Golden Son is the second book of the Red Rising series. It follows Red Rising, is written by Pierce Brown, and published by Del Rey, and Imprint of Random House. It is followed by Morning Star.

The first edition was designed by Caroline Cunningham. Charts on pages viii and ix were by Joel Daniel Phillips. Once again, the font used was Sabon.

Summary Edit

As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within. 

A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love—but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution—and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people. 

He must live for more.

Dramatis Personae | Cast of Characters Edit

NERO AU AUGUSTUS ArchGovernor of Mars, head of House Augustus, father to Virginia and Adrius

VIRGINIA AU AUGUSTUS/MUSTANG daughter of Nero, twin sister to Adrius

ADRIUS AU AUGUSTUS/JACKAL son of ArchGovernor, heir to House Augustus, twin brother to Virginia

PLINY AU VELOCITOR chief Politico of House Augustus

DARROW AU ANDROMEDUS/REAPER ArchPrimus of the Institute of Mars, lancer of House Augustus

TACTUS AU RATH lancer of House Augustus

ROQUE AU FABII lancer of House Augustus

VICTRA AU JULII lancer of House Augustus, half sister to Antonia, daughter of Agrippina

KAVAX AU TELEMANUS head of House Telemanus, ally of House Augustus, father to Daxo and Pax

DAXO AU TELEMANUS heir and son of Kevax, brother to Pax

TIBERIUS AU BELLONA head of House Bellona

CASSIUS AU BELLONA heir to House Bellona, son of Tiberius, lancer of House Bellona

KARNUS AU BELLONA son of Tiberius, elder brother of Cassius, lancer of House Bellona

KELLAN AU BELLONA Praetor, cousin of Cassius, nephew of Tiberius

OCTAVIA AU LUNE reigning Sovereign of the Society

LYSANDER AU LUNE grandson of Octavia , heir to House Lune

AJA AU GRIMMUS the Sovereign's chief bodyguard

MOIRA AU GRIMMUS the Sovereign's chief Politico

LORN AU ARCOS former Rage Knight, head of House Arcos

FITCHNER AU BARCA former Proctor Mars, father of Sevro

SEVRO AU BARCA/GOBLIN lead Howler, son of Fitchner

AGRIPPINA AU JULII head of House Julii, mother to Victra and Antonia

ANTONIA AU SEVERUS-JULII former House Mars, half sister to Victra, dauther of Agrippina

ARES Terrorist Leader, color unknown

DANCER Ares' lieutenant, a Red

HARMONY Dancer's lieutenant, a Red

MICKEY Carver, a Violet

EVEY former slave of Mickey, a Pink

Chapters Edit

Part One: Bow

  1. Warlords
  2. The Breach
  3. Blood and Piss
  4. Fallen
  5. Abandoned
  6. Icarus
  7. The Afterbirth
  8. Scepter & Sword
  9. The Darkness
  10. Broken
  11. Red

Part Two: Break

  1. Blood for Blood
  2. Mad Dogs
  3. The Sovereign
  4. Truth
  5. The Game
  6. What the Storm Brings
  7. Bloodstains
  8. Stork
  9. Helldiver
  10. Stains
  11. Fire Blossom
  12. Trust
  13. Bacon and Eggs

Part Three: Conquer

  1. Praetors
  2. Puppet Master
  3. Jelly Beans
  4. The Stormsons
  5. Old Man's Wrath
  6. Gathering Storm
  7. Coup
  8. Die Young
  9. A Dance
  10. Blood Brothers
  11. Teatime
  12. Lord of War
  13. War
  14. The Iron Rain
  15. At the Wall

Part Four: Ruin

  1. Mud
  2. Achilles
  3. Death of a Gold
  4. The Sea
  5. The Poet
  6. Gifts
  7. Brotherhood
  8. Free
  9. The Magistrate
  10. Why We Sing
  11. The Deep
  12. Golden Son

Plot Edit

*warning* This is a spoiler-filled section. It is meant to be used more as a reference for those who have already read the book and need the information for possible projects or a refresher on the story line. By no means is this meant to be an alternative to reading the book. The book is excellent. Go read it.

