Ironhand is the second book of the Stoneheart Trilogy. It was written by British author Charlie Fletcher, and it was first published in the UK in 2007. It is preceded by Stoneheart and followed by Silvertongue.
(Warning: contains spoilers)
The story begins with the Gunner waking up in a large dark room surrounded by water. The room is lit up when the Walker appears. The Walker tells the Gunner that he is not finished with hunting George and Edie yet. It is also revealed by the Walker that the room is lit up with heart stones, which automatically react to his presence. These were all gathered from glints that he has killed; this shows the Gunner the horrors that the Walker has committed in his life.
The Walker tells the Gunner that they are beneath the city of London, and because the Gunner brought bullets to fight the Minotaur, the Walker is punishing the oath-breaking statue by abandoning him here. The Walker tells the Gunner that he is forbidden to dig out of the room; the Gunner then realizes that he does not possess the strengh to escape. The Walker leaves, the heart stones are extinguished, and the Gunner is left alone in darkness.
Meanwhile, George and Edie walk through the city, discussing a plan. As they duck into an alley to seek shelter from the rain, Edie explains how she accidentally killed her vicious stepfather on the beach. George gives Edie his coat, as she is cold from the rain. The two of them then decide to go meet with the Black Friar, as the spit may be able to help them. They do not entirely trust him, but they agree that it is their best option. Neither of them notice that they are being followed by Spout the cat gargoyle.
The Walker gathers his forcesEdit
When he returns to the city, the Walker begins to recruit several taints to help with his cause. One of these is the Icarus, whose brother the Minotaur was previously killed by George. The Walker uses this knowledge to persuade the taint to join him. He also goes to the Bull and convinces this statue to join his cause as well.
As this goes on, the Black Friar walks past the statue of Boadicia near the Westminster Bridge. He is asked by the Red Queen if he had seen the two children the night before. After avoiding the question and angering the Queen by calling her a redhead, the Friar finally lies and says that he has not seen any children. The Queen decides to take the matter into her own hands, so she and her daughters leave their plinth and set out in their chariot to find Edie.
George and Edie continue towards the Black Friar's pub, with George promising that he will not leave Edie alone. This is ironic, because as soon as they set out, George is snatched into the sky by Spout the gargoyle. Edie does not know what happened to George until she finds his discarded shoe.
Spout carries George to the top of a building where he hangs George upside down by his feet. Seeing that George is unresponsive due to being upside down, Spout holds the boy up by his neck. George tries to give Spout his dragon head to bargain for his freedom, but he then remembers that he gave his coat to Edie in the alley to keep her warm.
Still trapped underground, the Gunner thinks of a way to escape from the underground chamber. He decides that the best thing to do is to remove all of the heart stones from the wall, so that when the Walker returns, he will not be able to see the Gunner, who can then fight back against the man. The Gunner begins by taking down the heart stones along the nearest wall, putting them in his tarpaulin, and he then moves across the water to the next wall. Taking apart the Walker's hard work makes him feel better, but he is still weak.
Edie, continuing to the Black Friar, stops when she hears somebody mention "One glint." She then finds that it was a homeless man. When asking who he is, the man says "We are the Tallyman." The darkness in his eyes worries her, as well as his similarities in appearance to the Walker. Edie runs from the Tallyman, who continues to count her but does not give chase.George and Spout fly past the Bank of England, where the statue of a golden girl is singing. George tries to ask for help from her, but Spout does not stop flying. Spout then lands on a nearby roof and drops George so that the boy is clinging to the roof for support. Worried that he will fall off, George does his best to not move. As Spout investigates something over the ridge of the roof, the golden girl reappears by George's feet. She tells him that he should come with her, and that she is a "minister of his fate." Before George can respond, the girl grabs him, pulls him from the roof, and flies away with him.
Return to the pubEdit
Edie, meanwhile, arrives at the Black Friar's place. Noticing that the spit is not on his plinth, she continues inside the pub, avoiding a group of construction workers who were leaving from working on the building's interior. Inside, Edie meets Little Tragedy, whom she asks about the Friar's whereabouts. Tragedy does not give a straight answer. Instead, he mentions an old poster from the First World War that read "Careless Talk Costs Lives." Knowing much about the past but not being able to keep track of it, Tragedy mistakenly says that Edie used to like that poster. Edie then realizes that something is wrong with the little spit. It is shortly after this that the Black Friar appears in the pub and surprises Edie.
The Friar asks Edie where George is, but she cannot tell him, as she does not know the answer. The Friar then opens a soda for her and has her tell everything that has happened. The spit is surprised to learn that George intentionally did not make amends with the dragon head, and he took the Hard Way by choice. Edie then makes a deal with the Friar; in exchange for later being allowed to speak to George, the Friar agrees to tell Edie about the mirrors and the Hard Way. He tells Edie that parallel mirrors can open portals to different places in both space and time. Edie does not believe it, calling it all "crap." The Friar then offers to demonstrate his alcove mirrors' powers. A hot, hellish scene then appears in one of the mirrors. Unfortunately, the heat causes Edie to flinch and trip. She gets too close to the mirror, and the Friar cannot save her as she is sucked inside.
