Golden Son (Red Rising Series #2)

Golden Son (Red Rising Series #2)

by Pierce Brown

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation. Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom.


As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within.

A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love—but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution—and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people.

He must live for more.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Pierce Brown's Morning Star.

“Gripping . . . Both author and lead character have cranked up the emotional stakes. . . . With Golden Son, Brown avoids the sophomore slump, charging the novel with the kind of dystopia-toppling action you’d expect in a trilogy ender, not a middle volume. On virtually every level, this is a sequel that hates sequels—a perfect fit for a hero who already defies the tropes. [Grade:] A”Entertainment Weekly

“Stirring . . . Comparisons to The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones series are inevitable, for this tale has elements of both.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Brown writes layered, flawed characters . . . but plot is his most breathtaking strength. . . . Every action seems to flow into the next.”—NPR

“It’s a far superior sequel, in fact: one of the rare breed of reads that improves upon its predecessor in every conceivable category. . . . In a word, Golden Son is stunning. Never mind how little we’ve seen of 2015: Among science fiction fans, it should be a shoo-in for book of the year.”Tordotcom

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345539823
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/06/2015
Series: Red Rising Series , #2
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 6,002
Lexile: HL630L (what's this?)
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Pierce Brown is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star, Iron Gold, and Dark Age. His work has been published in thirty-three languages and thirty-five territories. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is at work on his next novel.

Read an Excerpt



My silence thunders. I stand on the bridge of my starship, arm broken and held in a gelcast, ion burns still raw on my neck. I’m bloodydamn tired. My razor coils around my good right arm like a cold metal snake. Before me, space opens, vast and terrible. Small fragments of light prick the darkness, and primordial shadows move to block those stars on the fringes of my vision. Asteroids. They float slowly around my man-­of-­war, Quietus, as I search the blackness for my quarry.

“Win,” my master told me. “Win as my children cannot, and you will bring honor to the name Augustus. Win at the Academy and you earn yourself a fleet.” He likes dramatic repetition. It suits most statesmen.

He’d have me win for him, but I’d win for the Red girl with a dream bigger than she ever could be. I’d win so that he dies, and her message burns across the ages. Small order.

I am twenty. Tall and broad in the shoulders. My uniform, all sable, now wrinkled. Hair long and eyes Golden, bloodshot. Mustang once said I have a sharp face, with cheeks and nose seemingly carved from angry marble. I avoid mirrors myself. Better to forget the mask I wear, the mask that bears the angled scar of the Golds who rule the worlds from Mercury to Pluto. I am of the Peerless Scarred. Cruelest and brightest of all humankind. But I miss the kindest of them. The one who asked me to stay as I bid her and Mars goodbye on her balcony almost a year ago. Mustang. I gave her a horse-­crested gold ring as a parting gift, and she gave me a razor. Fitting.

The taste of her tears grows stale in memory. I have not heard from her since I left Mars. Worse, I have not heard from the Sons of Ares since I won at Mars’s Institute more than two years ago. Dancer said he would contact me once I graduated, but I have been cast adrift among a sea of Golden faces.

This is so far from the future I imagined for myself as a boy. So far from the future I wanted to make for my people when I let the Sons carve me. I thought I would change the worlds. What young fool doesn’t? Instead, I have been swallowed by the machine of this vast empire as it rumbles inexorably on.

At the Institute, they trained us to survive and conquer. Here at the Academy they taught us war. Now they test our fluency. I lead a fleet of warships against other Golds. We fight with dummy munitions and launch raiding parties from ship to ship in the way of Gold astral combat. No reason to break a ship that costs the gross yearly output of twenty cities when you can send leechCraft packed with Obsidians, Golds, and Grays to seize her vital organs and make her your prize.

Amid lessons of astral combat, our teachers hammered in the maxims of their race. Only the strong survive. Only the brilliant rule. And then they left and let us fend for ourselves, jumping asteroid to asteroid, searching for supplies, bases, hunting our fellow students till only two fleets remain.

I’m still playing games. This is just the deadliest yet.

“It’s a trap,” Roque says from my elbow. His hair is long, like mine, and his face soft as a woman’s and placid as a philosopher’s. Killing in space is different from killing on land. Roque is a prodigy at it. There’s poetry to it, he says. Poetry to the motion of the spheres and the ships that sail between. His face fits with the Blues who crew these vessels—­airy men and women who drift like wayward spirits through the metal halls, all logic and strict order.

