Title: Golden Son
Author: Pierce Brown
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure
What It’s About: Darrow, now 20 years old, had graduated over 2 years ago from the Institute, took on a position of Lancer at House Augustus, and now trains in the Academy, a prestigious school not unlike the Institute that focuses on space warfare. Darrow commands his fleet with two of his old friends and lieutenants from the Institute–Roque and Tactus–while the rest of his friends have been scattered across the solar system. Specifically, Sevro and the Howlers have been sent to far orbit while Mustang has taken up politics on Luna. Darrow has also become friends with Victra au Julii, the half-sister of the brutal woman who betrayed him in the institute–Antonia au Julii, but he questions her motives for getting close to him.
It looks like it will be an easy victory for Darrow against his last opponent, Karnus au Bellona–brother to Julian and Cassius, both of whom Darrow knew at his days in the Institute. Karnus is left with one ship, giving Darrow the confidence with his odds to move in for the destruction of the ship. Except a second ship slips through his line of defense and rams him, devastating his flagship, which surprises Darrow. He is left to die by Tactus, but manages to make it to his personal escape pod where he attempts a last-ditch effort to use a suit traditionally used for planetary invasions known as Iron Rains. His effort is nullified as the Proctors override his decision, claiming that it would be a suicide mission. As a result, their interference gives Karnus the win, and Darrow seems to be the only one bothered by the loss of 833 men from the collision of his ship.
Soon after returning soil-side, Darrow is jumped by seven Bellona men lead by Karnus, who beat him badly. Karnus tells him that his actions against House Bellona–referring to Julian’s death–will not go unanswered as his mother wants Darrow’s heart. Things take turn for the worst afterwards, as Darrow is then informed by Nero au Augustus–the Archgovernor of Mars for whom he has worked as a lancer–and Nero’s chief political, Pliny, that due to the embarrassment of Darrow losing to a Bellona, he will be removed from his position as lancer. Nero only gives Darrow a few days notice rather than the traditional months-long notice, which in turn destroys any power and clout Darrow may have held and removes all the protections afforded to him by House Augustus. Essentially it is a death sentence, because no one will touch Darrow now.
Out of desperation, Darrow and Victra meet with Adrius au Augustus, known as The Jackal, in the Lost City on Luna. Victra leaves Darrow and the Jackal to discuss an uneasy alliance, as the Jackal has been expanding his power since the Institute and is now in control of a sizable percentage of the Core’s media network. The Jackal plans to unseat the Sovereign and destroy the Sons of Ares with that power, by using the immensely popular Darrow as a sort of figurehead TV-hero to gather support. In return, the Jackal would use his considerable fortune to purchase Darrow’s contract. Darrow agrees to this as he sees no other way to make it into the next month. At one point during their conversation, Darrow notices Evey, a Pink he knows from his time with Dancer and the Sons of Ares, posing as a lure for the Jackal. Surprised to see him, Evey takes the chance to let Darrow know that there are bombs in the area that are targeting the Jackal because of how much he has been persecuting the Sons of Ares. Darrow decides to save his new alliance in order to save himself, by rushing back to save the Jackal’s life.
Evey finds Darrow after the explosion, and takes him to Harmony, who seems to be in charge now. It is Harmony that tells him that Dancer was killed in a raid on a Sons compound, and Darrow also sees Mickey, the carver who worked on him. Now Mickey is treated as a slave and forced to do anything that Harmony commands, as he is constantly beaten and humiliated. Harmony has lost any and all humanity and it appears that she is pulling Evey the same way, going as far as admitting that they are the ones who have been detonating all of the bombs, because they believe that is the only way to get the Gold’s attentions. Harmony then offers Darrow the chance to help them by detonating a radium bomb at an upcoming gala where all of the Gold leaders of Society will be, killing nearly every Gold of note. Darrow refuses to have any hand in this until Harmony show’s him the video of Eo’s hanging, with enhanced audio, and he finally hears Eo’s last words to her sister, Dio: She had been pregnant. In his pain and rage, Darrow agrees to the plan.
