- For other uses of Vengeance, see Vengeance.
Arrow: Vengeance is an tie-in novel written by Oscar Balderrama and Lauren Certo. It was initially due to be released on March 31, 2015, and published by Titan Books. The release date was pushed back to January 26, 2016, and then February 23, 2016. The novel retells the events of the first two seasons of Arrow, but from the point of view of Slade Wilson, Isabel Rochev, and Sebastian Blood, along with additional background information about them. The novel mostly adapts scenes directly from the show, though it makes minor alterations to the dialogue in a few scenes. In Season 6, Slade's flashbacks were adapted from this novel.
Oliver Queen returns from the dead to create his persona as the Arrow. Yet others work in the shadows to fashion his downfall… and plot the destruction of all he holds dear.
Also a survivor of Lian Yu, Slade Wilson's ultimate goal is Oliver's doom, and he recruits Isabel Rochev, whose hatred for the Queens knows no bounds. Brother Blood, while seeking to do what is right, also finds himself inextricably tangled in Wilson’s machinations.
This is the untold story behind the rise and fall of the Arrow
The book is divided into 3 short prologues, "Deathstroke," "Rochev," "Blood," and the main story, "Revenge."
The first section picks up in the flashback storyline of "", and describes the Amazo's sinking and Oliver defeating Slade. Afterward, from Slade's perspective, everything goes dark as he is dragged underwater. However, his burning hatred for Oliver keeps him alive and after he is submerged, the water allows him to shift the debris holding him down so he can free himself and swim out. He swims around the entire ship looking for Oliver but finds nothing aside from dead pirates.
Returning to Lian Yu, Slade spends days scouring the island in search of Oliver, but is unable to find him (unaware that Oliver had been taken away by Amanda Waller). Slade eventually finds Billy Wintergreen's corpse and it reminds him of his past life as an ASIS operative. Deciding Oliver had perished and he had to go home, Slade prepares himself to swim off the island. He gives Shado's grave one final goodbye, at which a hallucination of her tells him Oliver is alive somewhere and has to die. Slade promises to avenge her. Slade finds his damaged mask on the shore before his departure, so he uses his super strength to singlehandedly drive a piece of driftwood into the clay and rock, and leave the mask there with the arrow that Oliver put through Slade's eye embedded in the mask's eye as a warning to Oliver should he ever return to Lian Yu that Slade survived and would keep his promise.
Slade vigorously swims through the North Pacific for almost two weeks without even thinking of resting or eating. Encountering a typhoon off the coast of the Philippines, he attempts to push onwards, but the storm drags him under and smashes him against rocks and coral, ripping his skin to the bone. The battering onslaught had the Mirakuru working overtime to keep Slade alive, but when a massive rock crushes Slade's head, its hold on his mind begins to loosen. Floating in and out of consciousness between life and death, Slade's mind begins to clear and he remembers his wife, Adeline, and his son, Joe. Slade remembers another promise he made before his fateful mission to rescue Yao Fei; that he would see his son again. With renewed strength, he fights to swim to the surface once more, finding himself now in suddenly sunny, calm weather.
Encountering a Tagalog fisherman, Slade uses his knowledge of Tagalog to request a radio. Using the radio, Slade tunes into the ASIS frequency and calls for help. Using the fisherman's GPS, he gives his coordinates to ASIS and begs for them to rescue him. Extremely fatigued for the first time since he became augmented with Mirakuru, Slade accepts an eyepatch from the fisherman and collapses from exhaustion.
Found by an ASIS helicopter, Slade returns to Australia to a hero's welcome. Wintergreen's half-brother, Wade DeForge, is crestfallen to hear Wintergreen died, but Slade keeps the truth about Billy's betrayal and the nature of his death a secret. To Slade's shock, a blood test reveals no hint of the Mirakuru. After telling Wade a version of what happened on Lian Yu, substituting Billy and Yao Fei for Oliver and Shado, Slade goes home to meet his family. Struck deeply by the love and amazement pouring from his son, Slade can't bear to keep his heart burning with hatred, wishing to be with his family like old times. Back at ASIS, Slade requests a desk job, much to Wade's surprise. However, an upgraded Promethium tactical armor catches his eye as Wade tries to convince him to go back to the field, but Slade refuses the offer.
