|“||The end is near.||”|
— A teaser for the book
Ember's End: The Green Ember Book IV is the fourth and final book in the main Green Ember series. It was written by S. D. Smith and illustrated by Zach Franzen. It was originally planned to be officially released on Amazon by Story Warren, LLC, on April 14, 2020, but due to numerous requests for a sooner release date, Story Warren and Smith moved the date to March 31. S. D. Smith's store put a hold on shipping due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Amazon began to ship on March 31. Copies pre-ordered through SDSmith.net shipped on March 2.
"The end is here. Heather and Picket face off for the last time with their tyrannical foes in this final installment of the main Green Ember Series. The Mended Wood flickers dimly in the vision of the rabbits of Natalia, as they battle bravely for their survival and a hopeful future beyond.
My place beside you,
my blood for yours,
till the Green Ember...ends."
An excerpt from Prince Lander and the Dragon War
Prince Lander and Massie look over the Great Wood, still wild and not yet colonized. Massie asks the Prince for a decision the lords requested regarding a certain matter regarding the Dragons. Lander, meanwhile, relates to him that he can see a good future for rabbitkind in the wood before them, saying that he would dedicate his life to the colonization of the wood. When Massie presses him for his decision, Lander says they must bury the dragon eggs in a mountain, dam up the junction between the rivers Flint and Fay, build their warren, and prohibit entry upon the mountain. Massie asks him what should happen if these should fail, and Lander prophesies that one of his descendants will someday rise and save the day.
Jo Shanks, Heyna Blackstar, and Coleden Blackstar are on a covert mission in the Terralain camp northwest of First Warren to gather information regarding the Terralains' attack plan, as they were marching toward First Warren. Heyna and Coleden help Jo get through the posted sentries, and Jo enters a tent in the center of the camp—Prince Kylen's tent.
Jo hears an approaching voice and hides, and then two rabbits enter the tent: Tameth Seer and Prince Naylen, Kylen's younger brother. They discuss attacking First Warren, with Tameth reassuring Naylen of Morbin's trustworthiness in keeping the pact they made with him, also reminding him that Garten Longtreader had sworn the pact on his own niece's blood. Tameth further convinces Naylen to attack First Warren for his father's sake, and in order to remove any threats separating Kylen from becoming king of Natalia.
Jo then gets out of his hiding place and escapes the tent himself. Using glider packs (inventions of Heyward) and Terralain catapults Cole and Heyna hijacked while Jo was in the tent, they launch into the air to return to First Warren. The three of them are apprehended by Terralain archers, however, who damage Jo's glider, causing him to fall to the ground. Before Jo could begin his walk toward the city, he meets a group of rabbits in the wood, one of whom he recognizes and asks for Picket.
Picket, on Helmer's family farm recuperating from a broken leg he sustained earlier, is told by Louise that he has been recalled to First Warren in anticipation of the imminent attack of Morbin's horde and the Terralain army, so immediately he leaves for the city. He joins Emma's council at the palace, gathered to discuss preliminary matters regarding the upcoming battle. Their council, however, is interrupted by Jo, Cole, and Heyna, returning from their expedition to the Terralain camp, and (to the surprise of everyone) Wilfred Longtreader, whom Jo had encountered in the forest on his way back from the camp. Wilfred tells the council that they would be attacked by the Terralains at dawn, long before their defenses would be ready.
In order to compensate for this unexpected turn of events, Picket, Jo, Helmer, and Coleden Blackstar join Emma in flying to the camp to convince Kylen not to proceed with the attack and switch sides. When they arrive at the camp, they are intercepted by some Terralain soldiers and Captain Granger; the soldiers accuse Picket with the murder of Bleston, Emma of being a witch, and a Causer sent by Emma as being responsible for the recent assassination of Captain Vulm, who was killed in his sleep. (All lies Tameth Seer had spread to poison the Terralains against Emma and the Cause.) Helmer convinces the Captain to lead them to Kylen, and thus he leads them into the heart of the camp; upon their arrival, Granger sends a messenger for the prince. Finally, a prince does arrive: but it's not Kylen. Instead, his brother Naylen, enraged against Picket (as he believed him to be the murderer of his father), charges at him with a sword, intending to kill him. However, Naylen ends up on the ground, at Picket's mercy. Picket spares his life, denying the rumor that he had murdered Bleston. Just then, however, Tameth Seer approaches the gathering, declaring that Picket lied. He then orders that the soldiers standing about kill them. But before the order could be carried out, Kylen suddenly bursts into the scene, ordering the soldiers not to obey Tameth Seer. He then commands that they be brought to his pavilion, where it becomes clear to Emma and Picket that the Seer had poisoned him against them. Kylen reveals that the only reason he spared their lives was for love of Heather, and because Picket had done the same for Naylen. However, he refuses to assist them in fighting Morbin, and affirms that they will proceed with the attack. Suddenly, Lallo arrives from First Warren, informing them all that Morbin's forces were attacking Harbone Citadel, where the elderly and younglings had been sent in preparation for the attack on First Warren. Picket, Emma, Jo, Helmer, and Cole thus leave, embittered against Kylen for allying with Morbin against them—to kill hundreds of innocent rabbits.
