacked Victra au Julii-Barca. Ephraim escapes with both children, and they succeed. On the way, they received a message from Victra au Julii-Barca, who was trapped in a red terrorist camp with Lyria and Volga and threatened a warship outside. Ephraim organizes help from free ships (private ships and militia) and Pax proves to be a gifted pilot. They shut down the warship, and the children subsequently stop Victra from eliminating Ephraim for his past actions. Volga is thrilled to be back with Ephraim, who has made serious allegations about his behavior towards her. Ephraim also now knows that Volga is a daughter of Ragnar and therefore a niece of Sefi. And he knows that the Ascomanni exist from deep space and are already on Mars under Volsung.

Soon after, Ephraim returns to the Obsidians, where he realizes that Sefi's advisor Xenophon has manipulated everyone. Xenophon is actually a member of the Gorgons, an elite Atlas au Raa force who spent a long time in the Outer Rim. It is he who has planned and prepared the arrival of Volsung for years in order to break a united obsidians tribe. Volsung is the grandfather of Volgas and father of Sefi (whether this is true is unclear, since both Xenophon and Volsung are Atlas agents), he was always in the service of Atlas and remained as an agent with the Ascomanni in order to take the lead fight. Everything is going according to plan and Ephraim has the chance to take part. When he refuses, Ascomanni attack him. They have completely changed genetically and are hardly human anymore, but can live in a vacuum. Ephraim regains consciousness in a gathering of the obsidians and witnesses the betrayal of Sefi. Volsung appears and tells his daughter to resign, saying she is too weak to rule. Volsung brutally kills Sefi, and many of her followers also die. Volsung orders all conquered cities to be sacked and the inhabitants enslaved. He also demands that his heir, Volga, be brought to him (Volsung wants to manipulate and shape her according to his plans), otherwise it will continue like this on Mars. Ephraim later undertakes an assassination attempt in which Xenophon dies, but Volsung is only injured, who now cruelly kills Ephraim.


Lyria finds itself in the hands of the rich and influential Victra au Julii-Barca, who despises Lyria for her (unwanted) role in kidnapping Pax and Electra. Little by little, Lyria realizes in her cell what mistakes she has made in the past: She has always blamed others for their fate, for the deeds they suffered and the consequences of their own actions. She wants to finish with that. It is revealed to her that she is aboard the Pandora warship with Volga ; they are both to be handed over to the obsidians, for which the children are set free. But the meeting in the space around Mars turns out to be a trap of Xenophon and Volsung: Mutated Ascomanni, who live in a vacuum and can withstand great pain, hijack Pandora , apparently knowing something about Volga. Lyria, Volga and Victra have to flee and end up in escape pods on Mars, where Lyria finds the dead agent Fig, who kidnapped Lyria on Luna. Some kind of artificial parasite that was in Fig and gave her special abilities gets into Lyria, which is unable to remove it. Lyria and Volga meet the heavily pregnant Victra, who still keeps her nerve. In the city of Attica, one of their private legions would be ready, 50,000 men and women who just have to spark them. The women flee through the region because parts of the terrorist group "Red Hand" are active there.

In a settlement they gain access to a house where a man lives and cooperates with a young son and an even younger daughter. Victra gives birth to her child there; it is her first son, whom she calls Ulysses. Victra, Lyria and Volga are slowly getting closer. Volga wants to find a radio relay and Lyria briefly leaves the house. Then she warns the little girl: the man and the boy are red terrorists, the little girl the "wife" of the much older man. Lyria and Victra flee, but are separated. Lyria finds traces of blood and the body of little Ulysses, which has been brutally nailed to a tree. Lyria collapses when she realizes this and the fact that Volga and Victra are prisoners of the terrorists who are active throughout the settlement and maintain a base nearby.

