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Lois Lowry was born in Hawaii in 1937.  Lowry lived in many different countries as a child because her father was an Army officer but kept coming back to the United States.  She attended Brown University to study writing but left before getting her degree because she wanted to get married.  Lowry and her husband had four children before divorcing, and they inspired both her writing, and her return to college; she received an undergraduate degree from the University of Maine.  Lowry worked fulltime as a housekeeper but spent a fair deal of time writing stories for young adults as well as textbooks.  Lowry has written more than twenty books for young adults, and many of them have received book awards and high praise.

In 1990, Number the Stars was published and it received both the Newbery Medal and the prestigious National Jewish Book Award.  Lowry was inspired to write the story of a young girl whose family helps Jews escape to safety during World War II after hearing the stories of her own friend, Annelise Platt, who lived through the experience of the war.  Though Number the Stars is a fictional story, the historical facts are accurate and well-researched, and many of the ideas come from the stories that Annelise had told; Lowry even dedicated the book to her friend.  King Christian is the only character in the story to actually exist, but other characters such as Peter Neilson, were based on real people.

Annemarie Johansen is a ten year old Danish girl whose best friend is a Jewish girl named Ellen Rosen.  The year is 1943 and World War II has brought Nazi soldiers into Denmark, causing the Danes to constantly be on edge.  Slowly, Jewish businesses begin shutting down, and Jewish families begin to disappear.  When Ellen’s family begins to worry for the safety of themselves and their daughter, they send Ellen to live with the Johansen’s as their third daughter.  It just so happens that the Johansen’s lost a daughter named Lise, so Ellen takes over this role.  After Nazi soldiers invaded the Johansen home in the middle of the night and interrogated them about having a dark-haired daughter, the Johansen’s formed a plan.  Mrs. Johansen took the three girls to see her brother, Henrik, and it soon became obvious that they were not only on a social visit.

Henrik’s home is visited by Peter, Lise’s fiancé, who has brought a couple of strangers, as well as Ellen’s parents with him.  They have planned a fake funeral to serve as their cover if the Nazi soldiers wondered why so many people were gathered in one home at night, and sure enough the soldiers come with questions.  That evening the plan is set into motion: Peter will take one group and Mrs. Johansen another, to Henrik’s ship, which they will use to escape to Sweden: a free country.  When the trip does not go entirely as planned, Annemarie must summon all of her bravery to complete the mission herself in order to save those she loves.

Bravery

During World War II, anyone who managed to stand up for what they knew was right would be considered brave, but not everyone was a ten-year-old girl.  Annemarie shows bravery that is beyond her years when she risks her own life to deliver a package to her uncle that she knew was essential.  She was scared of being caught, but she was more scared that her friend Ellen and Ellen’s family would not escape the Nazis safely.  Bravery is something that each character in the novel had to channel, whether they felt brave or not, because it was imperative to their escape plan and the Resistance. 

Prejudice

Prejudice is something that was rampant during World War II, and it caused one of the most devastating events in history: the Holocaust.  Within this novel, the Nazi soldiers are trying to find all Jewish citizens of Denmark and take them to another location, where they would be imprisoned and likely killed.  The prejudice causes the soldiers to be needlessly violent, killing and hurting not only the Jews, but the non-Jews who form the Resistance, as well.  The prejudice also turns upstanding citizens into criminals, though with legitimate reason, and causes mass panic and hysteria.

War

There are three groups of people at war in this novel, and certainly during World War II as a whole: the Nazis who are fighting for total power, the Jews who are fighting for survival, and the members of the Resistance who are fighting for what is right.  A state of war causes panic, deceit, death, injury, paranoia, and fear in all who are involved.  The Nazis resort to unprovoked and unthinkable violence against all people including children, and those who are left must lie their way to safety while fearing the worst.  The reason that it is called “war” rather than just a “takeover” is because there are people fighting back, who have something worth fighting for. 

Friendship

The friendship between Annemarie and Ellen is truly something exceptional.  Though Annemarie is only ten-years-old, she is remarkably intuitive for her age and understands that something majorly wrong is happening.  Annemarie fights to save her friend; she holds the Star of David necklace right in her own hands when she is interrogated by Nazi soldiers and keeps it from her friend until she knows she is safe.  Annemarie also risks her own life to keep her friend safe, by delivering a package to Henrik in the middle of the night.  Even after the end of the war, Annemarie still holds on to Ellen’s necklace, waiting for the day when she can come back to claim it. 

Identity

To the Nazi soldiers, identity only meant one of three things: you were a German soldier, you were a Jew, or you were not either.  The violence against the Jews was so senseless that the Johansen’s were able to hide Ellen as one of their own children, and when the Nazi soldiers were standing right in front of her they could do nothing; they did not even know the difference between a Jewish girl and a Dane when they were looking at one.  For Ellen, changing her identity was as easy as taking off her Star of David necklace, as it was the one thing that identified her as Jewish.  While outwardly Ellen was “no longer Jewish”, inside she still was herself.  Later, Annemarie points out that the Rosens were all the same people they always were, despite what they were going through.

Deceit

A state of war and a fight for survival turns ordinary people into deceitful criminals, though, in some cases, this is not a terrible thing; it is only a necessity.  The Johansens, the Rosens, and the others who were involved in the monster escape were all forced to lie to the Nazi soldiers in order to ensure their own safety.  Even Annemarie understands that in order to keep everyone she loves from being killed, she must lie, and she must do it convincingly.  It is a sad truth that in extreme circumstances such as this; deceit is the only way to stay alive.

Fear

Fear is a constant presence within this novel, and for everyone who is involved.  During World War II, the fear that must have affected the Jewish people would have been crippling for many of them and also would have inspired extreme action in others.  For the Rosens and many other Jewish people, fear drove them to run for their lives and to do it smartly.  For Annemarie, her fear drove her to trek through the forest in the middle of the night to deliver a package she did not even know the contents of, just to keep her loved ones safe.  Fear is immensely powerful within this novel.

Innocence

The main figure of innocence in this novel is little Kirsti; she is five-years-old and she never even seems particularly curious about what is going on because she is living in her own little world.  When the Nazi soldiers come around Kirsti charms them with her carefree and frivolous conversation, which turns out to be a blessing for the Johansens and Ellen.  When Annemarie is questioned by the soldiers in the forest, she channels Kirsti’s innocence, because she knows she must convincingly act as though she has no idea there is anything wrong in order to get out alive.

 

Resistance

Resistance against the Nazi’s inspires its own group, conveniently known as the Resistance.  The members of the Resistance quietly plan against the Nazis and work to get the Jewish people to safety.  Peter Neilson, a friend of the family, is a member of the Resistance and is a key player in getting the Rosens to Sweden where they will be safe.  Peter and the others in the Resistance know they are risking their own lives, but they feel they must because Nazi power has to be resisted against.  Later after Peter is killed by the Nazis, Annemarie learns that her sister Lise had been in the Resistance as well and that is how she actually died.

 

Transformation

The main transformation within this novel is that of Annemarie.  Though she was only a ten-year-old girl when the novel began, she understood that some significant changes were happening and that she must help in the fight.  She picked up on cues from around her, and she knew the fundamental things that must occur to make their plans come to fruition.  Annemarie’s key turning point comes when she takes it upon herself to deliver a package to Henrik in the middle of the night, risking her own life in the process.  By the time the escape is over, Annemarie has grown considerably as a person and has undoubtedly become a young woman rather than a child.

Annemarie Johansen

Annemarie Johansen is the ten-year-old protagonist of the story.  She lives in Denmark along with her parents and her little sister, Kirsti.  Annemarie’s best friend is named Ellen Rosen and she lives next door; Ellen is Jewish and Annemarie is not though Annemarie has never seen this as something to distinguish.  Annemarie is intensely aware of the changes going on around her since the beginning of World War II, and she is remarkably intuitive and observant for her age.  Annemarie is truly fearful of the possibilities that the war brings, but she knows that she must push this fear aside if she wants to be as brave as those that she admires.

