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Year of the Black Rainbow is the first chapter of The Amory Wars by Claudio Sanchez. The story of this chapter was released on April 13th, 2010 as a 352 page novel, co-written by Claudio and Peter David, its release coinciding with the release of the album of the same name.


Year of the Black Rainbow follows Leonard Hohenberger, a scientist, as he fights for revenge against Wilhelm Ryan who has recently risen to power. In order to do this, he creates IRO-bots he calls Knowledge, Beast, and Inferno (KBI, for short). A summary is given for the book:

"Welcome to the world of Heaven's Fence, where a lattice of mysterious energy known as the Keywork binds and sustains life on a triangular network of planets--from the bleak and hellish Howling Earth to the sparse beauty of Bendelesh. Beneath the Keywork's glow, under the governance of the twelve grey-skinned Mages and the watchful gaze of the winged Prise, humanity goes about its daily life unaffected by the goings-on of the higher powers at work in the universe. Until the day when the ambitious Wilhelm Ryan, newest member to the brotherhood of Mages, acts on his growing discontent at being branded another ordinary Mage, ruling over one lowly Sector. Shrewd and silver-tongued, Ryan launches the Mage Wars: a devastating campaign to win control of the entire Fence and take on the legendary mantle of Supreme Tri-Mage, a position likened to God himself."


  1. Prologue
  2. Obscurity Has No Hero
  3. Cleanse This Useless Identity
  4. Guns of Summer
  5. The Worst These Worlds Will See
  6. Torn to Pieces
  7. The Black Rainbow
  8. Give Us the Monster
  9. A Wretched Design
  10. The Same Old Story
  11. Magicians
  12. The World of Lines
  13. Pearl of the Stars
  14. Made Out of Nothing
  15. Everything You Love
  16. While You Were Sleeping
  17. All Falls Apart
  18. In the Flame of Error
  19. This Shattered Symphony
  20. New in Town
  21. When Skeletons Live
  22. I'll Be Your Ghost
  23. Epilogue

Plot Summary

The story opens on the Howling Earth, in medias res of the actual plotline. Coheed and Cambria have been sent there on a mission by Dr. Hohenberger to investigate a sudden occurrence of rapidly diminishing Keywork energy in the area. Coheed and Cambria manage to sneak into a large hidden mining facility by apprehending the guards, taking several of them hostage. They ride an elevator down to the very bottom and discover a huge crystalline structure running from the floor to the ceiling a mile high that is mining Keywork energy. Coheed remarks on the gargantuan size of the structure, saying, "Here we are, Juggernaut." Coheed and Cambria prepare to destroy the structure when they are stopped by General Mayo Deftinwolf of the Red Army. Coheed and Deftinwolf engage in a fight, and it seems Deftinwolf has the upper hand when Cambria blows him away with her telekinetic abilities, saving Coheed. Coheed uses his arm-cannon and Cambria uses her psychokinetic powers to destroy the Keywork-mining structure, releasing thousands of tortured souls from the energy mass onto the surface of the Howling Earth. Cambria is knocked unconscious, and Coheed slings her over his back, running back to the surface to escape the supernatural phenomenon. As he does, Deftinwolf shouts, "You fools! You have attracted the attention of the Supreme Tri-Mage, Wilhelm Ryan! Consider this battle lost." Coheed and Cambria escape the facility as it explodes behind them and rendezvous with Inferno aboard the Grail Arbor.

The setting shifts to, "In, and Somewhere Slightly Later Than, the Beginning," on the Planet Sinosure. Mage Covent Marth is painting a picture of the sky bleeding over his planet. As he does so, Wilhelm Ryan enters his chambers. The two begin a discussion of how Ryan completes the Twelve, replacing Sundihar Jepp of Sector 6. Marth then tells Ryan that he has sensed great evil from him, and that Ryan is a "harbinger of doom" to the other Mages. Ryan doesn't disregard this, and they walk out into the 12-Pointed Star of Sinosure where Admiral Vielar Crom and General Mayo Deftinwolf fire warning sniper shots at each other's respective Mage. Ryan leaves Sinosure with a vague threat, and Marth comes to realize that this will not end well at all.

Time passes and eventually, Wilhelm Ryan decides to take over his neighboring Sector 10 with his newly constructed United Red Army. He demands an audience with his fellow Mages and publicly executes Mage Rolander Gurash. This served as Ryan's declaration of war and would later be known as "The Gurash Example." Ryan proceeds to take over Sector 12, and like Gurash, Mage Litan Boss was also murdered by Ryan. Mage Althaddeus Favor, overseer of the House Atlantic on Apity Prime, Sector 1, became an ally of Ryan's. The Red Army captured Mages Hanton Jo Seph and Malvas Limbi of Sectors 2 and 3 and they surrendered to Ryan. Ryan realized the value of imprisoned Mages and similarly took Mages Bran Wilsinger of Sector 5 and Xi Tolander of Sector 7 hostage. He also caused a dispute between Sectors 8, 9 and 11, causing a small civil war between them. With each sector greatly weakened by numerous battles, Ryan found it easy to overtake these sectors as well, taking their respective Mages as prisoners. Eventually, Ryan even betrayed Althaddeus Favor in the confines of the House Atlantic. The specific events were never reported, though Favor was never heard from again. This left Ryan with only one oppostion to his power left: Covent Marth himself.

Meanwhile, in a small secluded home on Apity Prime, Leonard Hohenberger confronts his teenage son Joseph about his decision to attend a peace rally against the Mage Wars. Hohenberger reluctantly allows his son to go, remarking to himself in his mind, Not even out of bed and I've already likely screwed up the day. Joseph leaves, and Leonard goes to his greenhouse to speak with his wife, Pearl. Pearl shows him a genetically-altered dragonfly with stinger attached. Impressed, Leonard tells her about Joseph's participation in the rally, and Pearl is outraged. She demands that they stop him immediately, though Joseph has already left. Pearl and Leonard leave their home to find Joseph in the city.

The scene shifts to the rally that Joseph is attending. Red Army soldiers have opened fire on the protesters and hysteria has broken out. Confused and frightened, Joseph tries to run, but he is shot in the gut. He dies a slow and painful death, obsessing over the fact that his shirt, given to him by his mother for his birthday, is ruined. Pearl arrives on the scene to save him, but Joseph dies in his mother's arms.

While the United Red Army is busy taking care of the protesters, Covent Marth and Vielar Crom track down Wilhelm Ryan on Sinosure in a towering spire. Marth and Crom command their troops to open fire on the tower, destroying it within minutes. Marth enters the shattered remains of the spire, believing Ryan to be dead, but Ryan has used a secret teleportation technique to escape the falling tower. Ryan surprises Marth and quickly kills him, putting an end to all resistance against him. Wilhelm Ryan declares himself Supreme Tri-Mage and kills off all of Marth's army, taking Vielar Crom as a prisoner.

Pearl is devastated by the loss of her son and Ryan's victory in the Mage War. She blames Leonard for letting him go to the rally and ultimately holds him responsible for Joseph's death. She says that her family will never be whole again until Ryan is dead and Joseph will know peace.

Wilhelm Ryan and Mayo Deftinwolf host a victory parade through the streets of Apity Prime. Ryan makes a speech to the masses, stating that God has not protected them and that Ryan is more powerful than God himself. He tells his men, "Let the cleansing begin," ordering them to release a massive spray of alcoholic drinks into the city, inebriating the population. The entire city goes into a drunken festival for the night and basks in Ryan's supremecy.

On Star IV the next morning, Paranoia, Guardian of the Prise, and her fellow sister Ambellina notice something in the sky above Bendelesh. It is a vast ebony band, stretching across the sky with no beginning or end. Smoke tendrils extend out of the celestial body, and it seems to be comprised of nothing but emptiness and it shows no sign of going away any time soon. Ryan notices this as well on Apity Prime, and people all around the Fence begin to say it is a sign from God either approving or disapproving Ryan's regime. They all learn to call this unexplained phenomenon, "The Black Rainbow."

Pearl Hohenberger believes The Black Rainbow is Ryan's doing. When Leonard persists that it is the work of God, Pearl snaps and says that God does not exist, otherwise he would have been there for Joseph, been there to stop Ryan. Discouraged, Leonard leaves his house and walks to the spot in the surrounding forest where Joseph was buried. He speaks to his son's gravestone when he is visited by a Prise, who tells him that he has been chosen to stand against Wilhelm Ryan. The Prise tells Leonard that he will need three beings with extraordinary powers to stand against him. Leonard must create three beings through Artificial Cellular Generation. The Prise grants Leonard with a "creative spark" and a sample of her DNA and leaves. Enlightened, Leonard returns home and tells Pearl, "Each night I pray to God that you can rest. Seeing what this has done to you... it hurts me more than any man can bare. I'd give you anything--everything--if only I knew you'd take it." Pearl responds, "I hate everything I am becoming. This hand, this hurt... my heart. I'm flirting with disaster."

Leonard Hohenberger and his colleagues, Dr. Inaid and Dr. Stockmeyer, begin work on the K.B.I., the Knowledge, Beast and Inferno, and the current era is described as, "Year of the Black Rainbow." Hohenberger first creates Inferno, an IRO-bot and a clone to Hohenberger himself. Inferno is designated the leader of the trinity. Next he created Coheed (The Beast) and Cambria (The Knowledge). Coheed is given brute strength, seven machete blades that can protrude from and retract into his left arm, and a right arm that can transform into powerful pulser cannon. Cambria is outfitted with the Prise DNA, giving her special psychokintetic abilities. Together, Inferno, Coheed and Cambria are secretly set out on missions all across Heaven's Fence against Wilhelm Ryan's forces.

After a training exercise with Cambria and Inferno at Dr. Hohenberger's home, Coheed encounters Pearl Hohenberger, who tells him he is not real. She tells him he is an artificial being, and this surprises Coheed. He does not know the difference between artifical and real. She tells him that his official name is, "The Beast," and Cambria's is, "The Knowledge." When Coheed asks for Inferno's official name, she tells him that it is merely Inferno. This leads Coheed to skepticize about Dr. Hohenberger's true intentions.

"Just Past The Middle..." Mayo Deftinwolf reports the termination of the operation on the Howling Earth at the hands of Coheed and Cambria to his master, Wilhelm Ryan. Ryan states that it must be the Prise's doing. When Deftinwolf asks if they should reconstruct the project on the Howling Earth, Ryan tells him, "We will do nothing until I know precisely what we are dealing with. The Project can wait, General. The Keywork isn't going anywhere. For that matter, neither is The Black Rainbow." Ryan then visits Vielar Crom's prisoner cell and asks him to join him as Admiral to the Red Army. Crom respectfully declines.

"The battle had been taken to Wilhelm Ryan in a way that it never had been during the Mage Wars. On one occasion, in the month that passed, he would actually confront them face to face and attempt to simply blow Knowledge and Beast out of existence, firm in the belief that there was no creature upon Heaven's Fence of which he was not master. Such a tactic had worked on other foes, including Marth.

Knowledge, the Beast, and Inferno--KBI, as they would be referred to in whispers througout the Fence--were not beings spawned of anything natural. Crafted from varied components including DNA supplied by the celestial Prise, they were beings upon whom Ryan's abilities proved ineffective.

Their tactics, on the other hand, proved all too effective against Ryan's interests.

Word began to spread that there was a resistance growing against the power base of Wilhelm Ryan. People who are bludgeoned into submission do not willingly stay that way for long. Ryan acquired his supporters, those who were willing to convince themselves that the identity of the person or persons overseeing Heaven's Fence was of no relevance to them. What did it matter who was running things, as long as they had jobs and food and a home to go to and a bed upon which to rest their heads?

But there were others who had a much broader view of the worlds opon which they lived. Others who saw Wilhelm Ryan as a dark cancer that would slowly grow to consume the entirety of Heaven's Fence.

And these individuals challenged the authority of Ryan and, more particularly, his men and any who were allied with the House Atlantic.

They staged protests against Ryan. They targeted Ryan's soldiers, sent into incendiary situations' in cooperation with the government who felt that their own peace officers were overmatched by the ferocity and anger of the crowds.

And wherever Ryan's army was out in force, there did Coheed and Cambria show up as well. It seemed almost supernatural, the way they manged to be right where they needed to be, ready and willing and more than able to unleash punishment upon Ryan's armed forces. They did so with an unrestrained joy in the orgy of battle and boundless confidence as they would triumph... which they inevitably did.

Inferno, the less visible but no less important member of their endeavors, constantly monitored their actions and served as their eye in the sky. As time passed, he could not help but notice the bond that seemed to be growing between Coheed and Cambria. Neither of them seemed to be aware of it; or perhapes they were simply unwilling to admit it, since they could both be staggeringly stubborn at times. This was something of a relief to Inferno, since he was convinced that emotional ties between them could prove destructive to their mission in the long-term and should be discouraged or, at the very least, not encouraged.

There were some who believed that these mysterious individuals, of whom the government claimed they had no trace and therefore could not possibly exist, were behind the protests. That they were orchestrating matters in order to lure Ryan's men so that they could then come sweeping in and smash through them, leaving devastation as their calling card.

There were others who were convinced that they were the right hand of God, who had put forth The Black Rainbow as a sign to let people know that these powerful beings were going to be coming to rescue them from whatever schemes Ryan had hatching. Those fervent beliefs helped to stoke the flames of rebellion. There were cries to shake off Wilhelm Ryan as a dog shakes off fleas. That Ryan had deep and fearful schemes that the Lord on High was trying to warn humanity about, then God might have to do it Himself. And there was every possibility that God might feel the need to annihilate the entirety of humanity while He was at it.

None of this bothered Ryan.

Knowing that time was on his side, his people investigated every possibly aspect of 'Knowledge' and 'Beast.' They used spies and soldiers and bribery and incentives and double blinds and scapegoats and decoys...

And eventually Ryan found them.

It went all downhill from there."

One day, after returning home from work in his lab, Leonard Hohenberger discovered Pearl was missing. While searching for her, he is ambushed by Mayo Deftinwolf. Deftinwolf tells him that his wife has been captured and shows Leonard a video of her in a glass coffin, suspended by chains above a yawning pit in a secret dungeon. Defintinwolf gives him a data chip with plans for an artificial Monstar virus, a virus that can break the bonds of the Keywork and cause Armageddon, a virus that Hohenberger must create if he wishes to see Pearl again. In addition, Hohenberger must also surrender Coheed and Cambria to Wilhelm Ryan. Broken, torn to pieces, Leonard Hohenberger agrees.

Inside an unknown dungeon, Pearl Hohenberger dangles helplessly in her glass coffin sealed shut and suspended with eight chains. She slowly loses her sanity as she is lectured sporadically by Wilhelm Ryan himself and begins to blame her husband more and more. She keeps a mental log of the time she spends there measured by her heartbeat. Time passes through Day 1, Day 2, Day 5, Day 9, Day 13, Day 19, Day 23, Day 27, Day 32, Day 37 and eventually reaches Day 38 when she is thouroughly convinced it is Leonard's fault. On that day, she confronts Ryan, stating that she has been there for over a month and that she is not broken yet. Dumbfounded, Ryan tells her she has not even been in there for a day yet, only several hours. Pearl refuses to believe him, but Ryan convinces her by pointing out that her fingernails haven't grown at all. Pearl is devastated, her last thought being, I'm in hell...

In Dr. Hohenberger's lab, Leonard, Coheed, Cambria and Inferno argue over what Leonard should do to save his wife. Leonard gets fed up at their constant bickering and leaves. He walks to the greenhouse, where Pearl performed her experiments and sulks. Suddenly, he sees the dragonfly, the one Pearl had genetically altered and added a stinger on. He watched as a black bird chases the dragonfly throughout the greenhouse, but is defeated when the insect arcs around and stings it. The dragonfly's special poison, the caché syrum, is injected into the bird's body and it drops dead to the greenhouse floor. Leonard has an epiphany. He captures the dragonfly and hurries back to his lab. Coheed, Cambria and Inferno are still arguing, but Cambria immediately orders Coheed and Inferno to leave. When Leonard questions the morals of his actions to Cambria, she tells him to trust his love for Pearl.

Hohenberger later orders Inferno to stay aboard the Grail Arbor until further notice [This sentence needs to be reevaluated]. Coheed and Cambria learn of this, and Coheed becomes suspicious of the Doctor's intentions. Cambria tells Coheed to trust the Doctor, and that he is trusting his love for his wife. Cambria explains to Coheed that she is beginning to understand the concept of love. Coheed and Cambria immediately fall into each other's arms and kiss. They confess their love for each other and kiss once more, only to be interrupted by Dr. Hohenberger himself. He tells them to follow him into his lab, and once they arrive there, he says the name, "Camille," aloud. The name is a security failsafe word and the name of Hohenberger's first love, and Coheed and Cambria immediately fall unconscious. He straps them onto operating tables and begins to work.

General Mayo Deftinwolf returns to Dr. Hohenberger's house and inquires as to the status of the Monstar virus. Hohenberger gives the General the unconscious forms of Coheed and Cambria and says that the virus is in them. Enraged, Deftinwolf threatens the Doctor, but Hohenberger states that he did just as the General asked, giving him Coheed, Cambria and the virus. Deftinwolf angrily accepts them and leaves. Once he does, Hohenberger attends to the cure he created to stop the Monstar virus: a baby girl named Josephine.

At the House Atlantic, Ryan agrees to set Pearl free and she is transported back to her home with General Deftinwolf. Along the ride, Mayo tells her that Leonard agreed to create a virus that could cause the apocalypse in order to save her. He tells her that Leonard willingly handed Coheed and Cambria over to the United Red Army just so he could save his wife. Pearl becomes furious, and Mayo leaves her with a pulser gun outside her home.

Inside his house, Leonard has a dream where the ground parts from below and he, Pearl and Joseph descend into hell. He awakens from his nightmare, and upon Pearl's arrival rushes outside to greet her. Pearl is furious with her husband and she demands to know if everything Deftinwolf told her was true. Leonard reluctantly confirms this, but before he can explain why, she attacks him with her cane and knocks him unconscious. Pearl is about to shoot him with Deftinwolf's pulser, but she is distracted by her syringia dragonfly as it buzzes past her. Forgetting about Leonard in her mentally unstable state, she chases after it, all the way out into the forest to Joseph's grave. She climbs up a tree to grab at it, but she falls, hitting her head on Joseph's gravestone and killing herself. Leonard wakes up and discovers this and begins to cry. He tells his dead wife and son that he will be the man they always needed and set things right for all of them.

In Apity Central, Mayo Deftinwolf is giving a speech in honor of Wilhelm Ryan. He states that the terrorist organization against Ryan has been defeated and that Ryan can rule in peace once more. Suddenly, a pulser blast whizzes past his head, and he looks into the crowd to see Leonard Hohenberger with a gun. Red Army soldiers immediately aprehend the would-be assassin and bring him onstage to Deftinwolf. Hohenberger commands Deftinwolf to kill him in front of the crowd, and when the General refuses, the Doctor seizes the weapon of a nearby soldier and fires once more at Deftinwolf, screaming, "This is for Pearl!" The shot misses, however, and Mayo Deftinwolf retalliates with a blast of his own, killing the Doctor. When the crowd cheers and begins to chant his name, Deftinwolf tells the people, "Not me, my friends! I but serve the will of Wilhelm Ryan!" and the crowd cheers louder.

Onboard the Grail Arbor, Inferno learns of Dr. Hohenberger's death and returns to the Doctor's home. Upon his arrival, he discovers two things: Josephine incubating in an iso-chamber and a video message from the late Doctor. Inferno views the video and learns that Coheed has been implanted with the Monstar virus and that the trigger mechanism is inside Cambria and Pearl's syringia dragonfly. He discovers Coheed and Cambria have both been given to Wilhelm Ryan and taken to the House Atlantic and that the cure to the Monstar virus lies within Josephine, although it cannot be activated until she matures to her twenty-third year of age. Inferno accepts that he must take care of Josephine and Hohenberger's work, but first he must rescue Coheed and Cambria.

On the top floor of High Tower at the House Atlantic, Wilhelm Ryan and Mayo Deftinwolf study the unconscious forms of Coheed and Cambria when suddenly, a shuttlepod streaks through the sky towards the House Atlantic. Ryan orders his men to blast the pod out of the sky, but it evades the Red Army fire. Inferno emerges from the pod and jumps onto the House's protective energy shield. Ryan laughs and calls him a fool, which confirms Inferno's speculation: the shield is not sound-proof. Inferno shouts, "Camille!" and wakes up Coheed and Cambria.

Coheed rips free from his restraints and engages in hand-to-hand combat with Mayo Deftinwolf. The two seem to be evenly matched, and Cambria uses her abilities to enter Wilhelm Ryan's mind. They battle inside the Supreme Tri-Mage's mind, and together they fall into Ryan's subconscious Black Rainbow. When all seems lost for Cambria, she uses the power of Love to escape back into reality. When Ryan asks if that was her best attack, Cambria replies that her psychokinetic abilities are a close second, which she uses to attack Ryan. The Tri-Mage brushes the attack easily aside, stating, "You should have stuck with love. At least that provided some amusement value."

Inferno enters the House Atlantic and the Grail Arbor, piloted by Inferno's friend, Bezal, enters the atmosphere above Apity Central. Inferno disables the shield from inside the fortress and the Arbor opens fire, pummeling the House Atlantic with massive pulser blasts. Coheed and Cambria engage in battle with Deftinwolf and Ryan, during which time the left half of Deftinwolf's face is badly cut by Coheed's blades, partially blinding him and, most likely, causing the reconstruction of that side with mechanical pieces seen in Second Stage Turbine Blade. Eventually, Ryan and Deftinwolf are defeated once the House begins to crumble. Coheed and Cambria race down the stairs in an attempt to escape the falling castle.

Inferno makes his way down the the dungeons and discovers all the cells are empty. He is then confronted by Mayo Deftinwolf and the two begin to fight. Inferno defeats Deftinwolf easily with a chain, shattering the left half of his skull. Inferno leaves the General to die in the dungeon as the House Atlantic is destroyed.

Coheed and Cambria rendezvoused with Inferno and they quickly escaped the crumbling castle. Bezal focused the Grail Arbor's guns on the High Tower of the House Atlantic and begin to fire. The tower gave way and collapsed on the lower sections. There was a thunderous roar, a billowing cloud of dust, and a sound that sounded like a vast implosion and the House Atlantic, the structure that had come to symbolize Wilhelm Ryan and everything he stood for... Inferno deactivates Coheed and Cambria while they were sleeping in bed. His plan was to have them wake up on their own with their memories erased. To live a normal family life until Josephine was old enough to cure the Monstar virus.

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