Before the gala, Darrow visits Roque in his room and apologizes to him for his behavior. Roque thinks nothing of it, tells him that all is forgiven and indicates to Darrow that he will bid on him at the auction tomorrow so Darrow does not have to worry. He claims that he is doing that because Darrow is his closest friend and truly a brother. Darrow knows that he will die that night, so he says his final goodbye and sedates Roque, both betraying Roque and ensuring his safety. At the Gala, where he arrives with the bomb strapped to his chest, Darrow recognizes many individuals including Antonia, Karnus, Cassius and Mustang. Cassius has been made the Morning Knight–one of the Sovereign’s Olympic Knights–and has Mustang at his side, confirming the rumors that were plaguing Darrow. Seeing Mustang, for whom he still has feelings, with Cassius, his supposed mortal enemy, Darrow’s composure and plan go out the window, so he leaves the Gala to catch his breath, gather his thoughts before deciding to not set off the bomb, and opting for a different plan.
Darrow returns to the Gala, marching straight up to the Bellona table, jumping on top of it, and making his way through the dinner plates towards Cassius. With complete intention, Darrow is making the biggest scene that he can, and yells about the wrongs done to him and the justice that he deserves. This brings Cassius to his feet, and the Sovereign decides that on this special occasion, she will allow a duel on an otherwise sacred ground. Darrow makes a plea to Nero, begging for his favor in the duel and the blessing to fight not only for his own honor but that of House Augustus itself, reminding Nero of Claudius’ (one of Nero’s children) death at the hands of Karnus and the growing boldness of the Bellona children. Nero agrees and the duel begins, quickly becoming obvious that Cassius is still the better swordsman. The Bellona and the Sovereign are happy with Cassius, who nearly killed Darrow at the Institute. But then Darrow drops the act, and reveals that between the Institute and the Academy, he had been training in the art of Cravat, with Lorn au Arcos, the former Rage Knight. As a result, he quickly bests Cassius, severing his arm, which forces the Sovereign’s hand–she tries to stop Darrow from killing her newest Olympic Knight, also revealing that Cassius is a favorite. Planning all of this, Darrow notes to all how the Sovereign is trying to overrule the sacred laws of the Compact in which duels are to the death, and nothing can change that. He moves to finish off Cassius, only to be stopped by Mustang.
Cassius is spared but it is too late to stop what Darrow has started. As Cassius’ mother screams for the Reaper’s head, a Bellona is killed while trying to attack Darrow. This leads to Bellona and Augustus forces to clash, bringing the bitter rivalry of the two houses to the front. In the melee, Nero’s lead Lancer and likely heir, Leto, is killed by Karnus; however, only Darrow sees the dart fired by the Jackal into Leto’s leg, paralyzing him before he reaches Karnus. As House Augusts tries to make their escape out of the Gala, they are met with Fitchner au Barca, the Institute proctor who is now the Rage Knight, and his obsidians. He convinces House Mars to return to their estate, but also takes Darrow to meet with the Sovereign, who is with her grandson, Lysander and one of her Furies, Aja au Grimmus.
The Sovereign offers Darrow a position by her side, which Darrow rejects. She then challenges him to a game of truths, which if he wins, will allow him a chance to get whatever he wishes from her. This game involves sculpted pit-vipers that look like scorpions, known as oracles, that inject an immensely painful venom when they sense lies. They start questioning each other, and sharing many truths, which perhaps Octavia au Lune, the Sovereign, gives a bit too freely being too confident that she cannot lose. Octavia reveals that she did give Karnus the extra mystery ship during the Academy that destroyed Darrow’s ship, among other confessions. Mustang enters the room, showing how close she had grown to House Lune, and Darrow, having pieced together Octavia’s plan, takes the opportunity to ask if Octavia had planned for House Bellona to kill the Archgovernor Augustus and everyone at his table during the Sixth Course of dinner. Octavia denies it, but the Oracle bites, revealing the lie. Mustang is enraged for the Sovereign for planning the murder of her family right under her nose, but after some further conversation, agrees that the death of her father is the best thing for the society.
Darrow is then locked in a bedroom, but quickly rescued by Sevro, his Howlers, and Quinn, who carry a wriggling bag. Sevro reveals that Mustang gathered them all on Luna weeks ago, and they rush around to save the rest of House Augustus, only to find many Pinks, Browns, and Violets that have already been killed by the Praetorians and the Bellona. They track the House Golds including Nero, Roque and The Jackal to a swamp where they are running out of air but they are surrounded. Darrow then decides to use the ace Sevro brought–Lysander. The Sovereign has no choice but to let them go, and Mustang arrives with a ship to evacuate all of them. Unfortunately, at the last second, Aja attacks Quinn, mercilessly beating her head. The Jackal is left with Quinn to try to save her as they make their flight to space.