Ellen Rosen

Ellen Rosen is Annemarie’s neighbor and best friend.  Ellen is Jewish, and with the changes happening due to the war, she and her parents are hyperaware of what is going on around them.  Like her friend, Ellen is beyond her years mentally though Ellen is more serious than Annemarie.  Ellen has dreams of becoming an actress and is given her best role yet when she has to pose as a member of the Johansen family to hide from the Nazis.  Ellen is not as brave as Annemarie; she is terrified by the war and what it may mean for her family, and she often looks for comfort in her friend.

Mrs. Johansen

Mrs. Johansen, often referred to as “mama”, is the mother of Annemarie and Kirsti.  She is incredibly strong and brave, which is shown in the firm way she raises her children and later shown in her involvement with freeing the Rosens.  Mrs. Johansen shows no hesitation in risking her life in order to help her friends, the Rosens, make their way to safety.  Though she is strong and focused, Mrs. Johansen still helps to ease the fears of the three young girls by telling stories about her childhood, as well as fairy tales.  Annemarie is a lot like her mother in her bravery.

Mr. Johansen

Mr. Johansen, often referred to as “papa”, is the father of Annemarie and Kirsti.  He is an exceptionally strong and noble man who feels particularly strongly about the war.  He is honest and caring with his children, and he answers Annemarie’s questions about the war thoughtfully and honestly, just as he would with an adult.  Mr. Johansen believes that Annemarie is old enough to know what is happening in her country, and he educates her about the war, what is going on at the present time, and where he thinks it is headed to.  He is a symbol of strength and sense of purpose.

Kirsten Johansen

Kirsten, mainly referred to as “Kirsti”, is the youngest of the Johansen family at five-years-old.  Kirsti is totally oblivious to the war going on around her and the changes that it has meant for her family.  In a way, it is a marvellous thing that Kirsti is living in her own world because when she is questioned by the Nazi soldiers she does not need to feign innocence, she certainly is innocent.  Because Kirsti cannot remember a time when the Nazi soldiers did not occupy the streets of Denmark, their presence does not tip her off that anything is wrong.

Henrik

Henrik is the brother of Mrs. Johansen.  Henrik lives in a town on the sea called Gillelejel; he lives in the home where he and Mrs. Johansen had spent their childhood.  Henrik is a bachelor, which is something that Mrs. Johansen teases him for when she is cleaning his house.  Henrik is a hugely influential player in helping the Rosens and others escape to Sweden as his home is used for a meeting place and he pilots the ship where the Jews are hidden, bringing them to safety.  Henrik is a remarkably brave and selfless man, risking his life for people he barely knows because they deserve to live without fear. 

Mrs. Rosen

Mrs. Rosen is the mother of Ellen and a dear friend of Mrs. Johansen.  Often when the girls return from school Mrs. Rosen is at the Johansen home having coffee and discussing the state of the war with Mrs. Johansen.  She and Mrs. Johansen agree that something must be done quickly because the Rosens are no longer going to be safe at home.  When it comes time to escape, Mrs. Rosen fears the ship because she does not like the ocean, but she overcomes her fear because escaping is her only chance of survival; she and her family make it safely to Sweden. 

Mr. Rosen

Mr. Rosen is the father of Ellen.  He is a school teacher, and he has instilled in Ellen a sense of pride and importance in education, which is something that has helped her to be so studious and serious.  Mr. Rosen is given the task of delivering a secret package to Henrik the night of the escape, but somehow it becomes lost in the shuffle, and he fails his mission.  Luckily for Mr. Rosen, Annemarie risks her life to get the package to her uncle.  Mr. Rosen and his family make it safely to Sweden. 

Peter Neilson

Peter Neilson is a close friend of the Johansen family; he is the ex-fiancé of their deceased daughter Lise.  Peter is instrumental in forming the plan that will help the Rosens to escape to Sweden and he has planned it well.  After the plan is complete and the Rosens have made it to safety, Peter is captured by the Nazis who imprison and eventually kill him.  After Peter’s death, it is revealed to Annemarie that he had been a member of the Resistance, and his involvement with the group is what got him captured. 

Lise Johansen

Lise Johansen was the oldest daughter in the Johansen family.  Lise had died about three years before the novel began, and Annemarie had been told that she had died in a car accident.  Lise was engaged to Peter Neilson, and at the time of her death, her mother had been getting her trousseau ready for the wedding.  It is after the death of Peter that Annemarie learns her sister had been a part of the Resistance with Peter, and that is how she had died; a Resistance gathering had been invaded by the Nazi soldiers, and Lise had been killed in the ensuing chaos.

Nazi Soldiers

The Nazi soldiers are more a group of characters, but they are all remarkably similar.  The Nazi soldiers are Germans who are working under the orders of Hitler to collect all of the Jewish people from the controlled European countries and to bring them to a holding place.  The Nazi soldiers are not kind to the Danes, even to the children at times though they seem to take a liking to little Kirsti.  The Nazi soldiers are skeptical of anything they deem unusual and do not hesitate to exercise their power in cruel and unusual ways.  On one particularly cruel instance, the soldiers approach Annemarie in the woods and incessantly question her while feeding the food in her basket to their dogs until they make her cry.

The Hirsches

The Hirsches are a Jewish family who live in the town as the Johansens and the Rosens.  Mrs. Hirsch was the owner of the button shop in town and the day the girls discovered that the shop was closed is the day the adults began to realize that momentous changes were coming.  When the Hirsches mostly disappeared it seemed as though they fled Copenhagen, because either they understood that they would soon be removed or because they actually had been removed by force.

King Christian X

King Christian X was the King of Denmark at the time of the story.  Annemarie remembers a time when King Christian would roam the streets of Denmark freely, without a bodyguard, because he did not fear attack.  Annemarie’s father had told her that King Christian did not need to have a bodyguard because “all of Denmark” was his bodyguard; they respected him as their King and would never allow anything terrible to happen to him.  When Annemarie is finding her courage she recalls this story and is proud of how brave the people of Denmark were to protect their King like that; she thinks that she would like to be that brave, as well.

Great-aunt Birte

Great-aunt Birte is a character who is not a character at all but a rouse.  When everyone gathers at Henrik’s home to get ready for the escape, they create a story that everyone is there for the funeral of Great-aunt Birte, and there is even a coffin in the living room.  As expected, the Nazi soldiers arrive and question the gathering as well as why the casket was closed.  When they are informed that Birte had died of Typhus and they were sealing her germs in, the soldiers were not about to open the coffin to check for themselves.

Thor and Blossom

Thor and Blossom were the two animals which lived at Henrik’s farmhouse.  Blossom was the milking cow that Henrik was taking care of for a friend, and she supplied the luxury food items that the Johansens and Rosens had been doing without for so long like cream and butter.  Thor was the kitten that Annemarie had discovered with Ellen on their first day at the farmhouse.  Kirsti took it upon herself to “adopt” the kitten and decided on the name Thor.

Annemarie and her family live in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1943.  Annemarie and her friend Ellen are racing one another home from school one day, accompanied by Annemarie’s sister Kirsti, when they find themselves face to face with two soldiers.  The reader is informed that the soldiers are Nazi’s and that the Nazi’s have been in Denmark for three years at this point.  The girls are questioned by the soldiers about where they are in a hurry to and Kirsti is the only one of the three girls who does not seem to be nervous.  In fact, since the soldiers find Kirsti to be so adorable they let all three girls go on their way only telling them that they should not race through the streets.  There are Nazi soldiers all over the streets, always watching.