After being shown the ropes by Matt Nakauchi, Slade finds that his cubicle job gives him access to a global surveillance system. Slade begins to get used to his life behind the desk, occasionally sparring with Digger Harkness to stay in shape. However, he is curious and uses the government surveillance system to research Oliver, his family, his friends, and his past. He learns of Isabel Rochev, who despises the Queen family and notes their similarities. Slade also realizes just how much losing Robert and Oliver has broken the Queens.
Four months pass and Slade finds himself regretting having been so obsessed with Oliver. The affection he gives and receives from his own family eats away at his hardened consciousness and to his surprise, Adeline deduces he held a vendetta for whoever scarred his eye. She urges Slade to let go of it and kisses him and for the first time since he returned from Lian Yu.
Unfortunately for Slade, his newfound peace and happiness doesn't last long, as a report on A.R.G.U.S. activities in Hong Kong he reviewed includes an image of Oliver. His rage surges again and his healing factor and super strength spark up suddenly during a training session with Harkness. Being overtaken by the Mirakuru yet again, Slade storms into Wade's office and demands to be sent to Hong Kong to investigate the A.R.G.U.S. case. Appalled at this, Wade reveals that they had been monitoring Slade's obsessive research on the Queens, and he is disgusted Slade would be so eager to leave his family again. Slade comes up with a lie on the spot and tells Wade that it was Oliver who killed Billy, only for Wade to reply that vengeance is wrong. He shows Slade a report of Tommy Merlyn traveling to Hong Kong to search for Oliver, only to find it was a hoax by criminals. Slade is shocked by this and Wade begs him to relax, forget Oliver, and go back to his family life.
Two years later, Slade again struggles with the steadily resurfacing Mirakuru, his sanity slipping. He hallucinates Oliver's face randomly when sparring, and calls coworkers "kid" as if they were Oliver. One day while playing soccer with Joe, the ball goes into some trees and Joe runs after it. While waiting for him to come out, Slade sees Oliver appear and run after Joe with a malicious grin. Desperate to save his beloved son, Slade charges into the trees and tackles Joe, scaring him. A snake appears suddenly and lunges at them, only for Slade to violently rip it in half, causing Joe to run off in fear and shock.
At ASIS, while sorting old documents and files, Slade finds one containing all their information on Yao Fei. Inside, he finds a flash drive marked "Shado." To his surprise, it is full of videos of Shado before Lian Yu, running around happy and carefree. (The same that would go on to be featured in the episode "".) A hallucination of Shado accuses Slade of breaking his promise because he loved another woman and wasn't the one to kill Oliver. Driven mad, he attacks Nakauchi and Wade and runs out of ASIS all the way home. There, Slade yells at Adeline and Joe, only for his house to suddenly be surrounded by soldiers and snipers. Wade enters with a heavily armed squadron, revealing a team went to Lian Yu and found Billy's body, Shado's grave, and evidence that Slade was the one to have killed Billy. Just then, a reporter on a television screen announces that Oliver is alive and has returned home to Starling City, having "survived five years alone on a treacherous island" which would affect Australians Securities Exchange. Consumed with fury, Slade admits to killing Billy and declares that he will do the same to Oliver. Blinded by his Mirakuru-induced rage, he engages in a brutal battle with the soldiers, with Adeline and Joe being killed in the crossfire. After the massacre, Slade briefly mourns the death of his wife and son before leaving to take down Oliver Queen.
The second section picks up with Isabel Rochev working in Starling City at Stellmoor International, where she treats her employees coldly and harshly. Suddenly, the day at the office is interrupted by the broadcast that Oliver Queen is alive, causing Isabel to freeze and drop the papers she is holding in shock.
