Here we are, friendos. We’ve reached the conclusion of Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. I’m your host, Liberty Hardy, and it has been a great honor to lead you through this amazing Locus Award-winning novel. And remember that you can now pick up the second book in the Locked Tomb trilogy: Harrow the Ninth! It’s so freaking good, and I can’t wait to hear what you think about it.
Now, make yourself a snack and settle in, because we’re about to embark on the end of the first book. It be little, but it be mighty. And as always, ready yourself for mega-spoilers.
ACT FIVE: CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN
You may remember that at the end of the last chapter, Gideon fought the spider-construct and won, and then she and Harrow rode off into the sunset and lived happily ever after.
No, you don’t remember that because it didn’t happen. What did happen is GIDEON DIED. WTF, RIGHT?!? Harrow doesn’t even have time to process it because now Gideon is inside her, directing her on how to fight the monster with her sword. Harrow is all “WAAAAAAH GIDEON” and Soul Gideon is all “Suck it up and fight and THEN you can cry about me!” She teases Harrow about her taste in dead women. Even dead, Gideon has jokes. (UGH! She’s dead, she’s really dead!)
And so Harrow swings Gideon’s sword, and Cytherea may be a tough thousand-year-old Lyctor, but with the cancer and the stabbing and the swords, she can no longer keep it together. Harrow stabs her in the chest and Cytherea dies. And then Harrow sweetly removes her dead cavalier from the iron spikes, lays her on the grass, and sits down next to her under the big blue sky.
Harrow wakes up on a gurney, wrapped in a blanket. She realizes there is a man in the room with her. When he notices that Harrow is awake, he approaches her bed. His eyes are entirely black. Harrow recognizes the Emperor immediately and throws herself at his feet, begging him to bring Gideon back. He explains that he cannot. To remove Gideon’s soul from Harrow now would not only destroy it, but also kill Harrow.
Harrow reverts to her angry, petulant self. The Emperor explains that none of it was supposed to happen. He really wanted the heirs to prove themselves as Lyctors, but Cytherea messed it all up. Harrow asks him who made it out of Canaan House. He tells her Ianthe is still alive. But there is no trace of Camilla or Coronabethm, who were alive the last time Harrow saw them, or of the body of Captain Deuteros. HMMMM INTERESTING.
And Gideon’s body is missing too. SAY WHAT NOW?
The Emperor apologizes to Harrow. He knows that this wasn’t how she wanted to become a Lyctor, what with the everyone else being dead and missing and all. But he wants her to travel with him and be his Hand. But he’s not going to force her. If she chooses, Harrow can return home to the Ninth House. Harrow tells him she will have to return home eventually, but for now, she wants to find out what happened to the missing, and to help him save the universe.
And that’s it for the first book of the Locked Tomb trilogy. Did you ever for a second think that Gideon was going to die??? And where is her body? I imagine it being propped up by Camilla and Coronabeth, Weekend at Bernie’s style. (She already has the right sunglasses.) And there are tons more unanswered questions: Who was Gideon’s mother – if that was her actual mother – and where did she come from? Where are the missing? (Heirs and necromancers and dead bodies, oh my!) Who lies in the Locked Tomb at the Ninth House? We know it’s a little girl, but who was she?
Will these and other questions be answered in the next installment, Harrow the Ninth? I’m not going to tell you. I’ll just say RUN, DON’T WALK to get your copy.
As for me, thank you to Tor for letting me make words about one of my favorite books, especially my editor, Christina Orlando. And thank you to all of you who followed along. It was a terrific way to spend my ninth reading of Gideon the Ninth. And now, I must bid you farewell. I wish you tons of wonderful reading. Stay safe everyone!