The first novel of Sanderson’s new series, Steelheart, follows David—a teenager in the city that was once called Chicago—as he searches for the extraordinarily powerful Epic named Steelheart, who killed his father. Steelheart possesses the strength of ten men and can control the elements. It is said no bullet can harm him, no sword can split his skin, no explosion can burn him. Nobody fights back… nobody but the Reckoners.
A shadowy group of ordinary humans, the Reckoners spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then taking them out. For the death of his father, David wants to be there for the kill. For years, like the Reckoners, David has been studying, and planning, and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience. He’s seen Steelheart bleed.
Steelheart takes an action-heavy plot, layers in complexity, and delivers twists and a breathtaking conclusion, as David and the Reckoners try to undo the dystopia the Epics have created. According to Sanderson’s agent Eddie Schneider, Steelheart has entered preliminary negotiations for a major Hollywood deal.
I’ve seen Steelheart bleed.
It happened ten years ago; I was eight. My father and I were at the First Union Bank on Adams Street. We used the old street names back then, before the Annexation.
The bank was enormous. A single open chamber with white pillars surrounding a tile mosaic floor, broad doors at the back that led deeper into the building. Two large revolving doors opened onto the
street, with a set of conventional doors to the sides. Men and women streamed in and out, as if the room were the heart of some enormous beast, pulsing with a lifeblood of people and cash.
I knelt backward on a chair that was too big for me, watching the flow of people. I liked to watch people. The different shapes of faces, the hairstyles, the clothing, the expressions. Everyone showed so much variety back then. It was exciting.
“David, turn around, please,” my father said. He had a soft voice. I’d never heard it raised, save for that one time at my mother’s funeral. Thinking of his agony on that day still makes me shiver.
I turned around, sullen. We were to the side of the main bank chamber in one of the cubicles where the mortgage men worked. Our cubicle had glass sides, which made it less confining, but it still felt fake. There were little wood- framed pictures of family members on the walls, a cup of cheap candy with a glass lid on the desk, and a vase with faded plastic flowers on the filing cabinet.
It was an imitation of a comfortable home. Much like the man in front of us wore an imitation of a smile.
“If we had more collateral . . . ,” the mortgage man said, showing teeth.
“Everything I own is on there,” my father said, indicating the paper on the desk in front of us. His hands were thick with calluses, his skin tan from days spent working in the sun. My mother would have winced if she’d seen him go to a fancy appointment like this wearing his work jeans and an old T- shirt with a comic book character on it.
At least he’d combed his hair, though it was starting to thin. He didn’t care about that as much as other men seemed to. “Just means fewer haircuts, Dave,” he’d tell me, laughing as he ran his fingers through his wispy hair. I didn’t point out that he was wrong. He would still have to get the same number of haircuts, at least until all of his hair fell out.
“I just don’t think I can do anything about this,” the mortgage man said. “You’ve been told before.”
“The other man said it would be enough,” my father replied, his large hands clasped before him. He looked concerned. Very concerned.
The mortgage man just continued to smile. He tapped the stack of papers on his desk. “The world is a much more dangerous place now, Mr. Charleston. The bank has decided against taking risks.”
“Dangerous?” my father asked.
“Well, you know, the Epics . . .”
Steelheart hits shelves September 24, 2013
For those that might not have seen Sanderson's Reddit Interview, he had this to say about the book during the Q&A:
I first started talking about Steelheart a number of years ago. (Five, maybe six?) It was one of the projects I’d been planning to do in 2007 when The Wheel of Time came along and kind of distracted me.
Unable to work on it for years, I instead did up a proposal and started shopping it in Hollywood. I got interest, but everyone said “We’d be more comfortable if the book were done.” So, over the years, I slowly pieced together an outline in my spare time and did chapters when I could. (I think a reading I did of the prologue of this last year is floating around on-line somewhere.)
One of the problems with working on The Wheel of Time is that it’s so time-consuming, I basically can’t work on any other big project while writing it. I stay creative by changing to new ideas and new concepts whenever I start feeling burned out–I work on them for a short time, then get my groove back and turn to the larger project.
That’s why you see all kinds of little projects popping out here and there from me. I can’t do Stormlight 2 at the same time as WoT. Two big series are just too much to do at once; one would suffer. Yet, I still need artistic liberation now and then to try something new and refresh myself.
The two novellas I’m releasing this year (Legion, The Emperor’s Soul) and the short Mistborn novel last year (Alloy of Law) are things that came out of these side deviations. Steelheart is another. Shouldn’t affect Stormlight 2 very much. I always like to have one large project and a handful of smaller ones running at the same time.
It may seem like a lot to have on my plate, but if you add Alloy of Law, Steelheart, and the two novellas together they are combined around half the length of The Way of Kings. (And took about 1/10the brain space…)
I don’t want to make excuses for not doing Stormlight 2, but this might give a little insight as to why you keep seeing all of these other projects popping up.