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Morning Star is the third book in the Red Rising Series. The story picks up approximately one year after the ending of Golden Son. It is written by Pierce Brown, and published by Del Rey Books. The Novel was released almost a year after the second installation. It is preceded by Red Rising and Golden Son, and followed by Iron Gold, set 10 years after Morning Star ends.

Morning Star debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list.

Official Synopsis

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society's mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied--and too glorious to surrender.

Plot Summary

*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.

Part One: Thorns

Since the betrayal at Darrow's Triumph, the Reaper of Mars has been kept in a pitch-black box alone with his thoughts and regrets. The tedium of the darkness is broken only by intermittent torture and antagonizing voices, most of which seem to be figments of his own imagination. Darrow has no idea how long he's been in the box. He does know, however, that the torture and isolation were enough to coerce him into giving up Sons of Ares intel and the names and locations of all members of his family.

After giving up his family, he is teased by the Jackal with constant details on the state of their torture and demise. Darrow decides to kill himself before he can give up any more information, if he even has any more to give. As he smashes his head against the side of his box, the floor begins to move upwards, and a sliver of light appears above him. The first light he’s seen in who knows how long, he is blinded and disorientated. He rises into what sounds like a dinner party and is slapped with the familiar voices of Aja au Grimmus, the Jackal, Antonia au Julii, the ex-Howler Thistle, Lilith, and his old friend Cassius. As he regains his sight, he can see that he is now a husk of a man, covered in scars, malnourished, and naked.

Darrow recognizes the location as the Jackal’s estate at Attica. It dawns on him that this whole time, he has been enduring torture and isolation mere feet below where the Jackal eats dinner and entertains guests. Darrow also gathers that the Howlers and Sons have still not been found and are hiding in a hidden city known as Tinos. Darrow senses much tension and unease between the factions present at the dinner, and learns that the Jackal is now the Arch Governor of Mars and he was captive for 9 months. He is now to be handed over to the Sovereign so that they may dissect him and learn how a Red managed to turn Gold. Those loyal to the Sovereign are disgusted with how Darrow is presented, and Cassius covers him with his cloak.

Due to his physical state, he is first to be checked by a doctor to ensure he is well enough to travel. After a painful hosing down and more torture, Darrow watches as the Yellow doctor’s head explodes, as well as those of the Greys around him. He turns to see two of the Greys expertly assassinating everyone on the room. They reveal themselves to be the siblings Holiday and Trigg ti Nakamura.

Believing it’s another trick by the Jackal, Darrow refuses to comply with or follow them. Holiday contacts Sevro, now wearing the mask of Ares, and his old friend assures him these two are here to help and that his family is safe and has been this whole time. They inject him with the Nakamura special, a concoction that can raise the dead they say. During the escape the three are stuck in an elevator with Vixus au Sarna, one of Titus’s men from the institute responsible for the death of Lea. Vastly underestimating the extent of the damage to his body, Darrow attacks Vixus after the big man mentions that Victra au Julii is still alive. Luckily, the two Greys manage to subdue Vixus. Despite the pleas from Holiday, Darrow forces them to go save Victra, insisting that he will not leave without her. They find Victra being subjected to the opposite form of torture from Darrow, namely bright lights and constant noise. Victra is even more distrustful than Darrow was and the group is forced to tranquilize her. After some vague threats by Vixus, Darrow kills the Gold and leaves his body in Victra's cell.

Having now alerted the Jackal’s men, the team switches to plan C. Holiday and Trigg lead the vanguard through Attica, putting their expert marksman skills to use. As they make their way to the landing platform to wait for whatever Plan C is, they are cornered by Aja and Cassius. Holiday is gravely wounded, Aja kills Trigg, and Cassius gives a rather unconvincing plea for Darrow to surrender. Now the only one of the escape group conscious, Darrow hears the recognizable hum and growl of a clawDrill far below him. As Cassius and Aja move nearer, Darrow grabs Holiday and Victra and jumps off the landing platform. The ground opens up below them and the Sons of Ares pour up through the hole, saving them in the nick of time. Sevro catches Victra just before she hits the ground, and Ragnar catches Darrow and Holiday. As the battle rages above them, they enter the hole to make their escape.