Darrow is now 20 years old.  It has been over two years since he graduated from the Institute and has been lancer for House Augustus since then.  However, he hasn’t heard from the Sons of Ares since then and it’s been a year since he last saw Mustang as he left Mars for the Academy in which he is trains to lead warships.  

Unfortunately, in his latest training, he makes a huge error and loses the battle against Karnus au Bellona, older brother of Cassius au Bellona.  Karnus is victorious.  Soon after that, Darrow is given only three days notice, not the usual six months normally given, that his contract to House Augustus will be up for auction.  Darrow knows that without the protection of House Augustus, he could be killed.  

Out of desperation, he and Victra secretly meet up with Adrius au Augustus, aka the Jackal, in the Lost City on Luna.  Victra leaves Darrow and the Jackal to discuss a plan to unseat the Sovereign and destroy the Sons of Ares, starting with having the Jackal buy his contract. Darrow agrees hesitantly to protect himself from getting killed, and only doing so with the assurance that Mustang will not be harmed in this event.  

Evey appears, posing as a lure for the Jackal.  She takes this chance to remove Darrow from the area quickly, knowing that bombs have been planted in the area to kill the Jackal and cause chaos.  After realizing this, Darrow runs back to save the Jackal’s life instead.  

Evey finds Darrow after the explosion and takes him to see Harmony.  Harmony seems to be in charge now as they tell him that Dancer is dead.  Mickey has been taken captive by both Harmony and Evey and treated as a slave now.  He no longer has any control over Evey and she has become bitter.  They are the ones responsible for all the bombings that have been happening lately, claiming that’s the best way to get the Golds attention and make them pay for their oppression.  Harmony offers him a chance to help them.  The plan is to have him attend a gala in which all the Gold leaders across the Society will be at and use a radium bomb to kill all of them, killing himself as well.  He refuses to be a part of it.  But then Harmony shows him the video of Eo’s hanging and he finally hears what Eo had said to Dio before she died.  Eo was pregnant. Darrow, in his pain and rage, agrees to the plan.  

Before the gala, Darrow visits Roque in his room to apologize for his behavior of late.  Roque of course thinks nothing of it and says that he will bid on Darrow at the auction so he need not worry.  He confesses that Darrow is his closest friend.  Darrow uses a syringe from his ring to knock Roque out, thus preventing him from attending the gala.  

At the gala, Darrow is met by several of his former Institute mates, including Antonia, Cassius, and even Mustang, who he didn’t think would be there. Darrow decides not to set off the bomb, and takes an alternative plan. Darrow makes a plea to Nero, reminding him of Claudius’s death at the hands of Karnus.  Nero agrees and Darrow instigates a duel with Cassius.  It is revealed that during his time at the Academy, he had also been training with the former Rage Knight, Lorn au Arcos.  As they duel, Darrow bests Cassius, which forces the Sovereign’s hand to try and stop Darrow from killing Cassius.  Darrow almost brings down the final below before Mustang steps in his way and stops him.

But it is too late to stop the madness of the moment as another Bellona tries to finish Darrow off, thus causing a chain reaction of others joining in the fight.  In the melee, Darrow sees that Leto, Nero’s lead lancer and most likely heir to House Augustus is killed by Karnus, but aided secretly by the Jackal, unknown to anyone but Darrow.  

In the chaos as they try to make their escape, they find their former Mars proctor from the Institute, Fitchner au Barca, who is now one of the Olympic Knights, the Rage Knight.  He brings Darrow to meet with the Sovereign, who has her grandson Lysander, with her.  She offers him to join her, but Darrow rejects her offer.  She then challenges him to a game of truths in a very venomous way, which if he wins, allows him a chance to get whatever he wishes from her. They question each other for information, each confessing many truths, but when Darrow asks if she had planned for House Bellona to kill the ArchGovernor Augustus and everyone at his table, she denies it, and loses the game.  Mustang is there to witness this last question and is enraged with the Sovereign, but Mustang reluctantly understands and allows for the death of her father.

