In a world where light is the basis of all magic, Gavin Guile is the Prism who stands at the center of all power and peace. But behind the majesty are shadows of secrets: Gavin's brother Javen sits in a remote dungeon and his son Kip has grown to adulthood in a remote land, far from the truths of the realm. The launch volume of Brent Weeks' Lightbring Trilogy received stellar review, including this from Terry Brooks: "I was mesmerized from start to finish. Unforgettable characters, a plot that kept me guessing, and non-stop action." Now in trade paperback and NOOK Book. (Hand-selling tip: Brent Weeks is a master of epic fantasy as demonstrated by his Night Angel Trilogy, which has sold over 400,000 copies.)
The Black Prism (Lightbringer Series #1)by Brent Weeks
From New York Times bestselling author Brent Weeks
THE BLACK PRISM begins an action-packed tale of magic and adventure . . .
Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he/b>/i>
From New York Times bestselling author Brent Weeks
THE BLACK PRISM begins an action-packed tale of magic and adventure . . .
Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live.
When Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he's willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.
The Black Prism
The Blinding Knife
The Broken Eye
The Blood Mirror
For more from Brent Weeks, check out:
The Way of Shadows
Beyond the Shadows
Night Angel: The Complete Trilogy (omnibus)
Perfect Shadow: A Night Angel Novella (e-only)
The Way of Shadows: The Graphic Novel
"Weeks manages to ring new tunes on...old bells, letting a deep background slowly reveal its secrets and presenting his characters in a realistically flawed and human way." Publishers Weekly
"Weeks has written an epic fantasy unlike any of its contemporaries. It is a truly visionary and original work, and has set the bar high for others in its subgenre." graspingforthewind.com
Read an Excerpt
Kip crawled toward the battlefield in the darkness, the mist pressing down, blotting out sound, scattering starlight. Though the adults shunned it, he'd played on the open field a hundred times-during the day. Tonight, his purpose was grimmer.
Reaching the top of the hill, Kip stood and hiked up his pants. The river behind him was muttering obscenities, or maybe that was the warriors beneath its surface, dead these sixteen years. Kip squared his shoulders, ignoring his imagination. The mists made it seem he was suspended, outside of time. But even if there was no evidence of it, the sun was coming. By the time it did, he had to get to the far side of the battlefield. Farther than he'd ever gone searching.
Even Ramir, wouldn't come out here at night. Everyone knew Sundered Rock was haunted. But Ram didn't have to feed his family; his mother didn't smoke her wages.
Gripping his little belt knife tightly, Kip started walking. It wasn't just the unquiet dead that might pull him down to the evernight. A pack of giant javelinas had been seen roaming the night, tusks cruel, hooves sharp. They were good eating if you had a matchlock, iron nerves, and good aim, but since the Prisms' War had wiped out all the town's men, there weren't many people who braved death for a little bacon. Rekton was already a shell of what it had once been. The alcaldesa wasn't eager for any of her townspeople to throw their lives away. Besides, Kip didn't have a matchlock.
Nor were javelinas the only creatures that roamed the night. A mountain lion or a golden bear would also probably enjoy a well-marbled Kip.
A low howl cut the mist and the darkness hundreds of paces deeper into the battlefield. Kip froze. Oh, there were wolves too. How'd he forget wolves?
Another wolf answered, farther out. A haunting sound, the very voice of the wilderness. You couldn't help but freeze when you heard it. It was the kind of beauty that made you shit your pants.
Wetting his lips, Kip got moving. He had the distinct sensation of being followed. Stalked. He looked behind himself. There was nothing there. Of course. His mother always said he had too much imagination. Just walk Kip. Places to be. Animals are more scared of you and all that. Besides, that was one of the tricks about a howl, it always sounded much closer than it really was. Those wolves were probably leagues away.
Before the Prisms' War, this had been excellent farmland. Right next to the Umber River, suitable for figs, grapes, pears, dewberries, asparagus-everything grew here. And it had been sixteen years since the final battle-a year before Kip was even born. But the plain was still torn and scarred. A few burnt timbers of old homes and barns poked out of the dirt. Deep furrows and craters remained from cannon shells. Filled now with swirling mist, those craters looked like lakes, tunnels, traps. Bottomless. Unfathomable.