When the girls get back home Annemarie and Ellen stay outside for a bit when Kirsti goes in, but Annemarie warns Kristi to keep the events of the afternoon and the run-in with the soldiers to herself.  When Annemarie eventually heads inside she finds that Kirsti had immediately told their mother about the soldiers, and Ellen’s mother knew as well because she was inside visiting with Annemarie and Kirsti’s mother.  Both mothers are worried by the news, as everyone has been on edge since the Nazi’s had come into Denmark.   The women discuss the resistance, which has been in place since the Nazi’s arrived and was pretty successful against the Nazi’s at first.  Ellen’s mother warns the girls that now is the time when they must be the most careful.  After Ellen’s mother leaves, Annemarie and Kirsti are offered a snack though they do not have many options because with the soldiers in place many food items have become quite limited, such as butter, coffee, and sugar.

That night Kirsti is unable to fall asleep so Annemarie makes up a fairytale about princesses who live in a place where there is no war, and Kirsti falls right to sleep.  Annemarie thinks about King Christian, the King of Denmark, who she used to see out and about when she was younger; King Christian supports the Jews.  Thinking about the days when she used to see the King walking the streets, Annemarie is reminded of her sister Lise who has died.  Annemarie recalls hearing once that the reason King Christian was able to freely roam around Denmark is because “All of Denmark is his bodyguard”.  Annemarie used to speak to her parents about the Germans and the King, but those days were mainly ones when Lise was still alive.  Annemarie recalls one time when they were discussing the King and her mother was making Lise’s trousseau (a chest which would hold Lise’s wedding dress).  That was three years ago, and it was at a time when the Nazi’s had been able to take over many countries; both those that did resist and those that did not.  The only country, which seemed to be out of the control of the Germans, was Sweden; Annemarie’s father has pointed out that Sweden remains free of German control.  Annemarie thinks of Lise again; the family does not mention her much because she is so missed, but they do still speak to her fiancé Peter.  Peter is a genial man but since Lise has been gone he has become quite serious.  Annemarie cannot believe how much life has changed since the Germans have taken over.  Even though Kirsti is sleeping, Annemarie continues to tell the princess story all the way to the happy ending.

As summer comes to an end and fall approaches the weather starts to get colder; this is a problem for the people in Denmark because they have to conserve the amount of fuel they are able to burn and their electricity.  When the girls are getting ready to go to school one morning their mother notices that one of the buttons on Kirsti’s coat has broken so she asks Annemarie to stop at the button store and get a new one on her way home.  After school that day the girls, accompanied by Ellen, go to the store which is owned by Mrs. Hirsch and find that it is closed.  The girls find this strange, and as they walk home they wonder what happened to the Hirsches; Kirsti thinks that they probably took a vacation but Annemarie and Ellen think this is unlikely.  When the girls get home, Annemarie tells her mother about the button store being closed and Mr and Mrs Hirsch not being around.  Her mother seems remarkably agitated by this news and immediately goes to find Ellen’s mother.

That night Annemarie is in bed getting ready to go to sleep when her mother comes up to get her because Peter has come to visit.  Peter should not be at the house at this time; it is illegal for people to visit one another’s homes after a certain time of day.  Peter likes to bring presents when he comes, and this day is no different, he brings seashells and beer.  The most notable thing that Peter brings with him is news of what is going on with the Germans.  The latest news is that the Germans are starting to treat the Jews particularly harshly, which is why many of them including the Hirsches have been forced to shut down their businesses.  Not only did Annemarie have no idea that the Hirsch family is Jewish, but she has no idea why they are being targeted.  Annemarie’s father tells her that Ellen’s family will have to be careful too, but Annemarie knows that the friends of the Jews will help protect them just like the Danes protected King Christian.  Annemarie has a hard time falling asleep that night with this new information.

Annemarie and Ellen are playing with paper dolls, acting out scenes from Gone with the Wind.  Kirsti comes in extremely upset because her mother has bought her shoes made of fish skin because they were no longer able to get leather products.  Kirsti feels as though she will be humiliated if she has to wear them to school so Annemarie has the idea to paint them with some of their father’s ink so the fact that they are fish skin will not be so obvious.  The girls start playing with their paper dolls again only this time the dolls are playing at Tivoli Gardens, where Annemarie and Ellen can remember seeing lovely fireworks when they were younger; this was before the Germans occupied.  Kirsti thinks that she remembers the fireworks as well, but Annemarie knows that she is remembering the time the Danes sacrificed their own boats to keep the Germans from taking over; their mother had told Kirsti that the explosions were only fireworks.  Soon it is time for Ellen to leave, to help her family get ready for the Jewish New Year which is coming up the following week.

When Thursday rolls around, the girls are supposed to go to the Rosen’s home to celebrate the Jewish New Year with Ellen and her parents, but, surprisingly, Ellen is dropped off at their house instead.  Annemarie feels bad for Ellen because she knows that her friend was excited for the New Year’s celebration; she is also confused about why Ellen is spending a few days with her family, and she is given little to no information.  It is not until later that Annemarie is told what is going on; the Germans are going to be taking all of the Jews and bringing them elsewhere so the Rosen’s are working to protect themselves and Ellen.  Ellen will live with the Johansen’s as Annemarie’s and Kirsti’s sister and Peter will be helping Ellen’s parents to safety.  After this startling news, it is time for the girls to get to bed.

Ellen and Annemarie hang out in Annemarie’s room while getting ready for bed and Annemarie tries to reassure Ellen that everything will be okay.  Ellen mentions that she has always been interested in acting and if the soldiers come around then she will finally get her chance to act, and it will be the most crucial part she could ever land.  The girls then start to talk about Annemarie’s sister Lise; Annemarie is not entirely sure how Lise died only that it was some sort of an accident involving a car.  Annemarie remembers the trousseau her mother was making for Lise and Ellen worries aloud that she may die young, as well.  Annemarie tries to calm her friend’s fears one more time and even reassures herself with the thought that no soldiers are going to come to her house.

In the middle of the night, however, soldiers did come to the Johansen house.  They have come looking for the Rosen family, and they will not leave until they search the house.  Annemarie realizes that Ellen is wearing her Star of David necklace and tries to help her remove it, but the clasp is stuck; Annemarie yanks it off Ellen’s neck and holds it in her hand so the soldiers cannot find it.  All three girls are called down to the living room where they must tell the soldiers their names; Ellen says that her name is Lise Johansen.  The soldiers do not believe Ellen because she has dark hair while the rest of the family is blond, but when Mr. Johansen shows the soldiers baby photos of the three girls with their names at the bottom they see that Lise had dark hair when she was born.  The soldiers are displeased with what they have found and tear up the picture of Lise before leaving the house.

After the German soldiers leave the Johansen’s and Ellen try to figure out what to do next.  Ellen apologizes to them for her hair color, which seems a silly thing to apologize for as it is out of her control.  It is decided that there is no way the girls can return to their school so Mrs. Johansen thinks she should take them to her brother Henrik’s house up north; Mr. Johansen will stay behind so as not to raise suspicion.  Annemarie listens in as her father calls Henrik to tell him that the girls will be visiting, and she realizes that he is speaking in code; he tells Henrik that Mrs. Johansen will bring him cigarettes, but he obviously is referring to Ellen.

On the train, Mrs. Johansen, Ellen, Annemarie, and Kirsti enjoy the view from the window and are relieved to be getting away from the danger back home.  However, just as they are feeling comfortable they are approached by a couple of soldiers who are wondering where the ladies are heading to.  Mrs. Johansen explains that they are going to visit her brother and the soldiers try to trick her into admitting they are Jewish by asking if they are visiting her brother to celebrate the New Year.  Mrs. Johansen pretends she does not know what they are talking about, and before they can ask any more questions Kirsti speaks up.  Annemarie is worried Kirsti will blow their cover, but she only starts talking about her shoes and the soldiers are charmed by her, just as the ones in the street had been.  When the ladies get off the train, they start walking through the forest to Henrik’s house.  Mrs. Johansen tells stories from when she was young, and Annemarie walks ahead of the others.