During the escape, Tactus escapes the ship with Lysander, in hopes of gaining favor with the Sovereign. With the protection gone, and time running out for everyone, while they are still being pursued by the Sovereign’s fleet, Darrow decides it is time to do the one thing that he was stopped from doing during the Academy–doing an Iron rain directly to the bridge of the ship. With Sevro at his side, they directly launch themselves at the bridge of the flagship of the Ash Lord.
There, they overtake the Bridge, rename the ship Pax, and Darrow tells the Blue on the bridge that he will need a new commander for the ship. He wants one of them to fill the opening, a position that historically was held by Gold. After some debate between all the blues on board, Darrow settles on a sarcastic and outcast Blue, Orion xe Aquarii. He then announces to the rest of the ship that he will not vent them into space, should they join him, and issues orders for the non-Golds onboard the ship to overtake their Gold commanders, which most do. They meet an Obsidian, a Stained, who introduces himself to them as Ragnar Volarus, after he kills four Golds and six Obsidians by himself. Ragnar considers Darrow a godchild for taking the prized ship in the Ash Lord’s armada with only two men, and offers himself to Darrow. Darrow accepts the stains.
As Ragnar cleans up the remainder of the resistance, Mustang and Darrow’s remaining allies board the ship, and use it to defeat the Sovereign’s fleet before escaping past the Rubicon Beacons. Unfortunately, Quinn dies and the Jackal claims he was not behind the death, but her death leaves Roque reeling and Sevro questioning the glory of the war. Darrow knows that Roque blames him for Quinn’s death, and also for the deception at the gala. Wanting to avoid another a betrayal kind of like the one of Tactus, Darrow goes after Sevro to comfort him.
It is then that Sevro reveals that Ares had contacted him three months prior to his arrival in Luna in order to get him to and his Howlers to Luna to help Darrow. Sevro gives Darrow a whisperGem to watch on his own, which is a message from a still-masked Ares, saying that he was betrayed by Harmony and that Darrow was right not to use the radium bomb at the gala. He tells Darrow that he is proud of him, and urges him to carry on, before also stating that Dancer is alive, and Dancer shows on the video to assure Darrow that his family is safe.
Sevro then gives Darrow the opportunity to admit who he is, telling him that he knows a truth about him, and if Darrow doesn’t admit it to him, he will leave with no intentions of coming back. Darrow admits that he is a Red, and Sevro says that he was shown Darrow’s carving when he met with Dancer, but he does not treat him as any different than he had until then. Darrow feels relief at having someone finally know the secret and the truth that he’s kept with him for so long. Sevro tells him that he is still loyal to him, but admits that not everyone will be.
At some point Darrow finds Victra, who tells him that he should take the State Room, which is the largest room on the ship, because he was the one who captured the ship. She actually corners him in his room on his own, and Darrow can tell that Victra loves him, and is creating the sexual tension, but then he stops her and tells her that he knows how she feels but makes it clear he doesn’t feel the same way. Darrow tells her that he wants to actually get to know her, not the facade she puts up to keep everyone out. He reintroduces himself as a way to start over, and Victra plays along.
Later on that night, unable to sleep, Darrow finds Mustang in the mess hall, and they spend hours talking about what she learned in Luna, how she never lost loyalty to her family, about the Board of Quality Control and about the rigidity of the society laws. She tells him a story about a Gold that fell in love with a Red, and they had a child together. The Board of Quality apparently killed the Red and removed any traces of them from all records. Mustang acknowledges that the Society will eventually break somehow, but no one knows how. Eventually the conversation turns bitter when she talks about her choice to lure Cassius into falling in love with her as a way to protect her family, and Mustang also warns Darrow not to trust her twin, the Jackal, without whom they can actually win the war. Darrow hears her but does not heed her warning.
A month later, floating around the universe, the Archgovernor rallies all his loyal troops, and Darrow lays out the next step, ignoring Pliny’s warning of escalating the war. Darrow plans to capture Ganymede’s ships and kidnapping the student of the Institute, which the council agrees upon; however, Augustus decides that he will attack Ganymede himself, while his children–Jackal and Mustang–will attack the Institute. Darrow in the meantime would try to rally Lorn au Arcos to their cause.
