Mistborn: The Well of Ascension
This article consists almost entirely of a plot summary. It should be expanded to provide more balanced coverage that includes real-world context. (January 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Mistborn: The Well of Ascension is a fantasy novel written by American author Brandon Sanderson. It was published on August 21, 2007 by Tor Books and is the second novel in the Mistborn trilogy. It is preceded by The Final Empire in 2006 and followed by The Hero of Ages in 2008.
First edition cover
|Cover artist||Jon Foster|
|Publisher||Tor Books, Macmillan Audio|
|August 21, 2007|
|Media type||Print (hardcover and paperback), audiobook, e-book|
|Pages||590 pp (first edition, hardback)|
781 pp (U.S. mass market paperback)
|ISBN||978-0-7653-1688-2 (first edition, hardback)|
|LC Class||PS3619.A533 W45 2007|
|Preceded by||Mistborn: The Final Empire|
|Followed by||Mistborn: The Hero of Ages|
The Final Empire is in turmoil, with various regions descending into anarchy after the Lord Ruler's death and the disappearance of the Steel Ministry, the Final Empire's religious and government body. Elend Venture immediately claims the crown of the capital city, Luthadel, and attempts to restore order, but various nobles converge to take the city for themselves.
Three armies lay siege to Luthadel because of its rumored wealth of Atium and political influence. The first army is led by Straff Venture-head of Luthadel's House Venture, and Elend's father–who is intent on ruling Luthadel and The Final Empire. The second army is led by Ashweather Cett, one of the many who have declared themselves as Kings of the various provinces. The third army consists of Koloss, creatures similar in form to humans but with bodies that keep growing until their hearts can no longer support their size, led by Elend's former friend Jastes–who is buying the Koloss' obedience with counterfeit coins.
Vin, Elend and Kelsier's crew are the only ones who know that the Lord Ruler had been a Terrisman with Feruchemical and Allomantic abilities that allowed the Lord Ruler to create an illusion of mythical powers and immortality. They find a set of discarded bones in their keep, and with help from Vin's shapeshifting Kandra OreSeur, they realize that another Kandra has taken the form and identity of one of Kelsier's crew, to spy on their strategies.
Vin becomes suspicious of the mists, while Sazed has come across suspicious deaths that appear to be caused by the mists. Sazed is tracked down by Marsh–Kelsier's brother and a Steel Inquisitor–to accompany him to a Ministry stronghold called "The Conventical of Seran", where the Steel Inquisitors and High Obligators of the Lord Ruler's religion had retreated after the Collapse. They discover that the Steel Inquisitors and High Obligators murdered all of their servants at the Conventical; they also find an engraving that was authored by the Terrisman who had claimed that Alendi was the Hero of Ages. The author said he wrote the words in steel, for anything not set in metal cannot be trusted. They leave before they have a chance to read the entire engraving, but Saved makes a quick rubbing of it to take with him.
Elend's idealism for an equal society is hampered by his gentle and scholarly manner—until Sazed's friend Tindwyl arrives. A Terris Keeper who specialises in biographies of successful leaders, she mentors Elend, teaching him that his studies of political theory are less valuable than the psychological and physical aspects of great leaders that lived. Despite his best efforts, politics begin to cripple Luthadel as the Assembly votes to depose Elend, using the very laws written by Elend, eventually electing Lord Penrod as their new king. Vin meanwhile struggles with her growing fame as The Heir of The Survivor of Hathsin; and she skirmishes Zane, the son of Straff Venture and Elend's half brother, who is revealed to be a powerful Mistborn, but is mentally unstable. Zane seemingly obeys Straff, but while sparring with Vin almost every night, he tries to seduce her and convince her to leave with him.
Misting assassins attack Elend at an Assembly meeting, where Vin kills them in front of Elend, causing their relationship to deteriorate. Despite being the most powerful Mistborn alive, Vin feels helpless against the besieging armies and at Zane's urging, seeks revenge for Cett's assassination attempt by killing hundreds of Cett's soldiers at his temporary Luthadel mansion. She had been convinced that Cett was a Mistborn, but upon learning that he wasn't, she stops herself from killing him. Cett decides to leave the city and abandon his siege after the loss of his soldiers.
