Red Rising: Book I Of The Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce BrownRed Rising: Book I Of The Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown

Red Rising: Book I Of The Red Rising Trilogy

byPierce Brown

Hardcover | January 28, 2014

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“Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow.”—Scott Sigler
Pierce Brown’s relentlessly entertaining debut channels the excitement of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”
“I live for you,” I say sadly.
Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.
But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and lush wilds spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.
Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power.  He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies . . . even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

Praise for Red Rising
“[A] spectacular adventure . . . one heart-pounding ride . . . Pierce Brown’s dizzyingly good debut novel evokes The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, and Ender’s Game. . . . [Red Rising] has everything it needs to become meteoric.”Entertainment Weekly

“[A] top-notch debut novel . . . Red Rising ascends above a crowded dystopian field.”USA Today
Red Rising is a sophisticated vision. . . . Brown will find a devoted audience.”Richmond Times-Dispatch

“A story of vengeance, warfare and the quest for power . . . reminiscent of The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Fast-paced, gripping, well-written—the sort of book you cannot put down. I am already on the lookout for the next one.”—Terry Brooks, New York Times bestselling author of The Sword of Shannara
“Pierce Brown has done an astounding job at delivering a powerful piece of literature that will definitely make a mark in the minds of readers.”The Huffington Post
“Compulsively readable and exceedingly entertaining . . . a must for both fans of classic sci-fi and fervent followers of new school dystopian
“[A] great debut . . . The author gathers a spread of elements together in much the same way George R. R. Martin does.”
“Pierce Brown’s empire-crushing debut is a sprawling vision.”—Scott Sigler, New York Times bestselling author of Pandemic
Pierce Brown spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating from college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a ma...
Title:Red Rising: Book I Of The Red Rising TrilogyFormat:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9.52 × 6.4 × 1.37 inPublished:January 28, 2014Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345539788

ISBN - 13:9780345539786

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the greatest up and coming authors of our generation I have been following this series since the beginning and I have recommended this book to a number of people and everytime they get pulled into the storyline and cannot put it down. He is an excellent author, the story is fresh and imaginative and I cannot wait to read his next series. A true hidden gem.
Date published: 2017-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So good i bought the next two books hardcover full price. The starts slow and boring for about 100+ pages, so much so that I began to doubt the reviews. But then the protagonist undergoes a big transformation and the story take off from there. The first book is reminiscent of the Hunger Games in which participants are flung into a deathmatch contest of survival, however this story's participants are grouped into teams. Latin phrases and Roman terms are strewn throughout the story, which can be better appreciated by those with some knowledge of ancient Rome.
Date published: 2017-08-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it1 Loved this series and the world pierce brown has created
Date published: 2017-08-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Bloodydamn, that was a whirlwind of a book. Although Red Rising is packed to the brim with action, it did drag a bit in the middle. However, a couple twists at the end had me sucked right back in and I couldn't read fast enough. Darrow suffered from some Mary Sue-ism but enough drama was happening to him that I was able to look past it, because wow a hell of a lot of crazy shit goes down. Also, I loved the heavy influence of Greek/Roman mythology and the inclusion of famous figures from our history that helped shaped the history of Mars. So happy I finally got started on this series
Date published: 2017-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Getting reading this! 2017-06-06 This is even better on re-read!! I finished a couple of days ago, but once again it's too much feelings to talk about! I had forgotten how much I loved Pax! The horse scene is still my very favourite! I also find that, on re-read, I'm able to relax a bit more and am not so frantic to get through it all. It's allowing me to notice more details, which I appreciate!
Date published: 2017-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Read! Bought this book on a recommendation by a friend. And I was not at all disappointed! My brothers, sister and dad also got hooked on this series.
Date published: 2017-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great scifi/fantasy! Loved this series and the world that Pierce Brown created.
Date published: 2017-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Easily one of my favourite books
Date published: 2017-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! Fast pace and intense. can't wait to start the next one
Date published: 2017-02-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Blew me away I read all three books in one week, that's how amazing this series is. Think of it as Hunger Games-ish but set in space, with better characters and better action.You will fall in love with the characters (Ragnar was my favourite), the plot is straightforward without any filler nonsense and every page will keep you turning.