Lorn refuses to put his family in danger and rejects Darrow’s plan, despite his love for his student. He confesses that Aja and a Praetorian death squad have been waiting for Darrow’s arrival for days around his home, and offers Darrow to take his massive sculpted Griffin, Icarus, to flee. Darrow does not take the offer as he had predicted the ambush, and while the Sovereign’s ships move in to attack the expectedly small force escorting Darrow’s escort, they are then faced with Roque’s sizable fleet. Aja and Tactus walk in from Lorn’s estate to meet with Darrow, but they are met with the Howlers and also see that Darrow obviously knew of the ambush. This makes it seem like Arcos warned his student, and forces Lorn’s hand, pulling the retired Rage Knight back into war.
As part of Darrow’s counter-ambush are small bombs he had secretly placed as he first entered the garden with Lorn. He triggers those bombs and those take out the Obsidian squad that had come with Aja and Tactus, but Tactus’ reflexes saves both Aja and Tactus. Aja jumps into the ocean to escape, and Tactus flees to Lorn’s estate, with Lorn and Darrow in pursuit. They find him holding Lorn’s family at razor-point, and Darrow talks him down into releasing the family, with a promise of forgiveness and a spot back at Darrow’s side. Tactus agrees, and lets Lorn’s family go, only for Lorn to live up to his name as the Rage Knight and kill him. An injured and battered Mustang arrives with the news that her father has been captured and Pliny has set a coup. She claims that her forces were expected on Mars and decimated, while the Jackal was arrested after sacrificing himself so that he may escape.
When Mustang and Darrow go to see Tactus’ body, Roque is there. Tactus’ death just adds to Roque’s rough few weeks, and he is the coldest and angriest that either Darrow or Mustang have seen. Specifically he is pissed with Darrow, especially considering Tactus’ death and the fact that Aja escaped. Roque tells Darrow that when Tactus had supposedly sold the violin that Darrow had gifted him, he felt so guilty about it that he stopped the sale from finalizing. Instead, he had been practicing in private to surprise Darrow with a Sonata. Mustang warns Darrow, after Roque leaves, to fix his broken friendship with Roque before it’s too late.
Mustang briefs the remaining loyalists on what happened with Augustus, who was actually taken captive by the Rage Knight Fitchner, and the Morning Knight Cassius, but only after killing the Hearth Knight. Victra’s mother’s forces were involved in the coup, which creates distrust around Victra, but Darrow reassures everyone that Victra’s loyalty is unquestionable after speaking to Roque about her. The contingent decides to go to Hilda’s Station, where the Jackal’s and Mustang’s forces have been amassing. In the meantime, Lorn tells Darrow to be careful about trusting Ragnar, because he believes that Ragnar is a weapon and nothing more, and given half a chance, he would betray and kill Darrow. Darrow refuses to believe that, noting that Lorn himself changed from the Rage killing machine to a peaceful old teacher.
Darrow goes to talk to Ragnar, but finds it hard to penetrate the brainwashing, as Ragnar believes he is to obey Gold and nothing more. Darrow persists, knowing that Ragnar is a lot more than he lets on, and when Ragnar is confused because he is convinced that he is being tricked, Darrow confesses his Red origins to Ragnar. As part of this, he tells the Obsidian that he does not have to be a slave any more, and to choose his own destiny.
The ships land on Hildas Station, pretty easily rescue the prisoners, storming the compound with a drill. Pliny is killed in the process by his supporters and Darrow announces that the Reaper of Mars is calling for the first Iron Rain in twenty years. Roque and Victra are to command the battle in the skies while Lorn and Darrow lead the assault on the surface. Roque questions Darrow’s tactics, proposing a city siege rather than an outright attack, but Darrow is set on attacking the cities first. Upon urging from Victra, Roque gives Darrow a farewell kiss on his cheeks, and Darrow brings their foreheads together for a moment, during which he apologizes for all who have been lost, and all of the slights. He tells Roque that he is his dearest friend and his brother, but that Darrow himself has been afraid. Roque says they will make amends later. After this, Lorn approaches Darrow, admitting that he probably should not have killed Tactus, seeing how Darrow’s men look at him with respect and that they would do anything for Darrow.