Lyria realizes that everything now depends on her. She infiltrates the terrorist base by offering herself as a possible new wife. In the company of captured girls, she manages to convince several of them to fight the terrorists, for which she uses parts of Fig's espionage equipment. She kills her own new "husband" after he tells her where the prisoners are. Lyria eventually manages to get to Victra, who is traumatized by the murder of her little baby. The terrorists' commander is Harmony, who used to work with Dancer and Darrow, but then betrayed them both (end of Golden Son ). Lyria frees Victra, who is now fighting through the ranks of terrorists like a fury. Lyria's plan also provides for the release of the other prisoners, to which she also persuades Victra, who uses the base communication to call for help. Harmony is cornered and dies slowly and painfully, but a warship in front of the base blocks the escape route. The ships with Ephraim, Pax and Electra arrive at the base.

Victra brings them all to safety in Hippolyte on Mars, where most of their house legions are located. There Victra prepares for her revenge, on the syndicate, the traitors in their own ranks and the golden of world society. The almost certain annihilation of the Free Legions is reported from Mercury, from Luna from a betrayal of the tyrant Virginia, for which the people took revenge, and where the Vox Populi is now the legitimate government. Victra is informed by the new governor of Mars that one must let Volsung and the obsidians go, for which Volsung also demands Volga, the daughter of Ragnar. She knows of Ephraim's death at the hands of Volsung and agrees because she is planning her own revenge. Lyria is entrusted with a secret mission by Pax, and the new skills would help her.


Virginia au Augustus has to watch Luna as the republic, built with such great sacrifice, is being attacked from outside and inside and is slowly crumbling. The democratic system is skillfully manipulated by its opponents. The Vox Populi , the radical arm of Dancer's red movement, are becoming independent and are now calling the republic the new tyranny of the golden. She calls for peace, even though events have shown that the peace offers were a ploy, and refuses to support the forces on Mercury. The core of the Optimates, on the other hand, supports Virginia after their demand not to simply give up the troops on Mercury, which have just achieved a great victory at Heliopolis under the most difficult circumstances. Darrow's old 7th Legion, which is still on Luna, and parts of a combat group want to set off for Mercury on their own; Although they know that they will probably be destroyed beforehand, they do not want to leave the 10 million legionaries to themselves and thus to certain death. Meanwhile, Mars is almost united behind the leader, especially since most of the soldiers on Mercury are Martians. Virginia is a very intelligent woman and a shrewd politician, but she walks a fine line between different interests. She then activated all political forces in order to secure her the necessary votes in the Senate.

Virginia succeeds in catching the "Prince of Hands". She uses a technique she developed herself, which pulls information out of the brain like a scalpel and then deletes the memories. Sevro au Barca, Victra's husband, has been on Luna for days and left a trail of blood through the Syndicate. Virginia receives him in a secret hiding place, where the prince is interrogated, and an argument ensues. Sevro does not see the consequences of his brutal behavior, he sees it as an example: Anyone who attacks the Julii-Barca family ceases to exist. Virginia can convince him, however: Victra had let Sevro off the leash, but a concentrated approach is more effective. Sevro agrees and also reveals that the children are on Mars with Sefi. Together they take all the necessary information from the prince and then erase his brain. It now becomes clear that Dancer appears to be involved. Virginia and Sevro pose dancers and show him souvenir pictures of dancers and the prince in bed together. Dancer initially believes they want to blackmail him, since homosexuality is no longer a problem in society - except for the Reds, who are focused on family and their own children, of whom Dancer is one. Based on the data and the context, Virginia becomes clear that the innocent Senator Publius cu Caraval is making common cause with the Syndicate and Dancer has been lured into a trap. The three decide to take joint action in the Senate and against the Syndicate, the latter should be done by Sevro.

Everything turns out differently at the next Senate meeting. Dancer and other senators collapse bleeding before they can support the resolution while Virginia receives more terrifying news over the radio. Sevro reports from Earth that they got caught in a trap by the Bone Riders, the cruel body troop of Virginia's dead brother Adrius (the jackal), who are all in custody. The Guardians, a paramilitary state security organization, have apparently been infiltrated: They attack the 7th Legion and Virginia's bodyguard while the Senate guards do nothing to help. Publius, who evidently knew the plan, uses the blood of dead senators on his clothes to dramatically denounce Virginia of murder and tyranny. The mob waiting outside the Senate was instrumentalized and poured into the building, where loyal senators, including Daxo au Telemanus, are murdered. Virginia herself suffers numerous injuries and recognizes Lilath behind a mask in the Senate, the right hand of Adrius, who all believed to be dead. And now Virginia realizes that Lilath is the Queen of the Syndicate.