Date published: 2017-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Dystopian Sci Fi If you love books that keep you guessing and on your toes, this is a definite read. Heck, if you're into action this is great. Just read it. The world building makes sense and there are no plot holes. There is so much potential for character development that this first book sets up. It's great.
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from enjoyed this didn't think i'd enjoy this at all, but now i want the entire series.
Date published: 2017-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If you haven't read this...why?! I wish I could give this more stars! Pierce Brown is now one of my favourite authors. I wish I had the words to explain how truly amazing this book is. It is so much more than just a good dystopian. I went through such a wide range of emotions reading this book. It is so jam-packed with SO much that makes a novel truly great. It's one of those rare books that I read in a day and then wake up feeling like I have been in a different world for weeks. Thank you Pierce Brown. I am in awe of you.
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! I really enjoyed this book, the purpose in the story is great and i love the out come! Can't wait to read the next one!
Date published: 2015-10-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I absolutely loved this book I absolutely loved this book. Mostly I loved Sevro though, he was just amazing. That attitude, that wit...what a guy. So funny. He made the severity of the novel less depressing. Darrow was all right too, he's kind of annoying though, but I still like him and I want him to make it. I love the world, the plot and well...everything. It's unique and I like that. We're on Mars and there's this strange society of people and slaves and workers. But the setting of this book in particular takes place in some sort of school where only the strongest will survive and every day is a fight. One could draw parallels to Hunger Games and other books like that from the premise, but please don't. This is something different, something so much better. This feels real and the way Pierce Brown makes the readers feel for these characters are simply amazing. No one is perfect in this book and it doesn't feel like you've just placed a bunch of stereotypical high school kids in a bad place (like a lot of other books like this sometimes do), but here everyone feels so real and so flawed in a beautiful way. I can say enough good things about this book and the way it's written. So, just read it. You can't miss out! Never before have I been so excited about reading a sequel.
Date published: 2015-09-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from RED RISING Really good book I would recommend this to a lot of people its sad, happy, exciting, scary, and a ton of plot twists with tipping power
Date published: 2015-06-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hunger games with mythology You will enjoy the rise and fall of the many houses competing for glory. Well written story, strong characters and a cinematic ending.
Date published: 2015-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book completely appealed to the sci-fi nerd in me. From the very beginning it started out strong and the story just seemed to escalate so quickly. Great read from beginning to end.
Date published: 2015-04-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from MUST READ This book is absolutely amazing and I highly recommend it to fans of The Hunger Games. If you're looking for something thst will grab and keep you right off the bat, this is it. Brown has created an intriguing world that may not be too far off for humanity.
Date published: 2015-03-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from just keep reading I enjoyed the rear. I must admit it took until about the middle of the book to actually get really exciting.keep reading. It is a very good read. Look forward to the next book
Date published: 2015-03-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from over rated.... this book was way over rated. There is some originality to it the author neatly combined concepts of most popular YA dystopian series with Roman mythology elements. pros: - action packed, blood shed, violence, war, youths fighting youths etc. than Hunger Games. - great twist from author to tie in elements of Roman mythology - Darrow is a great character and a lot happens in the first book cons: - plot concept is no different than Hunger Games, Ender's Games, Lord of the Flies, etc. - same usual protagonist- low on caste system, lived a peaceful and hard working life to enrich a minority of upper class, until they destroy his life and he decides to rebel and fight back - like all dystopian worlds- a small exclusive elite rule over the other 90% of the population - too much technology weapon terms (hard time picturing in my head) I saved this book to read just in time for book 2, because the hyper was so big. I assumed I would love it. NOPE! it was ok. I really didn't like all the weapon terms and Darrow was ok. I guess I've heard his story a hundred times in different series. He was no different than Katniss or Tris from Divergent. It was good enough for me to read the whole thing, but didn't capture me enough to run out and buy the next book. Sorry I'll pass.
Date published: 2015-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great title, mysterious This was a fast paced read and kept you guessing all the way to the last page. Easy and logical to follow. The author artfully drew you in to another world full of conspiracies and sub stories. Cant wait to read a sequel.
