Leaving off exactly where book 1 ended, Mare, Kilorn, Shade, Farley, and Cal are on the Undertrain headed to Naercy, the supposedly irradiated city (it's not but the Scarlet Guard have tech that makes it seem that way to keep the Silvers out) that The Scarlet Guard have been hiding in.
Shade tells Mare not to worry, that Farley had the city evacuated when she had heard of Mare's and Maven's capture since she was afraid they would talk. Cal is trying to convince Farley not to go there as he knows Maven will send fighter planes (called SnapDragons) and armies to capture them since he knows the location. Farley just tells them not to worry and Mare knows she has a plan.
When they arrive at the now deserted city they are soon greeted by Maven's army. They all scatter and Mare manages to use her electricity to bring down one of the jets so that they can get a lead against the Silvers, who are using Red slaves as a human shield in front of them so that the Scarlet Guard won't shoot them.
Cal breaks his bindings to help Mare when she gets cornered by Maven and Farley tells them to jump from the cliff behind them into the water. Mare does what she says and realizes going to the city was a ruse to throw Maven off the trail of where they were actually headed when she sees that they are escaping in a submarine.
They end up on an island that is little known to the Silvers but turns out to have a huge Scarlet Guard base on it. Cal is taken into custody by the Scarlet Guard Colonel for questioning as no one trusts him since he's Silver, and Mare is sent to stay with her family in one of the barracks for the time being.
Mare finds out that Farley has been stripped of her rank (because of the failure they had in trusting Maven) when the Colonel comes to the hospital where Farley and Shade are recuperating from their injuries and he belittles Farley in front of them and calls her by her real name, Diana.
Mare tries to convince the Colonel that they need to go find the other "newbloods", the Reds like her who have powers, because they can start an army that may actually be able to defeat the Silvers if they have their help, and also that they need to find them to save them because Maven knows who they are now too since she trusted him and he won't allow them to live, not just because they are powerful and could help the Scarlet Guard, but because if the other Silvers find out that Mare is actually Red and there are other Reds with powers too, it will destabilize the slight hold he has on the throne due to the lie that he and Elara weaved by saying Mare was Silver but a traitor and that Cal killed the king.
The Colonel refuses to try to find the others, saying that since the information was from Julian that it might not be true, and not only that, it would take years they don't have to train the newbloods if they could even convince them to join at all.
Mare wants to see Cal to make sure he's okay, so since Farley is pissed anyways she agrees to help her and gives Mare the key to Cal's cell and tells her how to get to the Colonel's quarters and that Cal's cell is not far beyond that.
Kilorn agrees to help Mare get there, and when they do, they realize from the family painting on the wall that Farley is the Colonel's daughter. They hear footsteps coming and everything happens in a rush. Kilorn pushes Mare into the cell with Cal, Cal tries to fight his way out but he has no power because the cell is made of Silent Stone which mutes Silvers, the Colonel and his guards appear, and Kilorn locks Mare and Cal in the cell. Kilorn mouths that he's sorry to her and her heart breaks knowing that he betrayed her plans to the Colonel so that the Colonel would have an excuse to lock her up like he wanted to to begin with since he didn't trust her.
After a few days, the Colonel comes back with a bunch of guards who are holding Farley against her will, and the Colonel puts a syringe into her neck to incapacitate her and throws her in the cell across from Mare and Cal. He then comes into Cal's cell to tell them that he's made a trade that will be happening later and that Cal should say his goodbye's to Mare.
The Colonel tells them that he has agreed to exchange Cal to Maven and in return that Maven has promised to up the conscription age to 18 again so that young kids aren't being sent to the frontlines to fight anymore. Mare tells him that Maven will never stick to his word, but he says that it's a chance he must take as Maven has said that if the terms aren't agreed to he'll just go ahead and kill the kids anyways before they even go through conscription.
About this time, Kilorn, who is with the Colonel as one of his guard due to betraying Mare, drops the syringes "accidentally". The Colonel starts to stoop down to see if any of the syringes may not have broken but Kilorn has one syringe in his hand which he uses on the Colonel. Shade then appears and knocks out the other two guards outside the door while Cal takes out the other guards in the cell with them.