Once they reach Henrik’s house, Annemarie and Ellen roam around outside and talk.  They are happy to be out in nature which is something that they do not get to do often; they also discuss Sweden and their proximity to it.  Annemarie enjoys being at Henrik’s where everything feels comfortable and familiar; Ellen likes being there too, but everything is new to her as she has never been there before.  The girls find a kitten when they are walking down by the river, and they spend some time playing with their new little friend while Annemarie tells Ellen about her Uncle Henrik and what he does for a living.  Mrs. Johansen asks the girls to come back inside and tells them that they must be careful of where they wander off to and what they discuss because even though they are no longer in the city, they are not in the clear.

Mrs. Johansen tells the girls she is going to make them some apple sauce, which is a real treat especially considering how scarce food has been back home.  When Ellen and Annemarie get ready for bed that night, Annemarie tells Ellen that she is going to hold on to her Star of David necklace and that she will let Ellen have it back when it is safe for her to wear it again.  Ellen appreciates her friend but is sad just thinking about the necklace because it reminds her of her parents.  As Annemarie listens to the muffled sounds of her mother and uncle talking downstairs she thinks of how strange it is that she is in a familiar place, but it does not feel like it has any other time she has been there.

Annemarie sleeps light that night; every little noise wakes her like her uncle getting up to milk the cows.  Ellen is still sleeping when Annemarie goes downstairs to join her mother and sister, and Annemarie does not wake her.  The kitten is downstairs with Kirsti; she has adopted him into the family and named him Thor.  Annemarie realizes that there are substantial benefits to staying on Henrik’s farm because they are able to have luxury food items that have not been available to them in some time, such as butter and cream.

After Ellen wakes up, she and Annemarie walk around the farm to explore their new home.  They walk around the meadow and pick some flowers while Mrs. Johansen cleans the entire farmhouse top to bottom.  Later when Henrik returns him and Mrs. Johansen joke with one another that he should actually get married so he has someone to keep his house clean.  As Annemarie listens to the conversation her mother and uncle are having she hears some strange topics being thrown around, such as “fishing”, and she understands that they are using code words again.  Henrik announces to his visitors that Great-aunt Birte’s funeral will be that night, which does not sound like such strange news except that Annemarie is sure she does not have a Great-aunt Birte.

At dinner that evening, there is little conversation and Annemarie walks off by herself afterwards; she has decided that she needs to speak to her uncle.  She finds Uncle Henrik in the barn milking one of the cows, and though she has thought carefully what to say, when she accuses her uncle of lying to her she is not as composed as she would like to be.  She tells Henrik that she knows there is no Great-aunt Birte, and she is upset that he has lied to her.  Henrik does not answer Annemarie right away but finishing milking the cow first.  He then asks Annemarie how brave she is, which not exactly confirms what Annemarie as accused him of but in a way it does.  Uncle Henrik tells Annemarie that he cannot tell her what is going on because she must be kept in the dark to some extent in order to protect herself because the less she knows, the safer she is.  Annemarie agrees to what Henrik has told her, and they leave the barn to prepare for the funeral.

That evening Uncle Henrik’s home is full of flowers, a coffin, and a few people whom Annemarie does not recognize.  Annemarie knows that she has to keep the truth about the fake funeral to herself, and she cannot tell Ellen, which will be difficult.  Annemarie’s mother can tell that Annemarie knows the funeral is not real, but Annemarie treats it as though it is and compares it to the funeral that they had for Lise.  Henrik seems to be quite antsy until some more people arrive; he take Ellen outside to meet the people and when they return they are accompanied by Peter, and Ellen’s parents.

Henrik leaves but everyone else is crowded inside of his house, and they are edge because they know that a visit from the Nazi soldiers is imminent.  Annemarie and Ellen could go to bed, but they decide to stay awake with the adults.  Suddenly the Nazi soldiers arrive, just as expected, because they saw that there were many people gathered in a home, and the lights were still on late at night.  The soldiers ask why there are so many people in the home and Mrs. Johansen tells them that it is a pre-funeral get together.  The soldiers are skeptical, and one of them asks Annemarie whose body lies in the casket, presumably because they think a young person would not be able to lie convincingly.  Annemarie does not miss a beat, telling the soldiers that Great-aunt Birte lies in the coffin.

The soldiers are still not convinced so they ask why the coffin is closed, rather than open.  Mrs. Johansen is prepared for this question and tells them that Birte had Typhus, and because of the germs she was carrying they did not want to risk the casket being open; this explanation is enough to keep the Nazi’s from opening the box themselves.  However, the officer is still angry and hits Mrs. Johansen across the face; he tells them that they should open the casket once they are alone and let the Typhus get them.  After they leave everyone is shocked, but they know they must act normal until they are in the clear.  Peter reads from the Bible, concentrating on the verse which speaks of “numbering the stars”.  Annemarie thinks that the world is a cruel place.  Suddenly Peter rises and heads to the coffin to reveal with it is hiding.

When the coffin is opened Annemarie and Ellen are taken aback by what they see; it is not a body but clothing and linens.  While the girls are surprised by the revelation, the adults seem to be expecting this.  Peter begins to hand out the clothing to the Johansens, the Rosens, and the other visitors while Mrs. Johansen distributes snacks to everyone.  As an extra precaution, Peter tells the visitors that their baby should be given some sort of a sedative drug to ensure that she does not wake on the way to wherever they are going; though the mother disapproves, she allows it.

Annemarie hears her parents and Peter talking, and she listens in.  Peter gives Mr. Rosen an item that is influential and must be given to Henrik whenever they reach their destination.  Peter insists that it is imperative for Henrik to get whatever it is that Mr. Rosen will be carrying.  Peter takes it upon himself to split everyone into 2 groups: the visitors with him and Mrs. Johansen and Rosens in another group which will follow Peter’s group after waiting for a little while.  Peter says goodbye to Annemarie and she can feel the intensity behind it; after Peter’s group leaves everyone is on edge.  Annemarie realizes that despite all that has changed the Rosens still seem to be the same people, and she admires this.  Annemarie sees the plan now; Peter, Mrs. Johansen and Henrik are helping their Jewish friends escape to Sweden.

After waiting a decent amount of time Mrs. Johansen prepares for herself and the Rosens to leave Henrik’s home.  She tells her friends that they must be extremely quiet and do nothing which may draw any attention to themselves because what they are doing is highly dangerous.  Annemarie notices that the night is still and silent, which could make the task of being unnoticeable even more difficult.  Annemarie must say goodbye to Ellen now, and it is an emotional parting for both girls who have become such close friends.  After everyone leaves, Annemarie is left in Henrik’s home with her sister waiting for Mrs. Johansen to return.  Annemarie wants to wait up until her mother comes back, as the trip should not take too long, but eventually sleep takes over.  When Annemarie wakes she knows it is long past the time when her mother should have returned but yet her mother did not come in to wake her so she is worried.  Annemarie walks through the farmhouse and cannot find her mother anywhere but soon she realizes her mother is home; she is outside and something is wrong.

Annemarie sees her mother lying on the ground and runs immediately to her side.  Mrs. Johansen tells Annemarie that everything is OK, and the Rosens made it safely to the boat which would take them to Sweden.  They made the trip to the boat rather quickly, but on her way back to the farmhouse Mrs. Johansen fell and hurt her leg rather badly and was forced to crawl back.  Annemarie helps her mother to the door of the farmhouse and then notices something lying on the ground: it is the package that Mr. Rosen was supposed to give to Henrik at all costs.  Mrs. Johansen is horrified when she realizes that Henrik never got the package, but she knows that there is no way she can make the trip back there on her injured leg.  Annemarie, being the brave girl that she is, knows that she must deliver the package herself because she remembers Peter stressing how crucial it was that Henrik get it.  Mrs. Johansen allows her daughter to make the trip but insists that she carry it in the bottom of a basket full of food so no one suspects anything.  Annemarie is told to avoid speaking to anyone on her trip, and if she is questioned or caught she must feign innocence and pretend she does not know anything.  Annemarie hugs her mother and sets out on her potentially dangerous journey.

