Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

The basics

Title: Chain of Gold


Series: The Last Hours #1

- Chain of Gold (2020)
- Chain of Iron (2021)
- Chain of Thorns (2022)

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Goodreads Summary:

Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride. Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assignations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.

But Cordelia’s new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and forced a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.

Here is a spoiler summary of what happened in Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare to help refresh your memory before you read the sequel.

What happened in Chain of Gold?

  • Cordelia Carstairs and her family arrive in London. Elias Carstairs is still imprisoned, and the family wants to clear his name.
  • Cordelia plans to marry James Herondale in order to form an alliance to save her father. His family is super powerful so this would make sense, and Lucie Herondale is also going to be Cordelia’s parabatai so it would work perfectly.
  • Cordelia hears James and Matthew talking about Grace Blackthorn, who has also recently arrived in London. James fancies Grace and has been secretly seeing her, and Cordelia is sad to hear it.
  • Grace arrives at the ball and dances with James. A demon also arrives, interrupting their dance.
  • Barbara is attacked by a demon, and she has to pretend it didn’t happen. She blames it on her corset.
  • James sees this whole thing go down from the shadow realm, which he is able to enter because of his demon blood. He’s not allowed into the Academy due to his demonic ways, and he’s seen as dangerous because he’s unable to control it and the other Shadowhunters are scared of him.
  • The group has a picnic the day after the ball. Cordelia uses this even to ask James why he ditched her for Grace at the ball. He’s very apologetic.
  • Grace arrives at the picnic and James goes to greet her.
  • A dark cloud appears overhead, and a demon appears out of the lake. Three of the group get injured by the demon, and are taken to Herondale Manor to be healed by some Silent Brothers.
  • James speaks to Brother Zachariah about his experiences with the shadow realm. Zachariah tells James not to worry.
  • Lucie confides in Cordelia about her feelings for a guy who she saw at the ball. No one else saw him there because this boy is a ghost called Jesse Blackthorn. He’s trapped at the moment because Jesse’s mother had his body preserved.
  • Lucie and Cordelia sneak into Blackthorn Manor to see Jesse. Cordelia is attacked by a demon, and James has to rescue her. He had been able to follow Cordelia’s sword, Cortana, through the shadow realm.
  • James is basically interrogated as to why he was on the Blackthorn Manor grounds. Will and Charles tell James to stay away, including from Grace.
  • Grace sends James a note telling him she’s in danger and he needs to meet her.
  • Anna tells Cordelia that they’re in danger, and the Enclave are ignoring the threats. Anna invites Cordelia to a meeting with the Downworlders.
  • Cordelia saves the Downworlders from an evil mermaid (ha) who was trying to poison their drinks. The Downworlders agree to listen out for demonic activity and they’ll report it to the Shadowhunters.
  • Jesse tells Lucie that the demon that James and Cordelia fought has spawned, and now there are loads of demons about.
  • Lucie asks James’ friends for help finding him and Grace. The group goes looking for them, and they come across Alastair, who is looking for Cordelia.
  • Cordelia and Matthew arrive, and thankfully Matthew knows where James and Grace could be.
  • Grace tells James she needs to get away from her mother, and asks James to elope with her. James is like nah, I can’t leave my friends, and Grace becomes angry.
  • Several demons show up and thankfully the group does too, and together they’re able to fight the demons off.
  • One of the demons asks James why he’s fighting demons when they worship his grandfather. This is in reference to Tessa’s father, who is apparently a fallen angel and the prince of hell.
  • James lets these guys go back to the shadow realm.
  • Tatiana comes looking for Grace and tells James she has been conjuring demons using black magic. James initially asked Grace to go back with him but now he’s not so sure.