They come out to find Farley standing there waiting on them and Kilorn tells Mare that he flirted with a nurse that liked him to keep her distracted while she was filling the syringes and he swapped out one with a placebo and that's the one he gave to Farley.
They use Shade's teleporting ability to escape to the aircraft hanger and they get away in one of two airships that are inside. When Cal asks where they are going since he's the pilot, Farley tells him that he'll be landing outside of a small city that they all know (can't remember the name of the city). When Cal tells her that it will be impossible for them to land there, she informs him that it's the old roads from the before days (I'm guessing that means our current time) and that the Scarlet Guard have been getting a mile stretch repaved at a few different ruins outside of cities around the globe because they planned to steal more planes from the Silvers.
Cal tells her that won't work because security is so tight after the first planes had been stolen, but Farley tells him that they have Guard in the south who are going to help them steal them since the south thinks the war between the Guard and the Silvers is mostly in the north so their security isn't very tight. Mare realizes at this point just how expansive the Guard is, and that Farley really meant it when she said that their numbers weren't what Mare thought them to be and that they aren't as weak as the Silvers think.
Mare looks up the closest newblood to them from Julians list which Kilorn stole from the Colonel before they left, and they head to the city to begin rounding all the newbloods up to help them.
They reach their first destination and acquire a newblood named Nix who comes along without much convincing, so Mare, not trusting anyone, decides to keep a close eye on him since it was almost too easy to convince him to come with them.
The next city is heavily guarded with Silvers, so Farley tells them she has contacts within the city who are going to meet them in the underground tunnels and help them get inside. They meet with the contacts, a man named Crance from a group within the city called the Mariners. There are separate gangs in the city; the Mariners and the Seaskulls being a couple that are mentioned, and the leader of the Scarlet Guard within the city is someone named Egan.
Crance turns out to be leading them into a trap to capture Mare because a bounty has been placed on her capture, not just by the Silvers but also the other Red gangs who want to collect the bounty or keep Mare to use as a weapon themselves.
They escape the trap that Crance and the others have set by collapsing part of the tunnel. Once the other Scarlet Guard from the city are dead, Crance begins helping them and apologizes, saying he didn't want to set a trap for them and he wanted to help them all along but was unable to due to his orders and the other Guard members that were with him. Even though they don't trust him now, they know they have no choice but to follow him since they don't know how to get through the city unnoticed.
Upon going aboveground, Crance and Shade are confronted by some of the Seaskulls who although they don't recognize Mare and Cal, start a fight with Crance and Shade because they are in their territory and their gang doesn't like Crance's Mariner gang. Knowing if she tries to save Shade that everyone including the Silver guards watching the fight will find out who she is, she decides to leave Shade and Crance behind and tells Cal and Farley that they should sneak away while they have the chance.
Since Shade isn't with them now to help them teleport they have to fight their way into the records hall to see where the newbloods live in the city. Cal raises a wall of fire while Farley and Mare search the records in the computer. They find all the newbloods locations and print them out to go find them.
After a brief fight with the guards while escaping Shade shows up and helps rescue them and they try to get to the newbloods in the city. One of them they find hanging in the middle of the town square and when they go to retrieve the newbloods body to give him a proper burial Maven shows up and disables Mare with a device that he's created that turns her electricity inside herself so that it's hurting her instead of her being able to use it. She passes out and wakes up back at the ship where Cal and Kilorn are taking care of her.
They let her know that they escaped because of Shade when he was able to get loose from the guards holding him down and that they have recruited the other newblood from the city while she's been in a coma for 4 days with the help of Crance who has joined them since he can't go back to the Mariners after betraying Egan and not bringing in Mare. The newblood's name is Ada, and she has the gift of a photographic memory. She can automatically memorize anything she sees, hears, or reads.