Darrow is rescued by Sevro, his Howlers, and Quinn.  Many Pinks, Browns, and Violets are killed by the Praetorians and Bellona, trying to kill members of House Augustus.  But Darrow also go around the Citadel to find House Augustus members and his friends, including Roque, the Telemanuses, and Tactus, despite being confronted by Aja au Grimmus, the Protean Knight.  The Howlers have kidnapped Lysander for safe passage out, and the Sovereign has no choice but to let them go.  However, Quinn is attacked ruthlessly and mercilessly by Aja before they’re able to make their escape.

During their flight back, while the Jackal operates on Quinn to try to save her, Tactus escapes the ship with Lysander.  In a bold effort to save everyone from death from the inevitable fleet that will come after them, Darrow and Sevro are shot out of the metal launch tubes onto their enemy’s bridge.    

Darrow and Sevro are able to overtake the ship, formerly named Vanguard and now named Pax.  He issues orders for the non-Golds 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, and considers Darrow a godchild for overtaking the ship.  He offers his servitude and Darrow accepts.  

Darrow picks a new Blue for captain of the Pax, Orion Xe Aquarii, a sarcastic Blue.  They are able to use the starship to fight off the ships of the Sovereigns fleet before escaping past the Rubicon Beacons.  Unfortunately, Quinn dies, leaving Roque a broken man and Sevro lost, because Sevro loved her, too.  Darrow knows Roque blames him for Quinn’s death.

Darrow goes after Sevro to try to comfort him. Sevro reveals that Ares contacted him three months prior to arriving in Luna.  Darrow opens the whisperGem that Sevro gives him, revealing a message from Ares (in a mask), saying that he was betrayed by Harmony, and that Darrow was right not to use the radium bomb at the gala, and is proud of him and urges him to carry on.  Dancer is alive and his face appears and assures him that his family is safe.

Sevro found out three months prior that Darrow was a red.  Darrow can’t help but cry and hug Sevro, feeling some relief in being able to have someone know his secret that he's kept for so long.  Dancer met up with Sevro and shown him the video of his carving.  Sevro is still loyal to Darrow, but admits not everyone will be.

Victra tells him that the archGovernor has given him the stateroom since it is Darrow’s ship and it’s his spoils.  Victra goes with him and attempts to get close, but Darrow doesn’t feel comfortable about it as he doesn't feel that way about her.  He decides to reintroduce himself as a way of starting over.  She plays along.

Darrow, unable to sleep, finds Mustang in the mess hall.  They talk about what she learned in Luna, about the Board of Quality Control, and about the rigidity of the laws, telling a story about how a Gold fell in love with an Obsidian, but were killed.  She knows this will eventually break somehow. The conversation turns bitter as Mustang tells of her choice to lure Cassius into falling in love with her as a way to protect her family.  She also says that he can’t trust Adrius, telling him they can win the war without him, but he doesn’t think so.

A month later, the ArchGovernor of Mars knows that he is on the verge of losing his governorship. Darrow proposes taking all the ships on Ganymede and also proposes kidnapping all the Institute students to use as ransom.  They know this will cause war. Augustus agrees to the plan, despite Pliny’s efforts to prevent it.

Darrow goes to see Lorn au Arcos upon the order of the ArchGovernor to gain his allegiance.  Although Roque is still bitter, he joins him, speaking to him for the first time since Quinn’s death.

Upon meeting with Lorn, Lorn rejects his request to join them,. Lorn also tells him that Aja and a Praetorian death squad have been waiting for him for days to taken him back to the Sovereign. Lorn offers him Icarus to flee, but Darrow does not take the offer. Apparently Darrow knew of the trap already, knowing that Pliny was behind it, and it makes it look as if Lorn had known as well, thus forcing him to ally with Darrow.

