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The Most Important Things We Know About ‘Chain of Gold’

Chain of Gold is finally published the day after tomorrow! I’ve been counting down the days until this release and I so cannot wait to hold the book in my hand on Tuesday (or maybe Wednesday depending on when my copy gets delivered). Before some of us go on a social media break to either read Chain of Gold or to avoid spoilers, I wanted to share the most important information we got from Cassandra Clare over the years. The Last Hours was first announced back in 2013, although back then we only knew it as TLH, and in 2014 we finally out out the trilogy’s title when the UK, Australian, New Zealand and export rights were acquired by Walker Books. Since basically the end of The Infernal Devices Cassie has shared information about her new trilogy and while I have been very diligent with bookmarking and liking posts, I simply cannot write down everything that can be found on Cassie’s social media, in interviews or podcasts. So here is an overview of the most important things we know about Chain of Gold:

Chain of Gold is the direct sequel to Clockwork Princess/The Infernal Devices. It’s set in Edwardian London in 1903 (Edwardian era: 1901-1910) and focuses on the children of the Infernal Devices characters. It’s a very peaceful time for these kids but this is about to change. 😉
Books that will follow Chain of Gold are: Chain of Iron (March 1, 2021) and Chain of Thorns. All three titles as well as the trilogy’s title are a reference to Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations.

Synopsis

Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride. Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assignations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.

But Cordelia’s new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and forced a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.

Chapter titles

Chapter 1: Better Angels
Chapter 2: Ashes of Roses
Chapter 3: This Living Hand
Chapter 4: Half Sick of Shadows
Chapter 5: Fallen With the Night
Chapter 6: No More of Mirth
Chapter 7: Fall of Songs
Chapter 8: No Strange Land
Chapter 9: Deadly Wine
Chapter 10: Loyalty Binds
Chapter 11: Talismans and Spells
Chapter 12: The End of It
Chapter 13: Blue Ruin
Chapter 14: Among Lions
Chapter 15: The Whispering Room
Chapter 16: Legion
Chapter 17: The Hollow Sea
Chapter 18: Darkness Stirs
Chapter 19: All Places Hell
Chapter 20: Less Than Gods
Chapter 21: Burn
Chapter 22: The Rules of Engagement
Chapter 23: No One Who Loves
Epilogue

Other information

  • “We are going to have more LGBTQ representation and relationships in the books.”
  • There are three engagements.
  • At least two characters with flowers cards are going to die.
  • “There’s more than one significant villain!”
  • A demon will accidentally be summoned and we will see new demons.
  • Warlocks that will be in Chain of Gold: Magnus Bane and Hypatia Vex (important character who runs the Hell Ruelle).
  • There are flashbacks: “The Last Hours does a little moving back and forth in time (chapters are subtitled “”Time Now” and “”Time Past”).”
  • One of Cassie’s favourite characters is a kelpie named Pickles. Pickles lives in a vat of gin and even has his own flower card!
  • The family tree from Clockwork Princess (first edition) is “massively misleading” so don’t trust it too much when you have a look at it!
  • The last word in Chain of Gold is ‘smile.’

Characters

Cordelia Carstairs
Cordelia is our main female lead and newcomer to the London Enclave. She’s on the cover of Chain of Gold and she is going to have the most page time. She is the daughter of Sona and Elias Carstairs. She is James Carstairs’ cousin because her father Elias is James’s father’s younger brother. She is Alastair’s younger sister and soon-to-be parabatai of Lucie Herondale. Cordelia, also referred to as Daisy by Lucie and James Herondale, wields the famous blade Cortana and she has been in love with James for a very long time. She “loves but has a fraught relationship with her mother and her brother, she’s proud of her Persian heritage, and she collects flowers to make her own perfumes.”
She is “friends with Anna! Anna offers her the hand of friendship almost as soon as Cordelia arrives in London: Anna feels she’d like some more lady comrades in arms. Cordelia, who’s been raised lonely in the countryside, and has little experience with friends and none with romance, so she’s a little intimidated by but deeply admiring of Anna’s confidence in life and love. She’s eager to support Anna and to go with Anna to Downworlder haunts and visit Anna for tea, and Anna’s door is always open. Cordelia sees Anna’s popularity with the ladies, and Grace’s popularity with the gentlemen, and wishes she knew how to make people love you with a smile like they do.”
“At least two people develop massive crushes on Cordelia, so maybe she knows how to make people love you better than she thinks. ;)” (x)
“Cordelia is a tough cookie and very pragmatic. Not shy, though she can put her foot in it in social situations. Very determined. When she wants something to happen she focuses on it. She will get her way with sandwiches and lemon tarts, or with her sword (which she earned through determination!) — whatever is necessary. She’s always ready to fight for the people she cares about.”
“Cordelia loves reading, specifically Persian literature and mythology. […] Her most unusual hobby is that she’s fascinated with plants, perfumes and fragrances. […] Friends are an issue for Cordelia. She grew up very lonely, always traveling, rarely anywhere long enough to make a serious friend. She would practice swordfighting in the mirror, and pretend her mirror reflection was a friend who traveled with her. Once she gets to London, she suddenly has the experience of being thrust into an existing friends group. There may be some who resent her initially — especially her taking up Lucie’s time and attention, as well as James’ — but Cordelia is a stubborn, brave, smart girl, and she is more than a match for a pack of boys. The boys (James, Matthew, Thomas, and Christopher) are essentially good-hearted as well.”
If Alastair and Cordelia, who calls her Layla, don’t want to be understood by others, they speak in Farsi.
Cordelia is going to meet and interact with Grace.
The reason for Cordelia and James’s engagement is going to be revealed in Chain of Gold!