“But it’s not so elegant a trap as Karnus might think,” he continues. “He knows we’re eager to end the game, so he will wait on the other side. Force us into a choke point and release his missiles. Tried and true since the dawn of time.”

Roque carefully points to the space between two huge asteroids, a narrow corridor we must travel if we wish to continue following Karnus’s wounded ship.

“Everything’s a damn trap.” Tactus au Rath, rangy and careless, yawns. He leans his dangerous frame against the viewport and shoots a stim up his nose from the ring on his finger. He tosses the spent cartridge to the floor. “Karnus knows he’s lost. He’s just torturing us. Leading us on a little merry chase so we can’t sleep. The selfish prick.”

“You’re such a little Pixie, always yapping and whining,” Victra au Julii sneers from her place against the viewport. Her jagged hair hangs just past ears pierced with jade. Impetuous and cruel, but neither to a fault, she disdains makeup in favor of the scars she’s earned through her twenty-­seven years. There are many.

Her eyes are heavy, deeply set. Her sensual mouth wide, with lips shaped to purr insults. She looks more like her famous mother than her younger half-sister, Antonia; but in her capacity for general mayhem she far outstrips both.

“Traps mean nothing,” she declares. “His fleet has been dashed. He has but one ship. We’ve seven. How about we just bust his mouth?”

“Darrow has seven,” Roque reminds her.

“Your pardon?” she asks, annoyed at the correction.

“Seven of Darrow’s ships remain. You called them ours. They are not ours. He is Primus.”

“Pedantic poet strikes again. The point is the same, my goodman.”

“That we should be rash instead of prudent?” Roque asks.

“That it is seven against one. It would be embarrassing to let this drag out any longer. So, let’s squish the Bellona thug like a cockroach with our sizable boot, fly back to base, take our just rewards from old Augustus, and go play.” She twists her heel for emphasis.

“Here, here,” Tactus agrees. “My kingdom for a gram of demonDust.”

“That your fifth stimshot today, Tactus?” Roque asks.

“Yes! Thank you for noticing, Mommy dearest! But I grow weary of this military crank. I believe I desire Pearl clubs and copious amounts of respectable drugs.”

“You’re going to burn out.”

Tactus slaps his thigh. “Live fast. Die young. While you’re a boring old raisin, I’ll be a glorious memory of finer times and decadent days.”

Roque shakes his head. “One day, my wayward friend, you’re going to find someone you love who makes you laugh at the silly person you once were. You’ll have children. You’ll have an estate. And somehow you’ll learn there are more important things than drugs and Pinks.”

“By Jove.” Tactus stares at him in utter horror. “That sounds resolutely miserable.”

I peer at the tactical display, ignoring their banter.

The quarry we chase is Karnus au Bellona, the older brother of my former friend, Cassius au Bellona, and the boy I killed in the Passage, Julian au Bellona. Of that curly-­haired family, Cassius is the favorite son. Julian was the kindest. And Karnus? My broken arm stands testament—­he’s the monster they let out of their basement to kill things.

Since the Institute, my celebrity has grown. So when news reached the Violet gossip circuit that the ArchGovernor was finally sending me to further my studies, Karnus au Bellona and a few handpicked cousins were dispatched by Cassius’s mother to “study” as well. The family wants my heart on a plate. Quite literally. Only Augustus’s badge holds them back. To attack me is to attack him.

In the end, I could give a bloody piss about their vendetta or my master’s bloodfeud with their house. I want the fleet so I can use it for the Sons of Ares. What a mess I could cause. I’ve made a study of supply lines, sensor stations, battlegroups, data hubs—­all the pressure points that might cause the Society to stagger.

“Darrow . . .” Roque comes closer. “Guard your hubris. Remember Pax. Pride kills.”

“I want it to be a trap,” I tell Roque. “Let Karnus turn and face us.”

He tilts his head. “You’ve set your own trap for him.”

“Now, what makes you say that?”

“You might have told us. I could have—­”

“Karnus falls today, brother. That is the simple fact of the matter.”

“Of course. I only want to help. You know that.”

“I know.” I stifle a yawn and let my eyes sweep the bridgepits behind and below me. Blues of many shades toil there, working the systems that run my ship. They speak more slowly than any other Color save Obsidian, favoring digital communication. They are older than I, graduates of the Midnight School, all. Beyond them, near the back of the bridge, Gray marines and several Obsidians stand sentinel. I clap Roque on the shoulder. “It’s time.”

