Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Iron Gold

Go To

Warning: This page contains Late Arrival Spoilers for the original trilogy.

A Sequel Series to the Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown. It takes place in the same setting as its predecessor and begins ten years after the end of the first series.

  • The first book, Iron Gold was released on January 16, 2018
  • The second book, Dark Age was released on July 30, 2019
The new trilogy picks up ten years after the end of Morning Star and shows how society has been reacting to the aftermath of the previous book's ending. Thanks to the actions of the Rising, the solar system is fractured. What was once an empire spanning from Mercury to Pluto has been divided into three main factions: The Solar Republic, ruled by Mustang and Darrow, controls Earth, Luna, and Mars. Mercury and Venus have become strongholds for Gold loyalists under the command of The Ash Lord. And in the darkness beyond the asteroid belt, Romulus au Raa and the Moon Lords control the gas giants and associated moons.

Whereas the original trilogy was solely from the point of view of Darrow of Lykos, The Hero of the story, Iron Gold and its sequels tell the story from the perspective of four main characters: Darrow, who has been fighting an endless war for the last ten years as the solar system spirals into chaos. Lysander, grandson of the deposed Sovereign, who wanders the solar system with Cassius au Bellona, still haunted by the loss of everything he knew. Ephraim, husband of Holiday's brother Trigg, who has turned to a life of crime in order to survive. And Lyria, a young Red girl struggling to survive in the poor conditions of a Martian refugee camp.


This series provides examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: Darrow inadvertently kills Wulfgar in the process of resisting arrest.
  • The Alcatraz: Deepgrave, a maximum security prison built inside a submarine on Earth. Originally used by the Society, the Solar Republic now uses it to incarcerate dangerous war criminals.
  • All for Nothing: Darrow's quest to kill the Ash Lord and finally bring an end to the war by allowing Gold infighting to destroy Venus' defenses. He became a fugitive, broke into a secure military facility and released several high-ranking Gold prisoners, formed an alliance of convenience with Apollonius, and lost several Howlers in the assault on the Ash Lord's fortress, only to find out that the Ash Lord has been slowly dying after Apollonius had him poisoned three years ago, while his daughter has been the one leading the loyalists in the core all along. On top of that, by the time he's killed the Ash Lord, Atalantia has kidnapped his son.
  • Advertisement:
  • Altar Diplomacy: After his actions following the Ash Rain manage to drive the Republic forces off Mercury, large chunks of the Society Remnant are swearing allegiance to Lysander, including many of Atalantia's allies. To keep what's left of the Society from fracturing further into an Enemy Civil War, Lysander proposes an alliance of marriage to formally unite House Lune and House Grimmus under one banner once again.
  • Anachronic Order: Various character POV chapters are presented out of order for drama.
  • Ascended Extra: The Ash Lord only appeared once in the original trilogy, and it was over a holo-conference. Now, he's being built up as the main villain of the new trilogy.
    • There's also Wulfgar, who was originally one of the nameless Obsidian warriors who Darrow gave a razor to in Golden Son, but now appears with both a name and a backstory.
  • Back for the Dead: Milia, one of the original members of Darrow's army from the Institute, returns for the first time since Golden Son, only to be killed in the battle at the Ash Lord's fortress on Venus.
  • Back from the Dead: The Jackal, by way of a Cloning Gambit.
  • Badass Gay: Ephraim ti Horn. Dancer is a Retired Badass example.
  • Badass in Distress: Dark Age opens with Orion having been captured by the Society Remnant.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Information about the plot and the political situation at the time of Iron Gold establishes The Ash Lord and Romulus au Raa as the two most prominent antagonists. Then it turns out that The Ash Lord has been slowly dying of poison for the last three years, and Romulus is impeached. Their respective roles as leaders of their factions, and thus, as Big Bads, are taken by the Ash Lord's daughter and Romulus' wife, respectively.
    • As of the end of Dark Age, the characters being set up as the Big Bads of the final book of the new trilogy are Atalantia au Grimmus, Lysander au Lune, Dido au Raa, and The Jackal.
