Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Titans of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos Series #3)
  • Alternative view 1 of Titans of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos Series #3)
  • Alternative view 2 of Titans of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos Series #3)

Titans of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos Series #3)

4.8 6
by John C. Wright

See All Formats & Editions

Titans of Chaos completes John Wright's The Chronicles of Chaos. Launched in Orphans of Chaos—a Nebula Award Nominee for best novel in 2006, and a Locus Year’s Best Novel pick for 2005—and continued in Fugitives of Chaos, the trilogy is about five orphans raised in a strict British boarding school who discovered that they


Titans of Chaos completes John Wright's The Chronicles of Chaos. Launched in Orphans of Chaos—a Nebula Award Nominee for best novel in 2006, and a Locus Year’s Best Novel pick for 2005—and continued in Fugitives of Chaos, the trilogy is about five orphans raised in a strict British boarding school who discovered that they are not human.

The students have been kidnapped, robbed of their powers, and raised in ignorance by super-beings. The five have made incredible discoveries about themselves. Amelia is apparently a fourth-dimensional being; Victor is a synthetic man who can control the molecular arrangement of matter; Vanity can find secret passageways through solid walls; Colin is a psychic; Quentin is a warlock. Each power comes from a different paradigm or view of the universe. They have learned to control their strange abilities and have escaped into our world: now their true battle for survival begins.

The Chronicles of Chaos is situated in the literary territory of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, with some of the flash and dazzle of superhero comics.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Titans of Chaos:

“A torrent of events surges forth, on of the most sustained action sequences I can remember reading; the boisterous cliffhanger-infested cavalcade Wright unleashes is something remarkable, some of his best writing yet and often exceptionally funny.” —Locus

“Wright follows in the footsteps of Neil Gaiman and Tim Powers with his own distinctive style...A highly enjoyable ride.” –Publishers Weekly

Praise for Orphans of Chaos, Nebula Nominee 2005, A Locus Year’s Best 2005

“I don’t know if John Wright’s intent for Orphans of Chaos was to write a Harry Potter for grownups. But that’s what he’s accomplished. . . .highly enjoyable.” —SFsite

“An exciting, unusual, and very satisfying ride through the author’s imagination, and the results are certainly going to make Wright even more of a hot property. If it wasn’t as well written as it is, it would still be a nice antidote to the generic fantasy that lurks behind most new covers lately, and it’s a lot more than that as well.” —Chronicle

“In the first installment of the Chronicle of Chaos series, common associations of high school with prison prove spectacularly well founded. . .Wright’s growing fandom will revel in his overlapping frames of reference.” —Booklist

“Wright has written a modern-day fantasy that borrows from many traditions and mythologies and has the feel of an epic. A solid selection for most libraries.” –Library Journal

“Formidably erudite, a stylist capable of moving prose poetry and hilarious rodomontade and many measures between, a master of exceedingly complex plotting, and astonishingly fecund with ideas. These qualities are abundantly present in Orphans of Chaos. . . . Orphans is thus an excellent book, a splendid exercise in high-concept metaphysical romance.” —Locus

“Start of a complex mythology-based series from the author of the astonishing far-future Golden Age trilogy . . . . Fascinatingly, dazzlingly, almost pointlessly erudite fantasy that trends inexorably toward science fiction; addicts will pounce.” –Kirkus, starred review

“Wright’s myth-infused fantasy looks like something older Harry Potter fans might enjoy with its creaky British boarding school setting and its five ageless orphans—Colin, Quentin, Victor, Vanity, and Amelia each with a supernatural gift. . . . Those who like sophisticated fantasy with a mild erotic charge will be most rewarded.” –Publishers Weekly

