Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon SandersonMistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn: The Final Empire

byBrandon Sanderson

Mass Market Paperback | July 31, 2007

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, the Mistborn series is a heist story of political intrigue and magical, martial-arts action.

For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the "Sliver of Infinity," reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler's most hellish prison. Kelsier "snapped" and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.

Kelsier recruited the underworld's elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Only then does he reveal his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.

But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel's plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she's a half-Skaa orphan, but she's lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.

This saga dares to ask a simple question: What if the hero of prophecy fails?

Other Tor books by Brandon Sanderson

The Cosmere

The Stormlight Archive
The Way of Kings
Words of Radiance
Edgedancer (Novella)
Oathbringer (forthcoming)

The Mistborn trilogy
Mistborn: The Final Empire
The Well of Ascension
The Hero of Ages

Mistborn: The Wax and Wayne series
Alloy of Law
Shadows of Self
Bands of Mourning

Arcanum Unbounded

Other Cosmere novels

The Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
The Scrivener's Bones
The Knights of Crystallia
The Shattered Lens
The Dark Talent

The Rithmatist series
The Rithmatist

Other books by Brandon Sanderson

The Reckoners

Brandon Sanderson grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. He lives in Utah with his wife and children and teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University. He is the author of such bestsellers as the Mistborn® trilogy and its sequels, The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self, and The Bands of Mourning; the Stormlight Archive novels The Way of Kings...
Title:Mistborn: The Final EmpireFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:672 pages, 6.79 × 4.15 × 1.12 inPublished:July 31, 2007Publisher:Tom Doherty AssociatesLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0765350386