Knowing time is very short, they leave the city and begin going to other locations to round up the newbloods they can get to. Although a few of the newbloods names and abilities arent mentioned, we become acquainted with a few of them:
1. a boy named Luther Carver, who has the ability to kill with just the power of touch
2. an older woman named Nanny can change her physical appearance to whomever she wishes
3. Farrah, who can manipulate sound, preventing anyone in the area of the greatwoods from hearing them training the newbloods to fight and control their abilities
4. Ketha, who can cause explosions with touch like oblivions can, but she is not limited to touch and can cause explosions just by looking at the object she wants to destroy.
5. Harrick, a man who can cause illusions such as making their group seem invisible so no one can see them that may recognize them.
6. Gareth Baument, a man who can control gravity and can use his control of gravity to fly.
During this time, Kilorn admits that he loves Mare and knows that she doesn't love him since he's seen her with Cal and knows that she loves Cal (although unknowingly to Kilorn, Mare still misses the old Maven who she thought she truly loved, but she and Cal have always been attracted to each other and they have kissed recently after avoiding it for a long time). Kilorn gradually becomes more distant but Mare doesn't have time to worry about it with trying to train the newbloods and going after other newbloods to try to recruit. By the first snowfall they have managed to recruit 20 newbloods, from old maids to young boys and ages in between.
Although they are doing well with the recruiting, for every one newblood they get there are two more that Maven has found and killed as he goes from city to city under the pretense of his "coronation tour" to keep the other reds and silvers in the dark to the newbloods presence.
When they go to one of the towns, a girl with the Scarlet Guard named Ellie meets them to provide them with rations to take back to their hideout and tells them where the newblood family in the town lives. Mare and Farley are suspicious at how willing this girl is to give them so much but Ellie tells them that Command (the highest rank of the Guard) has commanded that she give them anything they need.
When they go in, they find a murdered baby in a basket and guards rush in, but Harricks ability keeps Mare, Farley, Nix and Harrick invisible so that the guards can't see them. After the guards leave, thinking their tracker that they placed with the baby malfunctioned, Mare gets the baby to take it back with them for a proper burial and sees a note with the baby. She hides it without showing the others and reads it later. It is from Maven, and it says "A crude envelope, I know. But necessary. You must know what you are doing, what you are forcing me to do to these people. Everybody is a message to you, and to my brother. Surrender to me, and it will stop. Surrender, and they will live. I am a man of my word. Until we meet again, Maven."
Knowing that they can't surrender and that she doesn't want to impose the choice upon Cal, she keeps the letter to herself. When she gets back to the hideout, she goes to Cal's room and lies down with him for comfort, and from that point on his room becomes hers too. Kilorn thinks they are doing more than just sleeping in the same room together and he starts avoiding Mare entirely.
They keep going to towns to gain newbloods and sometimes if Maven has gotten there first Mare finds another note from him letting her know that if she'll turn herself in it will all stop, but she hides them all and ignores it.
One day, Ada shows her a Silver soldiers orders that Shade took off of a dead body and tells Mare how 10000 Red soldiers are being sent to the frontlines in a place called Corvium. Ada tells Mare about the "little legion" that she heard her master the governor talking about once, which is made up of all young reds only 15-17. This is the same legion that the Scarlet Guard Colonel (Farley's dad) was going to exchange Cal to Maven for in order to save their lives since Maven said he wouldn't send them into battle if Cal was brought into custody.
Ada asks Mare why she thinks Maven is sending so many troops to the frontline; Mare says that it must just be a show of power, but Ada tells her that she thinks only 5000 of these soldiers are supposed to come back. One of the 5000 legions sent is "Dagger troop", another name for the Little Legion. Mare knows this is another message to the Scarlet Guard and her. She knows they can't do anything though as it would just be a slaughter for their few numbers to try to take down an army of not just 500 Silver lieutenants but the Red army as well since they are under the Silvers command and know they will be killed if they disobey them and will be forced to fight the newbloods.
