Chapter 36: Jax creates a distraction by blowing up a garage that is a little distance from the main house. Dante, Erik, Jost, and Adelice head towards the Icebox in a crawler; they take Valery with them. Adelice falls into a nightmare, and is woken by Erik. The crawler stops in front of the dark ocean; from where they are, they can see Alcatraz Island – and it is high tide. They begin building a raft, inflating it until it is a large board. Since the tide is still high when they begin to row, Jost and Erik push the raft hard against the tide and catch a large wave. As they are rowing, a wave seizes the boat; Adelice misses the beat and the force of the water knocks the paddle from her hands. As she reaches out for it, she goes under the water. She tries hard to resist, but she gulps against the pressure until her lungs stop trying and she blacks out.
Chapter 37: Erik screams Adelice’s name and grabs ahold of her. He pulls her out of the water and onto the rocky shoreline, performing CPR and bringing her back to consciousness. She struggles to her feet, and tries to push Erik away. But he wraps his arms around her, and draws her closer to the heat of his body. They kiss passionately. They meet up with the others, who had thought that they drowned. The island is dark, with no light shining from the watchtower. They see a variety of buildings surrounding the perimeter, but they are silent and lifeless. As they enter the building, a gunshot whistles and buffets along the walls behind Adelice. Dante shoves her to the ground, and pulls out his own gun. In the midst of the gunfire, Adelice realizes that the prison has been reinforced against both nature and time – the strands of time do not flash with the inconsistencies that she is accustomed to. She wrenches a long, thick strand from its locked position and holds it in her hand, with the warp blocking a shot just in time. Adelice sees the guard who shot at them, confused as to what exactly happened. They all rush at the guard, and Erik seizes his gun. Dante asks him where the others are, and the guard says that only he and his family are there. He says that aside from him and his family, the only other person on the island is the scientist – who lives in the old warden’s house. Dante sends the guard and his family running to the Icebox.
Chapter 38: When the group approaches the warden’s house, and the door opens, Adelice recognizes the scientist as the same one from the news clipping in the Old Curiosity Shop and from the propaganda film she watched at Adelice’s estate. He is no older than he was in the picture and the film. When he invites them in for tea, everyone is skeptical. Adelice is the first one to step in and extend a friendly greeting. The scientist reveals himself to be Dr. Albert Einstein. Dante and Adelice explain the resistance of Kairos, the involvement of Kincaid and the Guild, and why exactly they came to Alcatraz – Einstein is generally unsurprised and ostensibly informed about what Adelice and her friends have come to do. He explains that when he was locked away, the armies were mounting. He said that it was not his place to end the Guild, and that he merely wanted to stop the Guild’s destruction of those who remained on Earth. Einstein admits that he was the mind behind the immortality that the Guild touts – a side effect of the Cypress Project. Einstein says that he was the one who had introduced the idea of splicing strands into threads, which was originally intended to prevent illness and strengthen the population. He did not foresee the effects of this new system; however, officials realized that they could use the technology of the new system to prevent aging, giving them absolute power. Einstein shamefully admits that he did not stop to consider how the looms could be misused and was merely concerned with making Arras functional and safe for the population. Because the Cypress Project stretched the funds of the nations involved in its conception, other private financial backers of the project took positions of authority. Those like Cormac and Kincaid began asking questions not about how the loom could be used to their advantage, but about who among the scientists involved could help them achieve these possibly benefits. One of Einstein’s men turned on him and helped them out. Einstein says that if the worlds were to be separated then the course of evolution would begin again. Einstein says that to achieve the separation they would need the Whorl, which he does not have – then he points to Adelice and says that she is the Whorl.
Chapter 39: Dante asks Einstein how he knows that Adelice is the Whorl, and says that she is able to catch the elements and command them, and she can alter like a Tailor. Einstein says that she genetically has both powers. He also reveals that once he had figured out a way to separate the worlds, the businessmen behind the Cypress Project sanctioned him, because those in power wanted to keep a connection between both worlds in order to take advantage of Earth’s resources. Einstein says that the true motivations behind the Guild’s actions were that it wanted to control the genetics of those who came into the weave. Einstein had engineered Spinsters, but Tailors were an unanticipated side effect. As Einstein studied boys, he said that it was difficult to ascertain and predict which boys would be born with special abilities; girls were more predictable. A child born with both sets of genetic makeup to weave and to alter could bind Earth off, and it could only be a girl who possessed both abilities. The weaving trait refused to manifest in male children. Adelice has both abilities, meaning she can capture elements and alter them profoundly. It also turns out that Einstein has been altered, and the Guild wound Albert’s strands into the time and matter in the warden’s house. Adelice and Dante delicately unwind Einstein from the house’s strands, and amid the crumbling of wood and walls, Einstein whispers something in Adelice’s ears, which she does not initially register. Dante goes back in to grab Einstein’s papers. Valery says that they should leave, and also says that Kincaid and Guild have both arrived. Adelice asks Valery how she knew that, and Valery says that she told them where they would be.
Chapter 40: Valery says that the Guild did things to her, and said that Enora’s death was Adelice’s fault. The Guild said that if she helped them, she could have Enora back. They tried to make Enora forget her, and Cormac said that they made her normal – that once she returned to Arras, she would be happy because she had served the Guild. The Guild sent Valery to spy on Adelice and her friends. Valery said that she, through the Guild, had manipulated and engineered every move that Adelice would make so that she would end up at Alcatraz Island with Kincaid. Dante says the fluctuations in Valery are a result of psychological alteration. Adelice does not allow anyone to stay back to distract the Guild and Kincaid. Erik insists that they go on without him, but Adelice again refuses. He pushes back, saying that she has to go and that he loves her. They kiss each other goodbye.
Chapter 41: As they pull away from each other, Erik and Adelice find Kincaid confronting them. Guild forces shortly arrive thereafter. Cormac reveals that he is aware of the developments that have occurred since Adelice’s arrival on Earth, as relayed to him by Valery. Cormac tells Adelice to come back to Arras, as he is now prime minister. He attempts to assure her that everything will be running smoothly once Kincaid is taken care of. Cormac and Kincaid exchange insults, and Kincaid asserts that he was banished to Earth so that he could not force Cormac to pay for turning the Guild against him. Cormac exposes the fact that Kincaid was conducting experiments that were against Guild law: Kincaid was attempting to become a Tailor. Adelice realizes that Kincaid does not hunger for power and control the way Cormac does, but wants only destruction. Cormac offers Amie, who emerges out of an army of Guild guards, to Adelice in exchange for coming back with him to Arras. Cormac allows Amie to hug Adelice, and Amie says that she is doing great and training to be a Spinster. Cormac says that Amie has been at the Coventry. Kincaid tells Adelice to come back with him. At this moment Adelice realizes that Cormac had been planning for this exact moment: for Adelice to destroy him or Kincaid. Adelice penetrates into Kincaid’s very being, latching on to his time strands. She ignores his shrieks and watches him unwind. The thin silver strand of his soul dissipates into the sky with the rest of him, until the golden strand of his life fades from her fingers.
Chapter 42: Cormac’s men begin a firefight with the few Tailors that take them on. Most Tailors make a run for it, and Amie, shocked at Adelice’s actions, asks her what she did. Adelice replies that she made a choice. Cormac makes a deal with her: Amie’s life for Adelice’s life. Cormac allows the rest of her friends to go. Adelice agrees, and leaves with Cormac. As she is leaving, Adelice does not see Amie anywhere in sight. She says an inaudible goodbye to Erik. Adelice believes that Cormac has no idea that he is taking her exactly where she needs to go. The final words that Einstein whispered to her were: “Destroy the looms. If you choose this path, others will follow you as Whorl. Embrace and trust them, but know their hearts. As you must know your own.” Cormac tells Adelice that he needs her help in order to achieve peace in Arras. As Cormac opens the door to the room that they are in, Amie is standing in the doorway. She is waiting, her arms cross protectively across her chest. Cormac said that she chose to stay, and Amie says that the she made her choice. She calls Adelice a freak, as Cormac leads her away.
Deception makes a powerful impact in the final moments of the book. Not only does Cormac’s vision play out perfectly, but Valery is also the main arbiter of the situation in which Adelice finds herself. Amie’s choice also reveals the possibility that she is no longer the girl that Adelice left when she came to Earth. The multiple layers of deception reveal an ever-complicated plot line that thrives not only on suspense, but also on a deeper interweaving of conflict and psychological desire: of greed, power, control, love, and, for Kincaid, destruction. The behavior of everyone, except possibly Adelice (who is struggling to make choices that appeal to as many interests as possible), exhibits a strong Machiavellian virtu – in which armies and violence take precedence over law and order.
On the other hand, there is a certain degree of hope: Einstein reveals a great deal of information about the workings of Kincaid, Cormac, and the Guild. Adelice is the Whorl that can separate Earth and Arras, and more importantly, she is going exactly where she needs to go. Einstein’s parting advice reveals a solution, a plan, something that was entirely absent from the plotline of the series up until this point.
Moreover, the relationship between Erik and Adelice gains currency, and the mutual understanding between Jost and Adelice of saving Sebrina (as they acknowledge to one another when Adelice is being taken away by Cormac) reveals some sort of reconciliation between the two, despite what has already happened. As Adelice is carried away, she sees Dante fighting for her; in her mind, he is undoubtedly an ally.
Adelice becomes more enlightened in her understanding of her role as a Spinster and as a Tailor. This comes to fruition best when she refuses to allow Valery to sacrifice herself so that she (Adelice) and her friends are able to escape from the advancing forces of Kincaid and Cormac. Valery, from Adelice’s perspective, has been the source of more sabotage and deception than any other character in the book, and despite that, Adelice chooses to value her life because she admitted her mistake. Adelice’s maturity peaks at this moment, as she makes a choice in which she sets aside her own emotions (which she certainly had difficulty doing an multiple instances earlier) and sees the situation through a lens of leadership.
The novel ends on a note of uncertainty, as Adelice is unaware of what Cormac has done to Amie. The fact that Adelice killed Kincaid in front of Amie seemed to have hammered in Amie’s resentment for Adelice – another stunt architected by Cormac. What Cormac’s intentions are, and how Adelice plans on carrying out Einstein’s prerogative, remains to be seen.