ISBN - 13:9780765350381

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great introduction to the Mistborn world The Mistborn series was recommended to me by a coworker, and it's the best recommendation I've ever received. Sanderson balances political intrigue, the personal drama of the characters, and the wonders of the Final Empire and its cultures, magics and history wonderfully. Each time the story's perspective shifts I find myself wishing it hadn't, only to end up pleasantly frustrated when the new one ends. It's hard to pick a favorite subplot within the story, but they all come together in a satisfying conclusion.
Date published: 2018-08-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A new favourite Once I started reading this, I immediately wondered why people hadn't let me in on the secret before! Sanderson's character progression and storytelling skill are impeccable. The world is rich, and the characters are both lovingly and detestably charismatic. Fans of fantasy will find an instant new favourite.
Date published: 2018-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from one of my favourites of all time the writing is fantastic (great characters, plot, twists). It seems like a lengthy read, but this story flies by. 20 pages can feel like nothing, time wise, but those 20 pages contain the content of 100.
Date published: 2018-07-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book This is one of the first Brandon Sanderson books i've read and it wont be the last. This book was amazing, I loved all the characters in this book.
Date published: 2018-07-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mistborn . A good introduction to an interesting fantasy series
Date published: 2018-07-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty Great I really enjoyed this book. The characters and world building were great, and the plot was a lot of fun. The only complaint I have is that in never surprised me.
Date published: 2018-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great introduction to fantasy This was the first high fantasy novel I read, Sanderson really knows how to write characters and storyline to keep one interested. Also a very good introduction to the Cosmere.
Date published: 2018-04-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Inventive and More Than You Realize Friends of mine had read this book not long after its release, and kept telling me I had to read it. For whatever reason, though I generally value their opinions, I was hesitant. Their explanation didn't sound overly catching. Magic users that burn metals in their stomachs? What did that even mean? When I finally read the book, I was certainly glad that I did. The magic system was SO well thought out and creative. The characters were so well developed and well balanced. The world-building was excellent, and the founding question -- "What happens when the prophesied hero fails?" -- was a great hook. I gave the book 4 stars out of 5 for one reason and one reason only -- I'm rating the book on its own. The plot, for me, was a slight weakness. There's nothing inherently wrong with it, but the ending didn't seem to fulfill what the rest of the book was promising. Keep in mind that I'm saying these things about THIS book, on its own. But if you read this book and follow up with its sequels? All of a sudden my rating goes to 6 out of 5, if not more. I told a friend "How?! How did Sanderson do it? How did he make me question everything about Book 1 and 2 by how he wrote Book 3? Did he have the whole plan all along? How did he even know how to reveal enough to tell a story without giving the whole trilogy away?" It's amazing. Read it.
Date published: 2018-04-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great concepts! I absolutely loved the idea behind all of the characters special abilities! Though I personally was a little disappointed in the main character's development, it was still a cool story and pretty entertaining! Will probably check out the next book in the series because I'm still curious!
Date published: 2018-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic book and author First book I ever read by Brandon Sanderson, which hooked me on his books. Amazing world and characters! I have re-read this book many times.
Date published: 2018-01-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from AMAZING Utterly amazing! Loved the world building and the powers! I thought the development of the powers was awesome and I love how he included the diary part. oh, and the twist! I didn't see that coming.
Date published: 2017-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing start to one of the great series of our time. amazing start of an epic series. this book has all the characteristics that you would want encompassed from all the greats. must read.
Date published: 2017-10-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read Good characters, and a very fun read.
Date published: 2017-10-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing Very high fantasy. It was a little slow at first but it was still interesting. Halfway through all my emotions were felt and I was shook with how much I loved this book
Date published: 2017-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! This is such a good story I couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2017-09-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ~Actual rating 4.5~ I don't really know how to articulate my thoughts right now, but I really enjoyed this story. It's slow, and a lot of questions remain unanswered, but that didn't bother me, and I've already picked up the next book in the trilogy.
Date published: 2017-08-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from a pleasant surprise The blend of adventure and a fascinating world with an intricate magic system made this one hard to put down. I read it in two days and had to go right back out for the rest of the series.
Date published: 2017-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sanderson is a master This book, although it has three in the series, really can stand alone. I felt a sense of calmness after I finished the book so I am intrigued how Sanderson will carry on the story after The Final Empire. Sanderson is so creative in his magic systems, his characters and pulling all the twists and turns together as you go, especially when you dont expect it. yes he can be slightly predictable if you've read a lot of his work, but he is still damn good and super original...very much worth it.
Date published: 2017-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Start to a good series This was the first Sanderson book that I ever read and I loved it. I have read most of the book that he has published and still love his work.