Six years earlier, Isabel is an intern at Queen Consolidated. With a bubbly and cheerful personality, she is a diligent worker who helps out her friends and coworkers, Marcus and Becca, who partied all night instead of working like Isabel. Suddenly, Isabel bumps into CEO Robert Queen, who overhears her talking about her passion for getting work done and introduces himself. Robert advises Isabel to enjoy herself more and that business should have both tedium and fun. He then departs, leaving her blushing.
A few days later, Isabel finds herself working late again, only for Robert to summon her to his office, where he offers her a drink and informs her that the intern supervisor, Mr. Klein, continuously singles her out as the best intern at Queen Consolidated. Robert offers to become Isabel's mentor because, as he puts it, the company is only as good as its best employees. Isabel excitedly accepts.
Four months later, Isabel finally agrees to go out partying with Becca. By now, Robert has taught her many a business strategy and shown her his ways of running the company, with one of his teachings being that socializing is key. However, at the end of the day, Isabel is called to Robert's office, so she promises to go with Becca next week. In Robert's office, they dine on Chinese takeout together and talk about their lives. Isabel opens up about her childhood in Russia for the first time and explains she is driven by her promise to her parents to make something of herself. Robert showers her with compliments and when Isabel reads her fortune cookie's claim that "the greatest risk is not taking one", he responds with his cookie saying "a voyage will fill a life with untold mysteries". They sit in silence staring at each other and Isabel suddenly realizes she has a crush on Robert. Thrown off, she quickly grabs her things and excuses herself.
Several days later, Isabel arrives at the Queen Mansion, having been informed that Robert needed some files urgently. Inside, no one besides Robert is present, and he confesses that he just wanted an excuse to see her again. Giving in to her desires, Isabel kisses him and they make love in the foyer. Eventually, their night is interrupted by the arrival of a drunken Oliver Queen and Tommy Merlyn. Quickly leaving via a side door in the East wing, Isabel is overcome by emotion and swears to do this never again.
A year later, Robert and Isabel are in bed together at her apartment. Robert reveals he has been thinking of leaving his wife, Moira, and being with her, even suggesting Isabel can take over Queen Consolidated. Overjoyed, Isabel agrees.
Later, Robert arrives at her apartment with bags and asks Isabel to run away with him now, wanting to start a new life with her. At the airport, the two prepare to take Robert's private jet to Fiji, toasting to a new beginning. Suddenly, Moira calls Robert, tearfully revealing that Thea is at Starling General with a broken arm after falling off her horse. After some hesitation, Robert heads to the hospital to check on her. An indignant Isabel reminds him about about Thea's true paternity. Robert protests that Thea is still his daughter and assures Isabel they can leave tomorrow after work.
The third section, "Blood," details Sebastian's past, the formation of his Church, and his recruitment by Slade into a crusade to take over Starling City.
The fourth and longest section, "Revenge," composing most of the novel, details the events of Season 2 from the point of view of Blood, Rochev, and Slade, concluding with Slade's curing and imprisonment on Lian Yu.
Some scenes from the novel were different or retconned on the show:
- On , Slade's discovery of Oliver's survival and his subsequent massacre of ASIS agents take place in the ASIS bunker instead of at Slade's house. While Wade's fate is unknown, Joe survived the massacre. Furthermore, Adeline wasn't present during the massacre and was stated to be alive on the show.
- In the novel, Slade sets up his first mask on a shaft with an arrow through the eye on the beach of Lian Yu as a future warning to Oliver if he returned. However, in a flashback from the Season 5 episode "", Oliver plants the mask as a memorial to his former friend after finding it washed up on the shore when returning to the island to prepare for his "rescue".
- On the show, Slade informs Blood about Laurel's file in his campaign office instead of at his home.
- The concept of Slade Wilson's origin story went on to be featured in a two-parter in Season 6, with the episodes "" and "" focusing on him. For the second episode, the flashbacks were directly adapted, some even taken word for word, from the "Deathstroke" origin story part of this novel.
- Interestingly, Oscar Balderrama co-wrote both the episode and novel.