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My Brother Sam Is Dead

By Collier Christopher James Lincoln

  • Window Douglas’s

James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier were born in New York City in 1928 and 1930, respectively.  Their family was comprised of writers and teachers, so it was only natural for the brothers to follow in the family footsteps.  James attended Hamilton College while Christopher attended Clark University and Columbia University; the brothers went on to write several historical novels together.  Christopher worked as a history teacher while James worked as a journalist, which made them a perfect pair to write novels which would educate children, young adults and older adults alike about momentous events in history.

My Brother Sam is Dead (1974) was written by the Collier brothers about the American Revolution in the late-1770s.  It follows the story of Tim Meeker who is too young to fight in the war, or to truly understand the war enough to choose a side.  His older brother Sam is fighting and has chosen to fight for the Rebel army which goes against Mr. Meeker’s loyalty to the British.  This novel illustrates the hardships, both physical and emotional, that American citizens faced during the war that divided the nation.  My Brother Sam is Dead was received well by critics and readers alike and even earned the Collier brothers some notable praise.  The novel was a Newbery Honor Book, was named an ALA Notable Children’s Book, and was up for a National Book Award in 1975.

Tim Meeker lives with his family in Redding, Connecticut at the start of the American Revolution.  Most of the people in Tim’s town, including his parents, are loyal to the British; Tim’s older brother Sam is an exception because he is strongly in support of the Rebels, which are the American troops.  Tim’s family is torn apart when Sam makes the decision to join the Minutemen against his parents’ wishes.  Tim does not understand well enough to choose a side; while he would like to make Sam proud of him, he thinks that he would side with the Loyalists because it is what he feels he is supposed to do.  It is quite some time before the violence of the war reaches Redding, and during this time the only effects of war that the Meekers and their neighbors experience is depletion of resources.

The day that the fighting reaches Redding is the day that Tim’s life changed forever.  There are senseless deaths  at the hands of soldiers on both sides of the war, and Tim is further confused about which side he would belong to; he honestly feels no sympathy for either side after seeing the destruction they all have caused.  The people that Tim cares most about are slowly taken from his life because of the war, and he is unsure how to proceed, especially when he sees how affected his mother is by the hardship.  By the end of the war, Tim has grown exponentially as a person and become a mature young man; he experienced so much pain that he had no other choice, but to grow up and become man of the house.  When Tim looks back on the war, he realizes that despite the hard times the world would not become what it was without people like Sam fighting for what they believed in.

Family

Family is something that is important to the Meekers, despite their differences of opinion.  Though Sam did not agree with his parents’ loyalty to the British, he still loved them and wanted them to understand that he was passionate about what he was fighting for.  Sam would always try to contact his family whenever he could and visit with them when he was back in town, even though Mr. Meeker had essentially disowned him as a son.  It is not until Mr. Meeker is on his death bed that he admits he has forgiven Sam and that he loves his family more than anything.

Loyalty

For Mr. Meeker it is important that he and his family stay loyal to the British because he feels that they have no reason for their loyalty to waver.  For Sam, it is essential to be loyal to a cause that he believes in whether it is in agreement with the beliefs of his father or not.  Tim has different loyalties because his do not lie with either side of the war; in fact, he has no idea which side he would even want to be loyal to; Tim’s loyalties lie only with his family.  Tim even risked his own life to try to rescue Sam when he was sentenced to death, proving that his loyalty to Sam was unwavering. 

Glory

Tim looks up to Sam more than anyone and everything that Tim does he hopes will be something that will make Sam proud.  Tim has grandiose notions of the war when Sam first begins fighting; he believes that Sam is in it for the glory, and Tim wants some of that glory, as well.  Tim speaks a lot about the glory of the war and the glory of bravery; he does not realize that there is no glory in war until he sees firsthand the devastation that it causes.  When Tim witnesses death right in front of him, he loses respect and sympathy for both sides of the war and no longer has illusions of grandeur.

Loss

During wartime, there is always loss experienced, in many ways and on all sides.  For the Meekers loss is first experienced when Sam decides that his loyalties lie with the Americans, and he will fight with them.  Over the next few years, there is the loss of Sam, Mr. Meeker, Jerry, countless soldiers, Tim’s own innocent nature, and Mother’s faith.  While Tim’s mother remains religious, the deaths of her husband and son seem to have taken their toll on her ability to believe in a higher power; she does not even attend the town prayer service for those who were sentenced to death.

Morality

Morality is something that goes out the window in times of war and desperation.  Even the most moral minds must do things they would not normally think themselves capable of in order to survive.  For those who are fighting in the war, they must commit murder for the sake of their own survival.  For those who are impacted by war, they must often commit theft, lie, or cheat to obtain basic necessities such as food and clothing.  Mother often comments that war turns men into monsters; their morals are put on the back burner as a means of survival.

War

War can be seen in a variety of ways; the actual war is the American Revolution, but there is specifically war between Britain and America, between families, between friends, and between neighbors.  While most people in Redding were Loyalist, there were many people who were joining the Rebels as well which caused tensions to run high in the town.  There were several occasions where Mr. Meeker got into arguments or kicked people out of the tavern for their beliefs.  The Meeker family was even torn apart by the war; at first only by their beliefs, but eventually physically, as well.

Sympathy

At the start of the novel, Tim did not know where his loyalties lied, but he expressed sympathy for both sides.  He felt that the soldiers were fighting for something that they believed in, not just fighting to fight; he knew that this was at least the case with Sam.  It is not until Tim witnesses the devastation first hand that he realizes there is no sympathy in his heart for either side; war causes destruction of people, properties, beliefs, morals, and families.

Coming of Age

When the story begins, Tim is young, innocent, naïve and has illusions of grandeur about the war.  He looks up to his brother Sam and is constantly trying to impress Sam with his bravery and maturity.  Tim does not understand the tremendous deal about the war that everyone is making nor does he have any loyalties as far as the war goes.  It is not until Tim begins to experience the war firsthand that he grows into a young man who accepts the responsibilities presented to him, protects his family, and understands that war does not equal glory it only equals loss.

Patriotism

Both sides of the war would be considered patriots; both sides showed unwavering loyalty to the side to which they belonged.  The difference between the two sides is that the Loyalists were patriots of the British; they supported what they have always known.  The Rebels, however, were patriots of freedom and of something new and not yet explored.  Though the patriotism of the soldiers led to much destruction the soldiers, including Sam, felt strongly about what they were fighting for.

Acceptance

It is not until after the war is over that Tim has come to accept the war for what it was.  When he is looking back on the experience he admits that the war caused a lot of pain, loss, and destruction, but at the same time it was a blessing.  Tim believes that, without the American Revolution, there is no way the country would have become the land of freedom and possibility that Tim comes to know it as.  He accepts that the war was necessary in the grander scheme, though the losses that his family and others experienced were tragic nonetheless.

Tim Meeker

Tim Meeker is the fourteen-year-old narrator of the story.  He is naive about the war that is brewing around him and admires his brother Sam’s participation in the war.  At first Tim desperately wants to be a part of the war and he does not care what side he is fighting for because to him it is all about excitement, adventure, and glory.  Tim believes that Sam is in the war for the glory, and it takes a long time before he realizes Sam is only fighting for what he believes in.  Over the course of the war Tim comes to realize the war is not glorious at all, it is only a battle for survival.

Sam Meeker

Sam is the sixteen-year-old brother of Tim Meeker.  Sam is quite passionate about the Rebel cause and joins the war despite his parents’ disapproval.  Sam often argues with his father because both of them are headstrong and stubborn in their views, which also makes them loyal to their opposing beliefs.  Sam stands by his decision to fight with the Rebels until the very end, despite the fact that his own people framed him for cattle thieving and sentenced him to death.

Mr. Life Meeker

Mr. Meeker is the father of Tim and Sam.  He is unfailingly loyal to the British and feels as though his family should follow in his footsteps.  Like his son Sam, Mr. Meeker is headstrong and cannot be swayed from a decision once it is made.  Despite his loyalty to the British, Mr. Meeker is vehemently against the war and does not want his sons to participate in it; he has also been known to kick people out of his tavern for speaking of the war.  Mr. Meeker has stopped speaking to Sam because of his involvement in the war and refuses to allow Tim to help Mr. Heron deliver war letters. 