Emma and Lallo goes back to the safety of First Warren, while everyone else glides toward Harbone Citadel—burning on the horizon. They do what they can to save the survivors of the attack from the wild wolves of the Great Wood. Being around the horror of death and suffering proves a traumatic experience for all, especially Picket. After their rescue of the survivors, Picket meets Ikker, whose sister had died from the blastpowder. Suddenly, Wilfred Longtreader bursts through the forest with a small band of reinforcements, calling all to arms once more, as a group of Wrongtreaders was attacking, whom helped launch the attack from within, using blastpowder. When they are finally defeated, they hold a certain surviving Wrongtreader captive, and he tells them how and why Harbone was attacked, and what Morbin's plans for First Warren are. He also informs Picket that he had witnessed Heather's death by Garten Longtreader's own sword.
Meanwhile, in Akolan, Whittle and Sween mobilize the Cause there, as they prepare to openly resist Morbin. By throwing stones into rabbits' houses with messages written on them, they invite all of the inhabitants of Akolan to meet at the Seventh District. The Causers gather, approaching District Six in order to also invite the Inwallers. They are, however, prevented from entering by Captain Tram and his soldiers. Whittle tries to persuade Tram to defect, but he remains stubborn, refusing to let them in. Suddenly, the Commandant appears on the wall, ordering Captain Tram to obey Whittle, the Tunneler and the Truth. The Commandant tells the soldiers to accept the invitation to be free from Morbin's bonds; after this, the Causers are let into the city to fulfill their purpose.
Heather awakens inside the Tomb of Lander's Dragons with Smalls lying nearby, unconscious. Painfully, she gets him a drink of water from a nearby pool, then afterwards begins to inspect her and Smalls' wounds, which she find to be fatal, much to her consternation. She finds Aunt Jone's tonic and Emma's tonic within her satchel and remembers how she had thought she had seen Master Mills in Akolan, alive and well, after she treated a fatal wound of his with Aunt Jones'. Realizing that the tonic must have miraculous applications, she pours some of both tonics into Smalls' mouth, and then slips into unconsciousness once again.
Heather awakens to find that Smalls is gone. She hears rock falling on rock somewhere in the deep recesses of the cave. Then she hears a brittle voice calling through the darkness. Mysteriously, to her it speaks of a long-awaited conference with the king, among other things as she drifts back into sleep, too weak to answer. She awakens once again to the voice of Smalls, who had given her Aunt Jones' tonic in her semi-delirious state, which had healed both her and him completely from their wounds.
Overjoyed at their reunion, Heather catches him up on what had occurred since they had been separated, as he had missed much from lying wounded and near death within the Tomb. Suddenly, a shrill, powerful voice echoes from within the darkness of the Tomb, telling them that "[t]here is no escape . . . no escape possible from the dragon tomb."
Picket flies toward First Warren, on his way back from Harbone. He encounters Captain Moonlight just outside the city, who arranges for the tired Picket to ride to the palace in Ray Carter's cart. Louise joins him on the cart, happy to see him alive and safe, but sad to hear of the tragedies Picket had seen at Harbone. Picket returns to the palace, reports to Emma, and then is placed in a room to get some rest. He awakens to the voices of Cole and Jo, who explain to him the most recent developments: Mrs. Weaver had been interrogating the Wrongtreader buck they had caught at Harbone, and had managed to get a good deal of information about the enemies' plans: the Terralains would attack first, then each of the Six would lead a wave of attack, with Morbin coming last. The three then descend into the jail below the palace, to hear Mrs. Weaver's interrogation (their presence being unknown by the interrogated). The prisoner, meanwhile, has been attempting to frighten Mrs. Weaver by boasting of Morbin's plans, conveying rather indiscreetly the fact that the wolf King Farlock and his armies are to attack by land and sea.