Date published: 2015-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome This book is amazing, other than the fact that Darrow is basically perfect, I love everything about this book.
Date published: 2015-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book I have read in years! Wow! Pierce Brown is a genius. I couln't get enough of this bloodydamn amazing book. Darrow, the story's hero, is so complex And while reading Red Rising, I would cheer for him, yell at him. He isn't perfect and thats why he is so relateable. This book is a must read for anyone and everyone.
Date published: 2015-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mars colonisation This is my first YA sci-fi and I was not to sure what to expect. To my surprise, after a slow start, I found I could not put this book down. It reminds me of so many books (Lord of the Flies, Harry Potter, Asimov's Foundation series, Dune, Ender's Game) that it is hard to explain to others and yet I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone, adults included.
Date published: 2015-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Red rising Game of Thrones meets Hunger Games. Fast paced epic read, keeps hooked for the next chapter.
Date published: 2014-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible sci-fi dystopian! Oh hell. Can I get the next book in my hands now please? This book was fantastic and I seriously need to get my hands on a hard copy. I've been wanting to read this book since I read the synopsis when it was an Indigo Spotlight book. I can't believe this is a debut. It's a little hard for me to review this book since I flew through it. (More like I'm having issues articulating myself because of the feels.) I started this book during my commute, and let me just say, there were tears shed near the beginning because of things and the feels. Since the synopsis said something about Darrow having a wife, I would have thought that he would be older than the sixteen years he is when the book starts off. Darrow is definitely someone I root for. Despite some of the things he does, I understand why he did them and his mission. He's a strong, driven character and a born leader. He makes mistakes and stumbles through leading his army, but as with all heroes, they learn from their mistakes and carry on. Darrow did so and he is made of stern stuff. He's definitely my kind of Book Boyfriend material. This book is seriously written well. When Darrow discovers that he's been deceived his whole life, (in fact, everyone of his caste has been deceived for hundreds of years), I felt Darrow's rage. I was angry for him, I was angry with him. I could really feel myself going along with Darrow on his journey, the transformation he underwent in order to become a gold. The world building is absolutely fantastic. It tells you all you need to know about the world without dumping a massive load of info on you. There's definitely a lot of details that went into to making his world. There's a large mix of different cultures melded together into the society presented in Red Rising. There's definitely a major influence from the Greek and Roman mythologies and the Roman army practices of using standards and titles like "praetor". I said I was going to go and sleep the night away. I ended up going to sleep at two in the morning knowing I'd have to wake up at 6 in the morning and not having done my required readings. This book is consuming and a page-turner that keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what Darrow will do next. It's non stop action and you can tell that this book is the first in what is to be an epic saga. This book is bloodydamned fantastic and I urge you all to read it!
Date published: 2014-10-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love!! My type of book I did a read-a-long with Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf and it was wonderful to be DMing with her throughout the novel. I highly recommend doing them because you get live feedback :D We have Darrow, born as a Red, the lowest caste of the Society. When tragedy strikes, he gets recruited to take down the top caste, the Golds. In this nail biting game of wit, intelligence, and political strife, Darrow must win to gain freedom for his people. The games, meant to teach the children lessons about war tactics. Think of Ender's Game without the rules, without the civility. The tactics, alliances also remind me of The Hunger Games except their mission isn't to kill one another, but to overtake the other tribes. I felt like I was dropped into this world on Mars and never left. I love the different colours, and the brutality of the dystopian government. So many amazing twists and turns that just about killed me. You'll be rooting for several characters and will be hating others. This is also a YA to Adult crossover so make sure to check it out in the Adult section instead of Teen :) You're literally assaulted with this brand new world where everyone talks differently and slavery is the standard. A bit of info dumping at the beginning, but you learn to pick it up quickly. As for the pacing, I found myself to be a little bored after the intense turning point, but that quickly vanished as soon as I delved a hundred pages in. You're going to want to keep going, and if you must, keep plowing through because it gets better. The first few chapters were an onslaught of info dumping and their slang and dialogue takes some getting used to. But you will get used to it! What would have helped with this one is a glossary. Overall, a wonderful debut that made me tear and rip my hair out at some point in time..Don't borrow, buy this book if you love dystopian! Cannot wait what else Pierce Brown has in store..Give me book two now!