Date published: 2017-02-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Typical Sanderson Since Sanderson has successfully completed the epic Wheel of Time series, I have been picking up more and more of his works. The Mistborn series is solid and very original. I think the first book "Final Empire" is the best of this series. I might have rated it higher, but Sanderson spoiled all other works with his Way of Kings and Words of Radiance books...they are best books I've read in a long time. Still Mistborn is entertaining and certainly worth a read.
Date published: 2016-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Epic Fantasy! In the Final Empire there is the downtrodden Skaa, who are treated like slaves, many of whom starve to death, and the noblemen. There is also the Lord Ruler, who oversees everything and is immortal. There is also magic in the form of allomancy, the ability for an individual to burn a single metal (called a misting) and burn all eight metals (called Mistborn). Mistborns are few and far between, however skaa and thief, Vin, is learning more about Mistborn and Mistings, when she discovers she can burn metals. Vin goes on quite the journey when she discovers this talent and leaves her thieving crew, where she is mistreated and abused, and meets Kelsier, who has a plan to overthrow the Empire. I'm getting back into reading epic fantasy and Mistborn came highly recommended from a few friends. After reading the first book I have to ask: why haven't I read a Brandon Sanderson book before? Seriously, why? Mistborn was epicly awesome! The world building and magic are first class, and the adventurous story kept me on the edge of my seat. I have to admit though my favorite part was the allomancy. The ability to swallow a metal and then use that metal to move things or change people's emotions is such a cool concept! Vin believes that she is a "good luck charm" as she can soothe peoples emotions, which makes her worthwhile to her thieving crew when negotiations are taking part. But when she discovers that she can burn other metals her whole world opens up! I absolutely adored so many characters in this book. Kelsier with his snarky and wonderful sense of humour stood out for me, as did his partner-in-crime, Dockson "Dox" who is just trying to keep Kell on track. Vin is such an introvert and would rather stick to the shadows and I liked how as her abilities in allomancy grew so did her confidence. Even though Mistborn felt complete as a standalone, I'm looking forward to seeing how things develop in the second book, and what challenges lay ahead for Vin and her friends.
Date published: 2013-10-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Bloody fantastic. Lovable, believable characters; intriguing 'magical' abilities, Mistborn is definitely a breakthrough in the fantasy world, and despite not being much into the Wheel of Time series, I do believe he is a worthy successor to Robert Jordon's legacy. The story of a young orphaned girl named Vin who is taken under the wing of a thief named Kelsier who has the powers of a Mistborn. That is he can burn different metals internally to affect both his own physical and mental abilities, as well as the world around him. After finding out Vin is also a Mistborn, Kelsier inaugurates her into his band of thieves and con artists. Their latest score: To kill their tyrannical God King, the Lord Ruler. Much beyond that I cannot say without fear of spoilers, all I can say is that it is worth picking up for anyone interested in fantasy of any type.
Date published: 2011-01-02
Rated 1 out of 5 by from creative and boring I had purchased this book about 15 months ago, and finally read it. At the time I had recently learned that Sanderson would be continuing the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time series. Where I will give Mr Sanderson credit is for his world building. He had created a fantasy world with unique features that we haven't seen in anyone else's work. However about halfway through the novel the book hit a horrible point. It became boring! The plot started moving slugglishly. I tried to continue, but each time I picked up the book, it made me want to fall asleep or set it aside. Thankfully I put the book down for good and moved back to another author whose work I am familiar with.
Date published: 2010-11-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic fantasy The Mistborn trilogy is beautifully thought through, its world is solid and enchanting, even if somewhat dark. But that is the whole beauty of it. Lots of surprises and secrets.
Date published: 2010-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from one of my favorites When I heard that Brandon Sanderson was taking over Robert Jordan's last book of The Wheel of Time series, I was ready to lambaste the author for having the audacity to finish Jordan's great epic series - it was my grief talking. I hated the idea that someone other than Jordan was going to finish the series. I had given up on ever finishing one of the greatest series of all time, then a friend told me to try out Sanderson, to give him a chance. I picked up Mistborn with sub par expectations and to my relief and delight I got hooked. His fresh new take on fantasy gives the whole genre vigor and originality. I devoured this book in two days, bought the second book on the third day and read the third book once it came out. Excellent series and I'm very glad Jordan's last book is in good hands.
Date published: 2008-12-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful This book came to me as a recommendation from a friend and having heard nothing about this book or this author before, I had only modest hopes for the book. However, I read this book cover to cover in a mere two days. I could not put it down. This book is relatively simplistic, avoids much of the political maneuvering you see in the some other books these days. I found the directness refreshing and engaging. There is no book I could currently more highly recommend.
Date published: 2008-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A new author, a new star This came as a wonderful surprise to me. I first bought the book out of curiosity. After all, Brandon Sanderson is the chosen heir on Jordan's work. He is the one chosen by Harriet (Robert Jordan's spouse) to complete the Wheel of Time series and being a fan, it made me kind of nervous. It is so easy to scrap some other people's work ! Well, I wasn't disappointed by Brandon Sanderson's writing ! I was truly transported into his world and stayed there. He has created a world, very special, unique even, constructed a whole new magic system for it, very imaginative. He has new ideas, he is unpredictable and keeps a mysterious aura around the story. He might write a sentence here and you will truly find its importance at the end of the second book ! The starting idea of this book was : what would be a world like if the bad guy had won the last batlle ? He is a true fantasy author and for those who like the genre, I highly recommend it. I wish him well and hope he will grant us with many more books !
Date published: 2008-04-26