As this takes place, the Gunner continues to destroy the Walker's underground "castles" of heart stones. He tears down all of the heart stones from the walls in the room and puts them in his tarpaulin. He then digs a hole to bury the stones, so that the Walker cannot see them any longer.
Accepting the three duelsEditAriel flies George into a gated courtyard. Once there, George meets with a statue called the Last Knight, a hollow armored figure on a horse. The Knight asks George three times, consecutively, if he "will stand." Thinking that the Knight is either crazy or cannot see, George tells the Knight three times that he is standing. However, Ariel reveals to him afterwards that by answering the Knight, George accepted three duels that are a part of the Hard Way.
Before George can get away from the area, the Guild appears around him, only becoming visible when the nearby bell tolls. Boxed into the arena of knights, George cannot run from the Knight, who is now preparing to charge. George struggles to avoid several deadly strikes from the Knight's lance; he ducks under one of the Guild horses and escapes the arena; he grabs onto the Knight's lance to avoid being stabbed; he even fake-steps in the way that his father taught him when they used to play rugby.
George then tries to flee through an open gate. However, the gate is slammed on him by Ariel, who insists that he must complete his duel. The Knight catches up to George and prepares to attack with his lance, and Ariel holds George in place. George closes his eyes, and instead of being killed, he is scooped into the sky by Spout the gargoyle just before the Knight hits him. Looking down, George sees that Ariel was accidentally stabbed by the lance, as she was behind George when the Knight approached.
Edie, transported through time by the Friar's mirror, then experiences the violent bombing of the Blitz in person. The fiery city confuses her at first, as it is not like when she glints a stone. The Friar then appears beside her and tells her to return through the mirror, but when it is shattered, he then takes off running to find a new means of escape. The two of them find parallel shop windows, and they step into one of these. However, they end up in his pub during the period of the Blitz. Little Tragedy is there, and Edie, remembering what the imp had said to her, agrees and says that she does like the "Careless Talk Costs Lives" poster. Back in the pub, Edie then asks the Black Friar about the Hard Way. The Friar explains that George has to partake in and complete three duels in order to survive, or else the three veins will kill him. The Friar then says that he does not wish to help in finding George, as he wants to remain neutral, and it is clear that neither of the children trust him. Suddenly, two figures press themselves against the pub's window from outside; each of them have the dark eyes of the Tallyman. A hooded figure in between them resembles the Walker, so Edie becomes scared. The Friar tells Little Tragedy to hide Edie, and he then goes to the door to speak to the three figures.
Tragedy brings Edie through the mirror, into a gray, dusty room. He tells Edie that she will be safe here. Edie, however, felt unsafe in the room, as all of the walls and everything else in it gave her a bad feeling. She then notices that Tragedy has George's dragon head with him. The imp returns her coat and begins to back up to the mirror. He mentions that "he" will be coming soon, and Edie realizes that the spit is talking about the Walker. Tragedy, with a face that shows he is sorry for what he is doing to her, escapes through the mirror, leaving Edie alone in the room.
At St. PancrasEditSpout then flies George to St. Pancras station; the gargoyle's intentions are still unclear to George. George first thinks that Spout wants his copper water spout back, but this is tossed away by the gargoyle. By miming with his wing, and by trying to speak, Spout is finally able to show George that he wants his damaged wing repaired. George, with the broken-off piece, at first tries to explain that the wing could not be repaired without the proper tools. But suddenly, his maker powers activate, and his hand heats up. Spout's wing is healed, but the exertion causes George to black out momentarily. Nevertheless, the gargoyle appears grateful to have his wing fixed.
A horde of gargoyles suddenly appear out of the sky and attack the two of them. Spout fights off several of them on his own. As this happens, George tries to escape through some glass on the roof, but this turns out to be strong glass that cannot be easily broken. The boy then slips and is about to slide off of the roof. Fortunately, Spout swoops in and grabs George as he falls. Spout takes George to a nearby building, where he tells George to run.
George escapes the scene through a building that is under heavy construction. Inside, he finds a number of useful things left behind, including a coat, a hard hat, and a large hammer. He fights off one gargoyle with a bucket of red paint, splattering the taint in red. He is then able to escape through a rubbish chute. With his coat and hard hat, he disguises himself as a construction worker as he walks away from St. Pancras, hoping that none of the gargoyles above notice him.
In the House of the LostEdit
Edie, in the House of the Lost, is alone for a while. She looks out the window of her room and notices how dark and gloomy everything is. After some time the Blind Woman and her two dogs enter. The Blind Woman tells Edie to follow her, and she warns Edie that the two dogs will attack if Edie does not do as she is told. They go to the Walker, who is waiting for them in another room. The Walker forces Edie to use her glinting abilities to test stones and determine which holds the most darkness inside. They finally find the stone that will be used for a new obsidian mirror; but while the Walker is distracted Edie attacks him with a stone she grabbed. Edie is able to escape out of a window and into the past London.
(To be continued... I'm still working on it)
- The Gunner
- The Black Friar
- Little Tragedy
- The Last Knight
- The Red Queen and her daughters
- The Officer