Date published: 2014-10-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good This book is good on its own. It's a little hard to understand at the beginning because of the concept of life on different planets and different hierarchy. However, once you get into it everything is clear and the story is very good. I found that the first half was slow in action but the second half is really worth it. I can't wait for the second book to come out!
Date published: 2014-07-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Super Scify- Fantasy! " Red Rising" is an action-packed, scify-fantasy that keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. It begins in the deep tunnels of Mars where sixteen year old Darrow and the other tough Helldrivers mine for helium-3, sacrificing their lives year after year in the hope that one day they'll be able to walk the surface of their terraformed planet. After being arrested for a minor infraction and his wife Eo hanged, Darrow escapes to the surface only to find that he and his people have been living a lie, that they're little more than slave labor for the ruling class. Driven by hatred and revenge Darrow joins a rebellion to free his people, agreeing to set aside his caste and become a Gold so he can infiltrate the Institute, a legendary training ground for the next generation of ruling overlords. The narrative is well-written and engrossing as Darrow sacrifices his family, home and identity as a "Red" to be moulded into a Gold so he can help overthrow the decadent ruling class. The "Game" with its tribal warfare, and overseen by debauched and immoral Proctors overflows with murder, bloodshed, chaos and violence. But underlining its emotional intensity with the betrayals, deception and revenge, is also a sense of brotherhood, friendship and even love. In a story where glory, victory and family pride are the driving forces of the ruling caste, there is an underlying theme that love holds the greatest power and influence. Reminiscent of Divergent , the Hunger and Ender's Games, Pierce Brown takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride as a high stakes match begins. The well-crafted and complex personalities of the characters in this story add to its drama, passion and strength. Darrow Andromedus is a highly intelligent, reckless, stubborn and rash teen who fears losing his humanity as the "Reaper" in all the killing and bloodshed. As the plot progresses Darrow begins to learn that the loyalty of his army comes not from despotic leadership and control, but by showing mercy, and respect for those that follow him. Cassius au Bellona once a handsome, laughing friend lets lose the dragon beneath his amiable disposition when faced with his brother's killer. Sevro, the Goblin is a fascinating individual. Small, unlikeable and seemingly weak he and his Howlers are fierce and loyal; game changers for Darrow's power play. Mustang (Virginia au Augustus) is an enigma. She's tough, wise, and caring but hides a deadly secret. Of the antagonists the Proctors are deadly with their lack of ethics, cruelty and hunger to win at all costs. Adrius (Jackal) au Augustus, the son of the Archgovernor is a lethal opponent, venomous and malicious in his hunger for victory. All these characters and more fuel a story that's gripping as it progresses quickly and smoothly to a cliff-hanger that begs for the next book in the series. I liked it immensely and rate it highly.