  • The Bus Came Back: Julia au Bellona, Cassius's mother, appears in person for the first time since Golden Son.
    • Though not identified by name, the woman leading the Red Hand in the massacre of Lyria's refugee camp is clearly identifiable to the audience as Harmony, who also hasn't been seen since Golden Son.
  • The Caper: Ephraim's storyline follows himself and his associates as they're recruited by the Syndicate to steal the most valuable thing in the solar system: Darrow and Mustang's son Pax.
  • Caper Crew: Ephraim has one well before the Syndicate hires him, consisting of himself, a green named Cyra, an Obsidian named Volga, and a Red named Dano.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Mustang's marriage to Darrow puts her in a precarious situation as Sovereign. Any time he's in hot water with the Republic Senate, she can't speak out in his defense or else she'll be accused of showing favoritism and overlooking his actions because of their marriage.
  • Chekhov's Armory:
    • Iron Gold mentions that Sophocles has begun randomly attacking the birds around Silene manor. Dark Age reveals that those birds were how the Syndicate Queen was getting much of her information.
    • The opening chapter of Dark Age refers to a region of Mercury known as the Waste of Ladon that as a reputation as "the eater of armies". Guess where much of the fighting in the first part of the book happens.
    • In Golden Son, Darrow mentions rumors that Lysander's parents were plotting against Octavia, and that she had ordered their deaths in response. Dark Age confirms those rumors.
    • Lysander repeatedly mentions how good his memory is, but expresses surprise that he knows how to play the piano despite having no memory of ever being taught. Dark Age reveals that his grandmother erased or altered his memories of his parents after she had them killed for plotting against her.
  • Chekhov's Army:
    • Trigg's fiance Ephraim was mentioned multiple times throughout Morning Star, but never appeared. Now, he's one of the main characters.
    • Romulus' daughter Seraphina was just a child during her brief appearance in Morning Star. Here, she's one of the key characters of Lysander's storyline.
    • The Syndicate, long referenced in the original trilogy as the most prominent organized crime in the Red Rising universe, finally starts to have a larger impact on the plot as more than just informants for the Jackal.
    • Harnassus is mentioned in Iron Gold as one of the Imperators of the Republic fleet, and becomes a more prominent character in Dark Age.
    • Figmnet is name dropped in Iron Gold by Ephraim as a fellow freelancer. She has a nameless cameo at the end of the novel kidnapping Lyria on Victra's behalf, and gets more prominent scenes in Dark Age.
  • Coming in Hot: At the end of Iron Gold Ephraim and the children are last seen crashing their escape shuttle to stop the autopilot from taking them to Syndicate HQ.
  • Compressed Time Frame: Zig-zagged.
    • Each individual novel takes place over the course of around two to three months, but various sections of each book take place in short periods.
      • Part I of Iron Gold (Darrow, Ephraim, and Lyria's chapters at least) take place over 2 days.
      • Part I of Dark Age (all chapters) take place entirely over the course of two days.
    • Compared to the original series, this trope in effect, as the original trilogy took place over the course of seven years, while in the Sequel Series seven months have elapsed in-universe over the course of two novels.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Whereas Darrow was a slave who rose up to lead the rebellion in the first series, we now have:
    • Lysander au Lune, the grandson of the first series' main villain, who lost everything when Darrow killed his grandmother.
    • Ephraim ti Horn, a rebel soldier who became a mercenary after his husband's death.
    • Lyria, a former slave like Darrow, but one who's become bitter and cynical in the wake of the rebellion thanks to the new government's unfulfilled promises and the poor living conditions in the Martian refugee camps.
  • The Coup: Lysander's storyline involves himself and Cassius being dragged into the political power plays of the Moon Lords on the Rim.
    • Mustang is subject to one when Senator Publius cu Caraval and the Vox Populi usurp her after framing her for Dancer's murder.
  • Crapsack World: Even more so than in the original trilogy. Luna has become a haven for crime lords, Mars is ravaged by genocide, and the Rising has been at war with the Ash Lord's Gold loyalists for a decade.
