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Gleanings: Stories from the Arc of a Scythe

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The New York Times bestselling Arc of the Scythe series continues with thrilling stories that span the timeline. Storylines continue. Origin stories are revealed. And new Scythes emerge!

There are still countless tales of the Scythedom to tell. Centuries passed between the Thunderhead cradling humanity and Scythe Goddard trying to turn it upside down. For years humans lived in a world without hunger, disease, or death with Scythes as the living instruments of population control.

Neal Shusterman—along with collaborators David Yoon, Jarrod Shusterman, Sofía Lapuente, Michael H. Payne, Michelle Knowlden, and Joelle Shusterman—returns to the world throughout the timeline of the Arc of a Scythe series. Discover secrets and histories of characters you’ve followed for three volumes and meet new heroes, new foes, and some figures in between.

Gleanings shows just how expansive, terrifying, and thrilling the world that began with the Printz Honor–winning Scythe truly is.

ISBN-13: 9781534499973

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Publication Date: 11-08-2022

Pages: 432

Product Dimensions: 8.30(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.60(d)

Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

Series: Arc of a Scythe Series

Neal Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, including the Unwind dystology, the Skinjacker trilogy, Downsiders, and Challenger Deep, which won the National Book Award. Scythe, the first book in his latest series, Arc of a Scythe, is a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows. Neal is the father of four, all of whom are talented writers and artists themselves. Visit Neal at and

Read an Excerpt

1. The First Swing The First Swing
Slicing through the air with effortless aplomb,

the moment you take your first swing,

you wield your axe

like you are a master in the art of gleaning.

Those before you are in awe.

They cannot imagine what your next move will be.

You carry yourself as balanced and poised as a performer

dancing brutally among them;

the searing star of stars,

your robe cascading to the earth

in showers of gold.

But that is not the truth.

Your worth does not matter

to those who now matter to you.

You are truly nothing but a tiny sunspot

to the eyes of others like yourself.

An insignificant fleck.

And as you take that first swing,

they laugh at you.

You try to rise above their derision,

to be noticed in some small way.

To find favor from the old ones,

who are never old.

To gain respect from the young ones,

who have slain their own youth.

To justify the arrogance

that comes with the pride

of being chosen.

But that is not the truth either.

It will be years until you come to know the truth:

That those you revere are merely servants

to the collective that we prune.

It was their choice to let us choose

all those years ago.

The awed, terrified, relieved spectators;

the real ones in power,

the puppeteers of your actions.

Standing in a perfect line before them,

a cutting edge,

wielding our axes,

each one of us is the same as the last.

We are one in all,

We are all in one, and




Our mantra, our commandment,

our duty to remind the immortal of mortality.

To teach them

that eternal repose may be distant,

but not lost.

Who are We?

We are Scythes.

And the weapons We wield

are not by any means our friends.

The devastating force

of bullet, blade, and bludgeon

tears us apart each day, every day,

piece by piece,

and leaves us with wounds that will never heal.

This is what ties us to the masses,

yet restrains us from being one with them.

And with each new gleaning,

We bleed and break anew,

yet our resolve never changes.

For We are scythes.

Nothing will ever change that fact.

And when it is your time to bleed,

you will know,

and you will learn.

—Joelle Shusterman