Library Journal

Five young people raised in a strict British boarding school have discovered that they are not what they seem-human. Amelia comes from the fourth dimension; Victor is a synthetic being with control over the molecules of matter; Colin possesses psychic powers; Vanity can find ways to walk through walls; and Quentin is a warlock. As the five bond through shared adversity, they learn to control their own paradigms of reality and escape the confines of their "school." Now, they must battle the gods, as the fate of the universe hangs in the balance. Wright concludes his "Chronicles of Chaos" trilogy (Orphans of Chaos; Fugitives of Chaos) with the inevitable confrontation between these five young heroes and their elders, the powerful creatures known as the Olympians. He delivers a fast-moving story that's panoramic in scope and filled with characters that could be drawn from the pages of superhero comic books yet are nonetheless appealing and believable. A good choice for both adult and YA sf collections.

—Jackie Cassada

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Chronicles of Chaos Series , #3
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.22(w) x 6.68(h) x 1.06(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Ships of Sable, Dark and Swift


It was our fault.

We fled the old gods; fleeing, we drew our pursuers after us, so that the frail and mortal men we hid among were in the shadow of destruction meant for us, to be whelmed by the fury of heaven, and malice of the deep.

Here was the great luxury liner Queen Elizabeth II, an engineering marvel of seventy thousand tons and nine hundred sixty feet, as wealthy as a palace afloat, more opulent than what antique kings in Nineveh lavished on their splendors. For many idle days we five children lolled among the passengers, giddy with freedom as if with wine, and the equatorial sun hovered, weightless gold, above calm, blue Atlantic waves.

That was then. Now it was night, and the stars hid, and the wind howled, and trumpets sounded, echoing across the black abyss of storm-lashed waters. Clouds like boiling floodwaters fell past overhead, and waves like thunderclouds rose and trembled and collapsed down below.

The gods we fled did not want men to see them. The Queen Elizabeth II was struck with slumber: As if that archangel who had entranced Adam on the day when Eve was born without pain from his side had shaken dark wings above the ship, the mortals were drowned in oblivion. No one, young or old, could stir, but lay where chance tumbled him, in cabins or passageways, or heaped at the bottom of ladders.

No one human. I was alert, gripping the broken rail and staring out into the utter darkness.


“Why did you two come back?” I shouted. “I ordered you to abandon ship! We will all die if we don’t follow orders. My orders! Didn’t you vote for me as leader?”

I have heard that there are grown-ups who do not take seriously the ideas about voting, obeying authority, or acting with purpose and discipline. Lucky them. What soft and comfortable lives they must lead! Lives without foes.

Vanity Fair was shorter than me, a dress size smaller, but with more generous hip and bust measurements. We were closer than sisters, having been raised in the same, well, you can call it a jail cell, since that’s what it was. The freezing rain had plastered her hair to her head, and her thin coat tight to her body. She was shivering. Her real name was Nausicaa, of the mythic land called Phaeacia, beyond Earth’s shore, but our real names had been taken from us in youth and, until recently, we had only the names we chose for ourselves as children.

“You are not going to run away and get killed!” She was a green-eyed redhead, and her eyes seemed to glow like emeralds when she was angry. I could see only her silhouette, but from her tone of voice I knew her eyes blazed.

“If the leader orders a retreat, you retreat!” (I was screaming louder than regulation for a British military officer, but I was still new at this, and was outshouting the storm-wind.)

Colin mac FirBolg was blue-eyed, with unruly hair and ruddy skin, built like a wrestler. He gave me a stiff-armed Roman salute. “Sieg Heil, mein Obergruppenfräulein! But we thought you were dead! Didn’t Echidna kill you?”

Vanity hissed, “Stupid! No matter how far away, she hears whenever her name is spoken! Speaking summons her!”

Colin shrugged. “Is she going to get through that fleet?” To me, he said: “Besides, Leader, we came to report that your dumb order could not be carried out. We are entirely surrounded, cut off, doomed, so we can’t retreat! There may be time for a quickie, though, so if I can suggest, without seeming insubordinate, ma’am—I mean, you don’t want me to die a virgin, do you?”