Tactus is with Aja.  Sevro and the Howlers arrive. Aja escapes. Tactus finds Lorn’s family where they were hiding, but is at a standstill.  There Tactus talks about regretting his decision to betray Darrow.  Darrow tells him he will forgive him if he wants to come back, and Tactus breaks down, and cries in Darrow’s arms leaving Lorn's family unharmed. But Lorn kills Tactus almost immediately.  

Mustang arrives on the ship after traveling via an assault shuttle, with news that her father has been captured and Pliny has set a coup, killing Mustang’s aunt and her children, and arresting the Jackal.

When Mustang and Darrow go to see Tactus’ body, Roque is there.  He is still angry with Darrow, letting Aja escape, and now with Tactus’s death.  Roque tells them that Tactus had sold the violin that Darrow had given him, but then felt guilty about it and stopped the sale from being finalized.  Tactus had been practicing in private to surprise Darrow with a sonata. Mustang warns Darrow to fix his broken friendship with Roque before it’s too late.

Mustang briefs them on what happened, that Augustus was taken by the Rage Knight Fitchner and the Morning Knight Cassius, but only after Nero killed the Hearth Knight.  Victra’s mother’s forces were also involved, thus creating distrust on Victra, but after a short bout and words from Roque about Victra’s loyalty, all is calm.  They go to the Hildas Station.  While waiting, Lorn tells Darrow to be careful on trusting Ragnar, because he believes that Ragnar is a weapon and he will never stop being a weapon, hinting that Ragnar will eventually betray and kill Darrow.  But Darrow does not believe that.

He goes to Ragnar to talk about what it is Ragnar wants, but Ragnar only understands that he must obey and that is it.  But Darrow makes an attempt to show him a brotherhood between them instead.  He confesses his life as a red in order to make him understand that he does not have to be a slave anymore.  

They land on Hildas Station and pretty easily rescue the prisoners, including the Jackal. Pliny is killed in the process.  Darrow makes a call for another Iron Rain, the first in twenty years. On the dock moon of Phobos is where they prepare.  Roque and Victra are to be set on starships to battle in the skies.  Roque goes to Darrow to suggest another way to attack, but Darrow is set on his plan to conquer the city Agea on Mars first.  Roque, upon slight urging from Victra, gives a farewell kiss on both Darrow’s cheeks. Darrow brings their foreheads together, calling him brother, and apologizing for all who’ve been lost and all the slights, telling him he’s been his dearest friend, admitting he was afraid.  Roque says they’ll make amends later.

Lorn approaches him, admitting now that he probably should not have killed Tactus, knowing that the way Darrow’s men look at him would do anything for him, because he believes in them, indicating that Tactus would’ve done the same.

Many Obsidians and some Howlers, including Rotback, Harpy, and Weed, die before getting into the city walls of Agea.  As they move through the city, Ragnar manages to kill the Wind Knight and almost kills Cassius.  They see the Sovereign is making her escape, and Darrow can’t wait any longer.  He leaves his group behind to try to catch her and ends up getting into her ship without anyone to back him up. Darrow is surrounded by Karnus, Aja, Fitchner, the Sovereign and her Praeterians.  Karnus tries to attack, but Darrow kills him.  He is badly injured though, and Fitchner whispers to Darrow, reveals himself to be Ares.  He shoots at the Praetorians, and escapes the ship with Darrow.

When Darrow is conscious again, a week has passed.  Mustang is there and tells him that all of Cassius’s family are dead and he and his mother are missing.  Roque was able to capture more than eighty percent of the Bellona fleet.  The Sovereign is still alive.  He opens up to her about his regrets and sobs in her arms.  They make love.