Darrow wakes up two days later in Tinos, the City of Ares. His Mother and Uncle are there, as well as Dancer. Dancer reveals that it was Harmony that was responsible for the raid on the Sons compound. Darrow also learns that he was with the Jackal for about a year, and that about three months into his custody, they “executed” him on Live HC. The only one that held out hope was Sevro, who five days prior got intel that a “package” was being moved from Attica. Sevro believed the package to be Darrow and organized the rescue. Dancer wants to do a full debrief but Darrow tells him to come back tomorrow, today is for his family.

Sevro and Ragnar arrive and take him on a small tour of Tinos. Ares has been very busy lately, extracting Reds and other Sons sympathizers and relocating them to Tinos, an underground cave city. Things aren’t necessarily golden though. As the city grows more populous and the resources more scarce, crime and poverty is gripping the city and the people are hungry. Sevro mentions that it was Cassius that killed his father Fitchner, the original Ares.

During the official Briefing, Darrow learns that in addition to the war between the Sons and Golds, there is also a war among the Golds. Darrow’s triumph wasn’t the only of the Sovereign’s attacks. She also targeted her rivals among the outer rim, namely killing Revus au Raa. She did so knowing she had many of the Outer World’s children as hostages on Luna, but after the children escaped, the Moon Lords declared their independence. In the meantime, Roque au Fabii has been making quite the name for himself controlling his flagship “Colossus” and the Sword Armada as he cleans up the Moon Lords' fleet. Mustang has been helping the Moon Lords, but after a crushing defeat at the hands of Roque, her whereabouts are unknown.

Meanwhile, on Mars, the Jackal has been purging any Red mines that have the slightest hint of insurrection and a new faction, the Red Legion, has started in the North. With Harmony as one of their leaders, the Red Legion has started killing any high colors they come across.

After Darrow’s “death,” all seemed lost and Sevro was quickly losing control of the Sons. In response, he released Darrow’s carving to the entire Solar System, effectively turning him into a martyr. Sevro still stands behind his decision, but the news deeply upsets Darrow.

Trying to not let any more friendships fall apart, Darrow tells Victra that no matter what, Mickey the carver will fix them, but he thinks she could play an important role within the Sons and that he trusts her completely. Darrow says he trusts her like family, and so if she wants to leave, she may. She decides to stay, but swears it’s only to get her revenge.

Part Two: Rage

As promised, Darrow and Victra are made whole again by Mickey the carver. To get back into the swing of things, they join the Pit Vipers, an elite Sons force second only to the Howlers. The two Golds' natural leadership and razor skills quickly bring them back up to speed. One night, Victra and Darrow along with Holiday are inducted into the Howlers in somewhat of a hazing fashion.

Their first mission is to kidnap the financial heart of the society, Regulus ag Sun. Darrow learns along the way that Sevro also plans to blow up the moon Phobos, where, in addition to Quicksilver’s headquarters, a large portion of the Society’s Helium-3 is mined and stored. The destruction of the moon would kill the millions of lowColors living on the surface as well as plunge the entirety of the Society into economic turmoil. This, combined with Sevro’s fast and brash tactics and most likely Darrow’s new views on life he’s gained from his box, have led him to start doubting his old friend’s ability to lead. The group finds Matteo, the pink who taught Darrow about Gold culture when he was first carved. Darrow knows something is wrong and it takes all he can to stop Sevro from killing the frail Pink. Darrow tries to raise his concerns but Sevro overrules him and tells him they can’t let the chance pass and the group storms the conference room.

