Authors: Brandon Sanderson
FOR JOSHUA BILMES
Who is never afraid to tell me what is wrong with a book, then fight for that same book no matter who else gives up on it.
I first pitched the idea of later-era Mistborn novels to my editor back in 2006, I believe. It had long been my plan for Scadrial, the planet these books take place upon. I wanted to move away from the idea of fantasy worlds as static places, where millennia would pass and technology would never change. The plan then was for a second epic trilogy set in an urban era, and a third trilogy set in a futuristic era—with Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy being the common threads that tied them together.
This book isn’t part of that second trilogy. It’s a side deviation, something exciting that grew quite unexpectedly out of my planning for where the world would go. The point of telling you all of this, however, is to explain that it would be impossible to list all of the people who have helped me along the years. Instead, the best I can do is list some of the wonderful people who helped me with this specific book.
Alpha readers included, as always, my agent, Joshua Bilmes, and my editor, Moshe Feder. This book is dedicated to Joshua, actually. Professionally, he’s believed in my work longer than anyone outside my writing group. He has been a wonderful resource and a good friend.
Other alphas were my writing group: Ethan Skarstedt, Dan Wells, Alan & Jeanette Layton, Kaylynn ZoBell, Karen Ahlstrom, Ben & Danielle Olsen, Jordan Sanderson (kind of), and Kathleen Dorsey. Finally, of course, there’s the Inseparable Peter Ahlstrom, my assistant and friend, who does all kinds of important things for my writing and doesn’t get nearly enough thanks for it.
At Tor Books, thanks go to Irene Gallo, Justin Golenbock, Terry McGarry, and many others I couldn’t possibly name—everyone from Tom Doherty to the sales force. Thank you all for your excellent work. Once again, I feel the need to give a special thanks to Paul Stevens, who goes above and beyond what I could reasonably expect to give aid and explanations.
Beta readers included Jeff Creer and Dominique Nolan. A special thanks to Dom for being a resource in regards to weaponry and guns. If you ever need anything shot properly, he’s the one to call.
Note the lovely cover by Chris McGrath, whom I asked for specifically because of his work on the Mistborn paperback covers. Both Ben McSweeney and Isaac Stewart returned to provide interior art for this book, as their work on
The Way of Kings
was just plain awesome. They’ve continued in their awesomeness. Ben also provided equally awesome illustrations for the recently released Mistborn RPG from Crafty Games. Check it out at
, especially if you’re interested in Kelsier’s origin story.
Last of all I’d like to once again thank Emily, my wonderful wife, for her support, commentary, and love.
Wax crept along the ragged fence in a crouch, his boots scraping the dry ground. He held his Sterrion 36 up by his head, the long, silvery barrel dusted with red clay. The revolver was nothing fancy to look at, though the six-shot cylinder was machined with such care in the steel-alloy frame that there was no play in its movement. There was no gleam to the metal or exotic material on the grip. But it fit his hand like it was meant to be there.
The waist-high fence was flimsy, the wood grayed with time, held together with fraying lengths of rope. It smelled of age. Even the worms had given up on this wood long ago.
Wax peeked up over the knotted boards, scanning the empty town. Blue lines hovered in his vision, extending from his chest to point at nearby sources of metal, a result of his Allomancy. Burning steel did that; it let him see the location of sources of metal, then Push against them if he wanted. His weight against the weight of the item. If it was heavier, he was pushed back. If he was heavier, it was pushed forward.
In this case, however, he didn’t Push. He just watched the lines to see if any of the metal was moving. None of it was. Nails holding together buildings, spent shell casings lying scattered in the dust, or horseshoes piled at the silent smithy—all were as motionless as the old hand pump planted in the ground to his right.
Wary, he too remained still. Steel continued to burn comfortably in his stomach, and so—as a precaution—he gently Pushed outward from himself in all directions. It was a trick he’d mastered a few years back; he didn’t Push on any specific metal objects, but created a kind of defensive bubble around himself. Any metal that came streaking in his direction would be thrown slightly off course.
It was far from foolproof; he could still get hit. But shots would go wild, not striking where they were aimed. It had saved his life on a couple of occasions. He wasn’t even certain how he did it; Allomancy was often an instinctive thing for him. Somehow he even managed to exempt the metal he carried, and didn’t Push his own gun from his hands.
That done, he continued along the fence—still watching the metal lines to make sure nobody was sneaking up on him. Feltrel had once been a prosperous town. That had been twenty years back. Then a clan of koloss had taken up residence nearby. Things hadn’t gone well.
Today, the dead town seemed completely empty, though he knew it wasn’t so. Wax had come here hunting a psychopath. And he wasn’t the only one.
He grabbed the top of the fence and hopped over, feet grinding red clay. Crouching low, he ran in a squat over to the side of the old blacksmith’s forge. His clothing was terribly dusty, but well tailored: a fine suit, a silver cravat at the neck, twinkling cuff links on the sleeves of his fine white shirt. He had cultivated a look that appeared out of place, as if he were planning to attend a fine ball back in Elendel rather than scrambling through a dead town in the Roughs hunting a murderer. Completing the ensemble, he wore a bowler hat on his head to keep off the sun.
A sound; someone stepped on a board across the street, making it creak. It was so faint, he almost missed it. Wax reacted immediately, flaring the steel that burned inside his stomach. He Pushed on a group of nails in the wall beside him just as the crack of a gunshot split the air.
His sudden Push caused the wall to rattle, the old rusty nails straining in their places. His Push shoved him to the side, and he rolled across the ground. A blue line appeared for an eyeblink—the bullet, which hit the ground where he had been a moment before. As he came up from his roll, a second shot followed. This one came close, but bent just a hair out of the way as it neared him.
Deflected by his steel bubble, the bullet zipped past his ear. Another inch to the right, and he’d have gotten it in the forehead—steel bubble or no. Breathing calmly, he raised his Sterrion and sighted on the balcony of the old hotel across the street, where the shot had come from. The balcony was fronted by the hotel’s sign, capable of hiding a gunman.
Wax fired, then Pushed on the bullet, slamming it forward with extra thrust to make it faster and more penetrating. He wasn’t using typical lead or copper-jacketed lead bullets; he needed something stronger.