Date published: 2014-05-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Red Rising Engaging read that's hard to put down
Date published: 2014-05-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Review from MajiBookshelf I was a bit intimidated by this book. Especially since I found out it has gore.. something I usually run away from in my books, tv shows, movies, etc. However I decided to toughen up and read it. I tweeted Giselle @ Book Nerd Canada and we decided to do a read-a-long of it. I am so happy we did that because I felt that reading with a person enhanced my enjoinment level, plus we would have discussions every 50 pages, ask each other questions and basically help each other figure out anything we missed or were confused about. Initially, Red Rising was slow.. I was a bit confused and just couldn't really connect with the world and the plot. I was a bit uncomfortable with the writing and how crude it was.. I am so used to the glossed up YA writing, so this was a bit of a shock for me. However, once I got into the novel, I honestly couldn't put it down. The world building was so fascinating, and even though it was still a bit confusing, I loved the Harry Potter-esque housing system and also The Hunger Games survival game theme. Darrow, the main protagonist definitely became more likable and I liked his way of thinking, it definitely mirrored what I usually believed in. This book was also emotional. I really grew attached to Eo, she was so pure in such a dirty and corrupt world. Though I must warn you.. I almost labeled this book a disappointment because the beginning wasn't able to capture my interest at all.. however halfway through, I was addicted! (see tweet below) I learnt to ignore the gory parts and appreciated the character development. I mentioned earlier I grew attached to Eo, but she wasn't the only one. So many of these characters randomly pop up and then later on you find yourself invested in their well being. We have Mustang, Sevro, and even Pax. Brown seriously knows how to maintain such a cruel dystopian world but still be able to build authentic friendships and character development. Also, the twists in this book are unbelievable. So bloodydamn good. I really really couldn't predict a single one of them. Overall, this whole book was such an addicting read. I do have to point out that the beginning is slow, and apparently some people DNF-ed it.. All I can do is give you potential readers a warning. Even if you think it is slow/boring/confused in the beginning, stick with it because it is worth it. All people like me who hate gore, there isn't much, but you can easily skip over those descriptions. I am so glad I did read it and I am SO excited for the sequel. I've no idea what will happen next and that makes me so excited for it. I definitely recommend it to old YA readers. I don't recommend this book to young readers because of the content, but older YA readers.. what are you waiting for?
Date published: 2014-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must read Great book. Highly recommend to anyone looking for a new series.
Date published: 2014-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Red Rising Loved this book. Can't wait for the next one.
Date published: 2014-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! Great underdog storie. Much better than the divergent or hunger games's books.
Date published: 2014-03-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Finally...Some SOLID dystopian Sci-Fi No offence to fans of Katnis and Beatrice, but after awhile the work of Roth and Collins just starts to read like a light and flaky pre-teen romance novel - with precious little grounding in a solid sense of alt-history or science to fill out settings and storylines with satisfying substance. Bravo to Red Rising for reminding us of the full spectrum of insight that this venerable genre is supposed to offer - when it's presented by someone with a capability for the science in sci-fi.
Date published: 2014-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I couldn't put this book down! I bought this book to read on vacation. I thought I'd start with the first chapter a couple of days before leaving. I ended up reading it well into the night and devoured it before going on vacation! I can't wait for the next one...
Date published: 2014-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome read! This book is so unique in concept but has many familiar themes from Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, Ender's Game and even Harry Potter. I can't believe how much I enjoyed this story. I could hardly put it down. Great characters, engaging plot, and a very well developed mythology. Very eager to read the next book.