Read from the Book

Chapter OneAsh fell from the sky. Vin watched the downy flakes drift through the air. Leisurely. Careless. Free. The puffs of soot fell like black snowflakes, descending upon the dark city of Luthadel. They drifted in corners, blowing in the breeze and curling in tiny whirlwinds over the cobblestones. They seemed so uncaring. What would that be like? Vin sat quietly in one of the crew's watch-holes--a hidden alcove built into the bricks on the side of the safe house. From within it, a crewmember could watch the street for signs of danger. Vin wasn't on duty; the watch-hole was simply one of the few places where she could find solitude. And Vin liked solitude. When you're alone, no one can betray you. Reen's words. Her brother had taught her so many things, then had reinforced them by doing what he'd always promised he would--by betraying her himself. It's the only way you'll learn. Anyone will betray you, Vin. Anyone. The ash continued to fall. Sometimes, Vin imagined she was like the ash, or the wind, or the mist itself. A thing without thought, capable of simply being, not thinking, caring, or hurting. Then she could be . . . free. She heard shuffling a short distance away, then the trapdoor at the back of the small chamber snapped open. "Vin!" Ulef said, sticking his head into the room. "There you are! Camon's been searching for you for a half hour." That's kind of why I hid in the first place. "You should get going," Ulef said. "The job's almost ready to begin." Ulef was a gangly boy. Nice, after his own fashion--naive, if one who had grown up in the underworld could ever really be called "naive." Of course, that didn't mean he wouldn't betray her. Betrayal had nothing to do with friendship; it was a simple fact of survival. Life was harsh on the streets, and if a skaa thief wanted to keep from being caught and executed, he had to be practical. And ruthlessness was the very most practical of emotions. Another of Reen's sayings. "Well?" Ulef asked. "You should go. Camon's mad." When is he not? However, Vin nodded, scrambling out of the cramped--yet comforting--confines of the watch-hole. She brushed past Ulef and hopped out of the trapdoor, moving into a hallway, then a run-down pantry. The room was one of many at the back of the store that served as a front for the safe house. The crew's lair itself was hidden in a tunneled stone cavern beneath the building. She left the building through a back door, Ulef trailing behind her. The job would happen a few blocks away, in a richer section of town. It was an intricate job--one of the most complex Vin had ever seen. Assuming Camon wasn't caught, the payoff would be great indeed. If he was caught . . . Well, scamming noblemen and obligators was a very dangerous profession--but it certainly beat working in the forges or the textile mills. Vin exited the alleyway, moving out onto a dark, tenement-lined street in one of the city's many skaa slums. Skaa too sick to work lay huddled in corners and gutters, ash drifting around them. Vin kept her head down and pulled up her cloak's hood against the still falling flakes. Free. No, I'll never be free. Reen made certain of that when he left.  "There you are!" Camon lifted a squat, fat finger and jabbed it toward her face. "Where were you?" Vin didn't let hatred or rebellion show in her eyes. She simply looked down, giving Camon what he expected to see. There were other ways to be strong. That lesson she had learned on her own. Camon growled slightly, then raised his hand and backhanded her across the face. The force of the blow threw Vin back against the wall, and her cheek blazed with pain. She slumped against the wood, but bore the punishment silently. Just another bruise. She was strong enough to deal with it. She'd done so before. "Listen," Camon hissed. "This is an important job. It's worth thousands of boxings--worth more than you a hundred times over. I won't have you fouling it up. Understand?" Vin nodded. Camon studied her for a moment, his pudgy face red with anger. Finally, he looked away, muttering to himself. He was annoyed about something--something more than just Vin. Perhaps he had heard about the skaa rebellion several days to the north. One of the provincial lords, Themos Tresting, had apparently been murdered, his manor burned to the ground. Such disturbances were bad for business; they made the aristocracy more alert, and less gullible. That, in turn, could cut seriously into Camon's profits. He's looking for someone to punish, Vin though. He always gets nervous before a job. She looked up at Camon, tasting blood on her lip. She must have let some of her confidence show, because he glanced at her out of the corner of his eye, and his expression darkened. He raised his hand, as if to strike her again. Vin used up a bit of her Luck. She expended just a smidgen; she'd need the rest for the job. She directed the Luck at Camon, calming his nervousness. The crewleader paused--oblivious of Vin's touch, yet feeling its effects nonetheless. He stood for a moment; then he sighed, turning away and lowering his hand. Vin wiped her lip as Camon waddled away. The thiefmaster looked very convincing in his nobleman's suit. It was as rich a costume as Vin had ever seen--it had a white shirt overlaid by a deep green vest with engraved gold buttons. The black suit coat was long, after the current fashion, and he wore a matching black hat. His fingers sparkled with rings, and he even carried a fine dueling cane. Indeed, Camon did an excellent job of imitating a nobleman; when it came to playing a role, there were few thieves more competent than Camon. Assuming he could keep his temper under control. The room itself was less impressive. Vin pulled herself to her feet as Camon began to snap at some of the other