As the Iron Rain begins, the war becomes a death box–thousands die before ever reaching the ground. The bulk of the forces attack the walls of Area, but the Reaper leads a few dozen people, including the Howlers through a secret path through the river that the Sons of Ares secured the night before. Emerging on the other side of the wall though, they are ambushed by a girl on the river who is doing her laundry. She detonates an ElectroMagnetic Pulse device that renders the mach suits the whole contingents wear as useless. The group falls from the sky, some on the shore of the river to be executed as they lay catatonic, while others fall into the river to drown as their suits slowly run out of air. Darrow manages to escape from his suit, and helps Ragnar do the same, so that the two of them can clear the remaining Bellona men on the beach. Then they return to find survivors and help them. The group realizes that their team of nearly three dozen men is reduced to Ragnar, Darrow, a few obsidians, and a handful of Howlers, all of whom are now without armor.
During the subsequent cleanup of the beach, Darrow gives Ragnar a razor, which is traditionally for Gold hands only, and usually results in death for any other color to even touch it. Many of the Howlers become uncomfortable with this, but all come around except for Thistle, who only agrees to it after peer-pressure. Darrow then sends Ragnar and the other Obsidians,all now wielding Razors, to attack the back of the wall and open the gates for the remaining forces. Darrow and the Howlers make their way towards the Citadel. As they move along, Sevro, the only Howler who possess a working pair of gravity-levitating boots at that stage, comes back with the news that Ragnar managed to open the gates, kill the Wind Knight, and almost kill Cassius, resulting in all of the Obsidians in the army going wild.
The group reaches the Citadel wall, but after getting Darrow up on the wall, Sevro’s boots give out. Not having any other option and wanting to avoid putting everyone else in more danger, Darrow makes the decision to go forward into the Citadel on his own. He attacks a group of Grays, and then jumps aboard the Sovereign’s ship, where he finds himself surrounded by Karnus, Aja, Fitchner, the Praetorians and the Sovereign. Never one to miss a political opportunity, Octavia commands Fitchner to start recording, while Aja executes the battered and beaten Darrow in front of them. Fitchner tries to argue that Darrow would be more valuable as a prisoner, whom they could torture for information. Seeing Fitchner’s reluctance to have Aja execute Darrow and sensing Fitchner’s favoritism, Octavia commands Fitchner to execute his former student. While Fitchner hesitates, Karnus, who is greedy for revenge, tries to attack instead, only for Darrow to take him out. Now that Fitchner has no choice, he goes up to Darrow telling him that he is a stupid boy, that Fitchner had everything under control and reveals that it’s been him the whole time. Fitchner drops a grenade, shoots the Praetorians, and jumps out of the ship with an unconscious Darrow.
A week later, Darrow wakes up to find Mustang, who gives him the news that all of Cassius’ family are dead except for Cassius and his mother, both of whom are missing. She also tells him that Roque was able to capture more than 80% of the Bellona fleet, making his own fleet larger than Darrow’s, while the Sovereign managed to escape the explosion, though she has been badly wounded. Darrow and Mustang open up on a deeper level and make love for the first time.
Darrow tries to mend his friendship with Roque but Sevro calls him away with urgent news that the Jackal has captured Harmony, Evey, and Mickey. As a result, Darrow visits the Jackal in Attica, making himself a distraction while Sevro and some others rescue the three. Darrow makes it seem like the person who betrayed the Jackal was one of his own lieutenants, which they kidnap with them as they leave.
Later on, Darrow and Sevro meet with the Sons of Ares as a secret warehouse location, where they find the Telemanuses. Fitchner tells them how he became Ares after he fell in love with Sevro’s mom, a Red. They were together, and tried to do everything to have a child, which eventually resulted in Sevro. While he took Sevro out on a day trip, the Board of Quality Control had gotten wind of the whole romance, came to their house and killed her before wiping all records of her. Ares’ next plan is to have the Archgovernor adopt Darrow as his heir and make Darrow rise from there, all the way to eventually becoming the Sovereign. Darrow agrees, on three conditions: 1) he is in constant communication with Ares from here on out, 2) Darrow sees his family in Lykos before they go any further, and 3) Darrow makes Mustang with him to the mines. Fitchner agrees to the first two without a problem, and to the third condition only after Sevro says he will kill her if she tries anything.