Thunder drowned out any words I might have spoken back. I slapped him. I could hear the smack of my palm on his not-quite-shaven cheek even above the storm.

“Thank you, ma’am! May I have another!” he barked out, unperturbed, still holding his Nazi salute. His real name was Phobetor, son of Morpheus, and he was a dream-lord of Cimmeria, the sunless world.

Even if he meant it in mockery, his stiff bearing reminded me I had no time for anger. We were within minutes of recapture, and if I was the leader, I had to invent the plan and give the orders.

If we failed, we failed under my leadership. It would be my fault.


Giddy with freedom, we had been! Because all our lives had been spent on the orphanage grounds, behind pitiless walls, under strictest watch, beneath the tutelage of Boreas. He could pass for human, but Headmaster Boggin, as we called him, had been the North Wind himself. My real father, a sovereign of some ulterior dimension, never knew his daughter, did not raise me: Boreas, my enemy, did.

A flash of lightning lit the sea for a frozen moment, dazzling, burning.

I was expecting to see Echidna. Echidna, the mother of all monsters, who had dragged the giant luxury ship into these unearthly waters, had been looming over the rail just a moment ago, her beautiful maiden’s face cold with tearless grief and scaly snake-tail swollen with scorpion poison. She had raised that sting to kill me, but had spared my life because I shed a tear for her dead son. Then, she turned and dove beneath the waves when I whispered the name of the war-god who had slain him.

Perhaps she was somewhere in the deep, brooding on revenge, her huge bulk drowned in fathoms below fathoms, her long snaky body, furlong after furlong, writhing. But my special powers were blind, and I did not see her.

Instead I saw the fleet. There were at least a dozen barges, larger than oil tankers, built like stepped pyramids, with shields on every deck, and cannons, arbalests, catapults, and ballistae behind every shield, and both upper and lower decks had raised gangplanks with iron teeth built along the bottom, like a siege-tower at sea. The barges were made of some black wood or metal that shone darkly in the lightning flash, mountains of iron. Even from here I could hear the drumbeats counting time for the oars. At the apex of each tall barge, strung between two tall poles that jutted up and diverged, was a triangle of storm-beaten cloth. The cloth was black and on its field, in red, was a circle with an arrow coming from it at an angle.

It was the armada that Lord Mavors, whom the Greeks worshipped as Ares and the Romans as Mars, sent for us. Perhaps he was here, and Echidna hunted him; perhaps it was merely his men, and the unearthly flesh-eating Laestrygonians.

Between these barges and the ocean liner, slender as spears in the water, was a flotilla of black ships. They were as light and swift as racing sculls, but each one held fifty men or more, with shields hung along the rail, Viking-style. Each one had a sloping nose ending with an iron-beaked ram, and red eyes painted on the narrow hulls to each side of the ram.


Boreas raised us, I should say, in a second childhood. Either by magic, or by science unknown on Earth, we had been forced out of our original forms and made into children. Having robbed us of our memories and homes, the Olympians held us hostage against uneasy peace with Chaos. The plan would have worked, except that we adapted to human shape too well; the impersonation was so perfect that normal human biology, normal emotions, began to grow in us. The plan would have worked, except that we grew up.

The orphanage had been designed to contain monster cubs from Chaos: five children. It could not hold five adults, raised as human, with the dreams and ideals of humans, but armed with the strange powers of adult chaoticists. We grew up. We wanted our freedom. By stealth and cunning and violent battle, we had won it.

And the first thing we did when we won our freedom was . . . Well, we took a cruise. (Come on. Wouldn’t you?)

We should have just fled to a desert island. All these humans were about to die, and it was our fault.

My friends were about to die, and it was my fault.


I said to them, “Where are Quentin and Victor?”

Colin said, “Ma’am! They took off in a lifeboat, like you said!”