crewmembers. They had rented one of the suites at the top of a local hotel. Not too lavish--but that was the idea. Camon was going to be playing the part of "Lord Jedue," a country nobleman who had hit upon hard financial times and come to Luthadel to get some final, desperate contracts. The main room had been transformed into a sort of audience chamber, set with a large desk for Camon to sit behind, the walls decorated with cheap pieces of art. Two men stood beside the desk, dressed in formal stewards' clothing; they would play the part of Camon's manservants. "What is this ruckus?" a man asked, entering the room. He was tall, dressed in a simple gray shirt and a pair of slacks, with a thin sword tied at his waist. Theron was the other crewleader--this particular scam was actually his. He'd brought in Camon as a partner; he'd needed someone to play Lord Jedue, and everyone knew that Camon was one of the best. Camon looked up. "Hum? Ruckus? Oh, that was just a minor discipline problem. Don't bother yourself, Theron." Camon punctuated his remark with a dismissive wave of the hand--there was a reason he played such a good aristocrat. He was arrogant enough that he could have been from one of the Great Houses. Theron's eyes narrowed. Vin knew what the man was probably thinking: He was deciding how risky it would be to put a knife in Camon's fat back once the scam was over. Eventually, the taller crewleader looked away from Camon, glancing at Vin. "Who's this?" he asked. "Just a member of my crew," Camon said. "I thought we didn't need anyone else." "Well, we need her," Camon said. "Ignore her. My end of the operation is none of your concern." Theron eyed Vin, obviously noting her bloodied lip. She glanced away. Theron's eyes lingered on her, however, running down the length of her body. She wore a simple white buttoned shirt and a pair of overalls. Indeed, she was hardly enticing; scrawny with a youthful face, she supposedly didn't even look her sixteen years. Some men preferred such women, however. She considered using a bit of Luck on him, but eventually he turned away. "The obligator is nearly here," Theron said. "Are you ready?" Camon rolled his eyes, settling his bulk down into the chair behind the desk. "Everything is perfect. Leave me be, Theron! Go back to your room and wait." Theron frowned, then spun and walked from the room, muttering to himself. Vin scanned the room, studying the decor, the servants, the atmosphere. Finally, she made her way to Camon's desk. The crewleader sat rifling through a stack of papers, apparently trying to decide which ones to put out on the desktop. "Camon," Vin said quietly, "the servants are too fine." Camon frowned, looking up. "What is that you're babbling?" "The servants," Vin repeated, still speaking in a soft whisper. "Lord Jedue is supposed to be desperate. He'd have rich clothing left over from before, but he wouldn't be able to afford such rich servants. He'd use skaa." Camon glared at her, but he paused. Physically, there was little difference between noblemen and skaa. The servants Camon had appointed, however, were dressed as minor noblemen--they were allowed to wear colorful vests, and they stood a little confidently. "The obligator has to think that you're nearly impoverished," Vin said. "Pack the room with a lot of skaa servants instead." "What do you know?" Camon said, scowling at her. "Enough." She immediately regretted the word; it sounded too rebellious. Camon raised a bejeweled hand, and Vin braced herself for another slap. She couldn't afford to use up any more Luck. She had precious little remaining anyway. However, Camon didn't hit her. Instead, he sighed and rested a pudgy hand on her shoulder. "Why do you insist on provoking me, Vin? You know the debts your brother left when he ran away. Do you realize that a less merciful man than myself would have sold you to the whoremasters long ago? How would you like that, serving in some nobleman's bed until he grew tired of you and had you executed?" Vin looked down at her feet. Camon's grip grew tight, his fingers pinching her skin where neck met shoulder, and she gasped in pain despite herself. He grinned at the reaction. "Honestly, I don't know why I keep you, Vin," he said, increasing the pressure of his grip. "I should have gotten rid of you months ago, when your brother betrayed me. I suppose I just have too kindly a heart." He finally released her, then pointed for her to stand over by the side of the room, next to a tall indoor plant. She did as ordered, orienting herself so she had a good view of the entire room. As soon as Camon looked away, she rubbed her shoulder. Just another pain. I can deal with pain. Camon sat for a few moments. Then, as expected, he waved to the two "servants" at his side. "You two!" he said. "You're dressed too richly. Go put on something that makes you look like skaa servants instead--and bring back six more men with you when you come." Soon, the room was filled as Vin had suggested. The obligator arrived a short time later. Vin watched Prelan Laird step haughtily into the room. Shaved bald like all obligators, he wore a set of dark gray robes. The Ministry tattoos around his eyes identified him as a prelan, a senior bureaucrat in the Ministry's Canton of Finance. A set of lesser obligators trailed behind him, their eye tattoos far less intricate. Camon rose as the prelan entered, a sign of respect--something even the highest of Great House noblemen would show to an obligator of Laird's rank. Laird gave no bow or acknowledgment of his own, instead striding forward and taking the seat in front of Camon's desk. One of the crewmen impersonating a servant rushed forward, bringing chilled wine and fruit for the obligator. Laird picked at the fruit, letting the servant stand obediently, holding