Mrs. Susannah Meeker

Mrs. Meeker is the mother of Tim and Sam.  She is a truly religious woman and is always asking her son and husband to pray when things start to get hard.  She is hardworking and does her best to keep the tavern up and running with the help of Tim after Life is taken hostage.  When her husband does not return, and Sam is sentenced to death, Mrs. Meeker begins drinking rather heavily.  Mrs. Meeker does not recover from the loss of Sam as well as Tim does and in her later years she finds herself reminiscing about his stubbornness often. 

Betsy Read

Betsy Read is the girlfriend of Sam Meeker and comes from a family of Rebels.  Betsy is extraordinarily passionate about the war, just as Sam is, and she stands by his decision to fight.  Betsy often teases Tim for his lack of allegiance in the war and she states that she would fight in an instant if she were allowed.  It is not until Betsy begins seeing innocent people die that she realizes maybe Sam is not right in his headstrong ways and his undying loyalty to the war effort.  Betsy decides that she just wants the war to be over, no matter which side wins.

The Cow-Boys

The cow-boys are a group of men who steal cattle they believe is going to be sold to the British under the pretense that they are helping the Rebels.  In reality, the cow-boys are simply cattle thieves.  Tim and Mr. Meeker have two run-ins with the cow-boys; the first time they are spooked by the locals and the second time they take Mr. Meeker prisoner.  The cow-boys are also responsible for framing Sam for thieving, which ultimately leads to his death.  It is also because of the cow-boys that Mr. Meeker is placed on the prison ship where he contracts cholera and dies.

Jerry Sanford

Jerry Sanford is a close friend of Tim Meeker and he is ten-years-old.  Like Tim, Jerry is intrigued by the war and finds the whole thing tremendously exciting and glorifying.  Jerry manages to keep away from the war until he is in the wrong place at the wrong time on the night that the battle comes to Redding.  When Jerry is at Captain Betts house at the time that it is raided he is taken by the British and placed on a prison ship.  Jerry dies on the ship and is thrown into the sea.  The death of this young boy is widely regarded by the people of Redding as one of the greatest tragedies of the war.

General Putnam

General Putnam is in charge of Sam’s crew when they return to Redding.  He is known for being a war hero though he is tough on his men when he needs to be.  Once the men get to Redding they begin to get a bit unruly and because of this General Putnam feels he needs to take extreme measures to get them back in line.  Putnam holds Sam responsible for cattle thieving though he knows he is innocent, only because he wants to use Sam as an example for the other guys.  Despite knowing the truth, Putnam refuses to reevaluate Sam’s case and sentences him to death.

Colonel Parsons

Colonel Parsons is another officer in Sam’s crew when they get to Redding.  Parsons is a fair man and he is kind to Tim when he arrives to plead Sam’s case, though he does not seem hopeful that Putnam will change his mind about using Sam as an example for the others.  Parsons was kind to Sam and allowed Sam to visit with his family, though such a thing was generally frowned upon.  However, when it came time for Sam to go to trial Parsons did not want to get involved in any way because he felt it was General Putnam’s decision and not his place to intervene.

Mr. Heron

Mr. Heron is a wealthy man who lives next door to the Meeker family.  He is a surveyor of the land, and he also serves on the state Assembly.  During the war, Mr. Heron is a known Tory, but men from both sides of the war seem to count his as a friend, which is something that profoundly confuses Tim.  The night the battle breaks out in Redding Tim believes that Mr. Heron is the one who sends the British troops to Captain Betts’ home, which results in the death of Jerry Sanford amongst others.  After the war, Tim learns how to survey from Mr. Heron which gives him a skill to live on in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Beach

Mr. Beach is the minister in Redding, and he is Anglican.  Mr. Beach staunchly supports the British and often asks the people in his congregation to pray for the King.  When Mr. Meeker and Sam argue with one another Mr. Beach tries to keep the peace between them to remind them that family is more valuable than their beliefs.  As the war gets more intense, the Rebels ban any prayers for the Loyalists, but still Mr. Beach encourages the members of his church to pray for the Parliament.

The Platts

The Platts are relatives of the Meeker family.  Tim does not meet the Platts until he and Father take the trip to Verplancks Point to trade their cattle.  He muses that while he seems shy to meet his cousins they seem perfectly comfortable around him.  Ezekiel Platt has strong opinions about Sam and his betrayal of England, but Tim will not hear any of it.  The Platts are generous to the Meekers, giving them a place to stay when the weather gets too rough for them to continue on their journey.

Captain Betts

Captain Betts is a well-known Rebel who lives near the Meeker family.  Captain Betts wants Tim to follow in Sam’s footsteps and support the Rebel cause but Mrs. Meeker will not allow it to happen, especially because she has already lost her husband and oldest son to the war.  Captain Betts is captured by the British, but he is only held for a remarkably short time.  When he returns to the tavern he has to deliver the sad news to the town that Jerry Sanford was killed in the raid of his house.  There are multiple occasions when the Meeker adults get into arguments with Captain Betts for recruiting Rebel soldiers in their tavern.

Tom Warrups

Tom is an Indian whose hut lies behind the Read house.  Tom supports the Rebels as he has no reason for allegiance to England.  When Sam decides to join in the war and Mr. Meeker kicks him out of the house Sam stays in Tom Warrups’ teepee.  Despite Tom’s obvious leaning toward the Rebel side, he has been known to go on errands for well-known Tories as well such as Mr. Heron.  Tom Warrups is a bit of a mysterious character because it is always uncertain exactly what his motives are.

Dr. Hobart

Dr. Hobart is one of the doctors in Redding, though he is the one who is specifically mentioned the most within the novel.  When the attack in Redding occurs Tim is sent to find Dr. Hobart because he is needed to tend to a Rebel messenger who was shot by the Loyalist army.  It is when Tim is heading to find Dr. Hobart that he sees the British invade the homes of the Starrs and Captain Betts, which results in several deaths including Jerry and Ned.

In April of 1775, the Meeker family is gathered at their tavern for dinner with some guests when Sam, the elder Meeker brother bursts in to excitedly proclaim that the Minutemen have defeated the British “Lobsterbacks”.  Tim Meeker, the narrator and younger Meeker brother sees his father getting angrier as the discussion about the war goes on because he and the other dinner guests are still fiercely loyal to England.  Father asks Sam some questions that he is not able to answer and wonders aloud whether it is worth the loss of so many lives just to pay less in taxes.  Sam is a supremely intelligent young man who has graduated from Yale; he feels that it is their duty as Americans to fight in support of their country and this viewpoint angers Father to no end which leads to many confrontations between the two of them.

Later that night Tim goes outside to milk the cow, called Old Pru, and he wants Sam to come with him, but Sam is concerned about his uniform getting dirty.  Eventually Sam does join Tim because his mother begins harassing him about having “idle hands”.  While tending to the cow Tim asks Sam about his days at Yale and his experiences with girls, but Sam seems disinterested in talking about such things.  Sam tells Tim that he has joined the rebel troops under Captain Benedict Arnold, and the only reason he certainly came home at all was to get his father’s old rifle Brown Bess.  Tim knows his brother and father are headed for another big fight, but still Tim says nothing because Sam has asked him not to; the two things that Tim takes the most seriously in the world are secrecy and religion.

When the brothers go back inside Tim heads to bed, and he waits for Sam to join him.  As he drifts off to sleep, he hears Sam and Father shouting at one another; Sam has asked Father to give him Brown Bess and Father has refused.  Father is concerned about Sam’s involvement in the war and tells him so in a sad speech about his own experiences during times of war.  Father had been in the military once, and he recalls delivering a sack to his best friend’s parents, which contained their son’s body.  Father fears that someday Sam will be brought back to the Meeker house in a bag and cannot bear to think of that.  Father gives Sam an ultimatum to leave the rebels or to get out of his house; in response to this request Sam grabs his belongings and leaves.  Tim can hear Father crying, and he knows that his family is in for some tough times ahead.