They open the door to a conference room and are surprised to find a meeting of Quicksilver with Cassius au Bellona, Moira au Grimmus, and the Death Knight on one side. On the other sits Mustang, Kavax au Telemanus, and Daxo au Telemanus. They have stumbled upon some kind of negotiations and Darrow does not want anyone hurt, especially Mustang. While processing what he sees and trying to make sure nothing breaks out, Darrow is frantically telling all to calm down but Sevro cuts Darrow off so no one can hear him. Not knowing who Darrow & the howlers are, everyone in the conference room prepares to fight. Confirming what he feared about Sevro, the leader of the Howlers does nothing to stop the fighting and seems to even welcome it. In the fight, Moira and the Death Knight are killed and Kavax and Quicksilver are captured by the Howlers. Darrow is being attacked by Mustang when his helmet is broken open and she recognizes him. She tells Darrow that Orion and the Pax are alive and well before she and Daxo escape one way as Cassius goes the other. All Howlers are alive but badly wounded.

Sevro’s plan is to fight their way out, but Darrow knows they have no chance. Darrow finally takes control of the Howlers, much to Sevro’s dismay, and starts implementing his new plan. The Howlers secure the entryways and they are all bound together as Holiday is ordered to bring the ship up to their level. Quicksilver’s security forces arrive and as a killer robot enters the room, the Gravity is turned up to the point that all save Ragnar are forced to their stomach. Ragnar manages to get his pulseFist aimed at the window and blasts it open. All are sucked into the vacuum of space but Holiday is able to catch them before anyone is seriously hurt.

While interrogating Quicksilver, they learn he was a founding member of the Sons of Ares with Sevro's father and was the one who funded nearly all Sons' activity. Sevro still wants to follow through with blowing up the moon, and a fight breaks out between Sevro and Darrow. The two make up during the fight and Sevro says the responsibility that comes with the Helm of Ares has been too much for him. He accepts that Darrow should again take the reins of strategy for their rebellion.

The Helldiver's plan starts with taking control of the moon, rousing all the lowColors to take control of every tower, ship, and armory. With lowColors already in control of all vital functions such as water, air, and electricity, the takeover proves rather easy. With all the Golds trying to escape the moon, the Howlers set off on their new missions. Darrow and Ragnar are about to leave on one of Quicksilvers ships to execute their own portion of the plan but they find Mustang blocking their way. She joins with them, explaining that she was pursuing peace with the Sovereign so that together they could focus on the Jackal. She saw no other way forward with Darrow dead.

Their mission is to bring Ragnar to the South Pole of Mars, where the bulk of Obsidians live, so that he may convince his Mother Alia Snowsparrow and the rest of the Obsidian leaders to join the uprising. However, on the way, they are attacked by Cassius and Aja in their own ship. While the Rising’s ship is shot down, Ragnar manages to hit the pursuing ship with a shoulder-fired rocket launcher. After a close call on the ice caps of Mars, Holiday, Darrow, and Ragnar go in search for the other ship. They find the crash with many dead and the cannibalistic outcast Obsidians having already fallen upon it. They fight off the Cannibals and camp there for the night. The following day they follow the trail of dead bodies Cassius, Aja and their grey retinue left behind. They set up an ambush on the three remaining Sovereign loyalists. The Grey is killed instantly and as Darrow attacks Cassius, Ragnar goes for Aja. Mustang hits Cassius with an Arrow to the neck, but Aja manages a mortal wound on Ragnar before she escapes down a ravine. Investigating the crashes, Ragnar’s sister Sefi the Quiet arrives just in time for Ragnar’s final words.

Sefi brings the three survivors, the still breathing Cassius, and Ragnar’s body back to her Mother. Mustang and Darrow find the queen of the Obsidians harder to convince than they anticipated and come to the realization that Ragnar was coming not to negotiate with his Mother, but to kill her. Alia Snowsparrow sends Sefi to take the prisoners to the “gods,” who are in reality the Gold overlords of the Obsidians who pose as Norse Gods as a form of control over the Obsidians. Darrow and Mustang manage to convince Sefi to allow them to show that their gods are false. The group takes control of the mountain and slay the “gods.”