Most of the magic used in the battle had dissolved sooner or later in the years of sun exposure, but here and there broken green luxin spears still glittered. Shards of solid yellow underfoot would cut through the toughest shoe leather.
Scavengers had long since taken all the valuable arms, mail, and luxin from the battlefield, but as the seasons passed and rains fell, more mysteries surfaced each year. That was what Kip was hoping for-and what he was seeking was most visible in the first rays of dawn.
The wolves stopped howling. Nothing was worse than hearing that chilling sound, but at least with the sound, he knew where they were. Now… Kip swallowed on the hard knot in his throat.
As he walked in the valley of the shadow of two great unnatural hills-the remnant of two of the great funeral pyres where tens of thousands had burned-Kip saw something in the mist. His heart leapt into his throat. The curve of a mail cowl. A glint of eyes searching the darkness.
Then it was swallowed up in the roiling mists.
A ghost. Dear Orholam. Some spirit keeping watch at its grave.
Look on the bright side. Maybe wolves are scared of ghosts.
Kip realized he'd stopped walking, peering into the darkness. Move, fat head.
He moved, keeping low. He might be big, but he prided himself on being light on his feet. He tore his eyes away from the hill-still no sign of the ghost or man or whatever it was. He had that feeling again that he was being stalked. He looked back. Nothing.
A quick click, like someone dropping a small stone. And something at the corner of his eye. Kip shot a look up the hill. A click, a spark, the striking of flint against steel.
Illuminated for that briefest moment, Kip saw few details. Not a ghost, a soldier striking a flint, trying to light a slow-match. The slow-match caught fire, casting a red glow on the soldier's face, making his eyes seem to glow. He affixed the slow-match to the match-holder of his matchlock, and spun, looking for targets in the darkness.
His night vision must have been ruined by staring at the brief flame on his match, now a smoldering red ember, because his eyes passed right over Kip.
The soldier turned again, sharply, paranoid. "The hell am I supposed to see out here, anyway? Swivin' wolves."
Very, very carefully, Kip started walking away. He had to get deeper into the mist and darkness before the soldier's night vision recovered, but if he made noise, the man might fire blindly.
Kip walked on the balls of his feet, his back itching, sure that a lead ball was going to tear through him at any moment.
But he made it. A hundred paces, more, and no one yelled. No shot cracked the night. Farther. Two hundred paces more, and he saw light off to his left, a campfire. It had burned so low it was barely more than coals now. Kip tried not to look directly at it to save his vision. There was no tent, no bedrolls nearby, just the fire.
Kip tried Master Danavis's trick for seeing in darkness. He let his focus relax and tried to view things from the periphery of his vision. Nothing but an irregularity, perhaps. He moved closer.
Two men lay on the cold ground. One was a soldier. Kip had seen his mother unconscious plenty of times; he knew instantly this man wasn't passed out. He was sprawled unnaturally, there were no blankets, and his mouth hung open, slack-jawed, eyes staring unblinking at the night. Next to the soldier lay another man, bound in chains but alive. He lay on his side, hands manacled behind his back, a black bag over his head and cinched tight around his neck.
The prisoner was alive, trembling. No, weeping. Kip looked around, there was no one else in sight.
"Why don't you just finish it, damn you?" the prisoner said.
Kip froze. He thought he'd approached silently.
"Coward," the prisoner said. "Just following your orders, I suppose? Orholam will smite you for what you're about to do to that little town."
Kip had no idea what the man was talking about.
Apparently his silence spoke for him.
"You're not one of them." For the first time, a note of hope entered the prisoner's voice. "Please, help me!"
Kip stepped forward to help. The man was suffering. Then he stopped. Looked at the dead soldier. The front of the soldier's shirt was soaked with blood. Had this prisoner killed him? How?
"Please, you can leave me chained if you must. Please, I don't want to die in darkness."
Kip stayed back, though it felt cruel. "You killed him?"
"I'm supposed to be executed at first light. I got away. He chased me down. He got the bag over my head before he died, though. If dawn's close, his replacement is going to come take his watch any time now. "
Kip still wasn't putting it together. No one in Rekton trusted the soldiers who came through, and the alcaldesa had told the town's young people to give any soldiers a wide berth for a while-apparently, the new satrap Garadul had declared himself free of the Chromeria's control. Now he was King Garadul, he said, but he wanted the usual levies from the town's young people. The alcaldesa had told his representative that if he wasn't the satrap anymore that he didn't have the right to raise levies. King or satrap, Garadul couldn't be happy with that, but Rekton was too small to bother with. Still, it would be wise to avoid his soldiers until this all blew over.