Differences from the preview
The First Fowler contained a preview of the first four chapters of Ember's End, with a note stating that it was not final. The final book did include a number of changes, including added dashes that replaced some commas. Changes to the actual wording included:
- The omission of the sentence "Jo and his friends didn't move." in the scene with the Terralain guard Tunk.
- As Jo is entering Kylen's tent, the final text states "He drew his knife" whereas the preview text read "He ripped free a knife". The description of the inside of the tent also uses the word "area" rather than the preview's "space".
- Naylen is described as "a stout young buck" rather than "a short, stout buck", and the word "strange" is omitted from Tameth Seer's description in the same paragraph.
- In Naylen's conversation with Tameth, King Bleston is referred to by name, whereas the preview simply referred to him as Naylen's father. In the same paragraph, the phrase "even amid his affliction" is added to Tameth Seer's statement regarding Kylen's trust in him. A short paragraph detailing Jo's reaction to Naylen's presence is also added afterwards.
- The sentence "Tameth Seer had just said that Heather was dead." was replaced with "Not Heather." in the final text. The word "himself" in Naylen's wish regarding Kylen was also replaced with "well".
- When Naylen makes a final check on Kylen, the phrase "his expression soft with sadness" was added to the final text.
- When Jo escapes the tent, the words "and sliced" were added to the final text; the word "wall" and a comma after canvas were also omitted.
- The word "Then" was removed from the sentence beginning with "Cole was just ahead..."; Jo later shouts "Now" to Cole instead of "Cut it" as in the preview text.
- The paragraph in the preview in which Jo is hit by several Terralain arrows was expanded into two paragraphs in the final text.
- The word "aloud" was removed from what was the final paragraph of the chapter in the preview; a short paragraph with dialogue from Wilfred Longtreader was also added.
- The first paragraph from the preview version of the chapter is split into two paragraphs.
- A line about Picket retying his scarf was added to the start of the paragraph where Picket makes the starstick.
- Several paragraphs were added to the final version of the chapter, including the scene where Airen talks about Helmer's leaving home to become a soldier and Picket leaves his scarf with her.
- The sentence "But these were only in higher places." was removed from the final version of the chapter's first paragraph.
- The final text adds several lines of Weezie commenting on Picket responding to her words with a grunt.
- The word "wise" was added to Helmer's response to Mrs. Weaver regarding the rabbits being sent to Harbone Citadel.
- The sentence "We have brought all the weapons we can into the city." was added to Heyward's report regarding the preparation of First Warren's defenses.
- When Wilfred mentions Jone Wissel in the final text, the adjective "old" isn't capitalized as it was in the preview.
- The book is dedicated to "Josiah Clair Preston Smith", and has the following Latin words on the dedication page: Melius ergo est duos simul esse quam unum habent enim emolumentum societatis suae. Si unus ceciderit ab altero fulcietur vae soli quia cum ruerit non habet sublevantem. This translates as: Two are better than one more reward for their efforts. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow, but woe is the one who is alone, for when he falleth, he hath none to lift. This echoes a sentiment found in the book of Ecclesiastes, Smith's favorite book of the Bible.
- In the last illustration of the book, Picket Longtreader is shown as having his right arm, despite having lost it during the Siege of First Warren.
- The hardcover edition of Ember's End has a silver imprint of an illustration of Helmer under the jacket.
Take a look at our gallery for Ember's End: The Green Ember Book IV by clicking here.
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- Goodreads | Ember's End (The Green Ember #4)
- FAQ: Green Ember & S. D. Smith - SDSmith.net
- Free Writing Class from S. D. Smith & Ember's End Release Moved Forward | SDSmith.net Official Newsletter (March 2020)
- The Warren & The World Vol 8, Issue 8 | StoryWarren.com
- "Picket's right arm, with glider-wing and sword, fell spinning toward the flood below." - Ember's End, pg. 374;