  • Ragnor Fell tells James and the others that they should speak to Emmanuel Gast if they want answers.
  • Barbara dies.
  • James talks to Zachariah/Jem again, and asks him to find out more about his supposed grandfather. Jem tells James not to tell anyone else until he’s done some digging.
  • A Shadowhunter shows up having been injured by another demon.
  • Cordelia and James discuss what’s been going on with the demons. They think the demons are trying to infect the Shadowhunters by biting them.
  • The group goes to visit Emmanuel Gast. He’s not at his apartment but the teens look around and find lots of books and runes, some covering the topic of other dimensions.
  • They find a body in the bedroom. It’s Gast. His ghost is still about and he talks to Lucie, saying she has different blood to the others. Gast tells her that a masked person asked him to summon demons, which then killed him.
  • Charles, Grace, and Tatiana show up at the Institute. Tatiana is wounded and is healed by the Silent Brothers.
  • Grace and James go off to talk.
  • Lucie notices that James has been gone a while, so asks Cordelia to go and look for him.
  • Lucie checks in on Matthew, who has been drinking a lot. Matthew gets angry.
  • Grace announces that she’ll be marrying Charles, who will be breaking off his engagement to Ariadne. Grace asks James to give her her bracelet back. James does so, and feels strange once he takes the bracelet off.
  • Grace goes to talk to Matthew, and kisses him, presumably to use the kiss as blackmail later.
  • Matthew goes to find James.
  • James feels very different the next morning after sharing a drink with Matthew. He’s no longer heartbroken over the breakup.
  • Will and Tessa take Tatiana to the Silent City.
  • Charlotte writes to Cordelia and tells her about what’s going on with her father. He has been questioned using the Mortal Sword, but the demons broke his memories so he can’t really be trusted to tell the truth.
  • Christopher tells the others about what they found out about the runes from Gast’s apartment. The runes are Persian writing, and the wooden shards are form a Pyxis box.
  • There are a few Pyxis boxes in Idris, which the group wants to examine. This will be difficult though. Thankfully, Cordelia recalls seeing a similar box at Hypatia Vex’s place.
  • They ask Anna to speak to Hypatia Vex to get the box.
  • Cordelia returns home and tells Alastair about Charles and Grace’s engagement.
  • Hypatia holds a party and while the guests are distracted, Anna takes Hypatia away.
  • Christopher and Thomas eavesdrop on the Enclave meeting and discover there have been more victims of demon attacks. It’s revealed that Oliver died after Barbara scracthed him.
  • Cordelia and James kiss while Anna steals the Pyxis box.
  • The group heads back to the Institute and open the box, which a demon was actually in. It pops out and they’re able ot kill it.
  • Magnus arrives at Will and Tessa’s request. Matthew explains the box situation to Magnus, who agrees to help them trap the demon.
  • Magnus has discovered that James’ shadow realm dirt is from the realm of a fallen angel named Belphegor. Magnus explains that fallen angels are super dangerous.
  • With Magnus’ help, the group tries to trap the Mandikhor demon. Other demons spawn from it, which are then killed, and the Mandikhor demon gets trapped quite quickly, until it frees itself.
  • The demon speaks to James, and tells him it can’t be killed because it’s tied to the shadow realm. Cordelia injures the demon and it vanishes. Cordelia falls into the river.
  • Lucie looks into the Thames to try to find Cordelia and sees a bunch of ghosts in there. Jesse shows up and rescues Cordelia from the water.
  • James returns Cordelia’s sword to her. They almost talk about Grace but Alastair interrupts and makes James leave.
  • Cordelia and Alastair talk about their father, and Alastair admits that their father is an alcoholic. This is why he can’t remember the demon attack.
  • Jesse tells Lucie she is the one who summoned the river ghosts. Jesse tells Lucie how he died and how his mother wants to resurrect him.
  • Christopher is injured by a group of demons.
  • Cordelia’s mother announces she’s pregnant.
  • James tells Cordelia that Matthew is now injured.
  • Jem asks James to go to the Silent City. Matthew and Cordelia go with him. They visit Christopher, who starts chanting along with the other patients. Jem wonders what’s going on, as he didn’t send the note to James. He tells the trio to leave.
