Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods

by Suzanne Collins

Despite the difficulties it has caused for his family, Gregor finds it hard to distance himself from the Underland. When he receives word that a plague has broken out and his bond Ares is one of the victims, he heads down to help with yet another of Bartholomew of Sandwich's prophecies. His mother, however, hates the Underland and only allows Boots and Gregor below on the condition that she comes with them.

Gregor immediately joins a group of creatures on a quest to find the starshade, as described in "The Prophecy of Blood". The current queen, Nerissa, has arranged Hamnet - the estranged, pacifistic son of Solovet and Vikus - as their guide. Hamnet, his Halflander son Hazard, and their hisser companion Frill lead the motley crew through the dangerous Jungle and numerous setbacks. During a near-death experience with a pool of quicksand, the group encounters Luxa, the heir apparent of Regalia who was assumed to be dead after the quest in Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane. She and her bond Aurora were trapped in the Jungle when Aurora dislocated her wing, and have been living there with a colony of nibblers (mice). After Hamnet fixes Aurora's wing, the bonds accompany the questers. They arrive at the Vineyard of Eyes, but an army of cutters (ants, who would like to see all warm-blooded creatures gone) destroys the starshade and kill both Hamnet and Frill. The group's hopes are crushed until they realize a new possibility: that the plague was developed by the humans as a biological agent to be used against the rats. The group hastens home, and find their theory proved correct by the humans' new medication, developed without the supposed "cradle cure". Luxa furiously exposes the covert military project. Dr. Neveeve is executed for her participation and Solovet, the project's head, is imprisoned in preparation for a trial. Following up on a promise to Ripred, Luxa sends doses of the cure to the gnawers while the Regalian hospital treats as many human and bat victims as possible. Though she is healing, Gregor's mother is too weak to go home, and so the book ends with Gregor confiding his problems to his neighbor Mrs. Cormaci.

The Prophecy of Blood

The "Prophecy of Blood" is unusual in two ways: it is the first of Bartholomew of Sandwich's prophecies to feature a repeating "refrain"; and it is carved backwards in a tight corner of the prophecy room, so that a mirror is required to read it.

The repeating refrain goes as follows: Turn and turn and turn again.
You see the what but not the when.
Remedy and wrong entwine,
And so they form a single vine. Gregor hypothesizes that Sandwich included a cryptic repeating segment in the prophecy to drum the meaning of these lines into the heads of his readers, or to emphasize their importance. The prophecy's other stanzas describe the plague and who it affects, call for the warrior's return, explain how to find the cure and win allies amongst the nonhuman species, and warn strongly against allowing a war to start in the Underland. Gregor refers to this final point as "Sandwich's usual prediction that if things didn't work out, there would be total destruction and everybody would end up dead." As with other prophecies in The Underland Chronicles, its meaning "only becomes clear in the later stages of the book".