The Meeker family lives in Redding, Connecticut and the people who reside there are quite religious.  The location of the homes in Redding is reflective of their religious affiliation: either Anglican or Presbyterian.  The Meeker family is Anglican, so they live in Redding Ridge; Anglicans are known to be Loyalists which explains why Father has such a problem with Sam joining the Minutemen.  Though Tim’s family is Loyalist, Tim does not have any particular allegiance despite feeling as though he should.  At church, Tim sits up in the balcony and hopes to avoid any thoughts or discussion about Sam, but he has no luck as his friend Jerry Sanford immediately asks about him.  Mr. Beach, the preacher informed the congregation that day that Sam had left their church to fight with the rebels.

Tom Warrups is an Indian who lives nearby and when church is over he tells Tim that Sam is staying with him.  Tim manages to slip away from his family and heads to Tom’s hut where he finds Sam and Sam’s girlfriend Betsy Read; Betsy’s grandfather Colonel Read is a known Patriot leader.  Tim tries to appeal to Sam’s sympathetic side and tells him that Father cried when he left the house; he begs Sam to give up on the war and go back to Yale.  Sam gently but firmly tells Tim that he has made his decision and Betsy questions where Tim’s loyalties lie.  Tim is not comfortable having this conversation with Betsy because he is not even sure of the answer himself, so he tells her that he does not know enough about either side of the war to choose a side.  Sam speaks of the Patriots with a reverence and makes it clear that he would be willing to die for what he believes in, and Betsy agrees that she would do the same if she were allowed to fight.  Sam tries to convince Tim to eavesdrop at the tavern to help out the rebels, but that is not something Tim feels comfortable with.  As he is preparing to leave, Tim notices that Sam has Brown Bess and he asks his brother to return it to Father, but he refuses because the gun is his safety.  As Tim leaves, Sam swears him to secrecy, which Tim agrees to, but he cries the whole way home.

Tim thought that his life would be profoundly affected by the war, but thus far it has not been.  There has been no soldiers roaming the streets, no shortage of foods, and no firing of guns or cannons; Tim’s town has been rather quiet other than talk about the war.  Because of the conflicting allegiances in the area some heated arguments would ensue; Father was known to kick several people out of his tavern for speaking against the British.  There were times when Betsy would come to the tavern and try to listen in on conversations as Tim had refused to do so, but Mother would get rid of her quickly.

One day Betsy pulled Tim aside and told him that Sam was going to be coming back to Redding, but he did not want his parents to know.  Tim promised Betsy that he would not tell his parents, but he wanted to know when Sam arrived so he could see him.  Betsy tells Tim she will give him a signal when Sam comes back into town and Tim waits for months, but the signal does not come.  While Tim is waiting around for Sam to get back he throws himself into his studies, especially math, which he has become rather skilled at; Tim wants Sam to be proud of him when he gets back.  One day in November Betsy walks into the tavern, and she gives Tim a nod of the head which tells Tim that the day he has been waiting for has finally come.

As Tim is chopping wood outside the tavern one day, he thinks of what excuse he can make to get away for a bit and visit with Sam.  Just then Tim sees some rebel soldiers in uniform enter the tavern, and he is concerned about what they may want.  Tim goes to the door and peeks in to find his mother held at gunpoint.  Father is wrestling from the grip of one of the soldiers who is demanding that Father hand over his gun; he tries to tell them that Sam has it, but they will not accept this as the truth.  The soldier continues to argue with Father, and Father argues back; Tim thinks that this must be where Sam got his defiant streak from.  As Father is struggling, the soldier slashes him across the face, and Tim runs off to find Sam in the hopes of saving their parents.

At Tom’s hut, Sam is sleeping, and he is holding Brown Bess close to him.  Tim stealthily takes the gun from his brother and starts to walk away but Sam wakes and chases after him.  Tim summons up all of his courage and turns the gun on Sam, trying to keep from crying.  Sam lunges at Tim and takes the gun away, managing to slice his own finger as well as Tim’s in the process.  Tim tells Sam what is happening at the tavern and begs Sam to come and help their parents, but Sam does not agree until Tim calls him a coward.  Sam loads the gun and the brothers head to the tavern but when they arrive the soldiers have left.  Sam and Father awkwardly face one another for the first time in months and Father asks Sam to come back home; Sam runs from the tavern and does not look back.

It is January 1776, and there has still been no fighting in Tim’s immediate area, though that does not mean the war cannot be felt by Tim and his neighbors.  There is a lack of food, livestock is being stolen from people’s farms, and guns are quite hard to come by.  Tim misses Sam terribly and worries for his safety, but at the same time envies the glory that he is experiencing as a soldier.  Tim thinks about how much he looks up to his brother and finds glory in everything that he does; he wonders if maybe the reality of war does not live up to the fantasy of it.  Tim imagines himself fighting in the war and wonders which side he would be on.

In April Tom Warrups and Mr. Heron come to the tavern to ask Tim if he will run an errand for them.  Father is skeptical that the errand is more than the delivering of business letters that Mr. Heron claims; he believes that they want Tim to help with the rebel cause.  Tim actually wants to help Mr. Heron because he sees a certain amount of glory in helping in some way, even if it is small, and he wants to have something to boast to Sam about.  Mr. Heron tells Mr. Meeker that sacrifices need to be made in a time of war by everyone but Mr. Meeker refuses to lose another one of his sons.  After Mr. Heron leaves Father tells Tim that he is a known political figure and is not to be trusted.  When Tim and Mr. Meeker begin arguing Mr. Meeker stops because he seems to remember that arguing is what made one of his sons leave already.  Father asks Tim to please stay away from the war effort because he does not want him to end up as a prisoner.  A couple of weeks later Tim goes fishing with Jerry Sanford, but verily he just wants an excuse to get away so he can help Mr. Heron.

Tim gets his chance to help Mr. Heron when Mr. Meeker asks him to deliver a keg of rum that Mr. Heron ordered from the tavern.  When Tim gets to Mr. Heron’s home he tells the man that he wants to help run his errand; Mr. Heron tells him to be there first thing the next morning.  In the morning, Tim tells Mr. Meeker that he is going fishing for the day and heads out to Mr. Heron’s house.  Mr. Heron gives Tim a letter to deliver to Fairfield and Tim sets out on his five-hour walk.  Tim runs into Betsy on his way to Fairfield, and she teases him about the letter he is carrying, assuming that it is a love letter.  She tells Tim that she is going to see Sam, and he questions her about where Sam has been staying and what he has been up to.  Betsy refuses to give Tim any information about Sam because he is a “Tory” and thus he cannot be trusted to keep Sam safe, nor does he deserve any information.  Tim finds out that Mr. Heron is the one who told Betsy that Sam is back in town, and Tim wonders aloud why Mr. Heron did not tell him anything about his brother that morning.  It is then that Betsy realizes the letter that Tim is carrying must be from Mr. Heron and she demands to see it, telling Tim that it may contain information that could get Sam killed.  When Tim refuses to give Betsy the letter she lunges at him and grabs it, tears it open, and reads it before discarding it on the side of the road and walking away.  Tim walks over to the letter reads it; all it says is that if the letter arrives the messenger is trustworthy.

For the rest of the summer, Tim is careful to stay away from Mr. Heron; he has not seen the man since his failed attempt to deliver his letter.  Tim has still not seen any actual fighting, but there is an increased shortage of food, though Tim and his parents are getting by.  Sam has been sending letters to his family, and Mother wants to write back to him, but Father disagrees; he feels that writing back to Sam would only validate that he did the right thing in leaving his family and betraying their beliefs.  Mother points out to Father that he does not like when people give him orders, yet he expects Sam to obey him at all costs; she decides she is going to respond to Sam’s letters.

