|"Don't say that. There is hope, even in the Dark Forest. And, if you help me get to the barrier between the Dark Forest and StarClan, I'll show you what it looks like."|
|— Bristlefrost to Maggottail, Redwillow, and Sparrowfeather about saving the Dark Forest and StarClan in A Light in the Mist, page 105|
A Light in the Mist is the sixth book in The Broken Code arc. Bramblestar is featured on the cover. It features Shadowsight, Rootspring, Bristlefrost, and Firestar as points of view characters, with Ashfur featured in the prologue.
- Special thanks to Kate Cary.
- The #1 bestselling Warriors series continues with the thrilling conclusion to the epic Broken Code story arc. The hardcover edition includes a double-sided jacket with a bonus poster!
- When fear reigns supreme, only hope can save the Clans.
- The impostor’s reign of terror has brought the Clans to the brink of destruction, and now, every warrior—living and dead—must unite to defeat him before he delivers his final blow. To ensure their future and protect their past, StarClan, the Dark Forest, and all five Clans must band together to turn back the tide of darkness—before the impostor’s fury destroys them all.
- Packed with action and intrigue, this [seventh] Warriors series unfolds after the events of A Vision of Shadows.
Detailed plot description
- Ashfur reflects how he patiently waited in StarClan for his moment for revenge, finally seeing his opportunity when Mistystar lost a life and left her body exposed. He convinced his fellow StarClan cats to let him return to the living world to make sure the Clans were following the warrior code but sealed off the entrance to StarClan. Ashfur recalled how he tricked Shadowsight into killing Bramblestar so he could inhabit his body, but he had been foiled. Ashfur orders Snowtuft to kill Rootspring. Snowtuft and Rootspring are both hesitant to kill each other, and Ashfur orders the possessed spirits to finish Rootspring off. As Rootspring struggles to defend himself from his former Clanmates, Bristlefrost rushes forward to save him, and Rootspring finds new energy to fight to protect her. Shadowsight uses his familiarity with Ashfur to distract him by yowling that Squirrelflight never loved him. The dark warrior's control over the spirit cats wavers, and Ashfur attacks Shadowsight. Snowtuft crashes into Ashfur for everyone to escape, and Bristlefrost and Rootspring help Shadowsight flee. Stemleaf, Spiresight, and Willowshine catch up with them, the latter bringing news of Snowtuft's death.
- Willowshine leads them to the entrance to StarClan, and the group notices the terrain rapidly changing with thick fog and dangerous dark water rising. Rootspring warns his friends to avoid the water at all costs as he nearly drowned in it. They discover a wall of tightly woven brambles and vines blocking the entrance to StarClan that Ashfur created. When Bristlefrost tells Stemleaf that Spotfur is expecting his kits, Stemleaf's aspirations to defeat Ashfur loosen a vine on the wall: hope can weaken the barrier. Their combined hope allows a few brambles to loosen, but they need more help. Leafpool calls from the other side of the barrier—the Clans' first contact with StarClan in moons. She tells them that StarClan is slowly disappearing: the Dark Forest, StarClan, and the living world are connected, and their separation caused by Ashfur is slowly killing them. The spirit cats detect Ashfur approaching, and the group splits up with Rootspring and Bristlefrost distracting Ashfur and Shadowsight tasked with returning to living world to bring more cats.
- Shadowsight returns through the Moonpool by climbing some trees to reach it and returns to his body. The other leaders warily confront Bramblestar to make sure he's not the impostor, but Shadowsight stops the debate by siding with Bramblestar's story. His parents joyfully greet their son, but are concerned by his wounds. Shadowsight informs everyone that StarClan is with them, but they are trapped behind a thick bramble wall, and he asks to bring more cats to help. The Clan leaders are hesitant to send more cats into the Dark Forest: if a cat dies in the Dark Forest, their spirit is gone forever. They are also skeptical of saving the Dark Forest in the first place, but Shadowsight insists that they are saving something more important, StarClan. However, they are still dubious, and Mothwing wonders if it's even worth saving StarClan as the Clans have lived without them for some time. The Clan leaders eventually agree upon Tree's and Ivypool's insistence to save their kits. The Sisters agree to help send one cat from each Clan to the Dark Forest at sunrise the next day, and Graystripe volunteers for ThunderClan. In ShadowClan's camp, multiple cats volunteer to represent ShadowClan, but Lightleap's insistence and her Clanmates' approval forces Tigerstar's hand to pick his daughter.
- In the Dark Forest, Rootspring begins to hear a voice in his head, and it chides him when he spies on Ashfur and his cats. Ashfur orders the other Dark Forest spirits to search for Rootspring and his friends, though tensions are high between the ranks. Rootspring notices Conefoot, one of the trapped spirits, break free of his possession momentarily to snap at Darkstripe, and Rootspring wonders if strong emotion is enough to break free of Ashfur's control. Ashfur and the Dark Forest spirits notice the dark water has risen enough to cover the island, but concludes they don't need it. As Rootspring attempts to leave, Mapleshade finds him and Rootspring is kept prisoner. The voice in his head provides him words that frighten Ashfur away momentarily from the camp. The voice in Rootspring's head encourages him to call Darkstripe's attention, and as Rootspring repeats his words, Darkstripe grows fearful at Rootspring's eyes. He moves to attack, and the voice asks to possess Rootspring's body, revealing himself to be Firestar. Rootspring allows him, and Firestar's wandering spirit enters the younger tom's body. Firestar greets the Dark Forest spirits and questions why they're following Ashfur, calling him a liar. Darkstripe realizes it's Firestar and attacks him, and Firestar kills his spirit. The other Dark Forest spirits flee except for Silverhawk, who agrees to help Firestar and Rootspring save the Dark Forest. Firestar gives Rootspring his body back, and he and Silverhawk leave to find Bristlefrost.
- Bristlefrost comes across Maggottail, Sparrowfeather, and Redwillow worrying about the Dark Forest shrinking and Ashfur's promises to them to live a new life, but she is accidentally caught. However, the Dark Forest cats attempt to physically merge with her body, much to Bristlefrost's amusement as her body is still by the Moonpool. However, they are confused as Ashfur told them they could posses a cat by performing a ritual of pulling out three whiskers, burying them, and then closing their eyes. Bristlefrost insists that Ashfur lied to them as he can only physically posses Clan leaders who have multiple lives, and the ritual is a scam. She manages to convince them to help her save the Dark Forest as they deserve a place to call home. They arrive at the barrier, and Bristlefrost inspires hope in them to help create a tiny gap in the wall. Needletail, a StarClan cat, slips through the tiny gap they created. Rootspring sends a message to Bristlefrost's mind of Ashfur's imminent arrival, but before they can hide, the dark warrior promptly arrives with his army of spirit cats. He orders his spirits to kill Needletail, but she runs away. Bristlefrost wonders if her Dark Forest allies will betray her for Ashfur, but to her delight they help her. They attack Ashfur, but Bristlefrost calls a retreat after she notices Sparrowfeather nearly killed Rosepetal. As they flee, Redwillow falls into the dark water, and his spirit drowns. Needletail leads them up some trees to hide, and they kidnap Willowshine, Berrynose, and Stemleaf as Ashfur and his cats continue to search elsewhere. They are reunited with Rootspring and Silverhawk and they decide to head back to the barrier.