Annemarie sets out on her mission, and the setting is pretty terrifying; it is still nighttime so it is quite dark out, the weather is not great, and Annemarie is making the trip through the woods all alone.  While she is quite aware of where she is going, it does not make the trek through the dark forest any less scary.  Annemarie tries to keep her mind off what she is doing, and make the time go faster, by telling herself the story of Little Red Riding Hood just as she would tell it to Kirsti.  The forest starts to freak Annemarie out a little, but she keeps on with the story in an effort to distract herself.  Annemarie has chosen to take a longer route to get to Henrik because it is less traveled and, therefore, it is less likely that Annemarie will run into anyone.

Annemarie keeps her mind moving, thinking of how she would change the story in little ways to keep Kirsti interested and then she starts to think of Henrik’s home.  Annemarie spent a lot of time at her uncle’s home, and so has her mother; speaking of Annemarie’s mother she worries because she knows her mother will have to see a doctor for her injury.  Annemarie keeps telling herself the story of Little Red Riding Hood, and when she gets to the part where the wolf appears she starts to get antsy; she even thinks that she can hear a wolf howling in the night.  Just as Annemarie is telling herself that she is being silly, she certainly does hear a howling, but it belongs to the dogs that are accompanying the Nazi soldiers through the woods.

Annemarie takes a cue from Kirsti and plays dumb to the soldiers’ questions.  Kirsti is innocent and never threatens to spill any information because she is never privy to any; Annemarie knows that she must channel this innocence within herself.  Annemarie easily lies to the soldiers and pretends as though she has no idea what has been going on because she is too wrapped up in her own little self-centered world.  As Annemarie is being asked some pretty intense questions, one of the soldiers goes through the basket and feeds the food items to the dogs.  Annemarie starts to get nervous when the soldier keeps digging through the basket, as it is obvious that the dogs know she is hiding something else in there.  When the soldier comes upon the secret package that Annemarie is delivering she loses her façade and starts to cry; she tells the soldiers she does not know anything about the package, which is technically the truth.  When the soldier tears into the package he is disappointed to see that it is only a hankie and not something more incriminating.  The soldier tells Annemarie to deliver a particularly nasty message to her uncle Henrik and sends her on her way.  Once the soldiers are out of view Annemarie gathers herself together, grabs the hanky, and runs off to Henrik’s waiting boat.  When Annemarie gives the hankie to her uncle he is immensely grateful to see it.  She considers asking Uncle Henrik questions, but she does not know what to say; he tells her all will be well and sends her back to the farmhouse.

By the time this chapter begins, Annemarie, her mother, and Henrik are all sitting around the table at the farmhouse.  The mood in the air is carefree and relieved, as everything has gone to plan.  Annemarie explains to the reader that when she got back from her trip her mother was gone, as the doctor had come to get her and put her ankle in cast.  Kirsti wondered where Ellen had gone and because they could not tell Kirsti the truth, Mrs. Johansen only told her that Ellen’s parents had come for her.

Annemarie heads out to the barn with Uncle Henrik so he can fill her in on some of the details of what happened.  While Henrik milks the cow he tells Annemarie that she was brave, and she deserves to know what her bravery was for.  Henrik tells Annemarie that he had built a compartment in his ship where people, specifically Jews, could be hidden and transported to Sweden.  Peter, who is a member of the Resistance, helped Henrik to devise and carry out the plan.  Annemarie had to agree that this was a plan because she had been on the ship and she never would have guessed that there were people hidden inside of it.  The thing Annemarie actually wants to know about is the handkerchief and its significance. Henrik explains to Annemarie that the hankie was covered with a scent which would confuse any dogs that might be looking for Jews.  When Annemarie left Henrik’s ship that night, the Nazi’s came and their dogs could not sniff out any people because the scent of the hankie threw them off.  If Henrik had not received that hankie then the mission may not have been successful; so Annemarie is a hero.  Henrik tells Annemarie that everyone made it safely to Sweden, and Ellen and her family are safe.  He believes that Annemarie and Ellen will continue to be friends for a frightfully long time.  Annemarie is relieved to finally know the truth, and also that the Rosens are safe.

It has been two years since the last chapter and World War II has ended; Annemarie is now twelve years old.  In the wake of the war Denmark, along with other European countries, is now free.  The Rosens have not yet returned, but the Johansen’s are still holding their belongings for them, waiting for the day when they can give them back.  Annemarie thinks of Peter and sadly recounts that he was murdered by the Nazi’s for being part of the Resistance.  The Nazi’s buried Peter’s body at the site where they killed him and Annemarie knows he would not have wanted it that way.  After Peter died, Annemarie’s parents told her what happened to Lise.  It turns out that Lise was also a part of the Resistance, and she was killed by the Nazis when one of their gatherings was stormed; Peter had also been injured in this attack.  Annemarie appreciates her sister’s bravery; she looks where Lise’s trousseau was kept and finds Ellen’s Star of David which was hidden there.  Annemarie asks Mr. Johansen if he could fix the clasp on the necklace so Annemarie can wear it in honor of her best friend, but only until Ellen returns and can wear it herself.

Zane comes back to his camp, or his father’s camp. He has a guard summon is father to the strategy tent. While waiting, he gives one of the soldiers strategic positions of the forces in Luthadel. Straff comes in and Zane tells him about the day’s activities, including what was said between Zane and Elend. They talk over a cup of tea. Straff, being a tineye, burns tin and smells poison in the tea he’s drinking. He knows Zane is always trying to poison him. He defiantly drinks the tea anyway and dismisses Zane. After, Straff summons one of his mistresses, a woman named Amaranta, who prepares a concoction of medicines in a special tea for Straff. He drinks the new tea, hoping he’ll live again this time.

Sazed has traveled six weeks worth of distance in six days, using his metalminds from time to time. Whenever a metalmind runs out, he leaves it on the ground, trying to lessen the amount of weight he has to carry. He notices several pillars of smoke ahead, sure sign that there is an army or camp of some kind. He is surprised to see that the army camp is made up of koloss, a dark blue kind of monster barbarian, once controlled by the Lord Ruler. Sazed is found by a koloss patrol. They force him to come down from the tree he was hiding in and follow them into the camp. Sazed is surprised once again to see that the man controlling these koloss is Jastes Lekal, a one-time friend of Elend Venture. Jastes says that he plans to conquer Luthadel as his own. He ends up letting Sazed go, under the condition that Sazed tell Elend about what he has seen. Sazed leaves, feeling even more urgency about getting to Luthadel.

Elends meets with his advisors–Ham, Breeze, Dockson, and Vin. Tindwyl is there, too. They try to talk Elend out of this plan he has to go into his father’s camp and trick him into fighting Cett. They don’t think Elend can con someone like that, but Elend is insistent that he can manipulate his father any time he wants. Plus, Elend argues, he’ll have Vin with him, in case Straff tries to take his own son hostage. Vin, listening in to the conversation, discovers through bronze that Breeze is soothing Elend to make him more confident. After the meeting, Tindwyl chastises Elend for not acting more like a king. Kings cannot doubt themselves. They must always feel that they are the right man for the job and convince others of the same through sheer confidence. The discussion is interrupted when Elend gets word that Cett’s daughter has arrived in Luthadel, looking for Breeze.

Cetts daughter, Allrianne, has left her father’s camp and come to Luthadel to see Breeze, whom she affectionately calls Breezy. Breeze is completely embarrassed by this, but the rest of the group gets a good laugh at his expense. Allrianne says she hated staying in her father’s camp; she needs comforts only a city can bring, like fresh water and a bed. After Allrianne leaves to freshen up, the group decides it may be beneficial to keep her. It may prevent her father from attacking too soon.