Every winter father takes a trip to Verplancks Point where he sells his cattle; he times the trip just right so there will be no snow yet, but it will be cold enough that people are getting desperate to buy.  Usually Sam goes with Father, but because he is in battle Tim goes this year.  Shortly into the journey Tim and Mr. Meeker are stopped by “cow-boys” who are known for stealing cattle.  They question Father about his plans for the cattle and call him a Tory for providing sustenance to the British troops.  Tim is sent away into a nearby field while the cow-boys Beat Father with their guns.  Tim screams because he is terrified they will kill his father and just then Loyalists arrive and the cow-boys disperse.  The Loyalists rescue Tim and Mr. Meeker and take them to New Salem.

The home Tim and Mr. Meeker are brought to belongs to their relatives, the Platts, whom Tim has never met.  The Platt house is decidedly cramped; the four girls are together in one area and the two boys sleep in the barn.  Tim is grateful for having grown up in the Tavern where he and Sam had plenty of room to themselves.  As Tim, Mr. Meeker, and the Platts sit around the fire and discuss the war Tim feels shy but notes that the Platts seem at ease.  Father is still darned much on the side of the Loyalists because he feels that there is still law and order surrounding them and it feels safe.  When Tim falls asleep his cousin Ezekiel carries him to bed.  Ezekiel thinks Sam is a traitor for fighting with the Rebels, but Tim defends him.  Ezekiel wonders what side Tim would fight with if he were in the war and Tim says that he supposes he would fight with the Loyalists; however Tim fears what would happen if he were forced to fight against Sam.

Early the next morning Tim and Mr. Meeker leave the Platt house and head to Verplancks Point.  There are no more issues on the trip, but there were some escorts accompanying them in the case of another confrontation.  This is the first time Tim has ever seen the Hudson River, and he is impressed by the size of it, especially when they reach its widest point at Verplancks and he sees men fishing there in skiffs.  He admires the fishermen, but he thinks that they look dead tired.  Father is successful in trading his cattle, and he rents a room in a tavern for himself and Tim to stay the night.  The next day they plan to take their time getting home, but it starts to snow, so they need to proceed quickly.  Eventually the icy conditions are too much, and they decide to stay another night with the Platts.

In the morning, the traveling conditions are rough as the ground is covered in snow, but they must get their supplies back to the tavern, so they set out.  Tim stays behind with the oxen and the supplies while Father keeps riding ahead on his horse to scout for danger.  They make it a fair way without any trouble, but when Father goes ahead to scout just past Ridgebury he does not return, and Tim gets worried.  Tim decides to ride ahead and look for Father; he follows the horse tracks and sees them meet with several other tracks in an area where there appears to have been a struggle.  Tim is sure that Father was ambushed by the cow-boys, and he thinks about what he should do.  He knows that Sam would be brave and go after Father, but Tim thinks that brave is not necessarily smart; he decides he must get the supplies back to the tavern.

Tim goes back to the oxen and supplies and sets off toward the tavern.  He thinks about how he will deal with the cow-boys when he runs into them because he is sure that they will approach him before he gets home.  Just as the sky begins darkening Tim sees three figures standing ahead of him.  He calls out to them and asks if they are his escorts.  The men seem confused, and Tim goes on about how his father called for escorts to scare off the cow-boys.  Tim pretends that he is totally fearless and innocent, and the cow-boys are clearly thrown; they obviously want to steal his supplies, but at the same time they do not want to risk being ambushed by the coming escort.  When a dark barks in the distance it spooks the cow-boys, and they take off, leaving Tim to be on his way.  Tim is so happy and relieved that he cries; he has acted bravely, saved his family’s winter supplies, and done something that will make Father and Sam both proud of him.

Tim and Mrs. Meeker have to work extra hard at home with Mr. Meeker and Sam both gone.  Mrs. Meeker feels guilty that she and Tim have to work every day; she reassures him that God will understand why they are working Sundays, but Tim is not worried at all.  There has been a substantial amount of business at the Tavern, but not much money coming in because most people have been paying in commissary notes, which have no value at the time.  Colonel Read is beginning to doubt the success of the Rebels, and he also doubts whether Sam will be able to return home.  Tim feels wholly responsible for running the tavern since he returned from his trip and he cannot wait for Sam to return and see how he has stepped into his role as man of the house.  Despite his pride in the work that he is doing, Tim cannot help but miss having his father around and resent Sam a bit for stepping out.

It is April of 1777 when the war finally comes to Redding.  There’s a loud noise and Tim hears from a black man named Ned that the British troops are rolling through.  Captain Betts sends Jerry to spread the word to other Rebels, such as Mr. Rogers.  Tim is impressed by the British soldiers standing formation in their pristine uniforms, and he even speaks to one of them.  The soldier does not understand why Tim is not scared of them until Tim explains that nearly his entire town is Loyalist.  This is when Tim realizes that he does associate himself with the Loyalists, and he has since his father was taken by the Rebels.  Suddenly everything gets violent; a rebel messenger is shot and British troops break into Captain Betts’ house.  Captain Read tells Tim to get Dr. Hobart so he runs through the woods, but stops and hides when he hears gunshots.  Tim can see the British troops enter Captain Starr’s house and slaughter everyone inside; he even sees Ned’s severed head fly through the air which makes Tim sick to his stomach.  As the British burn down Captain Starr’s house, Tim flees to get Dr. Hobart and realizes he no longer respects the British army.

Dr. Hobart has come back to the tavern to remove the bullet from the Rebel messenger, and it appears that the boy will be fine.  He tells everyone that Benedict Arnold is coming with his soldiers and Tim is excited because he knows that Sam is one of them.  When Captain Betts returns he tells everyone that The British decided to keep Jerry Sanford with them, and Tim is confused by this news; Betts asks Tim to ring the bell in town so everyone will know what has happened but Mrs. Meeker will not allow him to go.  As Mrs. Meeker is cooking dinner for everyone in the tavern some Rebel soldiers, including Benedict Arnold, enter and demand to be fed.  Tim immediately leaves the tavern in search of Sam and finds a soldier who directs him to his brother; Tim and Sam reunite and are ecstatic to see one another.

Tim mentions that Father was taken in by rebels and Sam confirms that he already knows, he even tried to get him released from prison, but to no avail.  As Sam hides Tim gets Mrs. Meeker who brings some food out for her son; Sam is happy to finally have a real meal.  Mrs. Meeker wants Sam to come home when he is done with his enlisted period, but Sam has made a pact with some friends to stick the war out until the end.  Tim thinks that his brother is making the wrong decision, but tells his mother that arguing is pointless because Sam will do what he wants.  When Sam returns to his troop Tim realizes that being a part of something greater than him is what makes Sam proud to be fighting in the war.  He thinks that maybe he and Sam are more equal than he ever knew.

Tim and his mother find out in June 1777 that Mr. Meeker died on a prison ship.  From what they heard his last words were that he forgave Sam, and he loved his family.  In addition to Mr. Meeker, Jerry Sanford also died on a prison ship and was thrown into the sea.  Mrs. Meeker is only more vehemently against the war after getting this news, and even Betsy Read is ready for the war to be over at this point, no matter who wins.  Despite all of the deaths that have occurred, Tim does not sympathize with either the Loyalists or the Rebels anymore.  He puts all of his efforts into keeping the tavern afloat, though it is difficult because no one has any money to pay him, so they are writing commissary notes or trading Tim cattle.  Tim thinks about the best way to make money off of the cattle; it is indispensable to get as much money as he can because he and his mother are slowly starving.

Sam returns home during the winter time of 1778, and though he looks malnourished he is happy to see his family; he tells them he will be around until the spring.  Sam tells Tim that he needs to try to hide his cattle because there are thieves around; he even stole some cattle himself when he had no other options for food.  Sam’s leader, General Putnam has been known to hang cattle thieves, so Tim needs to be careful that he is not accused.  Sam thinks that Tim’s best option is to slaughter his cattle and freeze the meat, but Tim still feel as though he should sell it.  The Rebels stay in the area for the next couple of months and Sam stops by the tavern often, still trying to get Tim to butcher the cows.  One night there is a commotion outside and Sam and Tim run out to find that four of the cattle are gone.  Sam runs off in the direction of the tracks and is soon returned by the cattle thieves; Sam is bound up and the men plan to report Sam to General Putnam as a thief.