  • James notices that Christopher scratched him.
  • There’s a portal outside the Silent City, and James doesn’t let his friends go through it.
  • Thomas and Lucie are grabbing plants to use as a demon antidote when Lucie sees a light. She follows it and finds Jesse’s body. She sees Grace talking to it. A demon shows up and tells Grace to return the enchantment.
  • Lucie attacks the demon, and Jesse helps to kill it.
  • James enters the shadow realm through the portal, and he finds Belial there. Belial says he’s unable to go to the human realm without possessing a body. He asks James to allow him to possess his body so he can cure the infected.
  • Belial says he kept the other demons away from the human realm. He was also the one to speak to Gast so the demons could find James. Belial says he’ll stop all this if James gives up his body.
  • Lucie looks into the shadow realm and finds James quite upset. She tells Thomas to finish the antidote stuff and that she has to find James. Jesse transports Lucie to the Silent City.
  • Matthew has been attached to James via a rope, which pulls and drags him against the portal. Matthew can’t enter the shadow realm through the portal so Cordelia has to cut the rope. She takes the rope, and uses her sword to enter the shadow realm.
  • Cordelia asks James to return but James insists that he can’t.
  • Thomas works on the antidote and Alastair stays with him. He asks about Cordelia’s whereabouts, Thomas tells him, and the two plan to head over there after the antidote has been made.
  • James and Cordelia fight off the Mandikhor demon, and in the battle Belial steals Cordelia’s sword. James kills the demon, Cordelia gets her sword back, and stabs Belial in the chest. He vanishes.
  • Lucie and Jesse find Matthew, who’s the only one left in the cemetery. Cordelia and James show up back in the human realm, and they realise James is dying from demon poison.
  • Jesse offers Lucie his locket, and plans to give himself up to save James. Lucie transfers the breath, who heals, and then Jesse vanishes.
  • Thomas and Alastair show up with the antidote, and they give it to Christopher. It’s a success, and they’re able to administer it to everyone who was infected.
  • Grace tells James that Tatiana is planning to take her own life so that an automaton will attack the Shadowhunters. Grace gives James her bracelet back, which returns his feelings for her. She kisses James.
  • Matthew and Cordelia see the kiss and Cordelia notices the bracelet. Grace leaves. James tells the other two what went on, about Tatiana, and about the automaton.
  • James heads to Idris to destroy the automaton. Cordelia and Matthew follow him.
  • The automaton is destroyed, along with other bits of the Blackthorn house.
  • There’s an Enclave meeting where the others are told about the antidote. Tatiana accuses James of burning down the Blackthorn houses. Cordelia acts as his alibi.
  • James proposes to Cordelia in order to preserve her honour.
  • Tatiana has her marks stripped and is sent to the Iron Sisters.
  • Grace will have to live with the Bridgestocks.
  • Cordelia’s father is released.
  • There’s an engagement party for James and Cordelia.
  • Alastair and Charles argue, as Alastair wanted to take their relationship public and Charles disagreed.
  • Grace talks to James again. She says she knows he was behind the fire, and that James is engaged to Cordelia out of necessity. Grace says she’ll keep her own engagement going until James is out of his marriage.
  • Matthew is rude to Alastair, and tells everyone about how Alastair spread horrible rumours around the school. Thomas threatens Alastair, who leaves the party.
  • Grace tells Lucie that she’s aware of the Cordelia and James situation. Lucie promises she’ll help Grace get Jesse back.
  • Magnus speaks to Matthew. Magnus is surprised that James and Cordelia’s marriage is a farce.
  • Tatiana visits Jesse’s body. Belial is there and he tells her she’s done a crap job with their plan. He blames Tatiana for not getting James into the darkness. Belial admits he can’t approach James while Cordelia and Cortana are around.
  • Tatiana and Belial are both pleased that she will be going to the Adamant Citadel, which is normally very well protected.

That’s what happened in Chain of Gold! Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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