  • Darkest Hour: The ending of Dark Age: The Society Remnant has retaken Mercury. The Vox Populi control Luna as a Puppet Government run by the surviving Boneriders and a clone of The Jackal. Lysander successfully unites the Core and the Rim, and the new Gold alliance retakes Earth. Sefi's plans for the Obsidian All Tribe have been co-oped by a Society puppet impersonating her father, and under his leadership the Obsidians have abandoned her dream of peacefully establishing a new home in favor of sowing chaos and destruction. Only Mars remains free as the last bastion of the Solar Republic.
  • Death Faked for You: Contrary to what Lysander was told in Iron Gold, Cassius is still alive, and sides with the Solar Republic when he rescues Darrow on Mercury.
  • Deathbed Confession: On her deathbed, Kalindora confesses to Lysander that his mother had been killed on his grandmother's orders for plotting a coup.
  • Derelict Graveyard: Mercury's orbit becomes one after the Society's Ash Armada ambushes and destroys the Solar Republic's White Fleet between Iron Gold and Dark Age.
  • Downer Beginning: Dark Age opens with The Solar Republic forces stranded on Mercury after Atalantia au Grimmus destroys the White Fleet, under siege as the Society Remnant prepares to launch an Iron Rain.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Iron Gold, big time. The Ash Lord is dead, but at the cost of several Howlers, along with Darrow's career and reputation. Not to mention that Darrow risked so much to reach the man's inner sanctum, only to find his enemy withering away from poison, while the man's daughter prepares to retake Mercury. And while he and Sevro were so focused on winning the war with the core, The Syndicate has abducted their children. Ephraim had a change of heart and rescued the children, but they're now trapped in a crashing spaceship that they personally destroyed in order to esape. Lyria is cleared of all suspiscion against her, and Mustang offers her a promotion, but she's abducted by Victra, who remains unconvinced of the Red's innocence. Meanwhile, Cassius is dead, and Lysander has chosen to join the Golds of the Rim in their campaign of vengance against Darrow.
  • Explosive Breeder: Invoked and played for laughs. While Sevro and Victra only have three children (though Victra is pregnant with their fourth), Mustang comments that the two have sex so frequently the two could single-handedly populate Pluto.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: In comparison to the previous books, which had timespans ranging from seven to twenty-four months, Iron Gold only takes place in the course of two months.
  • Fantastic Racism: Despite the dismantling of the color heirarchy, there's still plenty of widespread prejudice between Colors.
    • Even among other colors, there's prejudice against their own. Since the Gamma clans were the ones Gold chose to show favoritism to and give the other Red mining clans a scapegoat to hate instead of their overlords, a terrorist group called the Red Hand has been ravaging Mars and slaughtering every former Gamma resident it can find.
  • Fictional Political Party: There are two main parties in the Republic senate: the Optimates, led by Mustang, who want the central government to be strong enough to keep order, and the Vox Populi, led by Dancer, who are explicitly socialist-leaning and favor a greater increase in political power to lowColors.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Solar War between the Society Remnant and the Solar Republic has been waging off-screen for the last decade. The only time the war is shown directly during Iron Gold is in the prologue, where Darrow launches his invasion of Mercury.
  • Happily Married: Darrow and Mustang are still married after ten years.
    • As are Sevro and Victra.
  • Happy Ending Override: Morning Star ended on a hopeful note, but promotional materials for Iron Gold reveal that the Rising has been at war for the last decade.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Darrow fears becoming this in the opening chapters of Dark Age, but he never actually goes this far.