Victor had always been the one in charge, back at the orphanage, back when we were young students together. (How long ago had that been? A week? Less?) He was the logical one, cold-bloodedly brave, dispassionate, determined. Somehow I had won the last show of hands, and the group was now counting on me. So I had to be Victor.

So get a grip. Square your shoulders and start barking out orders. They don’t have to make sense; they just have to get the group moving. Tell the troops the leader is leading. Say something.

So I said, “Vanity! Call your magic silver ship over to the other side of the liner. Once the three of us are on your ship, have her find the lifeboat Victor and Quentin are in. If they haven’t been captured already.”

She could summon her ship by thought alone. The Phaeacian ships had neither pilot nor rudder, but understood the unspoken wishes of their masters, and sped as swift as winged falcons, swift as thought, to their destinations. Vanity had discovered the Argent Nautilus was her very own ship, a Greek trireme with painted eyes port and starboard, and she did not need to be aboard to give commands to her.

Vanity said, “I don’t know. The ship goes where I tell her. But if I say, ‘Find Victor,’ can she find Victor?” Vanity shook her head sadly and, for a moment, looked very sober and grown up. “We should have performed experiments, found out what we can and cannot do, instead of spending New Year’s Eve on a cruise ship, living it up with the money you stole from Taffy ap Cymru!”

Taffy had been one of the staff at the school, a member of one of the several factions of Olympians seeking to take possession of us away from our headmaster, Boreas.

“I didn’t steal it!” I protested. “I blackmailed him fair and square! Her. Whatever.”

Taffy was a shape-changer like us: her real name was Laverna, the Roman goddess of Fraud. She had been the henchman (henchwoman?) of Trismegistus, the trickster god the Greeks worshipped under the name Hermes.

But I hadn’t actually blackmailed the money from her. She had scoffed at my attempt and given it to me. Strange. That had happened just after Lamia, the Queen of Vampires, had attempted to murder Quentin. As if Laverna had wanted to help us escape. Why? And was she really working for Trismegistus or Mavors? Did Mavors want us to escape?

At some point, when I had time to think, I should puzzle that one out.

I turned to Colin. “Are your powers working?”

“Locked and loaded and ready to rumble!” Colin grinned, flexing his big rawboned hands as if eager for mayhem. Who understands boys?

Who, for that matter, understands any of us?


We each came from a different version of Chaos, a different paradigm. Our minds somehow interpreted the supernatural with mutually exclusive explanations. What looked to me like fluctuations of mind-body monads of timespace in the fourth dimension, Colin saw as passions, Quentin saw as magic, Victor saw as matter in motion.

We each could manipulate the Unknown in our own way: Colin’s anger made him strong, his elation made him fly, and his disbelief made him able to unmake deadly wounds and brush them away; Quentin summoned up fell spirits from the night world with words of power, and bound them to his service in circles of chalked sigils and the scents of talismanic candles; Victor could electromagnetically reorganize matter and energy in his environment; I could deflect gravity, walk through walls, or send my many senses ranging through the higher dimensions.

Each one could negate one other. I could reach through the fourth dimension to alter the internal nature of any atoms Victor programmed, and he could neither see nor understand what I did. His Newtonian universe did not even have words for the relativistic principles I used. An azure ray from Victor’s third eye could banish Quentin’s thaumaturgy as quickly as a skeptic’s question quiets a table tipper. With a wave of his charming wand, Quentin’s unseen familiars could banish Colin’s passions. And Colin could simply will my powers to stop.

Vanity was different. She was not a princess of Chaos held hostage, but a princess of allies the Olympians did not trust, an ancient and immortal race called the Phaeacians. She (and, we had reason to believe, her people) could find secret doors through solid walls, and passages beyond leading to distant realms. These secret paths always looked as if they were natural and contemporary, as if they had been built there long ago: And yet I suspected they were made, as suddenly as the details in a dream are made.

