Literature: The Alloy of Law

First book in the Wax And Wayne series, a Sequel Series to Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn: The Original Trilogy.

Waxillium Ladrian is a lawman out in the Roughs, the untamed land beyond the mountains. On the day he receives a summons back home (which he intends to ignore), the insane outlaw Bloody Tam tricks him into shooting his girlfriend, Lessie.

Five months later, with nothing else left in his life, Wax returns to Elendel to take up the Ladrian family name and return the house to solvency following his uncle's carousing and poor business deals. He enters into an arrangement with a young woman for a marriage of mutual benefit, firmly resolving to put his past behind him, no matter how much he wishes he could just fly into the night, fighting criminals and saving people. His house depends on him, and the city has enough lawmen of its own.

But criminals called the Vanishers are staging high-drama robberies and kidnapping women. Despite his attempts to stay out of it, Wax is soon drawn in by his friend Wayne, and finds that the scheme hits closer to home than expected.

The Alloy of Law was published in 2011. The sequel, Shadows Of Self, was released in October of 2015.

This novel provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alternate Self: Mile's other ability besides healing is to burn gold, allowing him to see his past self and who he could have become. His Knight Templar Lawman alternate self hates him, but the process lets him take on some of those mental qualities.
  • Axe Crazy: Bloody Tan, the villain of the prologue, is a serial killer. Also, several other criminals from Wax and Wayne's Backstory, some of them quite nasty, are mentioned in passing.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Everybody lives, but the Man Behind the Man gets away, and Wax rejects Marasi. Also, the first four hostages (and possibly Wax's sister) are still missing.
  • BFG: Several guns in the book qualify.
  • Blasting It out of Their Hands: Done by Wax to Miles repeatedly. The reason he is able to do this multiple times is because Miles has a Healing Factor that lets him regenerate his hand each time Wax ruins it.
  • The Cameo: Hoid, Sanderson's Legacy Character who appears in every other book in the overarching multiverse of his setting, briefly appears at the wedding party, though not directly referenced by name, instead being mentioned as a shabby-looking fellow in black who might have been a beggar. The wedding in question is of two Seventeenth Shard (conspiracy) worldhoppers, according to Sanderson.
    • The newlyweds are themselves a cameo of two members of the Seventeenth Shard fansite, who are indeed married in real life.
  • The Cavalry: Wayne arrives at the head of a small army of constables to take down Miles in the finale, having been sent to fetch them at the start of the final confrontation, before Marasi started slowing down time.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Ranette the gunsmith is mentioned early in the book; it's no surprise when she shows up nearer the end.
    • As part of a bit of world-building, Marsh aka Ironeyes, showing up right at the end.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Marasi is convinced her Allomantic power is useless. Being able to slow down time by a significant factor for a large area allows Wax and Marasi to stall for time as Wayne goes to fetch the military to apprehend the indestructible Miles.
  • Comic Book Fantasy Casting: Illustrator Ben Mcsweeney says he drew Allomancer Jak (in the broadsheet illustration) to resemble a cross between Teddy Roosevelt and Wild Bill Hickock.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Miles gives one to Wax near the end. Of course Wax was just trying to buy time as part of a Batman Gambit...
  • The Determinator: Wax, with some possibly divine help.
  • Deus ex Machina: Played with. It certainly looks like a literal version of this when Harmony actually starts helping Wax out in the finale...then the epilogue confirms that Harmony is Sazed, and definitely more of an active agent than he appears.
  • Difficult but Awesome: The Pulser power (burning Chromium), which slows time for everything in a pretty wide area...including yourself. For the user, everything outside that area just seems to radically speed up. At first blush it seems useless. In fact, it's an ideal means of keeping people in place and is crucial to capturing Miles.
  • Elite Mooks: The Vanishers with aluminum guns.
  • Exact Words:
    • Wayne says that Wax was lying about not bringing a gun. Wax replies that he didn't bring a gun and draws a second one.
    • After Steris asks that people stop talking about shooting people and hitting them with bricks, Marasi brings up throwing knives at them.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Miles, though his time as a Face was before the book started.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: the Roughs are an equivalent of 19th century The Wild West: small towns inhabited by people who've had enough of city life (and laws of civilized societies), lawkeepers wearing dusters and hats who hunt bandits for bounties, and savage koloss as a fantasy equivalent of Native American tribes.
  • Living Doll Collector: Bloody Tam, the serial killer at the beginning, makes carefully composed scenes using corpses.
  • Kick the Dog: The Vanishers should NOT have shot the old constable offering himself as a hostage in exchange for Marasi and Steris.
  • Magic Pants: Miles sets off dynamite in his hand to escape a net. His shirt is destroyed, but his pants survive.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Wax's uncle, to a degree that makes him an instant Chessmaster. Incompetent noblemen gambling and carousing their houses into financial ruin is a plot point that shows up often enough that even most readers wouldn't bother to question it.
  • Out-Gambitted: Miles is eventually Out-Gambitted by Wax after several rounds of going back and forth with the gambits.
  • Sequel Hook: The epilogue is pretty much one giant Sequel Hook.
  • Shadow Archetype: Miles to Wax, as well as to Kelsier.
  • Steampunk: The technology used in this period of Scadrial's history features this aesthetic very strongly.
  • Take Me Instead: Enraged at the Vanishers taking two young women as hostages, a retired constable vehemently demands to be taken instead. He gets shot.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Part of the reason why Wax and Wayne are able to kill so many of the Vanishers when Steris is kidnapped is that the Vanishers didn't already have their aluminum bullets ready as they were ordered, being reluctant to waste the expensive metal on normal targets.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Played with: Wax has two plans to deal with Miles. We aren't told much of either in advance, but Plan A fails while plan B works.