“Sailors,” I call to the Blues in the pit. “Sharpen your wits. This is the final nail in the Bellona coffin. We put this bastard into the ether and I promise the greatest gift in my power to give—­a week of solid sleep. Prime?”

A few of the Grays near the back of the bridge laugh. The Blues just rap their knuckles on their instruments. I’d give half my substantial bank account, compliments of the ArchGovernor, to see one of those pale airbrains crack a smile.

“Enough delay,” I announce. “Gunners to positions. Roque, cluster the destroyers. Victra, attend targeting. Tactus, defense deployment. We’re ending this now.” I look over at my wispy helmBlue. He stands central in the pit beneath my command platform amid fifty others. The snaking digiTats that mark the Blues’ bald heads and spidery hands glow subtle shades of cerulean and silver as they sync with the ship’s computers. Their eyes go distant as optic nerves revert to the digital world. They speak only out of courtesy to us. “Helmsman, engines to sixty percent.”

“Aye, dominus.” He glances at the tactical display, a globular holo floating above his head, voice like a machine. “Mind, the concentration of metal in the asteroids presents difficulty in assessing spectro readings. We’re a mite blind. A fleet could hide on the other side of the asteroids.”

“He doesn’t have a fleet. Into the breach,” I say. The ship’s engines rumble. I nod to Roque and say, “Hic sunt leones.” The words of our master, Nero au Augustus, ArchGovernor of Mars, thirteenth of his name. My warlords echo the phrase.

Here be lions.