Virginia regains consciousness and realizes that attempts have been made to manipulate her brain with a technique similar to that used on the prince; however, it is better equipped and can withstand it. Publius appears and declares that he was only acting for the good of the common people. A renewed tyranny of the high colors threatened. For this he had cooperated with the syndicate, but that was now behind them. Executions of confidants of the old government are still in progress, when beinreiter and Lilath appear in the room, who gives up the red mask, whereupon Publius' co-conspirators have to realize to their horror that they have worked with gold. Lilath has other surprises too. She leads in a boy Virginia recognizes as her brother at a young age. Not only had Lilath escaped death at the end of Morning Star , she had given birth to a clone of the jackal, with careful information left behind. Publius and his followers are humiliated, but accept this and are now supposed to act as puppets, while the clone actually rules Luna. Sevro and other Howlers are also under his control, with the clone suggesting that Sevro is using the same method that Virginia used on the Prince. The clone explains how he got the information from inside the citadel in Luna (through a new type of surveillance system). Like Adrius, he wants his sister's approval. Virginia is able to outsmart the clone and narrowly escapes and injured through a secret entrance. She gets in touch with Holiday ti Nakamura, who are organizing a rescue force made up of the Lion Guard and the 7th Legion. They flee to Mars on their warships, although attempts to rescue Sevro have failed for the time being. Virginia learns from Kavax that he sent Cassius to Mercury to save Darrow. Apparently Cassius had escaped from the Rand Dominion and offered his services to the Republic, which he also informed of the new alliance between world society and Dominion.

Virginia arrives with her fleet on Mars, which prepares for war and welcomes Virginia enthusiastically. She was completely surprised to see millions of people in the capital, Agea, raising signs of revolt and red fists in the sky. Hundreds of thousands of new recruits volunteer for the armed forces. The old arch governor was assassinated, the new governor is Kieran, Darrow's older brother. He hands over full authority to Virginia on Mars and she is now reunited with Pax. Victra is also preparing for war. She has collected her private war fleet and her legions, and sons of Ares also join her. At their meeting, Victra makes grave allegations to Virginia: Virginia did nothing to save her own husband Darrow on Mercury, who is also Victra's best friend; Virginia did nothing for Victra's husband Sevro, who is now being tortured. If she doesn't want to help, she should go away. Virginia shows her the injuries she has suffered and says that she really tried everything. Both bury the quarrel and Victra explains that now instead of salvation, vengeance must suffice. Then she received the news that the earth had already fallen to cosmopolitan society and the edge dominion.