Lucie Herondale (first appearance: The Whitechapel Fiend, she was only a baby, though)
Lucie is the youngest child of Tessa and Will Herondale and James’s younger sister. She was named after Lucie Manette from A Tale of Two Cities, a book both of her parents love. She is close to her brother James, likes all of his friends and adores Cordelia (her future parabatai). “She has written a very long book called The Beautiful Cordelia, but the heroine of her book isn’t Cordelia, though she is named for her.
Cordelia is the person who Lucie lets read her stories, and at the beginning of the book the two of them have been pen-pals for years, waiting and hoping for the time when they could be together and become parabatai.
Lucie does not have a crush on anybody at the start of the book, though somebody sure does have a crush on her. And Lucie does develop a strong romantic interest during the course of the first book. Said romantic interest brings great complication to her life, and in some ways puts her at odds with her much beloved family.”
Her nickname is ‘Luce‘ and Cassie described her as “a snappy badass most of the time! Lucie rarely hides her feelings and she generally says what she’s thinking whenever she thinks it.”
Lucie will interact with Grace because these two have something in common.
Lucie’s demon power is going to be revealed in Chain of Gold.

James Herondale (first appearance: The Midnight Heir)
James, named after James Carstairs, is Tessa and Will Herondale’s son and Lucie’s older brother. James can turn into a shadow because of Tessa’s demon father.
He is also called Jamie and he needs reading glasses. “He’s very much the leader of his group of friends, and he comes up with daredevil schemes that they then play out together as a team. Matthew does so with verve and flair. Christopher wanders off book. Thomas despairs at them all. Yet they all rely very much on James, on his leadership and the fact he has the coolest head in a crisis. James also relies on them for acceptance and emotional support when others reject him for his demon heritage and his inhuman eyes, and being friends with them has given him a lot of confidence he didn’t have before–confidence he can use to protect those he loves.”
James is in love with Grace Blackthorn, but no one is supposed to know.

Matthew Fairchild (first appearance: Nothing But Shadows)
Matthew is Charlotte and Henry Fairchild’s second son and parabatai of James Herondale. He owns a puppy named Oscar who was a birthday present from James. He “doesn’t quite trust Cordelia at first but they come to develop a strong relationship.”
Matthew wants to befriend Magnus. He is going to have a “brief POV” in Chain of Gold.

Christopher Lightwood (first appearance: Nothing But Shadows)
He is the second child of Cecily and Gabriel Lightwood. Christopher has an older sister called Anna whom he adores and toddler brother Alexander. Christopher’s inseparable from his friends and he is very rarely called ‘Kit‘.
“Christopher is a scientist who mixes science and magic, so not quite something we have in this world! Probably he’s closest to a chemist.”
Christopher does look like Gabriel: he’s got brown hair and he’s tall and slim, his features sharp, but the effect is very different because Christopher’s so dreamy while Gabriel has a watchful air. Upon the occasions where Christopher snaps into focus, his resemblance to his father is striking. So Christopher’s a blend of the extremest ends of both sides of his family. Christopher can be very extreme in a lot of ways. ;)” “Henry is Christopher’s role model. This makes no sense to the Clave, since Henry’s still considered very odd, and modeling yourself on someone who’s not focused on–or, now he’s in a wheelchair, able to participate in–warrior culture is weird to the Shadowhunters, who would think Christopher should be more like his dad than like Henry! But Christopher–though he loves his dad very much, and likes to please him with his mad knife-throwing skills–has always had different dreams.”