They begin another rescue mission in one of the cities and Nanny and Gareth are sent in, with Gareth flying Nanny in and dropping her off inside the military compound, and then she is to shift so that she looks like one of the sargents and release the newbloods there. While Farley, Mare, and Cal wait on the outskirts in an abandoned town, a man shows up named Jon who is also a newblood. He tells them his vision led him to them, and he wants them to know that their mission today will fail and that they must not go into the city or they will be killed because it's a trap. He tells them Gareth and Nanny will be injured when they get back and they need to meet them at the airship and leave immediately. They realize he can see the future, but farther into the future than any Silver has ever been able to see. Although he creeps them out, Mare wants him to come with them but he tells her that he can't but that he already knows it won't be the last time they see each other.
He tells her they need to go to a prison near them; that Maven hasn't killed a lot of the newbloods he found but rather imprisoned them and is trying to force Julian (also imprisoned, not dead) to experiment on them but Julian has been refusing and is being tortured. Jon tells them it's not just newbloods at this prison either, but also Silver's who have questioned Maven's authority. He tells them that although he can't go with them, there will be something they find along the way to help them. He says they must get there within 3 days because 4 would be too late and they would get killed if they go in 4.
After he leaves they do as he says, since Mare feels in her gut that she should trust him even though the others think it may be a trap. While out in the woods in one of their safehavens near the city with the prison, a girl appears and pulls a gun on Mare. She is a young teenager about 16 and Mare first thinks that she is Red, but she also turns out to be a newblood. She is the first of the newbloods who doesn't agree to come with Mare and the rest, and tells Mare that it is her fault that thousands are being sent to die. She says Mare is no hero, that she is only rescuing those that she can use and leaving the other Reds to suffer for it, including her brother who is one of the Dagger troop and is being sent to die. She informs them that she escaped from the prison and Mare realizes how valuable this girl's abilities must be if she was able to get past so many different types of Silver guards. She tries to run, and although Mare said she would always give them a choice, she tells Shade to capture the girl.
While on the airship they find out what the girl's power is when she and Mare continue fighting, with Mare trying to prove she doesn't want anyone to die but has to do this for the greater good, and the girl telling Mare all the horrible things she's seen done to the other Reds who Mare has left behind. At the brink of the fight, Mare realizes her electrical powers are useless, and they realize the girl, Cameron Cole, has the ability to snuff out other Silver and newblood abilities. Although Cameron wants to save her brother, she agrees to stay with them in order to learn to control her powers so as not to hurt anyone without meaning to, but she still hates Mare and doesn't believe in the Scarlet Guard's capabilities either.
At a meeting later on in the evening, Mare tells everyone about her plan to break into the prison and rescue the newbloods and how Silent Stone is in all the cells. Cameron describes the layout of the prison and Harrick creates an image of it so that they can all see it. It seems almost hopeless to try to get in, but they know that there has to be hope since Cameron was able to make it out and Jon told them this is what they should do. Cameron tries to convince the group that saving the red boys is more important than going after just a few newbloods, but when Mare states that if they don't go that Elara will use her mind control to turn all the newbloods into weapons against everyone and this really is for the greater good (Kilorn vouching for her helps since everyone likes and trusts him), the group agrees to go to the prison and help instead of trying to save the soldiers.
They make it into the prison by Nanny posing as Maven. Maven was scheduled to come to the prison the next day so all the guards just think he's a day early. Once they get inside though, one of the guards asks Maven if he'd like to see his mother and it catches them off guard because they didn't realize Elara was there and the guard becomes suspicious so they have to attack. All hell breaks loose and they manage to free the prisoners including Julian but they are being attacked by the magnetron guards. With so many newbloods fighting the guards have no choice but to try to run and a few of them hole themselves up in a room. Cal begs Mare to let them live, but when she sees that they are pleading with Cal she becomes angry, seeing that even now they still look to another Silver to save them and still don't consider Reds worthy of asking for forgiveness. She electrocutes them all and Cal doesn't look at her the same anymore from that point on.
When they are making their way back out of the prison, fighting the guards all the way, Elara shows up and Mare jumps into one of the Silent Stone cells to escape Elara controlling her mind. Shade comes and rescues Mare by jumping away and they head toward the plane which now holds 300 prison escapees, both newbloods and the Silvers who didn't accept Maven as king. Those Silvers are now helping them fight against the other Silver guard captors as well.