the platter of food as if he were a piece of furniture. "Lord Jedue," Laird finally said. "I am glad we finally have the opportunity to meet." "As am I, Your Grace," Camon said. "Why is it, again, that you were unable to come to the Canton building, instead requiring that I visit you here?" "My knees, Your Grace," Camon said. "My physicians recommend that I travel as little as possible." And you were rightly apprehensive about being drawn into a Ministry stronghold, Vin thought. "I see," Laird said. "Bad knees. An unfortunate attribute in a man who deals in transportation." "I don't have to go on the trips, Your Grace," Camon said, bowing his head. "Just organize them." Good, Vin thought. Make sure you remain subservient, Camon. You need to seem desperate. Vin needed this scam to succeed. Camon threatened her and he beat her--but he considered her a good-luck charm. She wasn't sure if he knew why his plans went better when she was in the room, but he had apparently made the connection. That made her valuable--and Reen had always said that the surest way to stay alive in the underworld was to make yourself indispensable. "I see," Laird said again. "Well, I fear that our meeting has come too late for your purposes. The Canton of Finance has already voted on your proposal." "So soon?" Camon asked with genuine surprise. "Yes," Laird replied, taking a sip of his wine, still not dismissing the servant. "We have decided not to accept your contract." Camon sat for a moment, stunned. "I'm sorry to hear that, Your Grace." Laird came to meet you, Vin thought. That means he's still in a position to negotiate. "Indeed," Camon continued, seeing what Vin had. "That is especially unfortunate, as I was ready to make the Ministry an even better offer." Laird raised a tattooed eyebrow. "I doubt it will matter. There is an element of the Council who feels that the Canton would receive better service if we found a more stable house to transport our people." "That would be a grave mistake," Camon said smoothly. "Let us be frank, Your Grace. We both know that this contract is House Jedue's last chance. Now that we've lost the Farwan deal, we cannot afford to run our canal boats to Luthadel anymore. Without the Ministry's patronage, my house is financially doomed." "This is doing very little to persuade me, Your Lordship," the obligator said. "Isn't it?" Camon asked. "Ask yourself this, Your Grace--who will serve you better? Will it be the house that has dozens of contracts to divide its attention, or the house that views your contract as its last hope? The Canton of Finance will not find a more accommodating partner than a desperate one. Let my boats be the ones that bring your acolytes down from the north--let my soldiers escort them--and you will not be disappointed." Good, Vin thought. "I . . . see," the obligator said, now troubled. "I would be willing to give you an extended contract, locked in at the price of fifty boxings a head per trip, Your Grace. Your acolytes would be able to travel our boats at their leisure, and would always have the escorts they need." The obligator raised an eyebrow. "That's half the former fee." "I told you," Camon said. "We're desperate. My house needs to keep its boats running. Fifty boxings will not make us a profit, but that doesn't matter. Once we have the Ministry contract to bring us stability, we can find other contracts to fill our coffers." Laird looked thoughtful. It was a fabulous deal--one that might ordinarily have been suspicious. However, Camon's presentation created the image of a house on the brink of financial collapse. The other crewleader, Theron, had spent five years building, scamming, and finagling to create this moment. The Ministry would be remiss not to consider the opportunity. Laird was realizing just that. The Steel Ministry was not just the force of bureaucracy and legal authority in the Final Empire--it was like a noble house unto itself. The more wealth it had, the better its own mercantile contracts, the more leverage the various Ministry Cantons had with each other--and with the noble houses. Laird was still obviously hesitant, however. Vin could see the look in his eyes, the suspicion she knew well. He was not going to take the contract. Now, Vin thought. It's my turn. Vin used her Luck on Laird. She reached out tentatively--not even really sure what she was doing, or why she could even do it. Yet her touch was instinctive, trained through years of subtle practice. She'd been ten years old before she'd realized that other people couldn't do what she could. She pressed against Laird's emotions, dampening them. He became less suspicious, less afraid. Docile. His worries melted away, and Vin could see a calm sense of control begin to assert itself in his eyes. Yet, Laird still seemed slightly uncertain. Vin pushed harder. He cocked his head, looking thoughtful. He opened his mouth to speak, but she pushed against him again, desperately using up her last pinch of Luck. He paused again. "Very well," he finally said. "I will take this new proposal to the Council. Perhaps an agreement can still be reached." If men read these words, let them know that power is a heavy burden. Seek not to be bound by its chains. The Terris prophecies say that I will have the power to save the world. They hint, however, that I will have the power to destroy it as well. Copyright © 2006 by Brandon Sanderson. All Rights Reserved.

Editorial Reviews

"Intrigue, politics, and conspiracies mesh complexly in a world Sanderson realizes in satisfying depth and peoples with impressive characters." -Booklist on Mistborn

"Enjoyable, adventurous read that. . .should satisfy even easily-bored teens." -Locus on Mistborn

"A fascinating world . . . one that deserves a sequel." -The Washington Post on Mistborn