People in the Red Rising trilogy

  • Darrow von Lykos or Darrow au Andromedus is the protagonist of the original trilogy and a POV character of the second trilogy. He grew up as a red on Mars in the Lykos helium-3 mine. After the early death of his wife Eo, Darrow joined the Sons of Ares resistance group , whose goal is the overthrow of the Golden and their decadent world society. As a converted Golden, he rose quickly in his false identity as Darrow au Andromedus . As a Golden, he appears physically impressive and handsome. Intelligence, courage, ingenuity, fighting skills and a certain toughness made him appear as an ideal golden, who, despite enemies, enjoyed many friends and admirers (such as the young Lysander au Lune). At the same time, Darrow sometimes feared losing himself in his cover identity as a Golden. An important character trait of Darrow is his anger, which has been with him almost constantly since the death of Eos and which sometimes gave him a strong aggressiveness in battle, which often made his enemies fearful. Although Darrow always pursued the overthrow of the Golden and his revenge on Nero au Augustus as the ultimate goal, he recognized good qualities in many of them, such as Cassius au Bellona, ​​Roque au Fabii and sometimes even Nero. After Eo's death, Darrow refused to allow intimate feelings again for a long time. He was attracted to Mustang (Virginia au Augustus) early on, just as they were to him, but after a relatively brief relationship between the end of Red Rising and before the start of Golden Son , they only finally came together towards the end of Morning Star and have a son named Pax.
  • Cassius au Bellona came from one of the oldest and wealthiest golden houses on Mars. Cassius is described as exceedingly handsome and an almost perfect golden man who was the pride of his family. Initially close friends with Darrow, Cassius learns in the course of Red Rising that his twin brother Julian was killed by Darrow in the institute's first exam (in which two students fight each other to the death). Cassius then developed a hatred of Darrow, with whom he also competes for Mustang. Cassius' blood revenge is due not least to his understanding of honor, which he upholds as Bellona, ​​which sometimes makes him act quite dishonorable. Nevertheless, there is still a bond between Darrow and Cassius, especially since Darrow wants to defeat Cassius, but not necessarily want to kill. So Darrow spares Cassius during the plot of Morning Star and finally has a long conversation with him, in which both recognize that they have done enough evil to each other - and after the end of this it becomes clear to Cassius that it is not Darrow for the death of the rest of the Bellonas was responsible on Mars. Cassius then goes his own way, trying to live up to his own definition of honor.
  • Adrius au Augustus , also known as the Jackal , is the younger son of Nero au Augustus and brother of Virginia. He is extremely intelligent, cold-blooded to sociopathic and extremely ambitious. He also tried in vain to gain recognition from his father, who thought little of him. Despite his high parentage, he was more of an outsider, and gathered people around him who followed him unconditionally and acted unscrupulously. He always kept his real plans hidden from others, so that he was often very surprisingly active. Initially allied with Darrow in Golden Son , at the end of the book he eliminated all of his potential adversaries, even at the cost of betraying his own father, whom he killed himself. In Morning Star he now acted as Arch-Governor of Mars, often giving free rein to his sadism. Often one step ahead of his opponents, at the end of the bookstore he did not succeed in achieving his highest goal of becoming the new head, even though he accepted millions of deaths for doing so. At the end of Morning Star , he was executed by Virginia.
  • Virginia au Augustus , also known as Mustang , is the only daughter of Nero au Augustus and sister of Adrius; her favorite brother Claudius died before the bookstore started (for which the jealous Adrius was secretly responsible). She is described as very attractive, both Darrow and Cassius fell in love with her, with Virginia only honestly reciprocating Darrow's feelings. She is extremely intelligent and politically very well trained. Virginia attaches great importance to loyalty and is a golden reformer who has recognized the flaws in the political system and wants to remedy them as far as possible. She often subordinates her emotions to this and is therefore rarely guided by feelings. In Darrow she recognizes someone who, unlike her father Nero, shares many of her values; so she finally takes his side in Morning Star , although she now knows that he is actually a red and an enemy of world society. In the end, they do not come together, but also begin reforming the system, now with Virginia as the new head.
  • Nero au Augustus , Arch -Governor of Mars and father of Adrius and Virginia. Nero's family is one of the oldest golden houses, one of his ancestors killed the last Indian emperor during the conquest of the earth. Nero is a tough, ruthless and cold-blooded man who hardly shows any emotions. He is a conservative Golden who has nothing to do with reforms and is convinced that the world society of the Golden represents the best possible political order, after humanity has temporarily reached the brink of complete annihilation before gold. He is very power-conscious, so he dares a civil war with the leader who wanted to depose him in order to favor Nero's arch-enemies, the Bellona family. Darrow acts by his side for a long time and has to recognize that Nero often does not act out of selfish motives, but rather seems convinced that he has to act hard when necessary and also demonstrates personal courage. He is killed by Adrius at the end of Golden Son .
  • Sevro au Barca comes from a very humble golden background. Physically unimposing and often expressing himself vulgarly, Sevro is very capable and clever in terms of fighting. In the course of time, he binds gold people who, like him, are more likely to be viewed as outsiders. With him as the leader, these howlers make a very effective commando force. Sevro is probably Darrow's best friend, especially since both secretly belong to the sons of Ares : Sevro's mother Bryn was a red who, contrary to the law, linked herself to Sevro's father Fitchner au Barca. She herself died some time after Sevro was born, but Fitchner then built up the sons' resistance network. Sevro is extremely loyal and expects the Howlers and his friends to be too . At the end of Morning Star , he marries Victra au Julii.