Date published: 2014-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The rise of a fantastic new dystopian trilogy The Hunger Games. Ender's Game. Game of Thrones. Percy Jackson & The Olympians. Lord of the Flies. Gattaca. Stories of survival of the fittest. Now add Red Rising to the mix too. Strong-minded and weak-willed characters; mind games in tandem with physical prowess; loyalties questioned and tested; houses and factions falling and rising as tribal warfare erupts; an overarching regime that suppresses and challenges Darrow our protagonist; a love longed and a love blooming – all aspects of this dystopian setting left me satisfied and itching for the follow-up. It is one of the heftiest books I have read this year, but also one of the quickest I devoured. The plot is straightforward without being dumbed-down, which younger readers will appreciate, and has plenty of unexpected twists and turns that will leave even the cleverest reader's jaw agape. The elements that weave through the world constructed by the mind of Pierce Brown (and on the backs of Reds) is elaborate yet familiar, influenced by the aforementioned heavyweights, and infused with Roman mythology and space colonization. The writing is fluid and mature, making even the simplest of love story so much more accessible without being all mushy and forced. Then there is Darrow. What I like about him, and most of the characters in "Red Rising," is that they give you reasons to love and hate them concurrently, and like most successful franchises, this is achieved when childhood innocence is pit against a grownup agenda. I constantly compare it to another crossover sci-fi/fantasy book that had a huge hype leading up to its release this year, "The Bone Season." They are both unique in its own vein, and I greatly enjoyed the latter, yet I can surely say "Red Rising" has my vote in a showdown because it is better put together for a debut novel and manages to be free of most entanglements and pitfalls, and if this trilogy stays on track, it can wrap up brilliantly without any hiccups. Mars is in. Darrow is here to stay. Make "Red Rising" one of your new year's read
Date published: 2014-01-24

Read from the Book

1HelldiverThe first thing you should know about me is I am my father’s son. And when they came for him, I did as he asked. I did not cry. Not when the Society televised the arrest. Not when the Golds tried him. Not when the Grays hanged him. Mother hit me for that. My brother Kieran was supposed to be the stoic one. He was the elder, I the younger. I was supposed to cry. Instead, Kieran bawled like a girl when Little Eo tucked a haemanthus into Father’s left workboot and ran back to her own father’s side. My sister Leanna murmured a lament beside me. I just watched and thought it a shame that he died dancing but without his dancing shoes.On Mars there is not much gravity. So you have to pull the feet to break the neck. They let the loved ones do it.I smell my own stink inside my frysuit. The suit is some kind of nanoplastic and is hot as its name suggests. It insulates me toe to head. Nothing gets in. Nothing gets out. Especially not the heat. Worst part is you can’t wipe the sweat from your eyes. Bloodydamn stings as it goes through the headband to puddle at the heels. Not to mention the stink when you piss. Which you always do. Gotta take in a load of water through the drinktube. I guess you could be fit with a catheter. We choose the stink.The drillers of my clan chatter some gossip over the comm in my ear as I ride atop the clawDrill. I’m alone in this deep tunnel on a machine built like a titanic metal hand, one that grasps and gnaws at the ground. I control its rockmelting digits from the holster seat atop the drill, just where the elbow joint would be. There, my fingers fit into control gloves that manipulate the many tentacle-like drills some ninety meters below my perch. To be a Helldiver, they say your fingers must flicker fast as tongues of fire. Mine flicker faster.Despite the voices in my ear, I am alone in the deep tunnel. My existence is vibration, the echo of my own breath, and heat so thick and noxious it feels like I’m swaddled in a heavy quilt of hot piss.A new river of sweat breaks through the scarlet sweatband tied around my forehead and slips into my eyes, burning them till they’re as red as my rusty hair. I used to reach and try to wipe the sweat away, only to scratch futilely at the faceplate of my frysuit. I still want to. Even after three years, the tickle and sting of the sweat is a raw misery.The tunnel walls around my holster seat are bathed a sulfurous yellow by a corona of lights. The reach of the light fades as I look up the thin vertical shaft I’ve carved today. Above, precious helium-3 glimmers like liquid silver, but I’m looking at the shadows, looking for the pitvipers that curl through the darkness seeking the warmth of my drill. They’ll eat into your suit too, bite through the shell and then try to burrow into the warmest place they find, usually your belly, so they can lay their eggs. I’ve been bitten before. Still dream of the beast—black, like a thick tendril of oil. They can get as wide as a thigh and long as three men, but it’s the babies we fear. They don’t know how to ration their poison. Like me, their ancestors came from Earth, then Mars and the deep tunnels changed them.It is eerie in the deep tunnels. Lonely. Beyond the roar of the drill, I hear the voices of my friends, all older. But I cannot see them a half klick above me in the darkness. They drill