What will happen in Pierce Brown’s Red God?


analysis Sci-fi author Pierce Brown hasn’t yet confirmed a release date for Red God. But based on the previous books, we can make a number of plot and character predictions for the planned seventh book in his acclaimed Red Rising series.

Spoiler alert! Please don’t read this article if you haven’t read all of the books in Brown’s Red Rising series, including Light Bringer, the latest book released in July 2023.

I’ve just finished Light Bringer, the sixth book in Brown’s Red Rising series, and I have feelings. All of the feelings.

There were many plot twists and character development moments in this book which hit me hard, right in the feels. I walked away feeling highly satisfied and eager for more.

But what’s next for our heroes? Having just finished Light Bringer, here’s three major predictions for Red God. Starting with the biggest.

1. Sevro and others around Darrow will die

As Sevro’s dear departed father Fitchner tells his son in a pre-recorded message distributed through the Daughters of Ares, the first generation that rebels against authoritarian regimes doesn’t typically … benefit that much itself.

“Fortune ain’t kind to those who concieve revolution,” Fitchner says. “The generation that lights the fuse usually gets buried in the rubble.”

As a true acolyte of George R. R. Martin, Brown has already killed off a number of the heroes of the Rising in earlier books to heighten the series’ dramatic impact. But here the author is signposting to the audience that there are going to be more deaths coming. If the first generation of a revolution pays the cost of that upheaval so that future generations can thrive, this calls into question the fate of many of the key characters who have helped Darrow build the Republic, including his wife Mustang, Sevro, Sevro’s wife Victra and subsidiary characters around Darrow such as Kavax au Telemanus.

Throughout the Red Rising books, these characters have built up significant emotional weight with the audience. But most of these characters now have logical character successors and are reaching the end of their character journey. In Kavax’s case his successor is his daughter, Thraxa. In Darrow and Mustang’s case it’s their son, Pax. Sevro and Victra also have a number of children to survive them.

Most of all, Sevro’s character has reached the end of its journey. In Light Bringer, Brown emphasised that Sevro was gradually integrating the brutality of the Goblin of Mars with Sevro’s other nature as a family man. As these two duelling aspects of Sevro become reconciled, Sevro will become a fully developed person, and thus, as with Cassius before him, his character journey will come to an end, and Sevro will eventually have to face a reckoning for all the terrorist acts he has committed. A reckoning which can only end in death.

There seems to be an unspoken rule amongst gritty science fiction and fantasy novelists that as a character journey comes to a logical end and that character comes to accept all aspects of themselves, that character will then be killed off for dramatic impact. In the Red Rising series, this happened with Fitchner, it happened with Lorn, it happened with Ragnar, it happened with Alexandar and it happened with Kalindora. The list goes on.

With Cassius dead, Sevro is the most meaningful friendship Darrow has left, so of course Brown will kill off Sevro for dramatic impact in Red God. Probably Mustang too.

2. Darrow won’t die, but he will leave the stage

If you read carefully between the lines of Light Bringer, what you can see is that Pierce Brown appears to be setting the stage for his primary protagonise of the series, Darrow of Mars, to exit the stage. And this makes sense.

It’d be too heartbreaking for Darrow to die. The living embodiment of the dream of billions of humans of the Solar System for freedom from the slavery that the Society represents, for Darrow to die would create a martyr but remove all sense of justice from the Red Rising series. How could Darrow fight that hard for so long, and achieve so much growth in his character and his wisdom, only to be killed off? It would leave the solar systems’ freed slaves with a lack of hope in the future. Brown hints at this in Light Bringer … as Sovereign, Mustang is at pains to remind Darrow how much his continuing life means to the sense of hope in the Republic. As long as Darrow lives, the Republic lives.

But neither can Darrow stay in the Solar System, as it edges towards peace and stability. As with Spartacus, the real-life Roman slave rebel leader who he appears to be based upon, to leave Darrow alive in an era of peace would to be to create too much division. If Eo is the spark that lit the fire of rebellion in the Society, then Darrow is it’s fullest expression of necessary war against the corruption of Gold. Unlike other characters such as Mustang, he could never be a peacetime hero. He’s too violent and divisive. Lyria senses this in Light Bringer as she meets him for the first time. He’s larger than life, exuding energy and presence. You don’t get the sense of this from Darrow’s own chapters — we have to see this through Lyria’s eyes.

