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Meet the protagonist of ‘Sword Catcher’ ⚔️

+ snippets and art!

Hello and happy Thursday! It’s been a while since we’ve had any kind of news due to Cassandra Clare’s break, but yesterday a newsletter about her upcoming adult fantasy novel Sword Catcher was sent to her subscribers. Cassie shared information about the novel’s protagonist Kellian Saren, snippets, photos from her vacation and a bit of insight into her Secrets of Blackthorn Hall project.

Let’s start with all the Sword Catcher news:
Cassie is very focused on Sword Catcher right now, but also “fiddling around with ideas for Wicked Powers”.

It takes a lot to launch a book, especially a brand new one in a brand new series. There’s going to be a lot more Sword Catcher coming your way, and I can confirm that I’ll be on tour for it in the US in mid-October and in the UK in late October/early November. I’m really excited about both of those things!

There will also be a ton of exciting special editions of Sword Catcher, so keep an eye out for those!

Yay for a UK tour! 😀

Two special editions I’ve found are from Barnes & Noble and Waterstones respectively. If you pre-order Sword Catcher (B&N edition) until 29 April at 2:59 am Eastern Time, you get 25% off with the code PREORDER25 – please check the website for exclusions.

Some ARCs have started to appear, look how shiny and pretty they are!

Cassie also shared more about Kel, a character portrait and three new snippets:

I have always been fascinated by the idea of body doubles — people who stand in for famous figures, be they actors or politicians, and take on the risks of appearing as that person in public. I was especially intrigued by the idea of those who doubled for royal families or dictators, because in that case the commitment is often for a lifetime. I think a lot of ideas for books grow out of simply wondering, What would that be like?

Kel Saren was taken from the orphanage where he had spent most of his childhood and brought to the palace of Marivent in Castellane in order to be the Sword Catcher, the body double for the Crown Prince, Conor Aurelian. (There’s only one prince, Conor, not an heir and spare — so it’s especially important that he stay alive!) Kel and Conor grew up side by side — living in the same room — from age eight. They’re best friends, and yet it’s Kel’s job to die in Conor’s place. What does that do to a relationship?. What must it be like to have the person you love the most be the person who will get you killed?


Conor held out his hand. Kel grasped it, and Conor pulled him close. This part was ritual, muscle memory. Kel had done it countless times, though he still felt a faint shiver up his spine as he looked at Conor. As he felt the weight of the gold circlet on his brow. “I am the Prince’s shield,” he said. “I am his unbreakable armor. I bleed that he might not bleed. I suffer that he might never suffer. I die that he might live forever.”
“But you will not die,” said Conor, releasing his hand. It was what he always said— not part of the ritual, but habit nonetheless.
“Unless Lady Alleyne gets her hands on me,” said Kel.


When we meet Kel, he’s about twenty-three and for the first time in his life, he’s wondering what his future really holds. He would die for Conor, but he’d rather not die, all things being equal. Conor is the most important person in his life, but what about when Conor gets married? Becomes King? Kel knows marriage and family are off-limits to him. But what can he do?

And then the Ragpicker King rolls up in his famous carriage and makes Kel an offer that’s hard to refuse. Spy on the nobles and report back what he sees — and the Ragpicker King will guarantee him a future. But is it a future he wants, and can Kel betray the people he’s known all his life for a chance at freedom?


“I could use your help,” said the Ragpicker King.
“We could all use something,”Kel said. “That doesn’t mean we’ll obtain it.”
“You’re awfully rude,”observed Ji-An, her hand steady on the dagger’s handle. “He’s offering you a job, you know.”
“I have a job. We’ve just been discussing it.”
“And I want you to keep your job,”said the Ragpicker King, crossing his impossibly long legs. “So think of what I am offering as a partnership. You help me, and in return, I help you.”
“I don’t see how you could help me,” Kel said.


Here he is, as rendered by Sasha Coleman:

In this illustration, Kel is holding his talisman, a piece of Ashkar magic.
It allows people to see him as Conor even though they do not look identical.
With little ceremony, Bensimon dropped the chain over Kel’s head, letting the tablet slip below the collar of his ragged tunic.
“Will this make me look like the Prince?”asked Kel, trying to peer down his own shirt.
“Not quite. What it will do is make those who look at you, and already see a boy who resembles our Crown Prince in complexion and size, more inclined to regard you as Prince Conor. To hear his voice when you speak. Your eyes are wrong,” the Councillor added, half to himself, “but it does not matter; people see what they expect to see, and they will expect to see the Prince. It will not physically change your features, you understand? It will simply change the vision of those who look at you. No one who really knows who you are will be fooled, but all others will.”
I adore Kel, and I can’t wait for you to meet him!
I’m so happy we got three snippets and I’m intrigued by the magic system inside the book. 🙂 You can find out more about the Ragpicker King if you click here.
This week Cassie also answered whether there is romance in Sword Catcher – the short answer is yes (duh), the long answer can be found here.
Furthermore, Cassie let her readers know that some Shadowhunters merch is on sale right now:
I just heard that there are only 500 of these lovely soft scarves left to purchase in the whole wide world. Once they are gone, they are gone for good. Kathleen Jennings hand lettered each of Tessa’s wise words about the dangers of books, very relevant these days I fear.
Every scarf order in this last batch will ship with rune stickers or tattoos.
I’ve had my scarf for five years now and since the fabric is pretty light, it’s great for chilly spring mornings (or for book signings). 🙂
The future of Secrets of Blackthorn Hall was also briefly mentioned:

Many of you have been asking about the crowdfunded project to create a physical copy of Secrets of Blackthorn Hall. Initially I had planned to just leave it up online as a digital project — and I won’t be taking it down — but so many have asked for a book they can hold in their hands, it seemed like a great chance to try something I’ve never done before — a new kind of publishing! Now, this isn’t something I can do on my own, so I know this feels like it’s taking a long time but I’ve had to work out how merchandise (Kit’s jacket?? Kraig’s party hats?? Who can say! ;)), printing, art, and distribution are all going to work, and set up partners to help with all those things. (Reginald cannot handle packing up all those boxes alone, and Rosie is no help.)

I wanted to let you know this was coming along and is going to be an even bigger and more special project that I originally imagined — it won’t just be SOBH but much more, and I’m looking forward to making the announcement about it to you guys. So keep your eyes peeled for that.

As soon as Cassie has shared more information, we’ll tweet about it (@TMI_Source).
Subscribers to Cassie’s newsletter were also treated to bonus content called A Tale of Brunch, you can read it over at The Shadowhunters’ Wiki.

Sword Catcher is published on 10 October 2023! You can pre-order your copy now!

About Cathrin (861 Articles)
Admin and writer for TMI Source and 'The Shadowhunter Chronicles' lover extraordinaire. Fangirls over books, history, German football, movies and fictional characters.

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