Thomas Lightwood (first appearance: Nothing But Shadows)
Thomas is named after Thomas Tanner from The Infernal Devices, one of the London Institute’s servants. 1903’s Thomas is the youngest child of Sophie and Gideon Lightwood and was a small and delicate boy. He is pretty much a giant now. His friends call him ‘Tom.’ He “has recently returned from Spain, where his dad Gideon sent him because he feels Spain improves people. 😉 In Spain Thomas gets a tattoo all his friends tease him about.”
He “makes up songs in his head, but he’s too shy to tell anybody about them. Except for the one person who he does tell.”
There is going to be a flashback from his perspective.

Anna Lightwood (first apperance: The Whitechapel Fiend, she was only a little girl, though)
Anna is Cecily and Gabriel Lightwood’s oldest child. She has two younger brothers, Christopher and toddler Alexander.
She is a lesbian and if she lived in the 21st century, she’d describe herself as genderfluid. Anna is “openly living a fabulous lifestyle in her own abode in Percy Street, and her family and friends are all fully aware and supportive of her lifestyle.” “London society says Anna should be got under control, or that they should stop her from fighting because it’s given her ideas: all manner of microaggressions are visited upon Anna, but Anna prefers to steadfastly ignore them (not that they don’t bother her or add up over time — this is just her particular coping strategy). Sometimes she trots off to Paris if they annoy her.”
She gets along with Eugenia, Barbara and Charles: “She thinks of them as her (in Charles’s case not biological) older cousins, and she’s fond of them, but she doesn’t feel like she has much in common with them and their lives don’t overlap hugely.” She is a lot closer to her younger cousins and her brother Christopher. “She does have a soft spot for James, because he’s the one who’s visibly different from other people–he doesn’t have a choice about displaying his difference or not. And she and Matthew particularly have a lot in common, however, having an interest in fashion, Downworlder haunts and the bohemian lifestyle.”
“Anna thinks Cordelia is very sensible and determined, and Cordelia thinks Anna is amazingly cool.”

Alastair Carstairs (first appearance: Nothing But Shadows)
He is Sona and Elias Carstairs’ son and Cordelia’s brother. He dyes his hair blond to hide his Persian heritage.
“Alastair’s full of bitterness, and that’s not good for people–he hates and is jealous of James, hates and despises Matthew, and thinks Christopher is a loon, but he also hates himself. Alastair is dyeing his hair, not singing ghazals as he once loved to do, he feels crushingly responsible for the wellbeing of his mother and sister: he’s not a happy person.”
He is friendly with Charles Fairchild because they met when Alastair was in Paris for his travel year and Charles was the temporary head of the Paris Institute.

Grace Blackthorn (first appearance: The Midnight Heir)
Grace (born Cartwright) is the adopted daughter of Tatiana Blackthorn (born Lightwood) and younger sister of Jesse. She doesn’t wear any runes and it’s possible that she has never had any kind of Shadowhunter training.
“Grace arrives in London near the beginning of TLH as a mysterious stranger to both the reader and almost all the other characters. Only James knows her, and James certainly does not know all of her.” We will see Grace give James the bracelet he is wearing in The Midnight Heir and we are going to find out whether Grace is in love with him.
“The gang all have very different relationships with Grace (James loves her: Matthew thinks she is bad news: Christopher finds it difficult to remember her name).”

Jesse Blackthorn
Jesse is the son of Tatiana Blackthorn (born Lightwood) and her late husband Rupert and brother of Grace. Jesse is very close to her. He also happens to be dead and has been since 1896. “He is a mystery. ;-)” Jesse “used to play the piano when he was alive. Sometimes, certain people can still hear a faint tune being played in dusty Blackthorn House…”

Please note that Cassie has deliberately not shared much information about Alastair, Grace and Jesse.

Other characters (click on the coloured names to see their flower cards)

Charles Buford Fairchild
He’s the oldest son of Charlotte and Henry Fairchild, brother to Matthew and very dedicated to politics. Charles is engaged to Ariadne Bridgestock and friends with Alastair. He’s quite conservative, likes rules and think people should obey them.

Ariadne Bridgestock
She was born in Bombay and was adopted by Inquisitor Maurice Bridgestock and his wife after her parents were killed by demons. She is engaged to Charles although she is a lesbian and she broke Anna’s heart in Every Exquisite Thing. The girls now keep their distance from each other and despite there still being feelings, they have somewhat moved on.