Customer Reviews

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Golden Son 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 130 reviews.
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
Remarkable! 5 Stars! I am completely in awe of Pierce Brown after reading this book. Seriously, where did this guy come from? I was blown away by his debut novel, Red Rising, and had hoped that this book would be just as good. I think that this book was actually a little bit better than the first book in the trilogy if that is even possible. It is so refreshing to read a follow up novel that exceeds all of my expectations. This is the kind of book that hooks you right away and never lets go. Even after turning the final page, I found that I want the rest of this story. This book picks up not too long after the events in Red Rising. Hardly any time is spent rehashing the events of the first book which could be problematic for readers who read the first book nearly a year ago since there is so much going on in this series. Since I had just recently finished the previous book, I jumped into this story quite easily. This is not a series that you can jump in just anywhere and not feel lost so please be sure to read the first book before starting this novel. There were a lot of politics in this book and I found that I really enjoyed all of the complex political maneuvering. Politics are a large part of any change in society. Darrow navigates his way through all of the plotting and plans of others in ways that nobody expects. The things that he does often seem risky and foolish but he is almost always able to pull his plans off. The characters in this book are amazing. Many of the favorites from the first book are back in the second. We also are introduced to many new characters. I really liked Servo in the first book but I fell completely in love with him in this installment. He is rude, funny, loyal, and most importantly a true friend to Darrow. I also really liked Lorn's character in this book. He has seen and done it all and his wisdom and experience really aided Darrow. I like that Lorn respected Darrow but was never afraid to tell him when he was unhappy with him. Darrow finds himself at some very high points during this book but he also finds himself in some of the most dire situations. There were so many jaw dropping moments in this story that I lost count. I never knew which way things were going to go and how the power would shift. I must say that the ending of the book really left me wanting for more. I wouldn't call it a cliffhanger ending exactly but I would say that there are a lot of unresolved issues as this installment came to a close. I received a copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Del Ray Spectra via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
tpolen More than 1 year ago
While reading Golden Son, I felt as if I were in a vacuum - nothing existed outside of this book - it was that captivating.  Darrow's story is both heartbreaking and horrifying and he performs some monstrous acts to accomplish the overall goal, but I was always in his corner.  He's as charming as he is wily and had some tricks up his sleeve that were pretty surprising. To say this book is full of action is an understatement.  The body count is quite high, copious amounts of blood are involved, and some of the killing are very inventive, so it's no wonder there's such an extensive list of characters in this series - you obviously can't kill the whole cast. Which brings me to my only issue with Golden Son.  I read Red Rising almost two years ago and with such a large number of characters, I had difficulty remembering them and what they'd done.  A short summary of the first book or character map would have been helpful. The world-building is just extraordinary, the characters deep and fascinating, and the storyline full of battles, betrayal, and power struggles with a little humor and romance tossed in.  The Red Rising Trilogy is easily one of the best series I've read and you won't find a sophomore slump in Golden Son.  You don't want to miss this.   This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through Edelweiss.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There was never a dull or even a slow moment in both this book nor the first, Red Rising. I literally could not put the book down! I cried, I laughed, I cursed and even when I might have had an idea of what was to come, I was blown away by the twists and turns of this story. I eagerly await not only the third book in this series but any and all books to come from this author. An amazing, exciting and stunning read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was completely confused when I read the last chapter. It was a strange and exciting ending. I read it at night and I was horrified and satisfied at the ending because it was so unexpected. This is definitly a book worth reading.
EA_Hendryx More than 1 year ago
Riding on the heels of Red Rising, Golden Son is Pierce Brown's second installment of the Red Rising Trilogy. This book will stun you into contemplative silence by the sheer force of Brown's incredible imagination and story world conveyed in a swirl of description. We find the hero Darrow, a Red transformed into a member of the Gold society, continuing on the quest he began in book two. He carries the weight of his secret from all of those surrounding him, creating an impossibly difficult relational dynamic. Characters from Red Rising reappear as friends and enemies and the scope of Darrow's mission extends beyond what even he can imagine. I was completely captivated by Golden Son. The intensity of Brown's descriptive language painted a vivid picture of the futuristic world he has created. It is obvious that his understanding of Darrow, the story world he has created, and the inherent rules of society have become even more clear than in book one. For those who enjoy sci-fi and fantasy worlds, I highly recommend the Red Rising trilogy. The all-encompassing story world and genuine characters coupled with a cause worth fighting for will draw you in. Brown's grasp of story and his strong writing will not allow you to put this book down. I will however advise it for older readers (17+) as there is adult language, off-color humor, and adult references not typical with what I generally review or recommend. _______________ I received a free copy of this book for review purposes, but was under no obligation to read the book or post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.
MorrisMorgan More than 1 year ago
The first thought I had when I finished reading “Golden Son” is that there is no way I can wait an entire year to find out what happens next.  My second thought was a mass of self-pity that I have no choice but to wait.  Finally, my third thought was that it was an amazing follow-up to “Red Rising” and was actually even better than the first in the series. Pierce Brown has built an amazing world and mythology for the Red Rising series.  Everything is fully fleshed out and even when not explicitly written, you can tell he has a backstory in mind for all of the races.  It’s a pleasure whenever you find out more, and at no point does it contradict anything that was previously written. One of my favorite aspects of the characters in “Golden Son” is that none of them are perfect.  Darrow, the protagonist, is extremely flawed.  No character is good or bad, even those who are the clear villains of the story.  All of the characters from “Red Rising” experienced a great deal of growth in “Golden Son”, with many not taking a route you would expect.  There were some particularly bold moves by the author when it comes to Eo, but I will leave those for the reader to discover on their own. At no point does the plot lag, and that is saying quite a bit for a novel the length of “Golden Son”.  It is filled with war, adventure, gore, fantasy, science-fiction, romance, and anything else you can fit into a book.  If you are a fan of “Red Rising”, make sure you clear a couple of days on your calendar, because you will not want to put this one down.  If you have never read the first in the series, I highly encourage you to do so and to be certain you have “Golden Son” ready to begin as soon as you finish the last page of “Red Rising”. In short, I highly recommend “Golden Son”, but do need to caution that it is not for the squeamish.  It is also not a young adult novel, though I saw “Red Rising” categorized in many places as such, so that is something for parents of middle readers to keep in mind. 5 stars all the way. This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Anonymous 5 months ago