    • Orion, on the other hand, does. After being tortured by the Fear Knight and his Gorgon commandos, Orion has lost faith in the Solar Republic. Combined with the fact that the majority of the mid and lowColors of Mercury have been indoctrinated against the Republic, and when Darrow orders her to use the Storm Gods Darrow unearthed to create storms strong enough to screw up communications between Atalantia's legions, she ignores his orders and attempts to generate storms of Apocalypse How-size, something Darrow promised their Mercurian supporters they would not do.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Darrow was already this when the Senate criticizes his decision to launch an Iron Rain against Mercury without their approval. It gets even worse when he becomes an outright fugitive.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: At the end of Dark Age, Mars is the only planet left in the Solar Republic that hasn't been reconquered or usurped by Society puppets. But with the surprise return of Cassius, Darrow and the survivors of the Free Legions manage to escape from Mercury and are on their way back to Mars to regroup with Mustang as she and Victra prepare for war. And while Sefi's dream of uniting the Obsidians has been co-opted by a Society puppet claiming to be her and Ragnar's father, Volga agrees to the man's ransom of her in exchange for the Obsidians' departure from Mars, so that she can get close to him and overthrow him.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted hard with Ulysses au Barca, the baby Victra gives birth to in Dark Age. Just hours after giving birth to him, a wounded and exhausted Victra is captured by the Red Hand, and her baby nailed to a tree.
  • Instant Sedation: At the end of the book, Lyria is drugged and abducted by Victra's agents to be interrogated.
  • Karmic Death: Harmony dies falling into a nest of adult Pitvipers.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • In Iron Gold: Wulfgar, The Ash Lord, Romulus, and Cassius.
    • In Dark Age: Tongueless, Orion, Seraphina, Dancer, Daxo, Theodora, Min-Min, Freihild, Harmony, Sefi, Ephraim, and Kalindora.
  • Last Stand: Darrow and his forces have been holed up in the city of Heliopolis, but with Lysander's infiltration, they are quickly overrun and forced to the edges of the city. Believing no rescue is coming, they prepare to make their final stand.
  • Meaningful Echo: Combined with Ironic Echo. The Ash Lord uses Darrow's famous "I would have lived in peace, but my enemies brought me war" quote to describe Atalantia's thoughts on the war.
    • In Dark Age Orion unwittingly echoing the Ash Lord's mantra of "a rational transaction" indicates that she has slid fully into He Who Fights Monsters territory.
  • The Mole: The level of access the Syndicate had in getting access to Citadel records and in leaking intel about Darrow's actions on Mercury to the senate leads Darrow to conclude that there's a traitor among the Howlers.
    • zig-zagged, in that the actual traitor isn't a Howler but was still someone that Darrow and Mustang considered an ally: Publius cu Caraval, the leader of the Copper senators.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: One of the Republic's key assets on Mercury, the Master Maker Gliserates, turned against the Society on Darrow's promise that civilian casualties would be kept to a minimum, and when he begins work on the Storm Gods, makes Darrow promise not to use them at full power, as that would cause extensive damage to the cities of Mercury and a massive civilian body count. Orion's attempt to use the machines to bring about an Apocalypse How on Mercury breaks that promise, and as a result, he is iritable and uncooperative for the remainder of the book, and defects back to the Society when he learns that Lysander is still alive.
  • Noodle Incident: Fitchner was once incarcerated in Deepgrave, and was apparently the only person to ever escape.
  • Not Quite Dead: Cassius au Bellona survived his wounds from his honor duels with the Raa, and after escaping with the Archimedes, he returned to the Solar Republic to help.
    • Lilath au Faran was thought to have died in Morning Star when her ship was shot down. She survived and quickly rose through the ranks of the criminal underworld to become the new Queen of the Syndicate.
  • Out of Focus: As a consequence of the new trilogy having multiple narrators, many of Darrow's supporting cast from the original trilogy have reduced roles in Iron Gold.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure:
    • Sevro and Darrow's friendship is broken by the end of Iron Gold over Darrow's obsession with ending the war.
    • Ephraim's apathy and continued insults finally drive Volga away after the heist.
  • Reality Ensues: Now that the Rising has shifted from a resistance group to a legitimate government, Darrow can't excercise his usual tactics in battle without the approval of the senate, and when he does anyway, there are consequences for his actions.
    • A major plot point in Morning Star was Darrow proving to Mustang that he was ready to be a father to their son, and not just a warlord flying around destroying things. Darrow desperately wants to just retire and be a good father to his son. But for ten years constant attempts by The Remnant to destroy everything he and his wife have built have kept him from going through with it.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: The reason that Atlas au Raa was never mentioned in the previous books is because he was reassigned to the Kuiper Belt in between Red Rising and Golden Son, and only returned a few years before the beginning of Iron Gold.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ephraim gets one from both Holiday and Mustang after he's caught following his abduction of Pax and Electra.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Dark Age introduces Ajax, the previously unmentioned son of the late Aja au Grimmus.
