Seeking summaries of Will Wight’s Cradle series? Need a recap of each book? You’re in the right place! See all Cradle-related summaries available on my website here. Obviously, these are designed to have spoilers. Don’t read any of the summaries if you are hoping to go in to the series without being spoiled! If you haven’t yet read any of the Cradle novels, I have a no-spoilers review of the first two books.
Quick Summary of Soulsmith
Lindon and Yerin have escaped Sacred Valley and Heavens Glory school and are in the Desolate Wilds. Lindon advances to Copper.
A giant pyramid said to be containing a valuable spear sacred to the Jai clan magically appears from nowhere. It draws Sacred Artists and dreadbeasts to it. Lindon and Yerin investigate.
They offend one of the clans attempting to plumb the pyramid, the Sandvipers, and are given protection and minimal training for Lindon by the a rival clan, the Fishers. Lindon begins learning to soulsmith under Fisher Gesha’s tutelage.
Jai Long, a Highgold outcast member of the Jai clan, is working with the Sandvipers. He follows the Path of the Stellar Spear and keeps his face wrapped to hide his horrendous Goldsign. He was injured in a battle involving his sister, forcing him to adopt a strange remnant and preventing him from further advancing. His sister was left with a cracked and damaged core.
Lindon and Yerin are forced into the pyramid by the Sandvipers after being captured. Eithan rescues them and assists Lindon in advancing to Iron. Lindon ends up with a Bloodforged Iron body, which speeds up healing and grants additional strength. In a final confrontation in the pyramid’s treasure chamber, Lindon kills the leader of the Sandvipers and Jai Long challenges Lindon to a duel in one year’s time.
Eithan adopts Lindon and Yerin into the Aurelius family and promises to help Lindon advance and face Jai Long in the duel.
On a cosmic level, Suriel is continuing to search for Ozriel in a bid to stop the plague of destruction sweeping across the universe.
Detailed Summary of Soulsmith
In the prologue, we learn a little about the Sword Sage’s training techniques in a short flashback. Yerin, ten years old at the time, sits with thirteen swords thrust around her and touching her skin, cutting her. Her unwelcome guest – her belt – was sealed by the Sword Sage, but it stirs under the pressure. After coming near to death, she learns to push the swords away from her.
In the present day, she and Lindon patch themselves up from the wounds they took fighting Heaven’s Glory school back in Unsouled. They are just outside Sacred Valley in the Desolate Wilds. Yerin assists Lindon in advancing from Foundation to Copper before they continue on their way, using the energy from the starlotus they stole from the Heaven’s Glory’s lesser treasure hall.
Unfortunately, they are attacked while Lindon is focused on advancing. He successfully reaches Copper, but discovers that Yerin is missing when he finishes. Yerin has gone on the offense, taking the battle to their ambushers. She discovers that they are a group of Sacred Artists on a poison-related Path. Lindon hears their battle and joins the fight – much to Yerin’s dismay. These are Lowgolds, and he is merely a Copper. Although they win the fight, they must flee the Remnants left behind. Lindon finds a sheltered space in a tree, and etches a script barrier around them before they both collapse, asleep.
On waking, three rotten dogs surround them outside the barrier. Soon, the Remnants from earlier find them too. Before they make their stand, a wave of vital aura washes over them. The beasts and Remnants both immediately bolt towards its source, leaving Lindon and Yerin safe. They follow, looking for the source of the aura rush.
Meanwhile, Suriel is destroying a planet. She reminisces on her predecessor, who retired and handled the mantle to her. We learn that humanity is what connects a world to the Way. After she finishes saving what few lives she can, she is ordered to resume the search for Ozriel, the Reaper who would normally handle this. The cosmic vignette ends and we return to Cradle.
Eventually, Lindon and Yerin reach the source: a giant pyramid, swarming with people. They are on the cusp of dehydration, and have no choice but to approach the settlement despite the ring of monsters being held off. They manage to reach the encampment, and meet a member of the Jai clan, Jai Sen. He reveals that the pyramid only appeared a week ago and that it was the source of the aura rush they felt. During their tour, they run into a group of Sandvipers – the same sect that attacked them in the woods. They insult Lindon, and Yerin embarrasses them in a fight in return.
Eithan makes his first appearance, having witnessed the fight from afar. He is intrigued and puzzled by the pair, particularly Lindon’s two cores. His abilities let him take stock of Lindon’s inventory, and he is immediately shocked by Suriel’s marble. He had come for one apprentice and had his eyes on Yerin, but now views Lindon as an equally worthy – and highly unexpected – prize.
Speaking further with Jai Sen, Yerin and Lindon learn that there is a treasured spear of the Jai clan said to consume the power of Remnants and bestow it in the weilder, within the pyramid. Jai Sen tries to convince Yerin to join the Jai clan, but she’s having none of it and they go off on their own.
Jai Long, a Truegold member of the Sandvipers and subordinate to the clan heir, Kral, is introduced. His face is wrapped in cloth, only his eyes revealed. He was injured in a battle involving his sister, forcing him to adopt a strange remnant and preventing him from further advancing. His sister was left with a cracked and damaged core. He believes that if he wields the spear, he will be able to advance once more and wreak vengeance on those of the Jai clan who wronged him and cast him out.