Tim is desperate to save his brother, so he goes to Colonel Parsons to plead Sam’s case, however, Colonel Parsons is sleeping, so his men send Tim home.  When Tim gets back to the tavern to tell his mother the news she gets a feeling as though something nefarious is going to happen and insists that they pray together.  Tim is able to see the Colonel the following day, but the news is not good; it seems as though General Putnam wants to use Sam as an example to the others.  When Mrs. Meeker gets this news she decides to go and talk to General Putnam herself, but when she returns to the tavern she is sad and begins to drink; Sam was supposed to be on watch that night, not at the tavern and he had been framed efficiently.

Tim learns from Colonel Read that Sam is going to be on trial with other men, but the trial is only a formality because it will not be fair.  Sam is locked in a cabin until the day of his trial and he is not allowed to see or speak to anyone.  At the trial, Sam is found guilty of stealing cattle and he is sentenced to death by firing squad.  Mrs. Meeker is devastated by the verdict, but she is not surprised by it at all.  Tim feels that he must still try to fight for his brother and goes to see Colonel Parsons again.  Parsons believes that Sam is innocent, but he does not necessarily care, though he sends Tim to see General Putnam anyway.  The General tells Tim he will consider Sam’s case and allows Tim to visit with his brother, though they must stay six feet apart from one another.  Tim tells Sam that Parsons is going to consider his case and Sam seems pleased though he obviously does not think the verdict will be turned around.  Tim notes that Sam appears to be rather happy for someone on death row.

General Putnam decides against reconsidering Sam’s case, and the execution date has been set for February 16.  The entire town of Redding attends church the Sunday before the execution is scheduled to occur so they can pray for those who will be put to death.  Mrs. Meeker cannot bring herself to attend the service and Tim has to leave in the middle of it because he is too emotional.  When he returns home, the tavern is closed because no one is there, and Mrs. Meeker is not too keen on opening it ever again.  Tim begins to sharpen his father’s bayonet and Mrs. Meeker tells him not to do anything stupid because he will get himself killed though she thinks maybe that is best so she can lose both him and Sam all at once.  Tim sets off in the night though he does not know where he is headed, only that he wants to save Sam.

As Tim walks through the cold, he wonders whether the prisoners worry about keeping warm.  When Tim reaches the place where Sam is being held he sees the guard is sleeping, and he thinks that if he killed the guard he could let the prisoners out, only he cannot bring himself to do it.  Tim turns and begins to run, but the guard wakes and shoots at Tim, grazing his shoulder with a bullet.  Tim throws his gun and hopes that it finds its way to Sam, but he realizes that Sam is no longer there.  When Tim gets home, he cleans his wound and gets into bed.  Tim attends the execution but Mrs. Meeker does not.  When the prisoners are brought in, Sam gives Tim a smile and heads up to his spot.  A sack is put over Sam’s dead and as the men line up to fire their guns Tim yells for them to stop, but they do not listen.  Sam writhes on the ground after the initial shots though he is soon brought still by a final bullet.

It has been fifty years since the founding of the United States and forty-seven years since Sam’s execution.  Tim and his mother moved to Pennsylvania where they opened another tavern.  Tim got married, had children, and managed to have a truly happy life but Mrs. Meeker never got over losing Sam.  Mrs. Meeker lived to be an old woman and fondly told her grandchildren stories of their Uncle Sam and his stubbornness.  Though Tim does not have happy memories of the war, he thinks that it was necessary for the world to be what it has now become.

By the time this chapter begins, Annemarie, her mother, and Henrik are all sitting around the table at the farmhouse.  The mood in the air is carefree and relieved, as everything has gone to plan.  Annemarie explains to the reader that when she got back from her trip her mother was gone, as the doctor had come to get her and put her ankle in cast.  Kirsti wondered where Ellen had gone and because they could not tell Kirsti the truth, Mrs. Johansen only told her that Ellen’s parents had come for her.

Annemarie heads out to the barn with Uncle Henrik so he can fill her in on some of the details of what happened.  While Henrik milks the cow he tells Annemarie that she was brave, and she deserves to know what her bravery was for.  Henrik tells Annemarie that he had built a compartment in his ship where people, specifically Jews, could be hidden and transported to Sweden.  Peter, who is a member of the Resistance, helped Henrik to devise and carry out the plan.  Annemarie had to agree that this was a plan because she had been on the ship and she never would have guessed that there were people hidden inside of it.  The thing Annemarie actually wants to know about is the handkerchief and its significance. Henrik explains to Annemarie that the hankie was covered with a scent which would confuse any dogs that might be looking for Jews.  When Annemarie left Henrik’s ship that night, the Nazi’s came and their dogs could not sniff out any people because the scent of the hankie threw them off.  If Henrik had not received that hankie then the mission may not have been successful; so Annemarie is a hero.  Henrik tells Annemarie that everyone made it safely to Sweden, and Ellen and her family are safe.  He believes that Annemarie and Ellen will continue to be friends for a frightfully long time.  Annemarie is relieved to finally know the truth, and also that the Rosens are safe.

It has been two years since the last chapter and World War II has ended; Annemarie is now twelve years old.  In the wake of the war Denmark, along with other European countries, is now free.  The Rosens have not yet returned, but the Johansen’s are still holding their belongings for them, waiting for the day when they can give them back.  Annemarie thinks of Peter and sadly recounts that he was murdered by the Nazi’s for being part of the Resistance.  The Nazi’s buried Peter’s body at the site where they killed him and Annemarie knows he would not have wanted it that way.  After Peter died, Annemarie’s parents told her what happened to Lise.  It turns out that Lise was also a part of the Resistance, and she was killed by the Nazis when one of their gatherings was stormed; Peter had also been injured in this attack.  Annemarie appreciates her sister’s bravery; she looks where Lise’s trousseau was kept and finds Ellen’s Star of David which was hidden there.  Annemarie asks Mr. Johansen if he could fix the clasp on the necklace so Annemarie can wear it in honor of her best friend, but only until Ellen returns and can wear it herself.

Zane comes back to his camp, or his father’s camp. He has a guard summon is father to the strategy tent. While waiting, he gives one of the soldiers strategic positions of the forces in Luthadel. Straff comes in and Zane tells him about the day’s activities, including what was said between Zane and Elend. They talk over a cup of tea. Straff, being a tineye, burns tin and smells poison in the tea he’s drinking. He knows Zane is always trying to poison him. He defiantly drinks the tea anyway and dismisses Zane. After, Straff summons one of his mistresses, a woman named Amaranta, who prepares a concoction of medicines in a special tea for Straff. He drinks the new tea, hoping he’ll live again this time.

Sazed has traveled six weeks worth of distance in six days, using his metalminds from time to time. Whenever a metalmind runs out, he leaves it on the ground, trying to lessen the amount of weight he has to carry. He notices several pillars of smoke ahead, sure sign that there is an army or camp of some kind. He is surprised to see that the army camp is made up of koloss, a dark blue kind of monster barbarian, once controlled by the Lord Ruler. Sazed is found by a koloss patrol. They force him to come down from the tree he was hiding in and follow them into the camp. Sazed is surprised once again to see that the man controlling these koloss is Jastes Lekal, a one-time friend of Elend Venture. Jastes says that he plans to conquer Luthadel as his own. He ends up letting Sazed go, under the condition that Sazed tell Elend about what he has seen. Sazed leaves, feeling even more urgency about getting to Luthadel.

Elends meets with his advisors–Ham, Breeze, Dockson, and Vin. Tindwyl is there, too. They try to talk Elend out of this plan he has to go into his father’s camp and trick him into fighting Cett. They don’t think Elend can con someone like that, but Elend is insistent that he can manipulate his father any time he wants. Plus, Elend argues, he’ll have Vin with him, in case Straff tries to take his own son hostage. Vin, listening in to the conversation, discovers through bronze that Breeze is soothing Elend to make him more confident. After the meeting, Tindwyl chastises Elend for not acting more like a king. Kings cannot doubt themselves. They must always feel that they are the right man for the job and convince others of the same through sheer confidence. The discussion is interrupted when Elend gets word that Cett’s daughter has arrived in Luthadel, looking for Breeze.