Vin, hides, suspended in the mists, just above Keep Venture. She spies on Ham as he walks across a courtyard. As she follows him, as a predetermined time, OreSeur jumps from behind some boxes and howls, scaring Ham. Ham reacts by flaring pewter. This confirms to Vin that he is not the kandra imposter. Vin admits to Ham that she is out of atium, meaning she’ll die the next time she fights a Mistborn with atium. She wonders is there is a secret to killing someone with atium. Ham doesn’t think so, although there have been some theories about how to do so. It may be possible, for example, to surprise them somehow. After that, Vin has a heart-to-heart with OreSeur. They talk about the way kandra are often treated, beaten by their own masters. They spot someone approaching the keep’s walls. It turns out to be Sazed, who has returned with, as he puts it, “problems and troubles.

Sazed is telling the group in the kitchens late at night, what he saw in the Koloss camp. They are not happy to know that a third army is on its way to Luthadel. Sazed does not know how Lekal is controlling the creatures, but the group does know that 20,000 koloss could beat an army of at least four times that many humans, meaning there is nothing stopping them from reaching and taking Luthadel. Finally, Sazed also share his fear regarding the mist killing people. He thinks something was released when the Lord Ruler was killed, although he never personally saw the mist kill anyone. Cett’s daughter comes walking in, half disheveled, asking what’s going on. They dismiss her and the group breaks apart, everyone either going to bed or to some corner to thin. Vin takes OreSeur outside to patrol. Back in his room, Sazed meets Tindwyl, an old friend of his. She criticizes him for returning and having strange theories about the mist.

Vin is outside, thinking about the beating she hears to the north, just like the writer of the log book, the supposed Hero of Ages. Zane finds her, and again he tries to convince her to leave Elend and Luthadel, claiming that she is being used by them and that she can do much better on her own, free to do as she pleases. Vin insists that she is very happy doing what she is doing and that no one is forcing her to do anything.

Vin is woken by a quiet bark of warning from OreSeur. She reacts by jumping out of bed, reaching for a dagger, and downing a vile of metals. She does all this before she realizes that the person that was “sneaking up on her” is actually Tindwyl the Terriswoman. Tindwyl obligates her to go shopping with herself and Allrianne, something Vin knows she will detest. They take a carriage to the market, the three women and OreSeur, who everything still assumes is just an ordinary wolfhound, along with Spook, who is forced to go to carry the girls’ bags. Vin manages to find a dress that she likes, and Tindwyl arranges for the dress to be made special for a Mistborn. Meanwhile, a someone has identifies Vin and a large crowd has gathered outside the storefront. Vin reluctantly goes outside to talk to them. They obviously worship her, calling her the Heir to the Survivor–Kelsier. She tries to say something that will inspire hope, but she feels that she is really just lying to them. Meanwhile, Elend is at the wall when Straff’s men attack. The guards and archers on the wall are in a total panic, and they barely kill a few of the invading wave before it retreats to the Venture camp. This was a test, just to try out Luthadel’s defenses, it is explained to Elend. Straff is sending a message, just before Elend is supposed to go out to the camp and talk to his father.

Vin opens the box sent from the dress maker, happy to find that the new dress is very well designed for a Mistborn, allowing her to move and fight freely. It even has secret hiding places for her daggers and some vials of metal. OreSeur does not think going is a good idea, since Vin and Elend would be alone in Straff’s army camp. Vin knows she must go anyway. Elend and Vin ride into the camp. Over the meal, Elend tries to manipulate Straff, but the man seems to catch on too quickly. Then he sends Vin out of the tent, so they can talk alone, father and son.

Straff and Elend talk inside, and things don’t seem to be going very well for Elend. Straff says he’ll just have Elend killed and demand Luthadel to open the gates to him. Elend says that if he is killed, Vin will kill Straff. Vin is outside, listening. She begins to manipulate Straff’s emotions, making him feel afraid. Finally, she smoothes away everything–every emotion he has, leaving him feeling empty and dead inside. The trick works, and Elend and Vin get out of the camp safe. Meanwhile, Zane has a little chat with Vin outside the tent, telling her that she is nothing but a knife to Elend. After they are gone, Straff commands Zane to kill Vin. Back in Luthadel, Elend learns that the assembly has voted to remove him as king.

The group meets together to see what they’re going to do about the assembly’s vote. They try to figure out if the assembly already has someone else in mind to put on the thrown, or if they simple want to send a warning to Elend because he has been ignoring them of late. The discussion leads to an argument between Breeze and Ham, as always, and Vin gets a taste of kandra humor when OreSeur whispers that he could always eat one of them and solve the argument. Later, Elend gets another lesson from Tindwyl about how a proper kind should act.

At night, Vin and OreSeur have a talk. OreSeur doesn’t think it’s healthy for Vin to keep herself awake for long periods of time, burning pewter to stay strong. He also doesn’t like the way Vin treats Zane, who should be her enemy. In the middle of the conversation, Vin realizes that she’s figured out what the Deepness is.

Sazed is in his room, studying and transcribing the rubbings he found. He knows that these few pages of transcribed text could keep him busy for months or even years. Vin enters through his window and wants to talk to him about the deepness. Sazed talks about if the deepness is even real or if it’s just a made-up story, some propaganda spun by the Lord Ruler. Vin says she thinks it’s real and tells Sazed that she thinks it’s actually the mist itself. The log book and the rubbings don’t say the mist actually killed people but that people died because of the mist. That could be because a permenant mist that covered the ground would kill crops and live stalk, leaving people to die of starvation. Vin also tells Sazed about the mist spirit that has been following her.

The assembly gathers, and Elend gets an opportunity to explain what he has done with his father. He uses twenty minutes to tell of the situation with the two armies and how his meeting with Straff went. He tells them that he used Vin’s power to threaten Straff, a move that may protect the city for some time yet. Meanwhile, Vin tries to pay attention to Elend’s meeting. She sees Zane in the crowd, and he smiles at her. They then have nominations for who should run for king. Elend and Lord Penrod are nominated, and, lastly, Cett is nominated. The man reveals himself to be in the crowd.

Vin watches in shock as Cett reveals himself to the crowd and to the assembly. He uses his army outside the gates to threaten the people into voting for him. He also tells the crowd about the koloss army not too far away, a fact that Elend hasn’t told anyone.

Vin sits in her room, studying the stacks of papers she has there. OreSeur is there with her, and they talk about the religious beliefs of the kandra. They practically worship the Contract above all else, the agreement they have with their human masters. Meanwhile, Elend discovers that some of the wells in Luthadel are being poisoned by someone, probably one of the armies outside. Vin talks to Dockson, and in the conversation, she determines that he can’t be the spy. She and OreSeur turn their attentions toward a new option: Demoux, a captain of the guard.

Elend works to find a way to convince the assembly to name him king again, while Vin wants to tell him her theory about Demoux. Tindwyle gets upset with Sazed when she finds out that he helped write part of the laws Elend put into place a year ago. Vin leaves the group and finds Zane, who immediately attacks her. She thinks he wants to spar, like before, but the fight becomes aggressive and Vin must fight him to survive. Zane tells her that he was ordered to kill her and that this attack was a warning. There are also many refugees coming from the koloss army, on their way to seek refuge in Luthadel. After giving his two warnings, Zane leaves.

Vin tries on another custom-made dress. Tindwyl tells her that Elend has nearly learned as much as he can from her; he’ll now have to learn to be a good leader through experience. Elend prepares his armored escort and carriage to go and see Cett. Breeze decides not to go, since he and Cett have history, which would only make the situation worse. When Elend and Vin actually enter the keep Cett is staying in and talk to the man, they discover just how sincere he is. He doesn’t want his daughter back, trusting that Elend will take good care of her. Cett wants Elend to step down from the election for king, and in return he won’t have Elend killed when he is made king. They also talk about the fact that no atium was found in all of Luthadel. Finally, Cett dismisses the two.