On receiving a message from the Jai clan asking the Sandvipers to find Yerin for them, he instead orders that Lindon be found and taken as a miner as recompense for the embarrassment Yerin met out on the Sandvipers at the gate. Further, he learns that a powerful group, the Aurelius family, will be arriving soon at the pyramid, which puts him on a tight deadline to find the spear.
Later, Lindon and Yerin observe a confrontation between the Sandvipers and another sect: the Fishers. Jai Long intervenes, threatening that if the Fishers don’t work with them, they’ll all end up with nothing after the Aurelius family arrives. The Fishers don’t believe it initially, and summon their leader, Fisher Gesha, who chastises them for not having simply passed along the message. Fisher Gesha rides on a spider-like construct, which Lindon is instantly enchanted by. Ultimately, an uneasy truce is reached.
Eithan follows the Sandvipers, and goads Jai Long and Kral into fighting him. He wins, handily.
Lindon resolves to follow Fisher Gesha and beg her to teach him soulsmithing. He asks Yerin to stay with him, and she agrees. Out of stubbornness and wiliness, he convinces Gesha to allow him to work for her in a menial capacity. When Yerin offers to pay her in dead Remnants, which she uses for soulsmithing, she agrees to (slightly) more formal teaching. Soon, Lindon sees his first success: forging pure madra scales, a sort of gem made of physical, compressed madra. Normally, this is done with a machine in areas with high concentrations of vital aura. The Jai clan is using captured Sacred Artists to mine in the pyramid, where most die to the Remnants inside.
One night, a Sandviper sneaks in to kidnap Lindon the earlier orders of Jai Long. He is locked in a cell with several Gold miners, all severely wounded or missing limbs from the pyramid Remnants. While there, he notes the timing of when the scales are collected. Fisher Gesha discovers his capture and rescues him.
Lindon and Yerin mount a heist in an effort to steal the scales during the shift change. Unfortunately, their plan goes awry when Jai Long and Kral are ready for them. Fisher Gesha arrives, but ultimately leaves them to save face. They are taken as miners. Eithan, having seen this, surrenders himself into the custody of the Sandvipers and is sent into the pyramid after them.
When dreadbeasts attack their mining group, Eithan intervenes. They separate from the group and go deeper into the pyramid on their own. Eithan begins giving Lindon some tips on cycling and how to reach Iron. He locks Lindon in a room with two dreadbeasts, pushing him to save himself and grow. Eithan leaves them, not deigning to say where he’s off to. After a brief period of panic, Lindon manages to crush the beasts beneath a rock, makes their Remnants fight to death over a scale, and then uses the stinger of the dead one to kill the remaining Remnant.
Eithan returns with their thousand mile cloud and Lindon’s pack. He sets them to dueling both himself and dreadbeasts for two weeks to improve themselves within the pyramid. It is not a fun time for either Lindon or Yerin.
Outside, Jai Long bargains with the Fishers. They want the map of the pyramid he created, as they can access hidden chambers inside using their soulsmithing abilities. This would mean the Sandvipers would have no access to the treasures or the spear, however. Kral and the best Fisher apprentice duel over the issue. Kral wins, and the Fishers promise to aid the Sandvipers in accessing the ruins.
Lindon, on the other hand, is near death. While he’s sustained himself by using bindings to generate water and fire to cook dreadbeasts, he is exhausted and too hurt to move. Fortunately, the door he was trapped behind opens – but Eithan tells him that more dreadbeasts are on their way. Thus, they begin the process of advancing him to Iron. Eithan offers a Bloodforged Iron body, which allows for faster healing and a stronger physical body.
The method to obtain a Bloodforged Iron body is horrifically painful. While staying conscious, Lindon must allow a venomous sandviper to bite him and use its poison to burn madra channels into his body. They go through five vipers’ full venom over the course of a day. He nearly dies, but does advance to Iron.
Meanwhile, the normal Sandvipers are performing their own version of advancing someone to Iron with a Bloodforged Iron body. They use a single drop of venom and question if it is too much. During the Sandviper Adceremony, the Aurelius airship appears on the horizon. The Sandvipers and Fishers make a final run into the ruins, betting it all because they lose their opportunity.
Lindon, Yerin, and Eithan begin their trek to the top of the pyramid. They discover a door that is similar to the one of the Ancestor’s Tomb in Sacred Valley. Eventually, they get through and find themselves in the treasure room. There, they find the Jai clan spear. But, more importantly, Lindon finds bindings and notes related to its construction. He also finds three strange, scripted black river stones.
The Sandvipers breach the treasure room as well. Fighting breaks out. Kral attempts to kill Lindon, but his resistance to venom from his Bloodforged Iron body saves him. Kral is still alive, but Eithan distracts him and Lindon manages to use one of the bindings he found on him. He kills him, but the binding explodes.
Jai Long is furious and orders the group to take Lindon. Eithan steps in and reveals that he is heir to the Aurelius family and an Underlord. Further, he claims Lindon as part of his clan. He states that Jai Long has offended him but has earned a right to be angry at Lindon. He asks to be given one year with Lindon, at which point they may duel to the death and consider the matter done.
At the book’s conclusion, Eithan formally offers both Yerin and Lindon a place in the Aurelius family. They accept.