Scadrial is on the verge of becoming contemporary three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy. Together with the canals, there are now railroads, electric illumination in the streets, opulent mansions, and the first steel-framed buildings rushing for the clouds.
The Bands of Mourning are the Lord Ruler's mythological metal minds, which are claimed to offer anybody who wears them the Lord Ruler's powers. Almost no one believes they exist. A Kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with photographs that appear to depict the Bands, as well as words in an unknown language. Waxillium Ladrian is assigned to explore the city of New Seran in the south. Along the journey, he discovers indications that point to his uncle Edwarn's actual intentions and the enigmatic organization known as The Set.