Cetts daughter, Allrianne, has left her father’s camp and come to Luthadel to see Breeze, whom she affectionately calls Breezy. Breeze is completely embarrassed by this, but the rest of the group gets a good laugh at his expense. Allrianne says she hated staying in her father’s camp; she needs comforts only a city can bring, like fresh water and a bed. After Allrianne leaves to freshen up, the group decides it may be beneficial to keep her. It may prevent her father from attacking too soon.

Vin, hides, suspended in the mists, just above Keep Venture. She spies on Ham as he walks across a courtyard. As she follows him, as a predetermined time, OreSeur jumps from behind some boxes and howls, scaring Ham. Ham reacts by flaring pewter. This confirms to Vin that he is not the kandra imposter. Vin admits to Ham that she is out of atium, meaning she’ll die the next time she fights a Mistborn with atium. She wonders is there is a secret to killing someone with atium. Ham doesn’t think so, although there have been some theories about how to do so. It may be possible, for example, to surprise them somehow. After that, Vin has a heart-to-heart with OreSeur. They talk about the way kandra are often treated, beaten by their own masters. They spot someone approaching the keep’s walls. It turns out to be Sazed, who has returned with, as he puts it, “problems and troubles.

Sazed is telling the group in the kitchens late at night, what he saw in the Koloss camp. They are not happy to know that a third army is on its way to Luthadel. Sazed does not know how Lekal is controlling the creatures, but the group does know that 20,000 koloss could beat an army of at least four times that many humans, meaning there is nothing stopping them from reaching and taking Luthadel. Finally, Sazed also share his fear regarding the mist killing people. He thinks something was released when the Lord Ruler was killed, although he never personally saw the mist kill anyone. Cett’s daughter comes walking in, half disheveled, asking what’s going on. They dismiss her and the group breaks apart, everyone either going to bed or to some corner to thin. Vin takes OreSeur outside to patrol. Back in his room, Sazed meets Tindwyl, an old friend of his. She criticizes him for returning and having strange theories about the mist.

Vin is outside, thinking about the beating she hears to the north, just like the writer of the log book, the supposed Hero of Ages. Zane finds her, and again he tries to convince her to leave Elend and Luthadel, claiming that she is being used by them and that she can do much better on her own, free to do as she pleases. Vin insists that she is very happy doing what she is doing and that no one is forcing her to do anything.

Vin is woken by a quiet bark of warning from OreSeur. She reacts by jumping out of bed, reaching for a dagger, and downing a vile of metals. She does all this before she realizes that the person that was “sneaking up on her” is actually Tindwyl the Terriswoman. Tindwyl obligates her to go shopping with herself and Allrianne, something Vin knows she will detest. They take a carriage to the market, the three women and OreSeur, who everything still assumes is just an ordinary wolfhound, along with Spook, who is forced to go to carry the girls’ bags. Vin manages to find a dress that she likes, and Tindwyl arranges for the dress to be made special for a Mistborn. Meanwhile, a someone has identifies Vin and a large crowd has gathered outside the storefront. Vin reluctantly goes outside to talk to them. They obviously worship her, calling her the Heir to the Survivor–Kelsier. She tries to say something that will inspire hope, but she feels that she is really just lying to them. Meanwhile, Elend is at the wall when Straff’s men attack. The guards and archers on the wall are in a total panic, and they barely kill a few of the invading wave before it retreats to the Venture camp. This was a test, just to try out Luthadel’s defenses, it is explained to Elend. Straff is sending a message, just before Elend is supposed to go out to the camp and talk to his father.

Vin opens the box sent from the dress maker, happy to find that the new dress is very well designed for a Mistborn, allowing her to move and fight freely. It even has secret hiding places for her daggers and some vials of metal. OreSeur does not think going is a good idea, since Vin and Elend would be alone in Straff’s army camp. Vin knows she must go anyway. Elend and Vin ride into the camp. Over the meal, Elend tries to manipulate Straff, but the man seems to catch on too quickly. Then he sends Vin out of the tent, so they can talk alone, father and son.

Straff and Elend talk inside, and things don’t seem to be going very well for Elend. Straff says he’ll just have Elend killed and demand Luthadel to open the gates to him. Elend says that if he is killed, Vin will kill Straff. Vin is outside, listening. She begins to manipulate Straff’s emotions, making him feel afraid. Finally, she smoothes away everything–every emotion he has, leaving him feeling empty and dead inside. The trick works, and Elend and Vin get out of the camp safe. Meanwhile, Zane has a little chat with Vin outside the tent, telling her that she is nothing but a knife to Elend. After they are gone, Straff commands Zane to kill Vin. Back in Luthadel, Elend learns that the assembly has voted to remove him as king.

The group meets together to see what they’re going to do about the assembly’s vote. They try to figure out if the assembly already has someone else in mind to put on the thrown, or if they simple want to send a warning to Elend because he has been ignoring them of late. The discussion leads to an argument between Breeze and Ham, as always, and Vin gets a taste of kandra humor when OreSeur whispers that he could always eat one of them and solve the argument. Later, Elend gets another lesson from Tindwyl about how a proper kind should act.

At night, Vin and OreSeur have a talk. OreSeur doesn’t think it’s healthy for Vin to keep herself awake for long periods of time, burning pewter to stay strong. He also doesn’t like the way Vin treats Zane, who should be her enemy. In the middle of the conversation, Vin realizes that she’s figured out what the Deepness is.

Sazed is in his room, studying and transcribing the rubbings he found. He knows that these few pages of transcribed text could keep him busy for months or even years. Vin enters through his window and wants to talk to him about the deepness. Sazed talks about if the deepness is even real or if it’s just a made-up story, some propaganda spun by the Lord Ruler. Vin says she thinks it’s real and tells Sazed that she thinks it’s actually the mist itself. The log book and the rubbings don’t say the mist actually killed people but that people died because of the mist. That could be because a permenant mist that covered the ground would kill crops and live stalk, leaving people to die of starvation. Vin also tells Sazed about the mist spirit that has been following her.

The assembly gathers, and Elend gets an opportunity to explain what he has done with his father. He uses twenty minutes to tell of the situation with the two armies and how his meeting with Straff went. He tells them that he used Vin’s power to threaten Straff, a move that may protect the city for some time yet. Meanwhile, Vin tries to pay attention to Elend’s meeting. She sees Zane in the crowd, and he smiles at her. They then have nominations for who should run for king. Elend and Lord Penrod are nominated, and, lastly, Cett is nominated. The man reveals himself to be in the crowd.

Vin watches in shock as Cett reveals himself to the crowd and to the assembly. He uses his army outside the gates to threaten the people into voting for him. He also tells the crowd about the koloss army not too far away, a fact that Elend hasn’t told anyone.

Vin sits in her room, studying the stacks of papers she has there. OreSeur is there with her, and they talk about the religious beliefs of the kandra. They practically worship the Contract above all else, the agreement they have with their human masters. Meanwhile, Elend discovers that some of the wells in Luthadel are being poisoned by someone, probably one of the armies outside. Vin talks to Dockson, and in the conversation, she determines that he can’t be the spy. She and OreSeur turn their attentions toward a new option: Demoux, a captain of the guard.

Elend works to find a way to convince the assembly to name him king again, while Vin wants to tell him her theory about Demoux. Tindwyle gets upset with Sazed when she finds out that he helped write part of the laws Elend put into place a year ago. Vin leaves the group and finds Zane, who immediately attacks her. She thinks he wants to spar, like before, but the fight becomes aggressive and Vin must fight him to survive. Zane tells her that he was ordered to kill her and that this attack was a warning. There are also many refugees coming from the koloss army, on their way to seek refuge in Luthadel. After giving his two warnings, Zane leaves.