Convinced that she should leave with Zane, Vin changes her mind to stay and support Elend with her trust. Zane is enraged and tries to kill her, and when she tries to get OreSeur to help, Zane reveals that OreSeur is the one being impersonated by the spy in Kelsier's crew. The imposter, who is actually named TenSoon, is working for Zane. But having grown to like Vin, TenSoon ends up helping her anyway, even though his contract is with Zane. He isn't allowed to intentionally hurt a human, but he reminds Vin of his weakness for Allomancy, which she uses to take control of TenSoon's body and kill Zane. Freed from her own and Zane's negativity, Vin accepts Elend's longstanding marriage proposal. Sazed and the rest of the crew scheme to get Elend and Vin out of the city, with Sazed creating a fake map to the Well of Ascension, where Vin is convinced she must go.
Straff Venture withdraws his forces to allow the koloss army to attack Luthadel, planning to rescue the city after the koloss have destroyed most of it and suffered casualties. Vin returns to Luthadel just in time to save Sazed and most of the city's civilians. She eventually discovers that she is able to control the koloss using her Allomancy, realizing this was how the Lord Ruler kept them in check. She stops their slaughtering and pillaging, and with the rest of the human army from Luthadel, attacks Straff Venture's army. Vin kills Straff and his generals as Cett decides to ally himself with Luthadel. Vin tells the armies that Elend is their new emperor, and that Cett, Penrod and the last general of Straff's army can be kings under him.
Vin realizes that the Well of Ascension is in Luthadel itself, and finds a previously unknown doorway in the Lord Ruler's former dwelling, that leads down to a series of caves. She finds the Well of Ascension. A figure in the mist stabs Elend, and Vin is tempted to use the power in the Well of Ascension to heal him. But ultimately she follows the advice from the rubbing Sazed made, which says that rather than take the power for herself, she should release it for the good of the world. The moment she releases it, an entity shouts out that it is now free. The Mist figure encourages Vin to feed Elend a bead of metal she finds in the room, which makes him a Mistborn, allowing Elend to save his life with Allomancy.
Sazed travels back to The Conventical of Seran and inspects the engraving. His rubbing said Vin should give up the power at the Well of Ascension, but the original engraving said she must not give it up. He realizes that the entity that Vin released had tricked them by changing the words on his rubbing, which is what the engraving's author was trying to avoid by writing in steel.
- Vin: A half-skaa Mistborn who killed the Lord Ruler and is the Survivor's Heir. She believes herself to be the Hero of Ages.
- Elend Venture: The king of the Luthadel Assembly and the new leader of Kelsier's crew.
- Dockson or "Dox": A member of Kelsier's crew, he is in charge of operations and administration for the crew and Luthadel. Though not an Allomancer, he seems much more intelligent than the rest of the crew gives him credit for.
- Hammond or "Ham": A member of Kelsier's crew and a general in Elend's military. He is a Pewter Thug. Ham enjoys philosophical bouts, especially when the receiver of his wisdom is Breeze.
- Breeze: A member of Kelsier's crew and a Soother.
- Clubs: A member of Kelsier's crew and a general in Elend's military. He is a Smoker.
- Spook: A member of Kelsier's crew and Clubs' nephew. He is a Tineye and the youngest member of the crew. Formerly known as Lestibournes, Kelsier said that it was too difficult to pronounce and named him "Spook".
- Marsh: A Steel Inquisitor and the brother of Kelsier.
- Sazed: A Terrisman from the Northern Dominance of Terris. He is a Keeper, and specializes in religions.
- Tindwyl: A Terriswoman from the Northern Dominance of Terris. She is a Keeper, and specializes in political leaders.
- OreSeur: A Kandra that disguises himself as a wolfhound at the behest of Vin. He is bound to Vin by a Contract.
- Straff Venture: Elend's father and a Tineye. He is king of the Northern Dominance. He and his army are the first to lay siege to Luthadel.
- Ashweather Cett: The king of the Western Dominance. He and his army are the second to lay siege to Luthadel.
- Jastes Lekal: The former best friend of Elend and king of the Southern Dominance. He and his koloss army are the third to lay siege to Luthadel.
- Zane: A Mistborn who considers himself insane. He is an illegitimate son of Straff Venture.