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The Locked Tomb Wiki

This article refers to the novel Gideon the Ninth, for the character Gideon the Ninth please refer to Gideon Nav.

Gideon the Ninth is an adult science fantasy novel written by Tamsyn Muir, originally published on 10 September 2019. It is the first book in The Locked Tomb Series followed by Harrow the Ninth, Nona the Ninth, and Alecto the Ninth. The cover art was done by Tommy Arnold and the audiobook is read by Moira Quirk. Gideon the Ninth is Muir's debut novel.


The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense.

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as arcane revenants. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.[1]


Act I[]

Gideon Nav plans her escape from the dour Ninth House, an attempt that is quickly foiled by the Heir to the House and rival Harrowhark Nonagesimus. When Harrow's cavalier, Ortus Nigenad, escapes on Gideon's shuttle, Gideon is pressed into service in his place. On The Emperor's summons, Gideon and Harrow travel to the First House and compete with the other scions of The Nine Houses System to ascend to the glorious and immortal position of Lyctor—a position Harrow desperately needs in order to revive her dying House. On the first night of the Trials, the shuttles that carried the competitors disappear, trapping them on the planet.

Act II[]

The Lyctor Trials begin, and all of the Houses spread out to work independently. Abandoned by Harrowhark, Gideon spends much of her time training and meeting the other competitors. She begins to build friendships with the Fourth House teens, who admire her, the Fifth House cavalier, who seeks to encourage cooperation, and the Seventh House necromancer, who takes a keen and often flirtatious interest in Gideon. The Second House keeps to themselves, but is generally cordial, and, after a round of duels, she develops an animosity with the Third House cavalier. Sixth and Eighth House are rarely seen at all. It quickly becomes clear that the inter-House bonds are extraordinarily weak, and the guests treat each other with open distrust and even outright hostility.

As Gideon navigates the social culture of Canaan House, Harrowhark descends into the basement to the mysterious laboratory containing tests that stretch the bounds of necromancy and attempts to reverse-engineer the secret to Lyctorhood. She marks Sixth House necromancer Palamedes Sextus as her main competition, and the two race to solve the trials before the other. When Harrowhark fails to return home one evening, Gideon teams up with Palamedes and his cavalier, Camilla Hect, to locate her and is introduced to the basement facility. Gideon and Harrowhark learn that both necromancer and cavalier are required to solve the puzzle and develop a tentative camaraderie. After a dinner party is thrown by the Fifth House, followed by a night working in the facility, the pair beat their first test and earn a key. As they are leaving, they discover the murdered bodies of Abigail Pent and Magnus Quinn.

Act III[]

The investigation into the murders of the Fifth House reveals little about their deaths but cracks the mysteries of the First House wide open. The law-abiding Second House attempts to bring in the authorities, but are stopped by the guardians of Canaan House who insist there is no law here, only the vague instruction from the Lord. With all of the necromancer/cavalier teams aware of the facility and the elusive keys, the race to complete challenges grows ever tighter. Despite their host's warnings of a malevolent spirit haunting the laboratory, Harrow and Gideon descend again into the facility to complete their cruelest test yet (with a little help from Dulcinea Septimus). With the completion of the last laboratory comes the realization that keys are not only limited but nearly all claimed. The atmosphere abruptly loses all semblance of cordiality with the appearance of another body and the disappearance of Seventh cavalier, Protesilaus Ebdoma.

Keys come to the front yet again, and this time a round of duels and thieving accompany it. Judith Deuteros of Second House makes a power play, followed by Ianthe Tridentarius of Third. Both fail to secure new keys, and the larger group fractures into three: Fifth and Seventh, who are dead, missing, or incapacitated; Second, Third, and Eighth, who have each gone off separately to pursue keys; and Fourth, Sixth, and Ninth, who have teamed up to follow the investigations to their conclusions. As Harrow and Palamedes guard the critically ill scion of the Seventh House, Gideon and Fourth House descend into the facility to search for Protesilaus. Gideon's group discovers a terrifying and impossible bone construct monster, and the Fourth necromancer and cavalier are slain.

Act IV[]

Following the death of Fourth House, Gideon and Harrow have a falling out over Dulcinea. Suspecting that Gideon may have become compromised by her feelings, Harrow forbids her from seeing the Seventh and refuses to release Gideon from her service. Angry and upset, Gideon accepts an offer to take tea with Eighth House, where she learns that the childhood flu that killed a generation of Ninth children, was in reality an act of genocide. Lost, and finding more evidence against Harrow, Gideon turns to Palamedes. After an all-House meeting, Harrow explains every secret that has been kept from Gideon since birth, and the girl's bond becomes stronger than ever.

Sixth and Ninth return to the keys and laboratories, but things in Canaan House quickly collapse. Second House duels and kills the priests of Canaan House in an attempt to send an SOS, Ianthe locates the last key and pieces together the horrible mystery of Lyctorhood, Silas and Colum are killed in a battle with Ianthe, and Palamedes realizes that Dulcinea Septimus is not who she claims to be. Cytherea the First, Seventh Saint to Serve the Lord Undying reveals her true identity and her plan to lure The Emperor home and kill him. In the following battle, Gideon gives her life for Harrow to ascend to Lyctorhood and defeat Cytherea.

Act V[]

Harrow, broken and grief-stricken, defeats Cytherea the First.


The new Lyctors, Ianthe and Harrow, are brought on to The Emperor's shuttle, where he asks them to join him in the war to protect a dying Empire. They agree.


The Ninth House[]

The First House[]

The Second House[]

  • Judith Deuteros: Heir to the House of the Second, Ranked Captain of the Cohort
  • Marta Dyas: Cavalier Primary to the Heir, Ranked First Lieutenant of the Cohort

The Third House[]

The Fourth House[]

The Fifth House[]

  • Abigail Pent: Heir to the House of the Fifth, Lady of the Koniortos Court
  • Magnus Quinn: Cavalier Primary to the Heir, Seneschal of the Koniortos Court

The Sixth House[]

  • Palamedes Sextus: Heir to the House of the Sixth, Master Warden of the Library
  • Camilla Hect: Cavalier Primary to the Heir, Warden's Hand of the Library

The Seventh House[]

The Eighth House[]

  • Silas Octakiseron: Heir to the House of the Eighth, Master Templar of the White Glass
  • Colum Asht: Cavalier Primary to the Heir, Templar of the White Glass



“Deft, tense and atmospheric, compellingly immersive and wildly original.” —The New York Times

“Unlike anything I’ve ever read. Muir’s writing is as sharp as a broken tooth, and just as unsettling.” —V.E. Schwab, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

“With a snorting laugh and two middle fingers, the whole thing burns end-to-end. It is deep when you expect shallow, raucous when you expect dignity and, in the end, absolutely heartbreaking when you least expect it.” —NPR

“Warm and cold; goofy and gleaming; campy and epic; a profane Daria in space.” —Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

“I can't remember the last time I was so delightedly baffled by a book. An astonishing, genre-defying, hilarious-violent-tragic-horrifying-thrilling wonder of a novel.” —Kiersten White, NYT Bestselling Author of And I Darken

“Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space! Decadent nobles vie to serve the deathless emperor! Skeletons!” —Charles Stross, author of The Laundry Files and Empire Games

“I started this book chuckling at the outrageous premise. I finished it crying, because the ending punched me straight in the gut.” —Vox


  • Locus Award Best First Novel Winner 2020 [2]
  • IAFA Crawford Award Winner 2020 [3]
  • Nebula Award Finalist [4]
  • Hugo Awards Best Novel Finalist [5]
  • World Fantasy Awards Novel Finalist [6]
  • Goodreads Choice Awards Best Science Fiction Finalist[7]
  • Goodreads Choice Awards Best Debut Novel Finalist[8]


  1. Gideon the Ninth.” Publishing,
  2. "2020 Locus Mag Winners" LocusMag.
  3. "2020 IAFA Crawford Award and Shortlist Announced," International Association for the Fantastic in Arts.
  4. "Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s 2020 Nebula Award Finalists," Nebula Awards.
  5. "2020 Hugo Awards," The Hugo Awards.
  6. "World Fantasy Award 2020," World Fantasy
  7. "Best Science Fiction Novel 2019" Goodreads.
  8. "Best Debut Novel 2019" Goodreads.