Darrow arrives on Lykos with Ragnar, Mustang and Sevro. He returns to the garden that Eo had brought him to four years prior and where she had been buried. He realizes then that she had been only a small fraction of his life now, and while she was his guiding light all these years in the fight against the Golds, it’s no longer enough. He finds the guards that used to make his life difficult, and reminisces about the mines, which are not at all how he remembers them. He meets with the mine Magistrate and tells him to bring the food he brought from his ship and allow the people of the mine of Lykos a feast. He watches as his people eat and dance, remembering himself in the same place, when Mustang finds him there. He asks her to follow him, and takes her down to a Helium-3 mine, somewhere hidden and obscure. When Mustang asks what they are doing in this random mine, he responds that he is letting her all the way in, and walks her through his old stomping grounds, stopping outside of his old house. There, he hands her a holo-cube of his carving, and tells her to watch it. If she wants to be with him after she watches it, she can come inside, otherwise she is welcome to leave. Then he enters through the door into the house, leaving Mustang alone.
Inside the house, he finds his mother, who recognizes the golden version of her son immediately. She gives him tea, and they talk, with her revealing that Darrow’s uncle, Narol and his son, Loran, died via a fall down the mineshaft but they’ve never been able to find their bodies. The two talk at length until they are interrupted by one of Darrow’s nephews, at which point Darrow leaves, unsure if he will ever see his mother again. Mustang’s tracker says that she left in her shuttle, and Sevro follows the shuttle thinking that he may have to kill her before she can expose Darrow’s secret.
This all turns out to be fake, when she confronts Darrow in a cave as he is walking back to his ship. She is upset that she was being tracked, and upset with what she has learned as well as the manner in which it was presented to her. She feels that her only option is to kill Darrow who will only bring destruction to her house and color. Darrow tells her to go ahead and kill him, because if she cannot change, then no Gold can change. Ragnar, who has been keeping tabs on Darrow, appears, claiming that Darrow is too important to die. He adds that he will do anything in his power to make sure that Darrow does not die. Mustang readies for a fight, indicating to Darrow that he needs to pay attention to what he is releasing into the world as it can be problematic, but Ragnar pushes back on her, agreeing with Darrow that if she cannot accept the new world, there is no hope. She leaves Darrow in the mine, disappearing for good, and Darrow tells Sevro to let her go.
At Darrow’s Triumph, where the Iron Rain is to be memorialized, Nero tells Darrow that he will adopt him and make him Heir to the House, which is the Jackal’s idea. As Roque presents Darrow with his wreath, he betrays Darrow and injects him with a paralyzing agent that forces Darrow to watch the events unfold. He watches Lorn au Arcos be murdered, and Antonia au Julii killing her mother and shooting her half-sister, Victra in the back. He watches the Jackal kill his own father, Nero, but only after telling him how he, the Jackal, was responsible for both Leto and Claudius’ deaths. The Jackal then reveals that he actually killed Quinn and was only pretending to save her life. Cassius is at the Triumph, and accuses Darrow of murdering the Bellona children, which confuses Darrow as he has no idea what Cassius is going on about. Roque presents Darrow with Fitchner’s head, which is why Fitchner did not show up to the Triumph and Sevro went in search of his father. There is some hope, as Mustang, the Telemanuses, Sevro, the Howlers and Ragnar were either not found, or far out of reach of the Jackal. Victra drags herself over to Darrow in the end.
My Thoughts: The book was really gripping–especially as Darrow suffers loss after loss in the beginning, and then comes back with a vengeance, before having to give up his secrets and choose his allies wisely. That said, I could never understand why Darrow would not try to patch up his relationship with Roque from the get-go. I could not understand what specifically was stopping him from sitting down with Roque and sharing his side of the story, and why he doesn’t listen to Roque–that was another issue for me–because clearly Roque knows his way around warships, as evidenced with his battling prowess.
This was a good second book in the series that starts off four years after the last one ended, and it was definitely rich in political intrigue as well as storytelling and action. One thing that I definitely take away from this book, if I haven’t already from book one, is that Darrow is very capable. He can kick ass and make things happen beyond the expected–when folks think that he’s defeated or has no way out, he definitely comes back with a unique twist on solving the problem, revealing to all the underlying cracks that no one else had addressed for so long. That’s evident in the way that he handles the Sovereign at the beginning, and later on Mustang, Roque and Sevro. Second thing that you need to know: Don’t trust the Jackal–ever.
If you’re looking for a long series to read that may take some time (each book is about four parts), then this is definitely for you. It is very gripping, and fascinating.