Such an incredible series! A must read
Anonymous 8 months ago
Anonymous 9 months ago
Anonymous 12 months ago
As I began Red Rising and stayed up long after my boys had fallen asleep, I could not and did not want to put it down. Instant fan! I told my family that I am currently reading the next Game of Thrones or Hunger Games (as I read these books years before any film was even mentioned) This is a great compliment as it is worthy of the big screen, though I worry/wonder if the film could even do this series justice? I read in the "acknowledgements" that there is a colleague that has worked hard for film rights! So, now I am very curious to see what happens. I just finished the 2nd book and I am about to order the 3rd on my nook. This is the first review I have ever taken the time to write. Bravo!
Anonymous 12 months ago
Non-stop action could not put it down. Did not see the ending coming.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series doesn’t get old
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
pooled_ink More than 1 year ago
pooled ink Reviews: Pierce Brown’s sci-fi saga is just as thrilling as ever. All the characters I hated to love and loved to hate were back in full form, new characters were thrust into the volatile mix, and as Darrow continues to rise for the Reds I’m left slack-jawed at the cleverness and audacity of each twist and turn. GOLDEN SON follows its predecessor into a dramatic build that will have the trilogy’s conclusion stealing all breath and thought. Epic, cunning, and a declaration that will alter everything to come, Darrow takes his mission into the heart of society and detonates. If you enjoy science fiction that spins ploys like a ballad, war like poetry, and loyalty like a wolf amongst men, then you need to enter the world of the Red Rising saga. **Read the full review on Wordpress: Pooled Ink
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Superb! How has it that it took so long for me to hear about this series? And I am a book junkie! The writing is absolutely top of the line. I felt free to think and imagine, visualizing every tasty scene as I plowed my way through the 450 pages of ooey gooey perfection. There were so many twists and turns, I nearly had neck cramps as scene after scene the plot grew and betrayals seemed to come from all angles. After binge-reading the first book in the series, Red Rising, I tried to slow down and savor this one. But darn it, it took me only three days to finiish. Whew, I need to get up and move! Thank you for such a wonderful journey so far! Five stars for sure!!! M.Cunningham in WV
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So many twists and turns. Amazing.
ManiB More than 1 year ago
(review taken from “For seven hundred years, my people have been enslaved without voice, without hope. Now I am their sword. And I do not forgive. I do not forget. So let him lead me onto his shuttle. Let him think he owns me. Let him welcome me into his house, so I might burn it down.” It’s been three days since I finished reading this book. It left me a wreck so I waited to write my review in hopes that I would chill out about it. I haven’t. Pierce Brown, you left me wrecked and desperate for Morning Star. Desperate. Of course I had to go on a wait list at the library to get it. In the entire county the library system only has one copy of that book. WHY?! (Luckily they got it in pretty quickly and held it for me so I got to pick it up yesterday afternoon) Despite my aching need for Morning Star, here I sit still brooding over Golden Son. I’m not even sure where to begin. This review is going to be a disorganized mess of enthusiasm and feels. ALL OF THE FEELS. Brown gave us love, hate, betrayal, violence, logic, apathy, desperation, more violence, prejudice, sadness, hurt, frightening levels of intelligence, violence…and it has left me a weeping, hollow shell of a book enthusiast. But not so hollow that I didn’t wake a sleeping toddler and usher her into the car when the library e-mailed me that Morning Star had come in. Speed limits were broken. Over a book. Worth it. Now, Golden Son… “I will die. You will die. We will all die and the universe will carry on without care. All that we have is that shout into the wind – how we live. How we go. And how we stand before we fall.” We return to our spy/warrior/widower/champion Darrow 2+ years after his spectacular victory in Red Rising. He is now captaining a fleet against his sponsor’s rival and he has become even more overly confident in himself. That particular characteristic would be highly annoying if he didn’t, for the most part, deserve that confidence. Unfortunately for Darrow, in this case, he didn’t. But, man, what an opening sequence. He had all the swagger and confidence of Captain Kirk (Pine, not Shatner) and I was rooting for him hard within the first few paragraphs. Unfortunately this is followed by an epic fail on his part and he doesn’t have a Mister Spock to bail him out of the situation. Every ship’s captain needs a Spock type character in tough situations. Most of his crew dies and Darrow discovers that he is being cast to the wind by…you’ll have to forgive me here I can’t remember or find the man’s name to save my life. Usually I’d just open the book and look it up but I was a dunderhead and returned it to the library before writing my review. Stupid, right? Unless his name hits me like a ton of bricks I’m going to call him “the sponsor” although I admit that I am tempted to call him Caesar for my own amusement’s sake. Give me a break, folks. I have a toddler and am thirty. The brain and memory aren’t what they once were to say the least. Anyway, Caesar (told you I’d do it) is going to effectively sell Darrow’s contract because he is convinced that Darrow isn’t worth the time or hassle. Darrow, of course, finds a way out of the situation. It includes quite the dramatic blood bath. Brown really knows how to write fantastic battles. He can make you hold your breath during... (remaining review can be found at
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazingly fast past
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ErinMarieW More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the continued story started in RED RISING. It is about freedom, about justice, about love. The main charactor Darrow must deal with so many things in his struggles to right the wrongs of an empire built on greed and cruelty. He must deal with fear of letting down his friends, and the fear caused by doubt in himself and in what he is doing. The fear of being unequal to the task before him. I can not wait to read book three MORNING STAR to see how it all ends.