On the other hand, just because Rekton wasn't getting along with the satrap right now didn't make this man Kip's friend.
"So you are a criminal?" Kip asked.
"Of six shades to Sun Day," the man said. The hope leaked out of his voice. "Look, boy-you are a child, aren't you? You sound like one. I'm going to die today. I can't get away. Truth to tell, I don't want to. I've run enough. This time, I fight."
"I don't understand."
"You will. Take off my hood."
Though some vague doubt nagged Kip, he untied the half-knot around the man's neck and pulled off the hood.
At first, Kip had no idea what the prisoner was talking about. The man sat up, arms still bound behind his back. He was perhaps thirty years old, Tyrean like Kip but with a lighter-complexion, his hair wavy rather than kinky, his limbs thin and muscular. Then Kip saw his eyes.
Men and women who could harness light and make luxin-drafters-always had unusual eyes. A little residue of whatever color they drafted ended up in their eyes. Over the course their life, it would stain the entire iris red, or blue, or whatever their color was. The prisoner was a green drafter-or had been. Instead of the green being bound in a halo within the iris, it was shattered like crockery smashed to the floor. Little green fragments glowed even in the whites of his eyes. Kip gasped and shrank back.
"Please!" the man said. "Please, the madness isn't on me. I won't hurt you."
"You're a color wight."
"And now you know why I ran away from the Chromeria," the man said.
Because the Chromeria put down color wights like a farmer put down a beloved rabid dog.
Kip was on the verge of bolting, but the man wasn't making any threatening moves. And besides, it was still dark. Even color wights needed light to draft. The mist did seem lighter, though, gray beginning to touch horizon. It was crazy to talk to a madman, but maybe it wasn't too crazy. At least until dawn.
The color wight was looking at Kip oddly. "Blue eyes." He laughed.
Kip scowled. He hated his blue eyes. It was one thing when a foreigner like Master Danavis had blue eyes. They looked fine on him. Kip looked freakish.
"What's your name?" the color wight asked.
Kip swallowed, thinking he should probably run away.
"Oh, for Orholam's sake, you think I'm going to hex you with your name? How ignorant is this backwater? That isn't how magic-"
The color wight grinned. "Kip. Well, Kip, have you ever wondered you were stuck in such a small life? Have you ever gotten the feeling, Kip, that you're special?"
Kip said nothing. Yes, and yes.
"Do you know why you feel destined for something greater?"
"Why?" Kip asked, quiet, hopeful.
"Because you're an arrogant little shit." The color wight laughed.
Kip shouldn't have been taken off guard. His mother had said worse a hundred times. Still, it took him a moment. A small failure. "Burn in hell, coward," Kip said. "You're not even good at running away. Caught by ironfoot soldiers."
The color wight laughed louder. "Oh, they didn't catch me. They recruited me."
Who would recruit madmen to join them? "They didn't know you were a-"
"Oh, they knew."
Dread like a weight dropped into Kip's stomach. "You said something about my town. Before. What are they planning to do?"
"You know, Orholam's got a sense of humor. Never realized that 'til now. Orphan, aren't you?"
"No. I've got a mother," Kip said. He instantly regretted giving the color wight even that much.
"Would you believe me if I told you there's a prophecy about you?"
"It wasn't funny the first time," Kip said. "What's going to happen to my town?" Dawn was coming, and Kip wasn't going to stick around. Not only would the guard's replacement come then, but Kip had no idea what the wight would do once he had light.
"You know," the wight said, "you're the reason I'm here. Not here, here. Not like 'Why do I exist?' Not in Tyrea. In chains, I mean."
"What?" Kip asked.
"There's power in madness, Kip. Of course…" he trailed off, laughed at private thought. Recovered. "Look, that soldier has a key in his breast pocket. I fiddled for an hour, but couldn't get it out, not with-" He shook his hands, bound and manacled behind his back.
"And I would help you why?" Kip asked.
"For a few straight answers before dawn."
Crazy, and cunning. Perfect. "Give me one first," Kip said.
"What's the plan for my village?"
"What?" Kip asked.
"Sorry, you said one answer."
"That was no answer!"
"They're going to wipe out your village. Make an example so no one else defies King Garadul. Other villages defied the king, too, of course. His rebellion against the Chromeria isn't popular everywhere. For every town burning to take vengeance on the Prism, there's another that wants nothing to do with war. Your village was chosen specially. Anyway, I had a little spasm of conscience and objected. Words were exchanged. I punched my superior. Not totally my fault. They know us greens don't do rules and hierarchy. Especially not once we've broken the halo." The color wight shrugged. "There, straight. I think that deserves the key, don't you?"
It was too much information to soak up at once-broken the halo?-but it was a straight answer. Kip walked over to the dead man. His skin was pallid in the rising light. Pull it together, Kip. Ask whatever you need to ask.
Kip's eyes had fully adjusted to the darkness now, and he could tell that dawn was coming. Eerie shapes were emerging from the night. The great, twin looming masses of Sundered Rock itself were visible mostly as a place where stars were blotted out of the sky.
What do I need to ask?
He was hesitating, not wanting to touch the dead man. He knelt. "Why my town?" He poked through the dead man's pocket, careful not to touch skin. It was there, two keys.
"They think you have something that belongs to the king. I don't know what. I only picked up that much by eavesdropping."
"What would Rekton have that the king wants?" Kip asked.
"Not Rekton you. You you."
It took Kip a second. He touched his own chest. "Me? Me personally? I don't even own anything!"
The color wight gave a crazy grin, but Kip thought it was a pretense."Tragic mistake then. Their mistake, your tragedy."
"What, you think I'm lying?!" Kip asked. "You think I'd be out here scavenging luxin if I had any other choice?"
"I don't really care one way or the other. You going to bring that key over here, or do I need ask real nice?"
It was a mistake to bring the keys over. Kip knew it. The color wight wasn't stable. He was dangerous. He'd admitted as much. But he had kept his word to Kip.
Kip walked over and unlocked the man's manacles, and then the padlock on the chains. He backed away carefully, as one would from a wild animal. The color wight pretended not to notice, simply rubbing his arms and stretching back and forth. He walked over to the guard and poked through his pockets again. His hand emerged with a pair of green spectacles with one cracked lens.
"You could come with me," Kip said. "If you what you said is true-"
"How close do you think I'd get to your town before someone came running with a musket? Besides, once the sun comes up… I'm ready for it to be done." The color wight took a deep breath, staring at the horizon. "Tell me, Kip, if you've done bad things for your whole life, but you die doing something good, do you think that makes up for all the bad?"
"No," Kip said, honestly, before he could stop himself.
"But it's better than nothing. Orholam's merciful."
"Wonder if you'll say that after they're done with your village."
There were other questions Kip wanted to ask, but everything had happened in such a rush that he couldn't put things together.
In the rising light Kip saw what had been hidden in the fog and the darkness. Hundreds of tents were laid out in military precision. Soldiers. Lots of soldiers. And even as Kip stood, not two hundred paces from the nearest tent, the plain began winking. Glimmers sparkled on the ground, as broken luxin gleamed, like stars scattered on the ground, answering their brethren in the sky.
It was what Kip had come for. Usually when a drafter released luxin, it simply dissolved, no matter color it was. But in battle, there had so much chaos, so many drafters, some sealed magic had been buried and protected from the sunlight that would break it down. The recent rain had uncovered more.
But Kip's eyes were pulled from the winking luxin by four soldiers and a man with a stark red cloak and red spectacles walking toward them from the camp.
"My name is Gaspar, by the by. Gaspar Elos." The color wight didn't look at Kip.
"I'm not just some drafter. My father loved me. I had plans. A girl. A life."
"You will." The color wight put the green spectacles on; they fit perfectly, tight to his face, lenses sweeping to either side so wherever he looked, he would be looking through a green filter. "Now get out of here."
As the sun touched the horizon, Gaspar sighed. It was as if Kip had ceased to exist. It was like watching his mother take that first deep breath of haze. Between the sparkling spars of green, the whites of Gaspar's eyes swirled like droplets of green blood hitting water, first dispersing, then staining the whole. The emerald green of luxin ballooned through his eyes, thickened until it was solid, and then spread. Through his cheeks, up to his hairline, then down his neck, standing out starkly when it finally filled his lighter fingernails as if they'd been painted in radiant jade.