Sazed wanders through warehouse full of refugees from the koloss attacks, trying to help and health where he can. Tindwyl comes in and talks to him. She wants to see what he’s found–the rubbings he’s been transcribing. Meanwhile, Breeze has been listening in on the conversation, soothing both people in a way that would make them more friendly to each other. He walks among the refugees, trying to sooth away bad emotions and make them feel better. Elend and Ham come in, and Elend wants to make sure all the people have the clothes they need. Later, Breeze goes into the keep and has a secret meeting with Clubs. Though they always seem to hate each other, they drink together and talk; they’ve struck up a strange companionship. Allrianne walks in and tries to steal Breeze away. Vin, watching from outside, discovers that Allrianne is a rioter, since she was rioting Breeze’s emotions. She and OreSeur then go to find Demoux, still certain that he is the kandra spy. They find him in a little meeting of the church of the Survivor. He can’t be a spy, Vin decides. Then who is?

Sazed and Tindwyl sit together in the study, pouring over the rubbings, searching their metalminds for any references to the deepness or Hero of Ages. It’s morning, meaning they’ve been at it all night long. Tindwyl knows the course of actions Sazed takes is different from what the keepers want, but she is willing to stay with him and study these things further. Meanwhile, Elend and Ham walk along the wall. Ham comments that Elend looks more kingly than ever. As they walk, Elend announces that he has an idea to help Luthadel’s situation.

Vin, Elend, and the rest of the crew arrive early for the day of the election for king. Before the voting begins, Vin, trying to figure out what Elend has up his sleeve, discovers that he has joined the church of the Savior, in an effort to curry votes from the skaa members of the assembly. Suddenly, a groups of allomancers attack Elend and Cett. Vin manages to fight off the men, getting badly hurt in the process. After the fighting, the vote is moved to a more secure location, and the assembly members each announce their vote. Surprisingly, Penrod, a nobleman from the assembly is chosen the new king. Elend hands over his crown and leaves.

Straff Venture is angry that Zane sent a group of his allomancers to their deaths while Vin still lives. Zane promises that he has a plan to take care of her. Meanwhile, Straff meets with Penrod, the new king of Luthadel. Penrod is planning to give Luthadel to Straff, opening the gates to him and handing over the kingship.  Straff, on the other hand, doesn’t want to enter the city while Vin still lives. Later, Zane tells Straff that he has been poisoned again. Zane leaves, and Straff is forced to ride hard back into the camp so his mistress can make him another antidote tea.

Vin awakes to see that Elend is with her. He tells her that he is not king, and he reports that OreSeur, who was badly hurt in the fight, is currently digesting a new set of bones. Vin feels that Elend is now scared of her somehow because of the way she fought those allomancers. Vin goes back to sleep, and awakes to find Zane there. He accuses her, saying that she could have killed those attackers easily had she not been so distracted with protecting Elend and other innocents. Later, OreSeur visits Vin, in another dog’s body. They talk more about the Contract that binds all kandra. Vin uses brass and duralumin to push strongly on OreSeur’s emotions. Even though he at first does not react at all, with enough force, Vin hurts him very badly, and she felt like she were controlling him for a moment. She apologizes for hurting OreSeur, and he leaves to get some rest. Vin promise to never tell anyone what she’s discovered about kandra.

Sazed and Tindwyl continue to talk about the things they are learning. Something doesn’t make sense about the rubbings, written by Kwaan. It seems that Kwaan did not trust Alendi, but he also knew Alendi was a good man. But if Kwaan knew Alendi was good, why did he have his nephew, Rashek, to mislead or even kill Alendi? Elend comes in and asks for advice. After a discussion, he decides that being king isn’t about a title, but about doing something to help others. He returns to his closet and retrieves the white suite, the one made for a king.

Elend is hard at work, helping the people. He’s sending men out to dismantle the wooden parts of keeps and houses to use as firewood. The many refugees are cold and hungry, and he wants to help them. Someone comes with news that one of the gates under the river has been broken. That is how someone has been getting into the city and poisoning the wells. Also, other reports say that an Inquisitor is lurking about the city. Elend decides to go out and talk to Jastes, with the koloss army, himself. He rides out and meets Jastes, unable to make any kind of deal. On the way out, Elend manages to fight and kill one smaller koloss, earning the sword and pouch as his own. He looks into the pouch and discovers how Jastes is controlling the koloss. He’s paying them.

Vin sees Elend, now returned from his meet with the koloss army, inured and resting. Zanes comes and says that Cett was the one that planed the attack at the voting ceremony. Vin gets angry and decides to attack Cett. Zane and Vin attack the keep that Cett has been staying at in Luthadel. Together, they kill guards and hazekillers. Fueled by rage, Vin kills quickly, working her way to Cett’s room. She realizes that Zane is using atium, while she has none, and yet she’s killing just as easily as he is. They finally get to Cett’s room, where he is with his son. Vin fights them at first, but when she discovers that neither of them is an allomancer and that Cett doesn’t have a single allomancer with him, she leaves them behind, injured and scared.

The crew sees that Cett’s army is now leaving, a result of Vin’s attack on his keep the night before. Elend does not know why Vin attacked Cett like that. Some in the crew think she’s crazy, but Elend just sees her as determined. They also discover that the “coins” Jastes has been using to control   the koloss are fake, wooden coins painted gold. Elend goes to find Vin, who is hiding in the city. He finds her with OreSeur’s help. She says she must leave Luthadel and go north, to Terris. Elend says he trust her to do the right thing. They have one large bead of atium, and Vin gives it to OreSeur to hold for her.

Sazed and Tindwyl compare notes, studying the rubbing and other references they’ve managed to find. Tindwyl admits that she doesn’t believe in these prophecies, her interest in them being purely academic. Sazed, on the other hand, thinks Vin might actually be the next Hero of the Ages. While they talk, they discover that someone–or something–has torn a piece from one of the transcription pages. Vin comes in, while they try to figure out at what point were they both gone or occupied to not have seen an intruder going through their things. Vin asks Sazed how she can know if she’s in love. They talk about trust. After Vin leaves, Elend comes in and starts asking similar questions. Elend thinks he and Vin are too different to make a couple, but Sazed says that, to him, they are more alike than they think. After Elend leaves, Sazed realizes that Luthadel is going to fall soon; he needs to get both Elend and Vin out of the city before that happens.

Sazed calls a meeting with the members of the crew: Dockson, Breeze, Ham, and Clubs. He doesn’t invite Elend, Vin, or Spook. They talk about how the city is sure to fall. Straff apparently is in no hurry to take Luthadel. Instead, he’ll back off and let the koloss attack the city first. The koloss will win and enter the city, pillaging as they go. Then, with the koloss weakened and tired from the fight, Venture will ride in like a hero and save the city, defeating the koloss and taking Luthadel for himself. Sazed says that Elend and Vin need to get out of the city before these things happen. He wants Spook and Tindwyl to go with them. The rest of the group will have to stay and fight and die. Meanwhile, Vin feels she must follow the drumming she hears all the time. In Straff’s camp, Zane is attacked by his father’s men. He defeats them, but spares his father. He leaves, saying that tonight he will take Vin with him and leave Luthadel. He tells Straff that he should wait for the koloss to attack and then take the city.