And the laws of nature varied from realm to realm, and the Phaeacians could erect barriers to prevent one set of laws from being enforced out of its realm, or part the barrier to permit it. One other power they had, stranger than the others: Phaeacians could tell when someone was watching, no matter what means were used.

Yet even all these superhuman, supernatural powers did not make them supreme of the races of Cosmos. They were a conquered people.

The Olympians could manipulate destiny as adroitly as the Phaeacians manipulated space. A god of Olympos need only decree the outcome he desired from the future, and somehow the step-by-step details, the coincidences needed to bring that chain of events about would be created to suit. With this power, they could dictate the desired outcome of battles and love affairs, the progress of industry, the direction of philosophical and scientific inquiry, the verdict of trials or negotiations . . . anything there was for a god to control, they could control. They conquered lesser races who had powers like ours, cyclopes and sirens, maenads and meliads.

In the same way I could overrule Victor’s paradigm, so could a siren; in the same way Victor could negate Quentin’s powers, so could a cyclopes. We were really safe only when we were together and used all our talents in combination.

Which meant that the first order of business was . . .

Colin. He was the only one whose powers worked here, now. Colin was our best hope.

There was a sobering thought.

Copyright © 2007 by John C. Wright. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

John C. Wright, an attorney turned SF and fantasy writer, has published short fiction in Asimov's SF and elsewhere. This is his second fantasy series, after Everness and the SF trilogy, The Golden Age.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Titans of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos Series #3) 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Their forms were changed into earth children and they never knew their heritage nor did they know about their considerable powers. Instead they were raised in an orphanage surrounded by walls with no one allowed to enter or leave this realm. They cling to one another and learn to work together in exchange for a shaky peace with Chaos. The children grew up and yearned to learn who they are so they fought for freedom. --- The first thing they did was book a cruise, but the Olympians and their allies blockade the ship. This forces Vanity, a prisoner of the Olympian conquered immortal Phoenicians, to summon the Silvery Ship, which answers to her commands. The vessel takes her and her compatriots to a deserted island where they learn to control and find the limits of their power. They must protect one another because if even one dies, the war between the Olympians and Chaos will resume with one outcome, the end of the world they call home. --- The exhilarating story that began with the ORPHANS OF CHAOS, continued with the FUGITIVES OF CHAOS and now finishes with the TITANS OF CHAOS as the five children of Chaos are more mature with a cause as they were raised as earth children. Thus their loyalty is not to their lineage, but to their adopted home with nurturing superseding naturing. As a unit with a one for all and all for one mentality these Chaos offspring are willing to fight both sides in order to keep their ¿adopted¿ world safe. John C. Wright proves he has the right stuff as he provides a fabulous finale to a great trilogy that the Potter crowd will relish. --- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NJ_Eric More than 1 year ago
I love this series and only wish it had more than three books in it. I am reaching the end of the third book, Titans of Chaos, and while I'm dying to find out the conclusion, I'm dreading not having any more to read about Amelia, the girl who can see and move through multiple extra dimensions; Colin, the boy who can do almost anything he wants if he's inspired enough; Quentin, the friend of the spirits (not a magician!); Victor, the atomically manipulating stoic; and Vanity, the Phaecian with the great boat and the ability to find passages, compartments, and shortcuts where it is questionable they existed before. SPOILER ALERTS: This book was, unfortunately, the worst of the three, and not just because it ends the series. The battles seem very repetitve at times and seem to go on en endless cycle of having the chaoticists almost die, then live, then almost die, then live, have a battle to end all battles, and, no wait, there's actually another battle bigger than the last one. Perhaps this would work really well in a film, though I don't know that this book has reached the popular appeal typical of a novel turned into a movie. I still think it was well written, however, and I was very happy with how Mr. Wright decided to end it. Obviously, if you have read the first two, you will be too hooked to not buy this book and find out the ending, but while it does get frustrating at some points, overall I am sure you will be pleased, as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago