The Grishaverse
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"Ketterdam—a canvas of black, grey, and brown, tangled streets dense with mist and coalsmoke, ships of every kind in the harbor, pulsing with the rush and bustle of trade"
— Inej Ghafa, Six of Crows


Ketterdam is the capital of Kerch. The city is a bustling hub for international trade and home to multiple criminal organizations.

History[]

Ketterdam is built on low land, and canals are used in addition to streets for travel within the city. It has several harbors, which are numbered from east to west. Space is precious in Ketterdam, so even destroyed buildings do not stay abandoned for long before they are razed and rebuilt into something new.[1]

The packed city of Ketterdam is extremely vulnerable to fire and disease. The first large plague was over a century ago, at which point the Merchant Council banned the burial of the dead within city limits.[2] Nevertheless, there have been other outbreaks since then, the most recent being the Queen Lady's Plague. For this reason, Ketterdam has a siren exclusively for the purpose of signaling a quarantine.

Six of Crows begins and ends in the city, and Crooked Kingdom takes place entirely in Ketterdam.

Locations[]

Council of Tides Watchtowers[]

Manned by the Council of Tides, the group of Tidemakers who control the water surrounding the city. Each tower is a thick obelisk of black stone, and lights always burn in the tops of the towers. There are several watchtowers across the Ketterdam shore and on its small outlying islands.

Fifth Harbor[]

Main article: Fifth Harbor

One of the city's harbors and currently a major source of income for the Dregs. Fifth Harbor was in ruins and all but abandoned by the city before Kaz Brekker paid to have it dredged and built new docks and a quay. Within the year, the endeavor paid off. Merchant ships, as well as tourist ships, have berths in Fifth Harbor. Inej Ghafa describes the docks as a labyrinth of crates and cargo containers.[3] Inej's warship, the Wraith, has a berth in Fifth Harbor.

Government District[]

The government sector is located on a small peninsula in northern Ketterdam. It contains embassies for Ravka, Fjerda, Shu Han, Novyi Zem, and the Wandering Isle. Morning markets, featuring cargo freshly loaded off boats from Second Harbor and Third Harbor, occur near the Stadhall.[4]

Ravkan Embassy[]

The Ravkan embassy is located at the edge of the government sector, tucked into a wide bend in the canal. The building flies the Lantsov double eagle flag. The embassy was built with a false floor four feet above the original floor. This intervening space serves as a passageway to a false cistern beneath the embassy garden, which can be used to hide those who do not wish to be found.

Inej Ghafa delivers a note from Kaz Brekker to the Ravkan embassy, where she meets with Zoya Nazyalensky and Genya Safin to instruct them to come to the Geldrenner Hotel.

Little Ravka[]

A wide road backs the canal on which the embassy is built; it had once been a marsh, before a builder bricked it over. The builder ran out of funds before he could build his intended large hotel and parade ground, and the area became Little Ravka instead. Little Ravka is home to cafés that serve Ravkan fare and carry Ravkan newspapers that are weeks out of date. Refugees, visitors, new immigrants, and old expatriates often come to the area. On the wide main road, a marketplace of wooden stalls and rolling carts springs up every morning and vanishes in the evening before the stadwatch patrols. The market stalls sell Ravkan clothes, food, and religious artifacts like icons and relics. The shopkeepers often wear traditional Ravkan dress.

There is a run-down tavern in Little Ravka that serves as a point of communication for Grisha living in Ketterdam. Completing a code phrase with the icon peddler outside the tavern indicates one is looking for other Grisha. The floor is covered in sawdust and is dimly-lit. Behind the tavern is a staircase that leads to a tunnel—the old canal over which the main road had been built. The canal leads to the secret room under the embassy.

Nina Zenik and Matthias Helvar visit Little Ravka disguised as Fjerdan defectors seeking asylum. At the Grisha tavern, they are ambushed by Zoya and taken to the cistern room under the embassy garden, where they negotiate with Zoya and Genya to smuggle Grisha refugees fearing jurda parem out of the city.

Stadhall[]

The city hall, where the Merchant Council holds meetings[5] and ambassadors from other countries conduct official business.[6] There is a jail at the Stadhall.[7] The captain of the Wraith left two slavers she slathered in tar and crow feathers at the entrance to the Stadhall in order to inform the Merchant Council that one of their members, Gert Van Verent, was profiting from the illegal slave trade.

The Geldstraat[]

A street that runs just west of the Geldcanal. It is a wealthy neighborhood where the rich have their mansions, including Councilman Hoede and the Van Ecks.

Van Eck Mansion[]

The residence of the Van Ecks. Jan Van Eck lived here with his wife Alys Van Eck. Currently, Wylan Van Eck, Jesper Fahey, and Marya Hendriks live there.

The mansion has red tulips painted over the entry door. The first floor contains a dining room, a music room with a piano, a black-and-white tiled hall, and glass-paneled doors that open to the back garden, which faces the Geldcanal. Across the garden is the house's elegant boathouse. Like most very wealthy homes, the top (fourth) floor is devoted to servants' quarters. Wylan's room, which had been converted into a nursery, Alys's room, and Van Eck's office are on the second floor. Despite the merchant cultural emphasis on restraint, the office contains heavily ornamented woodwork, a crimson velvet chair, and a wide desk. Behind a painting of Martin Van Eck was a steel safe set into the wall, which Kaz and Wylan burned through with auric acid. They also burned a hole through the office floor into the dining room ceiling. The house uses Schuyler locks for its security system.

Financial District[]

Geldrenner Hotel[]

The most expensive hotel in Ketterdam. It is fifteen stories tall and topped with a four-faced clock tower. There is a lavish purple dining room and space for lectures to be held. On the third floor, there is a multi-room spa decorated with glittering indigo tiles. At the center is a large circular pool surrounded by arches that lead to more pools, waterfalls, mud baths, milk baths, and a jade sauna. Kaz Brekker put up Colm Fahey at the hotel under the name Johannus Rietveld, and the Crows used the Geldrenner as their base of operations for a week.

The Ketterdam Suite takes up the entire top floor. The hallway floor is patterned lacquered hardwood, and the high ceilings are painted pale lavender. At the end of the hallway, there is a steep iron staircase up to the clocktower. The suite has a sitting room, which contains purple carpets and other purple decorations; a dining room; a master bedroom plus several smaller bedrooms; and a white-and-gold bathroom. One room contains a white piano, silver chandeliers, and a cabinet full of blown-glass ships; the wallpaper is purple with silver fishes.

Church of Barter[]

Main article: Church of Barter

The primary place of worship for Ghezen in Ketterdam. The church was built to resemble the shape of a hand—the hand of Ghezen. City auctions are also held in the Church of Barter; it is the location of Kuwei Yul-Bo's auction, and the related conflicts, in Crooked Kingdom.

The Exchange[]

The Exchange is the heart of Ketterdam, where merchants buy and sell shares. It is a large, rectangular, cobblestoned courtyard surrounded by warehouses and shipping offices. The Exchange stretches nearly the length of a city block and is fronted by the Beurscanal. The eastern entrance features a great arch with the words Enjent (Industry), Voorhent (Integrity), Almhent (Prosperity) carved into the stone. Around the wall are stone cornices, some of which are statues of Kerch’s three flying fishes. The lower level is dedicated to windowless warehouses; the second contains offices, all of which open onto a balcony overlooking the central courtyard. From the balcony, callers announce new voyages and arrivals of inventory, or hang a black flag to indicate that a ship had been lost at sea with all its cargo. Like most buildings in Ketterdam, the Exchange has a sharply gabled roof to keep off heavy rain.

As one of the few locations not claimed by any of Ketterdam's gangs, the Exchange is used at night for parleys between lieutenants of rival gangs. Guards patrol the perimeter and the rooftop via a narrow walkway overlooking the courtyard, though they are often bribed to look the other way when the gangs parley.

Zentsbridge[]

A bridge with iron railings that crosses the Beurscanal south of the Exchange. The grating is covered in little bits of rope tied in elaborate knots, which are sailors’ prayers for safe return from sea. The name of the bridge is spelled "Zentzbridge" in Six of Crows but "Zentsbridge" in Crooked Kingdom.

Zelver District[]

The Zelver District is home to moderately prosperous households, including successful artisans, bookkeepers, barristers, and lawyers. The houses are well-built and tidy, with views of a wide canal, but are tightly packed together and lack the grand gardens and private docks of wealthier homes. The Handelcanal runs through the Zelver district. Zelverbridge connects the Zelver district to the northern part of the financial district.

Pekka Rollins rented a house on Zelverstraat for a few weeks as part of a con; two of his victims were Jordie and Kaz Rietveld. The house had a blue front door, white lace curtains in the windows, and a piano.

Smeet Residence[]

Cornelis Smeet's home and office, where he lives with his wife and daughter, Hanna. Like most on Zelverstraat, the house has a gabled roof and window boxes filled with roses. The first floor contains a kitchen and public rooms for meeting with clients; the second floor contains Smeet's office and storage. The staircase to the third floor is closed off by an iron gate, and leads to the family's bedrooms. Smeet's primary security system is a pack of large hounds, who are trained to obey whistle commands.

University District[]

The university district is home to student cafés, booksellers, bookbinders, apothecaries, and Ketterdam University. According to Jesper Fahey, it smells like expensive tobacco, books, and flowers.[8]

Ketterdam University[]

The university is a series of buildings built around parallel sections of the Boekcanal and joined by Speaker's Bridge, where people meet to debate or drink together. The heart of the university is the Boeksplein—four libraries built around a central courtyard and the Scholar's Fountain, which depicts a bearded man. The buildings of the Boeksplein have leaded windows with stained-glass borders; the iron gates are worked into figures of books and ships. There are gargoyle statues in the Boeksplein—bat-winged grotesques in mortarboard caps, stone dragons falling asleep over books, and horned monsters gnawing on pencils.

One of the libraries is the reading room, which features long tables lit by lamps with curving necks. Through a door covered in elaborate scrollwork is the rare books room, a silent room with illuminated manuscripts displayed in glass cases and rare maps on the walls. A Squaller is employed to keep the humidity low to preserve the manuscripts. On the westernmost wall is a map of Ravka which conceals a secret passage to the second floor of a printmaker's shop, built as a way for professors to get from the library to their homes without having to deal with angry students.

The Ravkan royal family believed that Nikolai Lantsov attended the university before he revealed he was Sturmhond. Jesper came to Ketterdam to study at the university; it is where he reunites with his father two years later. The Boeksplein courtyard is the site of a small battle between the Crows and unknown gunmen, which ends with the Scholar's Fountain's book destroyed by gunfire and the courtyard garden scorched by Wylan Van Eck's bomb.

The Ostrich[]

A small inn. Colm Fahey stays at the Ostrich when he first arrives in Ketterdam, before Kaz Brekker moves him to the Geldrenner.

The Barrel[]

Main article: The Barrel

The entertainment and pleasure district of Ketterdam, as well as its slums. The Barrel is a tangle of narrow streets and minor waterways bracketed on each side by two major canals, East Stave and West Stave. It is an oasis for criminals and gangs. Tourists and locals who visit the Barrel often dress as characters from the Komedie Brute to maintain anonymity, or simply for fun. At the top of the Barrel is the Lid, the prime real estate closest to the harbors. East Stave is comprised primarily of gambling halls, most of which are run by the gangs. West Stave is Ketterdam's red-light district, lined with brothels that each boast their own theme.

Black Veil Island[]

Main article: Black Veil Island

An island tucked into a bend (known as Beggar's Bend) of Grafcanal southeast of Haverbridge. Prior to the first major plague over a century ago, the Kerch wealthy buried their dead on Black Veil in white marble mausoleums to keep them above water level. The island is shrouded in shifting mists and rumored to be haunted. Kaz Brekker and his crew use the island as a hiding place for the first half of Crooked Kingdom after they are double-crossed by Jan Van Eck.

Warehouse District[]

The warehouse district is busy in the day and nearly deserted at night. Part of the warehouse district is known as the Weft.[1] Ketterdam's shantytowns are on the eastern edges of the warehouse district, near the Barrel. Within the district, streets and canals are clean, orderly, and wide to allow for the transportation of goods and cargo. The district contains fenced-in acres of raw lumber and quarried stone; closely guarded stockpiles of weapons and ammunition; huge storehouses for cotton, silk, canvas, and furs; and warehouses of bundles of unprocessed, unpackaged dried jurda leaves as well as the packaging facilities. The stadwatch regularly patrols the streets and shipping companies often employ private guards, making the warehouse district one of the most secure places in Ketterdam.

At night, the warehouse district serves as a collection point for the bodymen's cargo. When the sun goes down, the bodymen collect the dead from each neighborhood, load them into flatboats, and are gone by dawn. Some dockworkers also work at night, when their cargo is too valuable to be left unattended overnight.

Kaz Brekker takes Inej Ghafa to a safehouse in the warehouse district after rescuing her from Jan Van Eck.

Sweet Reef[]

Sweet Reef is an area just south of Sixth Harbor, containing processing plants to refine sugar as well as huge silos of molasses and raw cane sugar that tower over the rest of the district at nearly twenty stories high. There are thirty silos total; the Van Eck household owns ten, which are emblazoned with the house's red laurel. The sugar within is owned by merchants, who pay Van Eck a small percentage of their sales to maintain the silos, supply guards, and pay Squallers to monitor the humidity inside. Van Eck's silos are clustered in a circle and surrounded by a high metal fence of razor wire. Guards patrol the perimeter constantly; it takes 12 minutes for them to make it around the fence. There is also a guardhouse at the gate, where one guard is always stationed, and a lantern on the roof that can be lit to signal for reinforcements. Each silo features quatrefoil locks at the base entrance and also opens at the top. The silos also open at the top.

Inej Ghafa climbs one silo, destroys the sugar with a chemical weevil created by Wylan Van Eck, then walks a high wire to the next silo and destroys the sugar there, too. She intends to destroy all ten of Van Eck's silos, but Dunyasha Lazareva removes the wire and causes her to fall before she reaches the third silo. Nina Zenik is attacked by Dime Lions while hiding between the silos; she fights them off with an army of the dead from a sickboat in the canal.

Morgue[]

The morgue is an unmarked, gray stone structure on the border of the warehouse district, fronted by an untended garden. Only the bodies of the wealthy are brought to the morgue to be prepared for transportation and burial outside the city; the poor are cremated. Inside the morgue's heavy iron door is first a processing room, then a large stone chamber lined with drawers containing bodies, labeled with the date of death. At night, the morgue is lit only by a blue corpselight lantern.

Canals[]

  • East Stave
  • West Stave
  • Beurscanal - runs north-south past the Exchange and the Geldrenner Hotel.
  • Boekcanal - bisects the university district.
  • Geldcanal - runs north-south, between the Gelden district and the financial district.
  • Grafcanal - surrounds Black Veil Island.
  • Handelcanal - in the Zelver district.
  • Zovercanal - on the eastern edge of the Barrel.

Bridges[]

  • Goedmedbridge - crosses West Stave
  • Havenbridge - crosses the Grafcanal
  • Ledbridge - near the financial district
  • Speaker’s Bridge - crosses the Boekcanal
  • Zelverbridge - crosses the Beurscanal
  • Zentsbridge - crosses the Beurscanal

Trivia[]

  • Ketterdam is inspired by Amsterdam, Antwerp, Las Vegas, London, and old New York (aka New Amsterdam).[9]
  • The Exchange is modeled after the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Crooked Kingdom, Chapter 11
  2. Crooked Kingdom, Chapter 3
  3. Six of Crows, Chapter 10
  4. Crooked Kingdom, Chapter 13
  5. Crooked Kingdom, Chapter 29
  6. Six of Crows, Chapter 2
  7. Crooked Kingdom, Chapter 41
  8. Crooked Kingdom, Chapter 5
  9. https://www.goodreads.com/questions/637671-i-m-sure-you-ve-been-asked-this-before
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