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Shatterglass US hardcover edition cover
Cover featuring Tris holding Chime in a glass workshop.
Author Tamora Pierce
Country United States
Language English
Series The Circle Opens
Genre Fantasy novel
Publisher Scholastic Press
Publication date
March 2003
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 368 pp
ISBN ISBN 0-590-39683-8 (hardback edition) & ISBN 0-439-97864-5 (paperback edition)
OCLC 50124820
[Fic] 21
LC Class PZ7.P61464 Sh 2003
Preceded by Cold Fire

Shatterglass, a novel by Tamora Pierce, is the fourth book in The Circle Opens series. It takes place four years after the Circle of Magic series.

Plot introduction[edit]


Shatterglass is set in the city of Tharios. It is one of the oldest cities in the World and they are separated from everything else by their beliefs about the dead. All death in Tharios is believed to be unclean, and much of their society centers around keeping the city clean, spiritually and physically. This belief originated in the breakup of the Kurchal Empire and the devastation of the city by the blood plague. They have a separate class of people called the prathmun who are lower class citizens dedicated only to cleaning and handling the dead.

Plot summary[edit]

Trisana (Tris) Chandler meets Kethlun (Keth) Warder, a glass mage with a dangerous power: lightning. During their first meeting, he was unconsciously using his ambient powers and accidentally created a living dragon out of glass. Tris saves the dragon from being smashed by Keth, and names it Chime. She later finds out that he had been struck by lightning less than a year ago, and this left him paralyzed and with a great fear of lightning. He learned to walk again, but his speech is a little slow, and he lost his ease at glass-blowing.

A twenty-year-old man just as stubborn as Tris, Keth won't accept Tris or any of her teachings. He argues with her constantly, and refuses to learn about his lightning abilities, fearing a relapse into paralysis. Tris is surprisingly patient with him as she guides him through meditation and control over his powers. Eventually, Keth learns to trust Tris' instincts, and grudgingly accepts her as his teacher.

Meanwhile, mysterious murders are taking place. All the murdered women are Yaskedasi, female entertainers who are looked down upon in the town for their immodesty. But when one of the murdered Yaskedasi turns up in the town's central fountain, everyone starts to take notice. The town has a culture of thanatophobia, an irrational fear of death. Each time a person dies, the place must be cleansed by the town's priests when they perform the traditional cleansing ceremony. This ceremony is not only religious, but magical as well, effectively erasing all traces of the murderer, making it impossible for the authorities to track the killer, nicknamed the 'Ghost' by locals.

Keth has been asked to attempt to find the Ghost by way of glass balls that only he can make. These balls hold scenes of past crimes in them, causing him to be a suspect at first. Keth and Tris struggle, first against the local authorities, then against each other in the creation of these globes. When Keth's friend Yali is killed by the Ghost, the race takes on new meaning.

Characters in "Shatterglass"[edit]

Trisana Chandler (Tris)- Tris is an accomplished weather mage. Held apart by her spectacular range and strength of power, she only wants to fit in. Her strong sense of right and wrong is sorely put to the test in this book, when she is faced with the choice of turning a serial killer (of whom she was the next intended victim) in to the law, or killing him herself.

Kethlun Warder (Keth)- Keth was one of the best glassmakers of his generation. He was struck by lightning and acquired both Lightning and Glass magic because of this.

Niklaren Goldeye (Niko)- Niko was Tris's teacher, the first person ever to accept her. Now that Tris is a mage in her own right, Niko is her mentor and one of her closest friends.

Yali- Yali is one of Keth's best friends, and growing into his sweetheart. She is a yaskedasi and therefore looked down upon by 'proper' society, but Keth sees the real her. Her murder causes Keth to rethink his priorities.

Dema- Dema is a young police-mage. He was put on the case of the murdered Yaskedasi after traditional methods failed. He must overcome his prejudices and work with Keth and Tris to bring in the Ghost.

Glaki- The four-year-old daughter of one of the women murdered. When Yali, who had taken over caring for her, is also murdered, Tris takes Glaki in. Glaki has academic magic.