  • The Remnant: The Society once controlled everything in the solar system from Mercury to Pluto. Now, the remaining loyalists control Mercury and Venus as they wage war against the new Solar Republic. And after Darrow captures Mercury at the start of Iron Gold, all they have left is Venus.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Cassius sometimes sees Lysander as one for his brother Julian.
  • The Reveal: What is the "most valuable thing in the worlds" that Ephraim has been hired to steal? Darrow and Mustang's son, along with Victra and Sevro's oldest daughter for good measure.
    • Darrow and the Howlers attack the Ash Lord's fortress on Venus only to find the former ArchImperator lying decrepit and ill in bed from poison, where the man reveals that his daughter Atalantia has been the one running the war against the republic for three years now.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Victra goes on one when she learns of Electra's abduction.
  • Ruling Couple: Darrow and Mustang are a unique case. Mustang rules the Solar Republic, while Darrow serves as ArchImperator of the Republic's fleet.
    • The ruling couple of the Rim are Romulus au Raa and his wife, Dido. Until Romulus' death at the end of Iron Gold.
    • At the end of Dark Age, Lysander offers to become one with Atalantia to avoid their forces having Divided Loyalties between his family and hers.
    • The Obsidians are led by Queen Sefi and her concubine Valdir.
  • Schiff One-Liner: Chapter 11 combines this with Pre-Asskicking One-Liner
    Darrow: "Sevro, summon the Howlers."
  • Secret Legacy: Volga is the daughter of Ragnar.
  • The Siege: Darrow's storyline in Dark Age focus on the Solar Republic forces under siege in the Mercurian city of Heliopolis.
  • Simultaneous Arcs:
    • Ephraim, Lyria, and Darrow's first chapters in Part I of Iron Gold take place concurrently with each other.
  • Skyscraper City: Hyperion, Luna's capital city.
  • Space Pirates: The Ascomanni, Obsidian warriors who have brough their harsh way of life to the stars.
  • Spotting the Thread: Lyria being able to describe the gun she'd stolen from Ephraim in her escape, and the fact that the Watchmen who arrested her didn't report the gun, allows Mustang and Holiday to figure out that Lyria's friend "Phillipe" is actually Ephraim.
  • Switching P.O.V.: To contrast with the previous series, Iron Gold tells the story from the perspectives of four main characters.
    • Dark Age adds a fifth with Mustang.
  • The Syndicate: Repeatedly referenced in the original novels, they finally appear in Iron Gold.
  • Time Skip: The first book picks up ten years after Morning Star.
    • Six weeks pass between Iron Gold and Dark Age. (The last two paragraphs of Iron Gold take place at the three week mark).
  • Unwitting Pawn: Ephraim used Lyria's access to the Citadel to smuggle a bomb onto the ship carrying Mustang and Victra's children.
    • The Syndicate's spy, Senator Publius cu Caraval, is unaware that he, the Vox Populi, and the Syndicate were all along the pawns used by Lilath au Faran to overthrow Mustang and establish a clone of The Jackal as Emperor of Luna.
  • Villainous Incest: Atalantia au Grimmus is sleeping with her nephew Ajax.
  • Walking the Earth: Cassius and Lysander have been wandering the solar system since they left Luna at the end of Morning Star.
  • War Refugees: Lyria and her family have been living in refugee camps.
  • Wham Line:
    • Dark Age, Chapter 46: "Volga is Ragnar's daughter."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Darrow is on the receiving end of this from Sevro at the end of Iron Gold when all the sacrifices they made to get to the Ash Lord and kill him turn out to be for nothing, while their wives are dealing with the abduction of their children alone.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Pax resents his father's absences due to the war.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Red Hand have no qualms about killing Gammas no matter how young they are. They also have no issue with nailing an hours-old infant to a tree when they take his mother prisoner.
  • Wretched Hive: Promotional materials indicate that Luna has become this in the years following Morning Star.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: