Legion: Lies of the Beholder

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<Legion: Lies of the Beholder
Lies of the Beholder Limited Hardcover.jpg
by Jon Foster
Follows Skin Deep
Released September 18, 2018
Publisher Tor books

Legion: Lies of the Beholder is the third and final of the Legion novellas written by Brandon Sanderson. It was first published as part of Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds an omnibus of the entire Legion series.[1]

Cover Blurb[edit]

Stephen Leeds, AKA "Legion," is the series' hero, a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. The third and final entry in the series, Lies of the Beholder, is perhaps the strangest, most unpredictable installment to date.
The story begins with two seemingly unrelated events: the disappearance of Armando, one of Stephen's many "aspects," and an unexpected cry for help from Sandra, the woman who, many years before, helped him learn to live with his condition. These events lead Stephen, along with several of his aspects, to a sinister high-tech firm specializing in advanced methods of human incarceration. The result is a visionary meditation on the mysteries of the human personality. Like the volumes that preceded it, Sanderson's latest is original, challenging, and utterly absorbing. In Stephen Leeds, a man constantly struggling to understand and control his own divided nature, he has created one of the most compelling heroes in recent popular fiction. Like the best of Sanderson's work, Lies of the Beholder is something special. It is the clear product of a master storyteller, and it is not to be missed.
— Subterranean Press[2]


Stephen meets with a woman he believes to be an interviewer named Jenny, who makes him uncomfortable with her inside knowledge of his aspects. J.C. leaves because he is uncomfortable acknowledging that he is imaginary, and the interview is cut off suddenly as a text from Sandra, the long-lost woman who helped Stephen control his aspects, appears on his phone saying nothing but “HELP.”

Stephen immediately leaves and Wilson drives them home without J.C. as Stephen confirms that it is really Sandra. Upon entering the mansion, Stephen finds his aspects excitedly talking about Sandra, and he goes to find Arnaud; who has fixed the time camera. Stephen goes to talk to Armando and finds Armando’s room destroyed: blood on the walls, gouges in the plaster, bedding shredded, photographs torn on the floor. Stephen can feel Armando’s reservoir of knowledge leaking away.

He returns to the rest of his aspects to find that Audrey has cracked a cipher Sandra gave Stephen, telling Stephen where to meet her. They head to the fairgrounds that correspond to the decoded GPS location, where a Da Shuhua performance is taking place. Stephen does not find Sandra and uses the time camera to confirm that she was there, noticing a suspicious man buying hot dogs who is still there at the fairground presumably hours later. He confronts the man, who guides him to another; who gives him a phone. On the other end of the line is Sandra.

Sandra tells Stephen her aspects are gone and that she needs him to come with the two men, who can help him- the older man is introduced as Kyle. Stephen tells Kyle that he will not agree to the terms and that he will come and free Sandra from them. A sudden chill prompts him to look around, and Stephen sees Armando just as Armando attacks, cutting down Tobias. Stephen runs, and as Armando is about to kill him, J.C. shoots Armando in the head. Stephen feels Tobia die, and in mourning, they flee the scene.

Back at the mansion, the team does some research on Kyle, who appears to be the owner of a prison company (Ostman Detention Enterprises) that has just bought a gaming company; and Jenny- whom Stephen has realized is actually a new aspect- questions the other aspects about Tobias. Stephen decides to break into the locally-based Ostman headquarters.

Stephen and a team of aspects sneak their way past guards and security cameras. Everything flashes white and they appear in a warehouse. Kyle welcomes them to the “future of human incarceration.” He then proceed to explain that the technology Stephen just experienced, a new kind of completely immersive VR without any goggles or gloves, will be used in his prisons to contain prisoners, due to it being much less expensive and much more satisfactory. He reveals that Sandra approached them asking for help, then told them to come to Stephen to complete their data- and that she is now free of her aspects. Stephen still refuses to be part of their experiment and tries to leave, but they capture him and his aspects in a VR deserted island.

Lua appears, and notes that the simulation is just a small space and they build a raft to break out of the VR area. Kyle and the team are very annoyed that his aspects helped him, and they throw Stephen and the aspects into a casino where a mob attacks, killing J.C. and Ivy. Extremely distraught, the virtual world appears to fade to Stephen’s eyes, and he can hear the employees and Kyle talking. Stephen moves to a computer and Chin helps him put it in ‘debugging mode,’ bringing Kyle and everyone else there into the virtual reality simulation world as well. Stephen chases Kyle into a bathroom, where he scares Kyle before dropping out of the simulation. He receives a text from Kalyani and somehow knows that some of his aspects have become nightmares, fighting the others. He walks into Sandra’s cell, into the VR world she is currently in.

Sandra is sitting at the end of the pier, her aspects’ dead bodies floating in the water below. She tells him to leave his dead aspects behind and stay safe in a virtual reality world, but Stephen leaves promising to find a way to fix everything. Stephen tells Kyle that he can study him when he comes to visit Sandra, but to leave him alone other than that. As he leaves, he sees Jenny for a second before she disappears.

Barb, Wilson’s niece, drives him to the spot where he first met Jenny; and he uses the time camera to produce an image of him, J.C., Ivy, and Tobias. Barb only sees Stephen by himself, and Stephen realizes that they are still in his brain somewhere. Stephen attends Wilson’s 70th birthday party. He stays in Wilson’s guest room instead of returning to the mansion that night, and Jenny shows him that she has been taking notes on all the aspects. She prompts him to write their stories as well, and at the conclusion, he begins to be able to feel (but cannot see) Tobias’s hand on his shoulder.


Stephen Leeds
Stephen Leeds was an American on Earth. He was a highly intelligent person but was unable to function at such a level. His brain created Aspects, which were compartments of his brain that manifested as hallucinations. Only he can see them, and each is an expert on one, or sometimes multiple, topics. The medical community, uncertain what to think of him, label him a schizophrenic. Many psychologists have tried to analyze and write papers about him.
Wilson is the butler of Stephen Leeds. Not himself a hallucination, he is "an excellent servant and an excellent person", one of the few who can put up with his master's peculiarities.
A woman who helped Stephen to learn to control his aspects years ago, then vanished.


Publication History[edit]

Limited Hardcover Edition
2018 - Subterranean Press[3]
US Hardcover Edition (Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds)
2018 - Tor books[1]


  1. a b Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds cover reveal
    Tor.com - 2018-03-20#
  2. Press Release
    — SubterraneanPress.com - 2018-04-02#
  3. Peter on a limited edition hardcover
    — Twitter - 2018-03-20#
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