Meanwhile, on Phobos, Sevro’s part of the plan was to take control of the Jackal's fleet when they attempt to take back the moon. As the Jackal’s ships unload troops onto Phobos, Sevro’s men are able to easily take control of the now empty ships.

Bringing the Golden bodies back to Alia have no affect on the stubborn Queen, who Darrow, Mustang, and Sefi suspect to have known about the false gods from the beginning. Sefi kills her Mother and claims her crown. “Tell all who will hear,” She says, “The Valkyrie ride to war.”

Part Three: Glory

With this new fleet and the bulk of the Jackal's attention on Phobos, the Rising starts to evacuate the Obsidians. Most go to Tinos, aggravating the problems already present in the city, but all the soldiers are to stay with Darrow. The sudden increase of Obsidians in the Rising’s army in addition to the sudden death of Ragnar, who was going to be the one leading them, worries Low and High Colors alike. Cassius tells his side of the meeting with Quicksilver, claiming that the Sovereign’s stockpile of nuclear weapons was stolen, and they suspected the Jackal.

With the considerable increase in ships and soldiers, Darrow now turns his focus onto the Sword Armada in the Outer Worlds, commanded by Roque and his lieutenants Antonia and Thistle. During the considerable journey to the Moons of Jupiter they rendezvous with Orion, still captaining the Pax. Darrow and Mustang meet with the leader of the Moon Lords Romulus au Raa, and Roque. The noble Gold invites the two factions together so that they may bid for the Moon Lord’s support.

Despite Darrow promising to leave the Moons out of the Rising and even go as far to give up the name of any Sons of Ares cells in the outer worlds, Roque, with the immense resources and power of the Sovereign, is easily able to offer the better terms to Romulus au Raa. However, Darrow wins the proud Lord’s favor by bringing up the fact that Romulus’s own niece was slain at Darrow’s triumph, and reminding the Moon Lord of the destruction of Rhea. Darrow also shares with the Moon Lords the intel he got from Cassius about the nuclear warheads in the asteroid belt between the Core and Rim. Roque seems to be unaware of these weapons, meaning the Sovereign trusted very few with this information. The Moon Lords rightly assume that the Sovereign stored these weapons there so that they may be easily grabbed by any fleet on the way to put down a rebellion in the Rim. Despite not having the warheads, Roque must pay for their existence as the Moon Lords join Darrow against the Sword Armada.

Darrow knows that Roque will be expecting a head strong plan of action from the famously rash Reaper of Mars. He uses this fact against his old friend as he starts the attack on the Sword Armada. With a tactic vary similar to what Sevro did on Phobos, Darrow had a number of Mining claw drills hidden inside the Pax. When his ship gets close enough they launch themselves at the Colossus with a large contingent of Sefi’s Valkyries and melt their way through the decks of the ship. Darrow, Victra, Sefi, and Holiday manage to enter the Bridge when a pink slave betrays Roque and opens the door to them. They are unable to talk the noble Roque au Fabii down and the proud Gold kills himself citing the enduring honor of the Society. Before broadcasting having taken control of the Colossus, Darrow orders the ship to target the docks of Ganymede, the main economic and militaristic bastion of the Moon Lords. Romulus au Raa believes this was the last desperate act of Roque on behalf of the Sovereign before Darrow was able to capture and control the ship. This attack effectively destroys any ability of the Moons to wage war for what they believe will be 50 years, but also means the sacrifice of millions of lowColors. The new flagship of the Red Armada is christened “Morning Star.” The Sword Armada’s fate is sealed when Sevro’s trap is sprung and Antonia retreats prematurely with her mother’s ships.