Vin tries on another custom-made dress. Tindwyl tells her that Elend has nearly learned as much as he can from her; he’ll now have to learn to be a good leader through experience. Elend prepares his armored escort and carriage to go and see Cett. Breeze decides not to go, since he and Cett have history, which would only make the situation worse. When Elend and Vin actually enter the keep Cett is staying in and talk to the man, they discover just how sincere he is. He doesn’t want his daughter back, trusting that Elend will take good care of her. Cett wants Elend to step down from the election for king, and in return he won’t have Elend killed when he is made king. They also talk about the fact that no atium was found in all of Luthadel. Finally, Cett dismisses the two.

Sazed wanders through warehouse full of refugees from the koloss attacks, trying to help and health where he can. Tindwyl comes in and talks to him. She wants to see what he’s found–the rubbings he’s been transcribing. Meanwhile, Breeze has been listening in on the conversation, soothing both people in a way that would make them more friendly to each other. He walks among the refugees, trying to sooth away bad emotions and make them feel better. Elend and Ham come in, and Elend wants to make sure all the people have the clothes they need. Later, Breeze goes into the keep and has a secret meeting with Clubs. Though they always seem to hate each other, they drink together and talk; they’ve struck up a strange companionship. Allrianne walks in and tries to steal Breeze away. Vin, watching from outside, discovers that Allrianne is a rioter, since she was rioting Breeze’s emotions. She and OreSeur then go to find Demoux, still certain that he is the kandra spy. They find him in a little meeting of the church of the Survivor. He can’t be a spy, Vin decides. Then who is?

Sazed and Tindwyl sit together in the study, pouring over the rubbings, searching their metalminds for any references to the deepness or Hero of Ages. It’s morning, meaning they’ve been at it all night long. Tindwyl knows the course of actions Sazed takes is different from what the keepers want, but she is willing to stay with him and study these things further. Meanwhile, Elend and Ham walk along the wall. Ham comments that Elend looks more kingly than ever. As they walk, Elend announces that he has an idea to help Luthadel’s situation.

Vin, Elend, and the rest of the crew arrive early for the day of the election for king. Before the voting begins, Vin, trying to figure out what Elend has up his sleeve, discovers that he has joined the church of the Savior, in an effort to curry votes from the skaa members of the assembly. Suddenly, a groups of allomancers attack Elend and Cett. Vin manages to fight off the men, getting badly hurt in the process. After the fighting, the vote is moved to a more secure location, and the assembly members each announce their vote. Surprisingly, Penrod, a nobleman from the assembly is chosen the new king. Elend hands over his crown and leaves.

Straff Venture is angry that Zane sent a group of his allomancers to their deaths while Vin still lives. Zane promises that he has a plan to take care of her. Meanwhile, Straff meets with Penrod, the new king of Luthadel. Penrod is planning to give Luthadel to Straff, opening the gates to him and handing over the kingship.  Straff, on the other hand, doesn’t want to enter the city while Vin still lives. Later, Zane tells Straff that he has been poisoned again. Zane leaves, and Straff is forced to ride hard back into the camp so his mistress can make him another antidote tea.

Vin awakes to see that Elend is with her. He tells her that he is not king, and he reports that OreSeur, who was badly hurt in the fight, is currently digesting a new set of bones. Vin feels that Elend is now scared of her somehow because of the way she fought those allomancers. Vin goes back to sleep, and awakes to find Zane there. He accuses her, saying that she could have killed those attackers easily had she not been so distracted with protecting Elend and other innocents. Later, OreSeur visits Vin, in another dog’s body. They talk more about the Contract that binds all kandra. Vin uses brass and duralumin to push strongly on OreSeur’s emotions. Even though he at first does not react at all, with enough force, Vin hurts him very badly, and she felt like she were controlling him for a moment. She apologizes for hurting OreSeur, and he leaves to get some rest. Vin promise to never tell anyone what she’s discovered about kandra.

Sazed and Tindwyl continue to talk about the things they are learning. Something doesn’t make sense about the rubbings, written by Kwaan. It seems that Kwaan did not trust Alendi, but he also knew Alendi was a good man. But if Kwaan knew Alendi was good, why did he have his nephew, Rashek, to mislead or even kill Alendi? Elend comes in and asks for advice. After a discussion, he decides that being king isn’t about a title, but about doing something to help others. He returns to his closet and retrieves the white suite, the one made for a king.

Elend is hard at work, helping the people. He’s sending men out to dismantle the wooden parts of keeps and houses to use as firewood. The many refugees are cold and hungry, and he wants to help them. Someone comes with news that one of the gates under the river has been broken. That is how someone has been getting into the city and poisoning the wells. Also, other reports say that an Inquisitor is lurking about the city. Elend decides to go out and talk to Jastes, with the koloss army, himself. He rides out and meets Jastes, unable to make any kind of deal. On the way out, Elend manages to fight and kill one smaller koloss, earning the sword and pouch as his own. He looks into the pouch and discovers how Jastes is controlling the koloss. He’s paying them.

Vin sees Elend, now returned from his meet with the koloss army, inured and resting. Zanes comes and says that Cett was the one that planed the attack at the voting ceremony. Vin gets angry and decides to attack Cett. Zane and Vin attack the keep that Cett has been staying at in Luthadel. Together, they kill guards and hazekillers. Fueled by rage, Vin kills quickly, working her way to Cett’s room. She realizes that Zane is using atium, while she has none, and yet she’s killing just as easily as he is. They finally get to Cett’s room, where he is with his son. Vin fights them at first, but when she discovers that neither of them is an allomancer and that Cett doesn’t have a single allomancer with him, she leaves them behind, injured and scared.

The crew sees that Cett’s army is now leaving, a result of Vin’s attack on his keep the night before. Elend does not know why Vin attacked Cett like that. Some in the crew think she’s crazy, but Elend just sees her as determined. They also discover that the “coins” Jastes has been using to control   the koloss are fake, wooden coins painted gold. Elend goes to find Vin, who is hiding in the city. He finds her with OreSeur’s help. She says she must leave Luthadel and go north, to Terris. Elend says he trust her to do the right thing. They have one large bead of atium, and Vin gives it to OreSeur to hold for her.

Sazed and Tindwyl compare notes, studying the rubbing and other references they’ve managed to find. Tindwyl admits that she doesn’t believe in these prophecies, her interest in them being purely academic. Sazed, on the other hand, thinks Vin might actually be the next Hero of the Ages. While they talk, they discover that someone–or something–has torn a piece from one of the transcription pages. Vin comes in, while they try to figure out at what point were they both gone or occupied to not have seen an intruder going through their things. Vin asks Sazed how she can know if she’s in love. They talk about trust. After Vin leaves, Elend comes in and starts asking similar questions. Elend thinks he and Vin are too different to make a couple, but Sazed says that, to him, they are more alike than they think. After Elend leaves, Sazed realizes that Luthadel is going to fall soon; he needs to get both Elend and Vin out of the city before that happens.

Sazed calls a meeting with the members of the crew: Dockson, Breeze, Ham, and Clubs. He doesn’t invite Elend, Vin, or Spook. They talk about how the city is sure to fall. Straff apparently is in no hurry to take Luthadel. Instead, he’ll back off and let the koloss attack the city first. The koloss will win and enter the city, pillaging as they go. Then, with the koloss weakened and tired from the fight, Venture will ride in like a hero and save the city, defeating the koloss and taking Luthadel for himself. Sazed says that Elend and Vin need to get out of the city before these things happen. He wants Spook and Tindwyl to go with them. The rest of the group will have to stay and fight and die. Meanwhile, Vin feels she must follow the drumming she hears all the time. In Straff’s camp, Zane is attacked by his father’s men. He defeats them, but spares his father. He leaves, saying that tonight he will take Vin with him and leave Luthadel. He tells Straff that he should wait for the koloss to attack and then take the city.