Throughout the past several Red Rising books, with his references to the outer dark of the Kuiper Belt, and the long-held dream of many Golds to expand humanity out beyond the society, Brown has started to offer the hint that there may be a greater galaxy out there beyond humanity’s travails. Other planetary systems, other evolved humans — and yes, maybe even aliens. This may offer Brown an escape clause to keep his greatest character alive.

Quicksilver’s dream of exporting colourless children of Homo Sapiens to the stars in a generation ship hollowed out by an asteroid offers Darrow a way out. Darrow won’t die … but if there is anyone who could inspire humanity to lead an expedition to the stars, the Reaper of Mars is certainly one of them.

The impetus for this may be the deaths of Sevro, Mustang and even Darrow’s son Pax. I don’t think Darrow could remain in the Solar System if these people all died around him … but courtesy of the Path to the Vale, he’s also achieved a wisdom that would seem to preclude a virtual suicide in battle. Could the Reaper be immortalised in Red God by heading to the stars? We can certainly hope so. We certainly know that the end of the Red Rising series will be bittersweet, if it’s anything. It has to be.

3. Lysander will fall from grace and unleash Eidmi on someone … futilely

Throughout the last few Red Rising books, Brown has toyed with offering the Society what so many of its citizens appear to secretly want; a Gold leader, an Emperor, who justly rules the Society and enforces the structure and stability that it was founded to embody. Each Colour in its right place; but satisfied and rewarded for each role.

It’s somewhat arguable that the Golds of the Rim achieved that balance for many years, living in a kind of harmony with the lower Colours. Their disdain at the corrupt Golds of the Core is self-evident, as is their spartan existence. This dichotomy between the Core and the Rim hearkens back to Roman society, which eventually became split between the progress of the outer regions of the Roman Empire and the corruption of Italy and Rome itself.

Later Roman emperors such as Diocletian abandoned Rome and situated their courts closer to the frontiers of the Empire … with Lysander, Brown has appeared to be flirting with this concept, especially through Lysander’s admiration of honourable Rim Golds such as Diomedes, a Gold who never lies and is seen even by the Daughters of Ares rebels as being a potential just ruler of the Rim.

Lysander’s promise is that a just and honourable Gold could return the Core to its honourable and stable roots.

But at the end of Light Bringer, Lysander betrays a number of key characters around him, notably his mentor Cassius, and abjectly lies to Diomedes and others. We leave Light Bringer with Lysander toying with the biovirus Eidmi and wondering what Colour, on what world, he will us it to eliminate. It’s almost a fait accompli that he will.

This shows us that Lysander will become the real villain of Red God. Atalantia and Apollonius are just distractions. It will be Lysander au Lune who Darrow of Lykos has to face at the end of the series … a Core Gold who held the fantastic promise of becoming a just ruler, but instead chose to become the ultimate tyrant. Lysander’s decision to accept Atlas’ genocidal plans in the Rim, and become the face of the Core’s rejuvenation it its wake, is the signal of this ultimate betrayal. And the use of Eidmi will be the proof that those around him will use to damn Lysander.

What do you think of these three predictions for Red God? Post your thoughts in the comments.


  1. Browns writing is impeccable. I agree Darrow will live, he has to. I do however, disagree that all those other key players will die, especially Mustang and Pax. Although Browns amazing use of dramatic effect and impact has kept us loyal readers in shock, awe, and well let’s be honest, very angry at times. Darrow is too important to ALL of us that Brown will not leave him tortured and alone floating out in emptiness with Quicksilver. Lyria will once again be a key character, but I think she will shock everyone on how. Lysander will fall from grace, like you said. And Browns way of writing, it will be brutal, and poetic. Just give us the book, so we can finish this journey we started years ago!!

    • I agree with you that Lyria will once again be a key character. She is kind of shaping up as the face of hope for tomorrow. A new leader in the making.

      It is possible that nobody will see coming what happens to Darrow. Lost in space? Exiled somehow? Who knows. All I think we know is that he won’t be dead.

      I can’t wait :)


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