Darrow tries to mend his friendship with Roque, but Sevro calls him away on urgent news that the Jackal has captured Harmony, Evey, and Mickey.  Darrow visits the Jackal in Attica, making himself a distraction as Sevro and some others play at being Sons of Ares and rescuing the three, all while Darrow plays not knowing what’s going on.

Later, Darrow and Sevro meet with the Sons of Ares at a secret warehouse location.  The Telemanuses are there, too.  Fitchner tells of how he became Ares after Sevro's mom was killed.

The next plan is to have the ArchGovernor adopt Darrow as his heir and rise from there, all the way to becoming Sovereign.  Darrow agrees but wants to be in constant communication with Ares.  Ares agrees.  Then Darrow says he wants to see his family first, his family in Lykos, before they go further.  And Darrow wants to take Mustang with him.

Darrow arrives on Lykos with Ragnar, Mustang, and Sevro.  He returns to the garden that Eo had brought him to four years prior.  It is not the same as it was.  He meets with the mineMagistrate tells him to bring the food he brought from his ship and allow the people a feast.  He watches his people eat and dance as he contemplates what their future will be. Mustang finds him there.

Here is where he reveals who he is and who he was, after visiting his mother, who recognized him still, even as a Gold.  She tells him that his Uncle Narol died with Loran down a mineshaft, though they never found the bodies. So, she believes that Narol left and took Loran with him.

Mustang confronts Darrow after he leaves his house.  She is angry and feels she has to kill him to prevent her family from being killed.  Ragnar prevents it from happening.

At Darrow’s Triumph, where he is to be crowned, terror reigns as the Jackal conspired with Roque to capture Darrow. He is injected by Roque with a paralyzing agent. Lorn au Arcos is killed, and ArchGovernor Augustus is also killed. Mustang never showed up for the Triumph and neither did the Telemanuses. Sevro, his Howlers and Ragnar are unaccounted for. Cassius is there and accuses Darrow of killing his whole family, including the children, but Darrow has no idea what he’s talking about. Roque presents Darrow with the head of Fitchner, aka Ares.  

End of book two.


Praise for Golden Son

“Gripping . . . Both author and lead character have cranked up the emotional stakes. . . . With Golden Son, Brown avoids the sophomore slump, charging the novel with the kind of dystopia-toppling action you’d expect in a trilogy ender, not a middle volume. On virtually every level, this is a sequel that hates sequels—a perfect fit for a hero who already defies the tropes. [Grade:] A”Entertainment Weekly  

“Stirring . . . Comparisons to The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones series are inevitable, for this tale has elements of both.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Brown writes layered, flawed characters . . . but plot is his most breathtaking strength. . . .  Every action seems to flow into the next.”—NPR

“It’s a far superior sequel, in fact: one of the rare breed of reads that improves upon its predecessor in every conceivable category. . . . In a word, Golden Son is stunning. Never mind how little we’ve seen of 2015: Among science fiction fans, it should be a shoo-in for book of the year.”

“Pierce Brown is a prodigy. As great as the first book of the Red Rising Trilogy is, Golden Son is even better. A wild ride full of suspense, intrigue, and serious ass-kicking bravado, it’s expertly written and emotionally engaging, with top-notch universe-building that begs for further exploration. I want more!”—Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Snowblind

“The stakes are even higher than they were in Red Rising, and the twists and turns of the story are every bit as exciting. The jaw-dropper of an ending will leave readers hungry for the conclusion to Brown’s wholly original, completely thrilling saga.”Booklist (starred review)  

“Dramatic . . . the rare middle book that loses almost no momentum as it sets up the final installment.”Publishers Weekly

Errors Edit

  • The Cordovan were misspelled as Codovan
  • Callisto was spelled as Calisto
  • In the characters page, Daxo au Telemanus was missing the s
  • MineMagistrate Timony cu Podginus's name with the c replaced by a, implying that he is a Gold

Honours Edit

In May 2015, the English audiobook of Golden Son became the E.E. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award.