Part Four: Stars

During the journey back to Mars to re-take the home planet of the Rising, Victra pursues and captures her half-sisters escaping ships. During imprisonment, Antonia kills Thistle in hopes of securing her own security as the only knowledgeable prisoner. In response, Victra beats her younger half-sister until she is pulled off. The Jackal broadcasts the capture and execution of Darrow’s uncle and hero of lowColors, Narol. Using the opportunity, Sefi’s Valkyries instigate riots onboard the Sons' ships, a façade meant to excuse the execution of Golds. In his usual dramatic fashion, Sevro dawns the Helm of Ares and mocks the trial of Cassius by doing a backflip from his gallows after first pushing Cassius off. Sefi cuts Cassius down and the insurrections are put down. Victra and Sevro are married soon after, joined under the house Barca name.

The Red Armada arrives not at Mars, but Luna in hopes of catching the Sovereign and the Jackal unprepared. Once they arrive, Mustang, Sevro, and Darrow approach Cassius and say they are prepared to let him go as long as he swears never to take up arms in this conflict again. Cassius agrees, but as soon as he is out of his manacles, he grabs Sevro’s gun and shoots the little Gold multiple times in the chest. Now the only one armed, Cassius forces Darrow, Mustang, and their dead friend into a laundry basket to deliver them to the Sovereign. Releasing Antonia, the two escape to the ship that Darrow already scheduled for his escape.

Now on Luna, the Jackal forces Cassius to cut off Darrow’s sword hand, in return for Darrow’s gift at the Institute. He also takes Sevro’s scorcher as a token of his slain enemy. They are all taken to the underground center of the Sovereign’s impenetrable fortress. The Sovereign's grandson, Lysander, three Olympic knights including Aja, and a host of elite soldiers are in the bunker with them. The foot soldiers are ordered to leave and secure the area, as the Sovereign does not trust any non-golds. Attention then turns to Antonia, who, while expecting praise and commendations is instead met with the consequences of her actions. The Sovereign believes it was indeed Roque who fired upon the Ganymede docks, and knows that while Roque honorably ended his own life before he was able to be turned or bartered by Darrow, Antonia left her Imperator and fled the battle. She orders her execution by Aja. She then sentences the Reaper to death, an act to be carried out live on the HC.

The cameras start rolling and the Jackal begs for the honor of executing the Reaper of Mars. After a rather winded speech by Octavia, the ruthless woman agrees to the Jackal’s request. But when the Jackal pulls Sevro’s gun out to kill his old enemy from the institute, he pulls the trigger and the gun clicks. In the same breath, Cassius kills the Sovereign’s Praetorian Guards in the back. The cameras capture the moment as Cassius slays the Truth Knight and releases Darrow and Mustang’s manacles. The one-handed Reaper fatally stabs Octavia and pins the Jackal to the ground with a Razor through the arm. He then takes the Joy Knight from behind, leaving Ragnar’s killer as the only enemy left in the room. Despite three on one odds, Aja au Grimmus seems to be able to easily fend of the three would-be revolutionaries. Taking the first chance he gets, Darrow rushes over to the catatonic Goblin and injects him with the Nakamura special, “enough to wake the dead,” and enough to counter the effects of the haemanthus oil he was given prior to Cassius "killing" him. He shoots up in a combination of heart-attack and incontinence, launching himself at Aja. The small Gold is able to turn the tide and slay Aja.

It’s not over yet however, as the Sovereign’s last words are “You must stop Adrius.” Even while beaten and pinned to the floor, the Jackal starts maniacally laughing. Explaining why he could afford to act so brazen around Octavia and Aja, He tells them that the nuclear weapons he had stolen are hidden all around Luna, and he will have Lilath detonate one every minute until Darrow kills himself. After a few detonations, Darrow takes from the Jackal his true weapon, not his hands as he thought was the case so many years ago in the Institute, but his words. Tearing the Jackal’s tongue out, The Reaper then contacts Victra, who is leading the battle in the skies in hopes she will be able to destroy Lilath’s ship. Victra cannot, and more nuclear blasts rock the surface of Luna. Lysander says they should contact his Godfather, the Ash Lord. The little Lune says Rhea haunts the Ash Lord, and he will surely help prevent another.