- In the living world, Crowfeather, Mistystar, Violetshine, Graystripe, and Lightleap are prepared to enter the Dark Forest, but Lightleap becomes too anxious to calm her mind. Shadowsight volunteers in her place, and the five cats dream into the Dark Forest with the help of the Sisters. In the Dark Forest, the group debates their next move as they head towards the barrier, and notice the gap Needletail had slipped through is much wider. Firestar bids farewell to Rootspring in his mind as Onestar, Larksong, Silverstream, Feathertail, and Redtail arrive from the barrier. Firestar himself also appears and thanks Rootspring. Juniperclaw, a Dark Forest spirit, arrives wanting to help, but the StarClan and Dark Forest cats sharply scold him for poisoning a Clan's fresh-kill pile. Juniperclaw insists he wishes to help his littermate's trapped spirit, and Rootspring stands up for him. Silverhawk also confesses that he attempted to kill his leader, and hopes he can make up for what he did. They are interrupted by the arrival of Shadowsight and the living cats, and there are joyous reunions: Firestar warmly greets Graystripe, Violetshine formerly introduces her son to Needletail, Silverstream and Feathertail reunite with Graystripe, Onestar eagerly shares news with Crowfeather, and Mistystar apologizes to Willowshine for her death.
- Shadowsight attempts to use his connection with Ashfur to figure out his location, but he only sees Ashfur's body with Shadowsight's face on him. The ShadowClan medicine cat freaks out, but Firestar commends his bravery. They search for Ashfur on higher land as the dark water continues to rise, and eventually find him alone in a clearing. They surround him and confront him for what he did. Ashfur tries to convince them to destroy StarClan as they have no special power, and Darktail arrives from the bushes with several dead rogues that Ashfur had harvested. A battle ensues, and Rootspring encourages Shadowsight to hide in a tree. Firestar and Graystripe fight side-by-side with seamless teamwork, and Rootspring is pleased to notice that he and Bristlefrost fight just as well together. When Darktail nearly kills Rootspring, Violetshine and Needletail kill the white rogue's spirit. As he and Bristlefrost once again fight alongside each other, Rootspring resolves that he's going to join ThunderClan to be with her.
- After Darktail's death, the rogue spirits slip away, and Firestar, Mistystar, and Graystripe advance on Ashfur. Graystripe brings a message to Ashfur from Squirrelflight: she used to love him, but realized she could never love him after he nearly killed Hollyleaf, Jayfeather, and Lionblaze, and she would always chose Bramblestar over him. Ashfur lashes out in Graystripe in anger, and Thistleclaw, Mapleshade, and the rogue spirits come back for another wave. As Shadowsight yowls a warning from his perch, he falls off the tree. As he struggles to regain his footing, Ashfur sends him into a mental haze and communicates with him in his mind. Ashfur tries to convince Shadowsight to kill Bristlefrost as her death would end the battle and lead to peace, but when he refuses, Ashfur instead belittles Shadowsight by calling him a liability. Shadowsight insists he knows where he belongs and he's loved by his friends and family. Bristlefrost notices Ashfur dragging Shadowsight's unresponsive body towards the dark water to kill him. She realizes what she has to do; she locks eyes with Rootspring briefly before charging at the dark warrior. She flings both of them into the dark water and drags his body deeper. Ashfur's spirit vanishes forever, and as the dark water drags Bristlefrost further away from the surface, she sees images of Rootspring in their mind and their family. Her spirit dies feeling the warmth of love.
- Rootspring wails for Bristlefrost, but Violetshine stops him from diving into the dark water. All around him, the possessed spirits regain their freedom and the remaining Dark Forest cats flee. The dark water recedes and Rootspring attempts to communicate with her spirit, but Bristlefrost's spirit is gone. Leafpool arrives with news that the connection between the living world and the afterlives is restored. As she leads them to the barrier with StarClan, Shadowsight blames himself for Bristlefrost's death. He thanks Juniperclaw for saving his life when he was a kit and confesses that he blames himself for everything that's happened. Juniperclaw firmly insists that is merely the Dark Forest talking and he saved the Clans. Shadowsight feels an emptiness inside him where Ashfur once was, and Leafpool reveals that Shadowsight could never communicate with StarClan. His connection was only with Ashfur as the source of his visions—the "seeing into the shadows" as Spiresight predicted—and now that Ashfur is gone, Shadowsight's connection with him has disappeared. Leafpool insists that his empty feeling would fade with time, but he's still a valued medicine cat.