high above, near the mouth of the tunnel that I’ve carved, descending with hooks and lines to dangle along the sides of the tunnel to get at the small veins of helium-3. They mine with meter-long drills, gobbling up the chaff. The work still requires mad dexterity of foot and hand, but I’m the earner in this crew. I am the Helldiver. It takes a certain kind—and I’m the youngest anyone can remember.I’ve been in the mines for three years. You start at thirteen. Old enough to screw, old enough to crew. At least that’s what Uncle Narol said. Except I didn’t get married till six months back, so I don’t know why he said it.Eo dances through my thoughts as I peer into my control display and slip the clawDrill’s fingers around a fresh vein. Eo. Sometimes it’s difficult to think of her as anything but what we used to call her as children.Little Eo—a tiny girl hidden beneath a mane of red. Red like the rock around me, not true red, rust-red. Red like our home, like Mars. Eo is sixteen too. And she may be like me—from a clan of Red earth diggers, a clan of song and dance and soil—but she could be made from air, from the ether that binds the stars in a patchwork. Not that I’ve ever seen stars. No Red from the mining colonies sees the stars.Little Eo. They wanted to marry her off when she turned fourteen, like all girls of the clans. But she took the short rations and waited for me to reach sixteen, wedAge for men, before slipping that cord around her finger. She said she knew we’d marry since we were children. I didn’t.“Hold. Hold. Hold!” Uncle Narol snaps over the comm channel. “Darrow, hold, boy!” My fingers freeze. He’s high above with the rest of them, watching my progress on his head unit.“What’s the burn?” I ask, annoyed. I don’t like being interrupted.“What’s the burn, the little Helldiver asks.” Old Barlow chuckles.“Gas pocket, that’s what,” Narol snaps. He’s the headTalk for our two-hundred-plus crew. “Hold. Calling a scanCrew to check the particulars before you blow us all to hell.”“That gas pocket? It’s a tiny one,” I say. “More like a gas pimple. I can manage it.”“A year on the drill and he thinks he knows his head from his hole! Poor little pissant,” old Barlow adds dryly. “Remember the words of our golden leader. Patience and obedience, young one. Patience is the better part of valor. And obedience the better part of humanity. Listen to your elders.”I roll my eyes at the epigram. If the elders could do what I can, maybe listening would have its merits. But they are slow in hand and mind. Sometimes I feel like they want me to be just the same, especially my uncle.“I’m on a tear,” I say. “If you think there’s a gas pocket, I can just hop down and handscan it. Easy. No dilldally.”They’ll preach caution. As if caution has ever helped them. We haven’t won a Laurel in ages.“Want to make Eo a widow?” Barlow laughs, voice crackling with static. “Okay by me. She is a pretty little thing. Drill into that pocket and leave her to me. Old and fat I be, but my drill still digs a dent.”A chorus of laughter comes from the two hundred drillers above. My knuckles turn white as I grip the controls.“Listen to Uncle Narol, Darrow. Better to back off till we can get a reading,” my brother Kieran adds. He’s three years older. Makes him think he’s a sage, that he knows more. He just knows caution. “There’ll be time.”“Time? Hell, it’ll take hours,” I snap. They’re all against me in this. They’re all wrong and slow and don’t understand that the Laurel is only a bold move away. More, they doubt me. “You are being a coward, Narol.”Silence on the other end of the line.Calling a man a coward—not a good way to get his cooperation. Shouldn’t have said it.“I say make the scan yourself,” Loran, my cousin and Narol’s son, squawks. “Don’t and Gamma is good as Gold—they’ll get the Laurel for, oh, the hundredth time.”The Laurel. Twenty-four clans in the underground mining colony of Lykos, one Laurel per quarter. It means more food than you can eat. It means more burners to smoke. Imported quilts from Earth. Amber swill with the Society’s quality markings. It means winning. Gamma clan has had it since anyone can remember. So it’s always been about the Quota for us lesser clans, just enough to scrape by. Eo says the Laurel is the carrot the Society dangles, always just far enough beyond our grasp. Just enough so we know how short we really are and how little we can do about it. We’re supposed to be pioneers. Eo calls us slaves. I just think we never try hard enough. Never take the big risks because of the old men.“Loran, shut up about the Laurel. Hit the gas and we’ll miss all the bloodydamn Laurels to kingdom come, boy,” Uncle Narol growls.He’s slurring. I can practically smell the drink through the comm. He wants to call a sensor team to cover his own ass. Or he’s scared. The drunk was born pissing himself out of fear. Fear of what? Our overlords, the Golds? Their minions, the Grays? Who knows? Few people. Who cares? Even fewer. Actually, just one man cared for my uncle, and he died when my uncle pulled his feet.My uncle is weak. He is cautious and immoderate in his drink, a pale shadow of my father. His blinks are long and hard, as though it pains him to open his eyes each time and see the world again. I don’t trust him down here in the mines, or anywhere for that matter. But my mother would tell me to listen to him; she would remind me to respect my elders. Even though I am wed, even though I am the Helldiver of my clan, she would say that my “blisters have not yet become calluses.” I will obey, even though it is as maddening as the tickle of the sweat on my face.