Vin is in her room with OreSeur when Zane visits. He wants her to come with him, but she says she can’t because she doesn’t want to leave Elend. When Zane sees that she won’t go, he attacks her. They fight. When Zane starts to burn atium, Vin asks OreSeur for the large bead, a bead Zan had given her before. OreSeur doesn’t respond to her command. Vin discovers that OreSeur is not OreSeur. He is TenSoon, Zane’s kandra. Of course! There was no other spy. The bones they found were TenSoon’s and he had killed OreSeur! Zane corners Vin, but Vin uses a massive soothing to take control of OreSeur/TenSoon and attack Zane from behind. She then cuts the bead of atium fro TenSoon. But this is another trick. The bead is lead, with only a thin layer of atium. Soon, Vin is left helpless against a Mistborn killer with atium. Vin decides that Zane can see what she’s about to do, or, rather, what she plans on doing. If she attacks without thinking, though, she can, see in Zane’s reaction what she is going to do, only to change it at the last possible second. The trick works, and Vin defeats Zane. After Zane dies, she thanks OreSeur/TenSoon for helping her win. His contract is void, and he must return to his people. Vin goes to find Elend.

Elend is in his study when Vin comes in, bloody from her fight with Zane. She tells him that she killed him. He calls for Sazed, who comes to help with the wounds. While she is there, on the ground, she asks Sazed if he knows any wedding ceremonies. Of course, he knows hundreds. Vin asks which one is the shortest, and Sazed recalls one that only requires a declaration of love between the bride and groom before an ordained witness. Vin and Elend both say that they love each other, and Sazed declares them married. The wounds are clean, and Sazed sends Vin to get some rest. He also gives them a fake map to find the Well of Ascension. If the couple follows the map, they’ll be gone from Luthadel for a long time.

Elend and Vin prepare to ride out of the city. Tindwyl decides to stay in Luthadel. Spooks gets ready to go, and Allrianne will ride out, at Breeze’s insistence. So the four of them ride out, Vin quickly having to fight pursuers from Straff’s army. Once they are free, Allrianne breaks off to find her father’s army. Meanwhile, some of the crew watch as the escape, now sure of their own coming doom. Straff Venture hears of the escapes, but he has problems of his own now. He’s getting sick, which he knows is the result of poisoning from his son, Zane. He sends for his mistress, Amaranta, to fix him an antidote, but he discovers that she isn’t preparing what she normally does. She is actually killing, as she has for a long time. There never was any poison. Zane never tried to kill his father. But Amaranta, in her constant fixing of teas for Straff, has been causing him to become addicted to a rare drug. Without that drug, Straff will die. Straff, in a rage, kills Amaranta and then swallows as much powder from her medicine cabnet as he can, hoping to accidentally swallow some of the drug he needs before he loses consciousness.

Allrianne has made her way to her father’s camp, with the help of some bandits she’s tamed with her rioting. Her father, Cett, is not happy to see her. She convinces him to go back and join the winning party in the battle that is to come, although Cett promises that will likely be Straff. Meanwhile, Elend wakes up on the third morning out of Luthadel. He and Vin share a tent now, and he finds himself surprisingly comfortable on the hard ground, with Vin next to him. They get up and prepare the fire. It’s just the three of them: Elend, Vin, and Spook. Meanwhile Straff wakes up in bed. His men have taken care of him, and they’ve isolated the plant he needs to stay alive. When he hears that Vin and Elend have left the city, the men ask if they should attack now. Straff says no; they should pull back and wait for the koloss. Sazed meets with the others to plan a strategy for when the koloss attack. They plan to have a group of men at each gate. Saze and Tindwyl get a little time together, but then the warning drums begin to beat.

Vin is thinking about how the mist is staying later and later every day, instead of just disappearing with dawn, when she feels the pulsing of the mist spirit coming from Elend’s tent. She runs in, just in time to see the outline of that spirit lift some kind of knife to attack Elend, who is sleeping on the ground. She attacks the spirit and it disappears. Elend wakes up and never knows what was happening. She leaves Elend to sleep a little more and goes out to speak with Spook. He thinks someone is following them. Meanwhile, Sazed and the crew get ready, since it looks like the Koloss are about to attack. Men are at each gate, with one crewmember there to help. Straff sees that the koloss are attacking, but he tells his men to wait. Vin and Elend attack the camp of people that have been following them. It turns out to be Jastes. He’s lost control of the koloss, so he just left them. Elend kills Jastes because of his crimes against Luthadel. Vin discovers that the drumming sounds are getting softer, meaning the well is to the south, in Luthadel, and not in the Terris mountains.

Breeze works at his assigned gate, soothing soldiers by the dozen, helping them to be brave and fight well. The koloss pound at the door, while men atop the wall rain arrows down on the attackers. The koloss throw rocks up in return, smashing archers. Meanwhile, Vin runs towards Luthadel, burning pewter. She knows she will run out of pewter long before reaching Luthadel, and she wonders if the effect will kill her. But still she keeps running. Breeze and Clubs talk while the koloss continue to beat the gate. They blame themselves for being stupid enough to be in this mess, and they blame Kelsier for getting them into such responsibilities. Just then, the gates burst open. Meanwhile, Sazed gets word that Breeze’s gate had fallen. He doesn’t think he can really help. He notices that there is a crowd of skaa standing behind the defense force. When Sazed confronts them, telling them that they should flee to safety inside the city, the skaa answer that they are there to witness the fall of the koloss at the hands of Vin, who they are sure will return and make her appearance at Sazed’s gate. Then the gate breaks. Sazed musters his stored strength, growing in size, and faces the lead koloss, shouting for the men to fight. Vin, half collapsing and out of pewter, reaching a small village. At first she thinks to ask for pewter, but then she remembers how she used to travel with Kelsier on a path of metal bars in the ground. She asks for horseshoes, using them to “walk” by leaping, placing horseshoes ahead of her and pulling the ones behind to place further. In this way, she uses the horseshoes like stilts to help her travel in the air.

Outside Luthadel, Straff Venture sees that the koloss have now broken into the city gates. His men are ready to attack the koloss from the rear, but Straff decides to wait longer. Sazed, fighting the koloss, realizes that they need to get the gate closed again in order to survive. Using strength and weight, he manages to fight off the koloss and get the gate closed again. While getting a little break, a messenger comes and says that Tindwyl’s gate fell over an hour ago. Meanwhile, Clubs and Breeze are attacked and forced to run. Clubs is killed, while Breeze hides in a building. Dockson contemplates the root of their failure. He attacks a koloss, only to be cut down. Straff decides not to swoop in a save the city while the koloss are weak. Instead, he’d rather wait for the koloss to kill everyone and burn the city. Then Straff will move in. Meanwhile, Sazed fights on, wondering what happened to Tindwyl. He feels he is going to die, but then Vin arrives and starts killing koloss. Breeze is found by Ham and some others. They want to try to escape.

Vin continues killing koloss, several at a time. Sazed, outside Lord Penrod’s keep, begs the newly appointed king to go with them as they try to escape. Penrod insists on staying inside his keep. Vin continues to fight the koloss, but now she is almost completely out of pewter, steel, and almost every other metal. In desperation, to save some skaa from certain death, she super-soothes them, like she’d done to TenSoon, controlling the koloss with her mind. Sazed is standing outside Penrod’s keep when Vin walks up with koloss in tow. She orders Penrod to gather his men and put out the fires in Luthadel. Vin will take care of the koloss throughout the city. Later, Sazed finds Tindwyl’s dead body among the slain soldiers. He feels that all the faith, all the religions, he has always treasured is now useless. His life, he believes, has been a sham.

Straff wakes up and takes a sample of the drug he needs to stay alive. He gathers his men, expecting to be able to take the city now. But the koloss come out with the remaining soldiers of Luthadel. Vin jumps from among the koloss, sailing through the sky with a giant sword, cleaving Straff and his horse in half on impact. Allrianne watches these events from her father’s camp. She charges after them to help Luthadel’s army, forcing her father and his men to ride after her. Straff’s army surrenders, and Janarle, Straff’s general, is named the new Lord of the Venture army. Janarle, Penrod, and Cett all swear loyalty to Elend as their Emperor. Vin, needing rest, leaves Sazed in charge of the Empire until Elend can return to Luthadel.

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