- As they arrive at the now opened barrier, Firestar allows the living cats to see StarClan momentarily. Graystripe reunites with Millie and Briarlight, much to Silverstream's displeasure, and other cats reunite with relatives and loved-ones. Rootspring hopes to see Bristlefrost's spirit, but Firestar apologizes, revealing she's not here. Leafpool shows them the pool where they watch over the living world and communicate with medicine cats at the Moonpool. Mistystar angrily asks Gray Wing and Skystar why Ashfur was allowed to join StarClan, and the StarClan cats admit they made a mistake. Violetshine brings up if some aspects of the warrior code are more important than others, and Rootspring agrees, citing how Ashfur used the code to harm others. Leafpool suggests reordering the code so the most important ones are first, and the cats brainstorm on a possible ranking. The StarClan cats grant the Clans three moons to decide on changes to the warrior code. As they return to the barrier with the Dark Forest, Juniperclaw offers to guard the tunnel Ashfur created for the rest of eternity.
- The living cats return to their bodies besides the Moonpool. They bring news of Ashfur's death and StarClan's return. Ivypool worries for her daughter as Bristlefrost's body disappeared, and Mistystar and Rootspring reveal her sacrifice while killing Ashfur. Graystripe begins to succumb to his wounds, and despite Mothwing and Shadowsight's attempts, he asks for them to let him go. Graystripe dies shortly after, and Squirrelflight and Bramblestar yowl their sorrows. The next night, the medicine cats share with StarClan at the Moonpool. Shadowsight reveals that he could never communicate with StarClan and worries if he still belongs as a medicine cat. However, the others insist he's still one of them and apologize for making him feel unwanted. Shadowsight finally finds acceptance with his fellow medicine cats and the emptiness inside him begins to heal with joy.
- At the Gathering a half-moon later, the Clans welcome Bramblestar back. Bramblestar thanks those who've helped him: his mate Squirrelflight, Tigerstar for standing firm, the rebels who gave their lives, those who were tricked by the impostor and died, the courage of those who entered the Dark Forest, and those who died, Willowshine, Graystripe, and Bristlefrost. He honors those who entered the Dark Forest to save the Clans as Lights in the Mist, and the gathering cats cheer for them. Mistystar brings up the discussion about making changes to the warrior code, and the cats argue about a rule being added for cats who love another in a different Clan. Rootspring speaks up that he's a loyal cat, but was going to join ThunderClan to be with Bristlefrost because he loved her. However, they spent so much time worrying about their Clan loyalties that they never got together. Crowfeather suggests a formal process be made for cats who wish to switch Clans. After the Gathering, Rootspring attends a vigil for those who died, and Spotfur, Ivypool, and Fernsong ask him to make Stemleaf's and Bristlefrost's spirits appear. Rootspring tries to summon Bristlefrost's spirit, but only sees images of her in his mind of them together and their family of three kits. As SkyClan returns home, Rootspring resolves that Bristlefrost will continue to live on in his heart, and his grief finally begins to fade.
- Graystripe is Kate's all-time favorite character. When asked how she felt about Graystripe's death, Kate responded that she was glad she was the one who wrote it and that "I felt he was in safe and loving hands."[blog 2]
- A compiled list of the errors present in A Light in the Mist can be found here.
- A Light in the Mist (EN), HarperCollins (hardcover), 9 November 2021
- A Light in the Mist (EN), HarperCollins (e-book), 9 November 2021
- A Light in the Mist (EN), HarperCollins (paperback), 8 November 2022
- 迷霧之光 (ZH), Morningstar (paperback), 1 July 2022
- Licht im Nebel (DE), Beltz & Gelberg (hardcover), 20 July 2022, translated by Friederike Levin
Notes and references