Vin is in her room with OreSeur when Zane visits. He wants her to come with him, but she says she can’t because she doesn’t want to leave Elend. When Zane sees that she won’t go, he attacks her. They fight. When Zane starts to burn atium, Vin asks OreSeur for the large bead, a bead Zan had given her before. OreSeur doesn’t respond to her command. Vin discovers that OreSeur is not OreSeur. He is TenSoon, Zane’s kandra. Of course! There was no other spy. The bones they found were TenSoon’s and he had killed OreSeur! Zane corners Vin, but Vin uses a massive soothing to take control of OreSeur/TenSoon and attack Zane from behind. She then cuts the bead of atium fro TenSoon. But this is another trick. The bead is lead, with only a thin layer of atium. Soon, Vin is left helpless against a Mistborn killer with atium. Vin decides that Zane can see what she’s about to do, or, rather, what she plans on doing. If she attacks without thinking, though, she can, see in Zane’s reaction what she is going to do, only to change it at the last possible second. The trick works, and Vin defeats Zane. After Zane dies, she thanks OreSeur/TenSoon for helping her win. His contract is void, and he must return to his people. Vin goes to find Elend.

Elend is in his study when Vin comes in, bloody from her fight with Zane. She tells him that she killed him. He calls for Sazed, who comes to help with the wounds. While she is there, on the ground, she asks Sazed if he knows any wedding ceremonies. Of course, he knows hundreds. Vin asks which one is the shortest, and Sazed recalls one that only requires a declaration of love between the bride and groom before an ordained witness. Vin and Elend both say that they love each other, and Sazed declares them married. The wounds are clean, and Sazed sends Vin to get some rest. He also gives them a fake map to find the Well of Ascension. If the couple follows the map, they’ll be gone from Luthadel for a long time.

Elend and Vin prepare to ride out of the city. Tindwyl decides to stay in Luthadel. Spooks gets ready to go, and Allrianne will ride out, at Breeze’s insistence. So the four of them ride out, Vin quickly having to fight pursuers from Straff’s army. Once they are free, Allrianne breaks off to find her father’s army. Meanwhile, some of the crew watch as the escape, now sure of their own coming doom. Straff Venture hears of the escapes, but he has problems of his own now. He’s getting sick, which he knows is the result of poisoning from his son, Zane. He sends for his mistress, Amaranta, to fix him an antidote, but he discovers that she isn’t preparing what she normally does. She is actually killing, as she has for a long time. There never was any poison. Zane never tried to kill his father. But Amaranta, in her constant fixing of teas for Straff, has been causing him to become addicted to a rare drug. Without that drug, Straff will die. Straff, in a rage, kills Amaranta and then swallows as much powder from her medicine cabnet as he can, hoping to accidentally swallow some of the drug he needs before he loses consciousness.

Allrianne has made her way to her father’s camp, with the help of some bandits she’s tamed with her rioting. Her father, Cett, is not happy to see her. She convinces him to go back and join the winning party in the battle that is to come, although Cett promises that will likely be Straff. Meanwhile, Elend wakes up on the third morning out of Luthadel. He and Vin share a tent now, and he finds himself surprisingly comfortable on the hard ground, with Vin next to him. They get up and prepare the fire. It’s just the three of them: Elend, Vin, and Spook. Meanwhile Straff wakes up in bed. His men have taken care of him, and they’ve isolated the plant he needs to stay alive. When he hears that Vin and Elend have left the city, the men ask if they should attack now. Straff says no; they should pull back and wait for the koloss. Sazed meets with the others to plan a strategy for when the koloss attack. They plan to have a group of men at each gate. Saze and Tindwyl get a little time together, but then the warning drums begin to beat.

Vin is thinking about how the mist is staying later and later every day, instead of just disappearing with dawn, when she feels the pulsing of the mist spirit coming from Elend’s tent. She runs in, just in time to see the outline of that spirit lift some kind of knife to attack Elend, who is sleeping on the ground. She attacks the spirit and it disappears. Elend wakes up and never knows what was happening. She leaves Elend to sleep a little more and goes out to speak with Spook. He thinks someone is following them. Meanwhile, Sazed and the crew get ready, since it looks like the Koloss are about to attack. Men are at each gate, with one crewmember there to help. Straff sees that the koloss are attacking, but he tells his men to wait. Vin and Elend attack the camp of people that have been following them. It turns out to be Jastes. He’s lost control of the koloss, so he just left them. Elend kills Jastes because of his crimes against Luthadel. Vin discovers that the drumming sounds are getting softer, meaning the well is to the south, in Luthadel, and not in the Terris mountains.

Breeze works at his assigned gate, soothing soldiers by the dozen, helping them to be brave and fight well. The koloss pound at the door, while men atop the wall rain arrows down on the attackers. The koloss throw rocks up in return, smashing archers. Meanwhile, Vin runs towards Luthadel, burning pewter. She knows she will run out of pewter long before reaching Luthadel, and she wonders if the effect will kill her. But still she keeps running. Breeze and Clubs talk while the koloss continue to beat the gate. They blame themselves for being stupid enough to be in this mess, and they blame Kelsier for getting them into such responsibilities. Just then, the gates burst open. Meanwhile, Sazed gets word that Breeze’s gate had fallen. He doesn’t think he can really help. He notices that there is a crowd of skaa standing behind the defense force. When Sazed confronts them, telling them that they should flee to safety inside the city, the skaa answer that they are there to witness the fall of the koloss at the hands of Vin, who they are sure will return and make her appearance at Sazed’s gate. Then the gate breaks. Sazed musters his stored strength, growing in size, and faces the lead koloss, shouting for the men to fight. Vin, half collapsing and out of pewter, reaching a small village. At first she thinks to ask for pewter, but then she remembers how she used to travel with Kelsier on a path of metal bars in the ground. She asks for horseshoes, using them to “walk” by leaping, placing horseshoes ahead of her and pulling the ones behind to place further. In this way, she uses the horseshoes like stilts to help her travel in the air.

Outside Luthadel, Straff Venture sees that the koloss have now broken into the city gates. His men are ready to attack the koloss from the rear, but Straff decides to wait longer. Sazed, fighting the koloss, realizes that they need to get the gate closed again in order to survive. Using strength and weight, he manages to fight off the koloss and get the gate closed again. While getting a little break, a messenger comes and says that Tindwyl’s gate fell over an hour ago. Meanwhile, Clubs and Breeze are attacked and forced to run. Clubs is killed, while Breeze hides in a building. Dockson contemplates the root of their failure. He attacks a koloss, only to be cut down. Straff decides not to swoop in a save the city while the koloss are weak. Instead, he’d rather wait for the koloss to kill everyone and burn the city. Then Straff will move in. Meanwhile, Sazed fights on, wondering what happened to Tindwyl. He feels he is going to die, but then Vin arrives and starts killing koloss. Breeze is found by Ham and some others. They want to try to escape.

Vin continues killing koloss, several at a time. Sazed, outside Lord Penrod’s keep, begs the newly appointed king to go with them as they try to escape. Penrod insists on staying inside his keep. Vin continues to fight the koloss, but now she is almost completely out of pewter, steel, and almost every other metal. In desperation, to save some skaa from certain death, she super-soothes them, like she’d done to TenSoon, controlling the koloss with her mind. Sazed is standing outside Penrod’s keep when Vin walks up with koloss in tow. She orders Penrod to gather his men and put out the fires in Luthadel. Vin will take care of the koloss throughout the city. Later, Sazed finds Tindwyl’s dead body among the slain soldiers. He feels that all the faith, all the religions, he has always treasured is now useless. His life, he believes, has been a sham.

Straff wakes up and takes a sample of the drug he needs to stay alive. He gathers his men, expecting to be able to take the city now. But the koloss come out with the remaining soldiers of Luthadel. Vin jumps from among the koloss, sailing through the sky with a giant sword, cleaving Straff and his horse in half on impact. Allrianne watches these events from her father’s camp. She charges after them to help Luthadel’s army, forcing her father and his men to ride after her. Straff’s army surrenders, and Janarle, Straff’s general, is named the new Lord of the Venture army. Janarle, Penrod, and Cett all swear loyalty to Elend as their Emperor. Vin, needing rest, leaves Sazed in charge of the Empire until Elend can return to Luthadel.