Shade jumps Cal onto the airship then gets Julian and Sara. When he comes back for Mare, Ptolemus (a Silver guard who was fighting against Ava, a Silver who was a former enemy of Mare but is now helping her escape) uses his magnetron ability to finally kill Ava and sends metal flying at Mare. When Shade jumps to rescue Mare the metal pierces his heart instantly killing him but saving Mare's life.
The scene cuts to them on the airship headed back to base camp, and we find out that they have also managed to kill Elara and have brought her body with them. Farley is distraught since she and Shade had developed a relationship and loved each other and blames Mare for Shade's death, asking her if Jon told Mare this would happen. Mare tells her no, that he didn't, but she remembers that Jon told her that Farley would eventually question her and to tell Farley that the answer to Farley's unspoken question is "yes". Mare tells her this and it immediately calms Farley down a bit.
Mare tells Kilorn to take them to the Colonel's camp rather than going back to base because she has a plan. When they arrive, Mare shows the Colonel Elara's body and they now join forces rather than her being an outlaw in his eyes. They make a video to release to the public explaining how Mare is Red with Silver abilities and that Maven is a liar, and a message to the newbloods telling them to find the Scarlet Guard so that they can rise up and fight. They also address the Silvers in the video, telling them how Maven locked up so many of their own to keep them quiet.
The Colonel tells Mare that someone is waiting to meet her, and it turns out to be more newbloods, two twins from another area far away called the Free Republic of Montfort. They want to take Mare and the newbloods there and tell her that they and their leader will keep them all safe, that they don't have to fight anymore. They call the newbloods where they live Ardents and tell Mare there are many more in many other nations that they are trying to get to keep safe, but Mare is uneasy and hasn't forgotten what Cal said to her once; "a newblood king will sit the throne you built him". Mare realizes these newbloods are wanting to start a war too, but not a war for equality like she hopes for but to obliterate all Silvers. When she thinks of Cal, Julian, and Sara, she knows that this isn't what she wants and tells them she won't go with them.
Mare and the Colonel address the masses and tell them of their plan to go and save the Dagger covenant now that they have enough help. The Colonel will wait in the North past the land called the Choke, where the Silvers have been sending the Reds to fight for years when they are conscripted, and Mare and any other volunteers who can pass as 15 year olds since that is the age of the Daggers will be going with her to kill the Silver warriors in charge of the Daggers and then lead the Daggers through the Choke to the Colonel. From there they will retreat to Lake Eris and freighters will be waiting there to ferry them across into the disputed lands.
Cal stands and says that there is no hope for this plan to work, since in a hundred years no army has ever crossed the Choke and lived. The Colonel tells him that at one time that was true, but now instead of 9 legions at the frontline the Lakelanders only have 2. The rest of their resources have been sent to another part of the lands to fight while these soldiers create a diversion so that the other lands can be taken which aren't defended as well, so they will have no problems crossing the Choke.
They prepare to leave and Mare says goodbye to her family once again. Going with her to free the Daggers are 18 including Cal, her two brothers Bree and Tramy who are adamant about going since they were conscripted and can help lead them to safety through the Choke since they know the route, Cameron, Nanny, and Kilorn. We found out when they had the meeting that Gareth, Nix, and Ketha were killed in the prison rescue so that's why they aren't there. Ada and Harrick have gone with the Colonel to protect the north side since they couldn't have passed for young Dagger soldiers.
They board the airship but on their way they are shot down from the sky by a snapdragon and Maven is there along with a bunch of Silver soldiers, so they have no way to escape. Mare agrees to go with Maven if he will let the others go and he agrees.
Mare wakes back at the palace and Maven parades her through the city in chains. When she reaches the palace steps she sees that Jon is there and she realizes that he saw this coming too. It's still a bit unclear as to whose side he is on since he did help them save the newbloods, but seeing him with Maven it's easy to guess how Maven was able to find Mare and the rest when they were on their way to the Choke.
Maven pulls out a collar and places it around Mare's neck and attaches a leash to it and makes her kneel next to him to show that he has defeated her.
End of Book 2