Red Rising in Other Media

A film adaptation of the first band at Universal Pictures by Marc Forster was planned, after a long delay Brown withdrew the rights and is working on the realization as a TV series.

In 2017 a six-part graphic novel entitled Sons Of Ares was published , which takes place before Red Rising and describes the early life of Fitchner au Barca and the emergence of the rebel group Sons of Ares . Brown was involved as a writer, with Rik Hoskin as an additional writer and Eli Powell as an illustrator.


Red Rising's first novel already received good reviews, and with regard to the subsequent volumes Golden Son and Morning Star , the expanded worldbuilding, the characterizations (which were almost never black and white) and the plot twists were even more emphasized.

In the context of the second trilogy, both the first volume Iron Gold and the second volume Dark Age received very positive reviews.

The volumes Red Rising , Golden Son and Morning Star reached places 20, 6 and 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list . Iron Gold and Dark Age are also featured in the New York Times Best Seller list .

Furthermore, his books won the Goodreads Choice Award (in which only the registered readers' votes count) in the science fiction category in the corresponding years . Among other things, he was nominated for the Prometheus Award (2016 for Golden Son ).


  • 1 Red Rising (2014)
  • 2 Golden Son (2015)
  • 3 Morning Star (2016)
  • 4 Iron Gold (2018)
    • English: Red Rising - Ashes to Ashes. Translated by Claudia Kern. Cross Cult, Ludwigsburg 2018, ISBN 978-3-95981-808-7 . Audiobook: Ashes to Ashes. Read by Marco Sven Reinbold. Translated by Claudia Kern. Ronin Hörverlag, Erlangen 2018, ISBN 978-3-96154-097-6 .
  • 5 Dark Age (2019)
    • German in 2 parts:
      • Part 1: Red Rising - The Dark Age 1. Translated by Claudia Kern. Cross Cult, Ludwigsburg 2020, ISBN 978-3-96658-035-9 .
      • Part 2: Red Rising - The Dark Age 2. Translated by Claudia Kern. Cross Cult, Ludwigsburg 2020, ISBN 978-3-96658-037-3 .
      • Audiobook: The Dark Age. Read by Marco Sven Reinbold. Translated by Claudia Kern. Ronin Hörverlag, Erlangen 2020, ISBN 978-3-96154-098-3 .

Comic adaptations (with Rik Hoskin):

  • Red Rising: Sons of Ares (2017)
  • Red Rising: Sons of Ares - Volume 2: Wrath (2020)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The novel plot of Red Rising begins in the year 736 after the conquest of the earth by the Golden, see evidence in the plot section for the first volume below.
  2. Morning Star , Chapter 53.
  3. Morning Star , Chapters 5 and 50.
  4. See Morning Star , Chapter 15.
  5. Golden Son , Chapter 4.
  6. Golden Son , Chapters 12 and 51.
  7. Golden Son , Chapter 51.
  8. Golden Son , Chapter 12.
  9. Iron Gold , Chapter 7.
  10. Iron Gold , Chapter 6.
  11. Golden Son , Chapter 46.
  12. Golden Son , Chapters 4 and 51.
  13. Golden Son , Chapter 15.
  14. Reddit posting about the technologies mentioned in the books
  15. Darrow is 16 years old at the beginning of the book. In the map description for the book Iron Gold , the current year is 753 after the conquest, when Darrow was 33 years old, so he was born in 720.
  16. See map description for the solar system in Iron Gold .
  17. See map description for Mercury in Dark Age .
  18. Article in
  20. Reviews: ; USA Today
  21. Reviews: ; NPR ; Kirkus Review
  22. Reviews: ; , NPR ; Kirkus Review ; Publishers Weekly ; NPR .
  23. ^ Publishers Weekly ; NPR ; Kirkus Reviews .
  24. NPR ; Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi Blog
  25. NY Times Bestseller List (Hardcover Fiction)
  26. NY Times Bestseller List (Combined E-Book and Hardcover Fiction)
  27. Winner 2014 , 2015 and 2016 .