Lysander’s idea works, and Lilath’s ship is blown from the sky with the combined firepower of the Red Armada and the Scepter Armada. She is not destroyed before she is able to detonate 12 nuclear bombs however, killing tens of millions of people across the Moon. With the Scepter in one hand the severed head of Octavia au Lune in the other, Mustang is able to walk directly to the Senate. She is declared the new Sovereign with all but 50 Senators kneeling to Augustus.

In the wake of the Mustang’s crowning, the Ash Lord is forced to retreat to Mercury after many of his allies either retreat to their own strongholds or join the Sovereign Augustus. Food shortage and riots grip many cities, but a light at the end of the tunnel can be seen. The Jackal is hanged for his crimes and dies after his sister pulls his legs. Virginia begins the process of dismantling the color hierarchy and dissolving the Board of Quality Control. She disbands the Senate. Many are tried for crimes against humanity. Sefi travels to the Poles to resettle her people. Cassius leaves with Lysander, both having had enough of politics. With his hand reattached by Mickey, the Helldiver of Lykos heads to Mars to help the migration of Red to the surface.

A few weeks later, on a beach on Earth, Darrow and Mustang are visited by Sophocles, Kavax, Dancer, Deanna, Kieran, Sevro, Victra, and a baby boy. Mustang tells Darrow that the baby is their son Pax. She kept the pregnancy secret to keep the child safe from enemies and kept the child secret from Darrow so that he may do what needs to be done and so that she may make sure he can be the father little Pax needs.

End of Book Three


Sons of Ares and The Rising

Loyal to the Society

Loyal to Adrius

  • Adrius au Augustus/Jackal - Son of the ArchGovernor, twin brother to Virginia
  • Antonia au Severus-Julii - Member of House Mars during the intitute, half sister to Victra, daughter of Agrippina. Uses Severus to not be connected to house Julii
  • Thistle - Previous Howler, betrayed Darrow during the Triumph
  • Lilath au Faran - First Bonerider, loyal to the Jackal since the Institute


  • Romulus au Raa - The ArchGovernor of Io, leader of the Moon Lords
  • Harmony - Red Legion Leader, a Red
  • Regulus ag Sun - An extremely wealthy Silver
  • Sefi the Quiet - Sister to Ragnar, Daughter to Alia Snowsparrow, swore vow of silence when Ragnar was given over to the "Gods"
  • Alia Snowsparrow - Leader of the Obsidians on the Southern Pole of Mars, Mother to Sefi and Ragnar


  1. Only the Dark
  2. Prisoner L17L6363
  3. Snakebite
  4. Cell 2187
  5. Plan C
  6. Victims
  7. Bumblebees
  8. Home
  9. The City of Ares
  10. The War
  11. My People
  12. The Julii

  1. Howlers
  2. The Vampire Moon
  3. The Hunt
  4. Paramour
  5. Killing Golds
  6. Abyss
  7. Pressure
  8. Dissent
  9. Quicksilver
  10. The Weight of Ares
  11. The Tide
  12. Hic Sunt Leones
  13. Exodus
  14. The Ice
  15. Bay of Laughter
  16. Feast
  17. Hunters
  18. The Quiet
  19. The Pale Queen
  20. No Man's Land
  21. Gods and Men
  22. Godkillers

  1. The Light
  2. Swill
  3. The Last Eagle
  4. The Bill
  5. The Heart
  6. Yellow Sea
  7. The Moon Lord
  8. The Poet
  9. Here Again
  10. The Lucky Ones
  11. The Battle of Ilium
  12. Helldiver
  13. Hell
  14. Imperator
  15. Colossus

  1. Thunder and Lightning
  2. Pandora
  3. Teeth
  4. Silence
  5. The Goblin and the Gold
  6. The Ignoble House Barca
  7. In Time
  8. Luna
  9. Fading Light
  10. The Lion of Mars
  11. Dragon's Maw
  12. The Red
  13. Omnis Vir Lupus
  14. Silence
  15. Hail
  16. The Vale
  17. Epilogue

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