Shadows of Self - Brandon Sanderson


This book has a somewhat storied past, as I wrote a third of it during the process of writing another book. (I was waiting for editorial notes to come back; I believe it was the final Wheel of Time book.) I had to drop work on this and dive into the other book.

By the time I came back, my vision for a new trilogy about Wax, Wayne, and Marasi had transformed—so the first third took some serious work to whip into shape and make match the last two thirds, as I wrote them. I relied a lot on the excellent editorial vision of my editor, Moshe Feder, my agent, Joshua Bilmes, and my editorial assistant, the Instant Peter Ahlstrom. Special thanks as well to my editor in the UK, Simon Spanton.

In addition, my writing group was—as always—invaluable. They include Emily Sanderson, Karen and Peter Ahlstrom, Darci and Eric James Stone, Alan Layton, Ben “please get my name right this time” Olsen, Danielle Olsen, Kathleen Dorsey Sanderson, Kaylynn ZoBell, Ethan and Isaac Skarstedt, and Kara and Īsaac Stewart.

We did a blitz of a beta read, and some vigilant people jumped in with excellent commentary. They were: Jory Phillips, Joel Phillips, Bob Kluttz, Alice Arneson, Trae Cooper, Gary Singer, Lyndsey Luther, Brian T. Hill, Jakob Remick, Eric James Stone, Bao Pham, Aubree Pham, Steve Godecke, Kristina Kugler, Ben Olsen, Samuel Lund, Megan Kanne, Nate Hatfield, Layne Garrett, Kim Garrett, Eric Lake, Karen Ahlstrom, Isaac Skarstedt, Darci Stone, Īsaac Stewart, Kalyani Poluri, Josh Walker, Donald Mustard III, Cory Aitchison, and Christi Jacobsen.

Over the years, it’s been incredibly satisfying to see the artwork for my novels develop. I’ve always had this wild vision for including way more art than usual—basically all I can get away with. Three wonderful artists made this possible on this volume. Chris McGrath did the cover, and I love his depictions of the characters. My good friend and now full-time art director Īsaac Stewart did the maps and symbols, as well as the heavy design lifting on the broadsheet. Art on the broadsheet was done by the ever-excellent Ben McSweeney.

At JABberwocky, my agency, thanks go to Eddie Schneider, Sam Morgan, Krystyna Lopez, and Christa Atkinson. In the UK, John Berlyne of the Zeno Agency deserves your applause.

From Tor Books, many thanks to Tom Doherty, Linda Quinton, Marco Palmieri, Karl Gold, Diana Pho, Nathan Weaver, Edward Allen, and Rafal Gibek. Ingrid Powell was the proofreader. Copyediting was done by Terry McGarry, and the audiobook is by my personal favorite reader, Michael Kramer. Other audiobook pros who deserve thanks are Robert Allen, Samantha Edelson, and Mitali Dave. Adam Horne, my new executive assistant, gets his name in a book for the first time in this one. Well done, Adam!

Finally, big thanks to my family, as always. A wonderful wife and three little boys who still get confused as to why the books Daddy writes have so few pictures.


Waxillium Ladrian, lawman for hire, swung off his horse and turned to face the saloon.

“Aw,” the kid said, hopping down from his own horse. “You didn’t catch your spur on the stirrup and trip.”

“That happened once,” Waxillium said.

“Yeah, but it was super funny.”

“Stay with the horses,” Waxillium said, tossing the kid his reins. “Don’t tie up Destroyer. I might need her.”


“And don’t steal anything.”

The kid—round-faced and seventeen, with barely a hint of stubble on his face despite weeks of trying—nodded with a solemn expression. “I promise I won’t swipe nothin’ of yours, Wax.”

Waxillium sighed. “That’s not what I said.”


“Just stay with the horses. And try not to talk to anyone.” Waxillium shook his head, pushing into the saloon, feeling a spring in his step. He was filling his metalmind a smidge, decreasing his weight by about ten percent. Common practice for him these days, ever since he’d run out of stored weight during one of his first bounty hunts a few months back.

The saloon, of course, was dirty. Practically everything out here in the Roughs was dusty, worn, or broken. Five years out here, and he still wasn’t used to that. True, he’d spent most of those five years trying to make a living as a clerk, moving farther and farther from population centers in an effort to avoid getting recognized. But in the Roughs, even the larger population centers were dirtier than those back in Elendel.

And here, on the fringes of populated lands, dirty didn’t even begin to describe life. The men he passed in the saloon sat slumped low to their tables, hardly looking