“Fine,” I murmur.I clench the drill fist and wait as my uncle calls it in from the safety of the chamber above the deep tunnel. This will take hours. I do the math. Eight hours till whistle call. To beat Gamma, I’ve got to keep a rate of 156.5 kilos an hour. It’ll take two and a half hours for the scanCrew to get here and do their deal, at best. So I’ve got to pump out 227.6 kilos per hour after that. Impossible. But if I keep going and squab the tedious scan, it’s ours.I wonder if Uncle Narol and Barlow know how close we are. Probably. Probably just don’t think anything is ever worth the risk. Probably think divine intervention will squab our chances. Gamma has the Laurel. That’s the way things are and will ever be. We of Lambda just try to scrape by on our foodstuffs and meager comforts. No rising. No falling. Nothing is worth the risk of changing the hierarchy. My father found that out at the end of a rope.Nothing is worth risking death. Against my chest, I feel the wedding band of hair and silk dangling from the cord around my neck and think of Eo’s ribs.I’ll see a few more of the slender things through her skin this month. She’ll go asking the Gamma families for scraps behind my back. I’ll act like I don’t know. But we’ll still be hungry. I eat too much because I’m sixteen and still growing tall; Eo lies and says she’s never got much of an appetite. Some women sell themselves for food or luxuries to the Tinpots (Grays, to be technic about it), the Society’s garrison troops of our little mining colony. She wouldn’t sell her body to feed me. Would she? But then I think about it. I’d do anything to feed her . . .I look down over the edge of my drill. It’s a long fall to the bottom of the hole I’ve dug. Nothing but molten rock and hissing drills. But before I know what’s what, I’m out of my straps, scanner in hand and jumping down the hundred-meter drop toward the drill fingers. I kick back and forth between the vertical mineshaft’s walls and the drill’s long, vibrating body to slow my fall. I make sure I’m not near a pitviper nest when I throw out an arm to catch myself on a gear just above the drill fingers. The ten drills glow with heat. The air shimmers and distorts. I feel the heat on my face, feel it stabbing my eyes, feel it ache in my belly and balls. Those drills will melt your bones if you’re not careful. And I’m not careful. Just nimble.I lower myself hand over hand, going feetfirst between the drill fingers so that I can lower the scanner close enough to the gas pocket to get a reading. This was a mistake. Voices shout at me through the comm. I almost brush one of the drills as I finally lower myself close enough to the gas pocket. The scanner flickers in my hand as it takes its reading. My suit is bubbling and I smell something sweet and sharp, like burned syrup. To a Helldiver, it is the smell of death.

Editorial Reviews

“[A] spectacular adventure . . . one heart-pounding ride . . . Pierce Brown’s dizzyingly good debut novel evokes The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, and Ender’s Game. . . . [Red Rising] has everything it needs to become meteoric.”—Entertainment Weekly“[A] top-notch debut novel . . . Red Rising ascends above a crowded dystopian field.”—USA Today   “Red Rising is a sophisticated vision. . . . Brown will find a devoted audience.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch“A story of vengeance, warfare and the quest for power . . . reminiscent of The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones.”—Kirkus Reviews   “Fast-paced, gripping, well-written—the sort of book you cannot put down. I am already on the lookout for the next one.”—Terry Brooks, New York Times bestselling author of The Sword of Shannara“Pierce Brown has done an astounding job at delivering a powerful piece of literature that will definitely make a mark in the minds of readers.”—The Huffington Post   “Compulsively readable and exceedingly entertaining . . . a must for both fans of classic sci-fi and fervent followers of new school dystopian epics.”—   “[A] great debut . . . The author gathers a spread of elements together in much the same way George R. R. Martin does.”—   “Very ambitious . . . a natural for Hunger Games fans of all ages.”—Booklist   “Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow: Pierce Brown’s empire-crushing debut is a sprawling vision.”—Scott Sigler, New York Times bestselling author of Pandemic   “A Hollywood-ready story with plenty of action and thrills.”—Publishers Weekly   “Reminiscent of . . . Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games . . . [Red Rising] will captivate readers and leave them wanting more.”—Library Journal (starred review)