Barbara Lightwood
Barbara is named after Barbara Lightwood, Gideon and Gabriel’s late mother. 1903’s Barbara is one of Sophie and Gideon Lightwood’s daughters and sister to Eugenia and Thomas. She is gentle and “a little inclined to retiring to her fainting couch and declaring she has the vapors.” She is almost engaged to Oliver Hayward.

Oliver Hayward
He has an “understanding” with Barbara Lightwood (Thomas’s elder sister) and his family took over the York Institute after Aloysius Starkweather’s death.

The parents
Everyone is happily married and the characters from The Infernal Devices all still get along. Yes, even Will and Gabriel. 😉
“Will especially is always proclaiming his love for Tessa, and is only frustrated when he cannot protect Tessa and his kids when others look askance at them—Tessa chose him, and the Shadowhunter way of life, and is trying to run the Institute with Will, even though there are Shadowhunters who will never accept her. People are always careful to be polite in Will’s presence, though, as Will is not a patient man.”
“Charlotte’s more distant from the others by necessity, because she’s the Consul and frequently has to be in Idris while Will and Tessa have to be in London, but she still cares and is looking out for everyone.”
“Gideon—who is much more diplomatic than hot-tempered Will or Gabriel, or deeply absent-minded Henry—is well liked by everyone in the Clave, though people do still whisper about his father. Benedict’s crimes meant that his family line were punished as he could not be, and his heirs Gideon and Gabriel were disinherited—in fact Tatiana got the lot, as she was technically a Blackthorn. Gideon and Gabriel both feel the disgrace keenly, and they are getting by on their Clave salaries, but they wish they could give Sophie and Cecily and their kids the luxury they grew up in, and it pains them to know they can’t. Still, people know Gideon did not go along with Benedict’s crimes for a minute, and his kids are the best-behaved of the new generation—Barbara’s making a good marriage, and Thomas is the shy quiet one in his wild friends’ group. Gideon always does his best for Charlotte, and is deeply loyal to her, and together as a diplomat and governor team they try to smooth the paths of those they love, but they don’t always succeed.”

Jem/Brother Zachariah
He is referred to Uncle Jem by Lucie, James and Matthew and Cousin Jem by Cordelia. Jem is always looking out for the Herondale kids and Cordelia. He isn’t close to Cordelia at the beginning of Chain of Gold, but this will change.

Sona and Elias Carstairs
Sona is Elias Carstairs’ Persian wife and mother to Alastair and Cordelia. “She and Cordelia have a complicated relationship, and are in a complicated situation, but one thing about the Last Hours is the idea of children who have been raised in the tradition of stories, and how that affects their life and loves. Sona has shared her love for Persian literature with Cordelia and Alastair, and that influences a lot of the things they quote and the way they think. Sona also has a big secret her daughter doesn’t know…”
Elias has brought great trouble upon his family and a terrible accusation hangs over him.

~*~

Please be aware that I didn’t include information we got from the snippets that Cassie shared online. You can check out the snippets and flash fiction links here.

Still can’t get enough of Chain of Gold? Click this link to find out what I’m looking forward to and this link to check all the Q&A posts.

The first edition of Chain of Gold (= collector’s edition) will have artwork that “ties in with A Fairytale of London, a short story about Will and Tessa’s wedding” and “a frontispiece illustration of the characters by Cassandra Jean.” (Make sure to click the links to see the art that Cassandra Jean has created for Chain of Gold!)

Leave me a ❤ in the comments or on Twitter if you have made it until the end of this post. Thanks for reading! 😀

About Cathrin (775 Articles)
Writer for TMI Source and 'The Shadowhunter Chronicles' lover extraordinaire. Fangirls over books, history, German football, movies and fictional characters.

5 Comments on The Most Important Things We Know About ‘Chain of Gold’

  1. ❤️ for you
    ❤️❤️ for James
    ❤️❤️❤️ for daddy Will

  2. Thanks for the synopsis. ❤️

  3. As always, thank you for all you do!! ❤️

  4. I have reread every story with the characters from Chain of Gold and am looking forward to starting the new series very much. Thank you for your summaries of the characters; you pointed out some details I didn’t know and hadn’t picked up on from all my readings. Getting ready for reading TLH first edition has been a lot of fun. I’m so excited for the new book which will probably be delivered tomorrow. Thanks again for your valuable information.

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