Gaspar started laughing. It was a low, unreasoning cackle, unrelenting. Mad. Not a pretense this time.
He reached the funerary hill where the sentry had been, taking care to stay on the far side from the army. He had to get to Master Danavis. Master Danavis always knew what to do.
There was no sentry on the hill now. Kip turned around in time to see Gaspar change, transform. Green luxin spilled out of his hands onto his body, covering every part of him like a shell, like an enormous suit of armor. Kip couldn't see the soldiers or the red drafter approaching Gaspar, but he did see a fireball the size of his head streak toward the color wight, hit his chest and burst apart, throwing flames everywhere.
Gaspar rammed through it, flaming red luxin sticking to his green armor. He was magnificent, terrible, powerful. He ran toward the soldiers, screaming defiance, and disappeared from Kip's view.
Kip fled, the vermillion sun setting fire to the mists.
Meet the Author
Brent Weeks was born and raised in Montana. He wrote on bar napkins and lesson plans before landing his dream job years and thousands of pages later. Brent lives in Oregon with his wife, Kristi, and their daughters. Find out more about the author at www.brentweeks.com or on twitter @brentweeks.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This book is perfect evidence that Brent weeks is an ever improving master of his trade. The Black Prism, the opening novel for the Light Bringer series, might just be Weeks' finest work yet. This looks to be even better than the Night Angel Trilogy (which is possibly the greatest modern fantasy series out there). Weeks creates a unique and imaginative world. His characters will be loved or hated, but never forgotten. His plot is a roller coaster full of twists, turns, and shocking revelations. This is a book you will not want to miss. ps: If you have not read the Night Angel trilogy, GO READ IT NOW!!!
Ok first off, this is a good book, original and compelling. Really the only reason why I don't give this five starts is that I just finished reading the Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks, which I absolutely loved. Because this book is slower and the action less frequent, it seemed pretty slow at first, and even debated not finishing. But the pace picked up toward the latter quarter of the book, and when I finished it I decided I liked it. I think this may be the first in a multi-book series, and Weeks spent a lot of time setting up the world in this book, hence my reaction of it being slow at first. I do recommend reading this, but not after reading a fast-paced action series like I did.
I was a little apprehensive about this one as it sounded a little to mystical for my tastes but it had the perfect balance between lore and action. Also if you've read other books by Weeks then you know what to expect. In my case that was getting into one charcters story line then having it switch on me. Endlessly frustrating at the beginning but the story it weaves by doing it is more than worth it.
I read the Night Angel books and enjoyed them (apart from a touch of preachiness which I am gladly finding missing in this book). Mr Weeks goes from strength to strength in this new milieu he has created. The world is well thought-out and the plot twists are quite satisfying and dismaying at the same time. I find myself fully involved with the characters and the story. As a very long-time fantasy reader (I read the Lord of the Rings in 1970 as a college student), I think Mr. Weeks has drilled into the source of all good fantasy fiction writing and I am looking forward to reading his work for years to come.
I picked this up b/c i loved the night angel trilogy and though i will admit it took a couple of pages to get into all the rainbow colors and understand this new world it was well worth it.. the characters are great and a great story is coming through. I can't wait for the next one.
Original concept and character development that ropes you in emotionally while still keeping you guessing on who to root for and against. PGDeFreese
Took me awile to get into it at the start. But thats probably because i was reading a lot of others at the time. But once it hooked me i couldnt set it down without having to pick it up and read more. Again Weeks has brought me something i will be reading for a very long time
Didn't want to put the book down. Interesting concept and in-depth characters. I thoroughly enjoy reading The fascinating worlds that Brent Weeks create.
This book was an amazing read. Definitly worth the read.
Story was great, but a little complicated ecspecialy figuring out what colors were what and really enjoyed the twist at the end
I absolutely love the world Weeks has created in Black Prism. This book is pure fantasy and the saga (part of a trilogy) looks to be exquisite. The magic used in this realm is based on light and color. It is quite unique and different. I was a little confused at first, but quickly figured out how this power was used. I like the way Weeks was a little vague leaving plenty of room for surprises and tweaks. The plot is brilliant and the battles are epic. The book is over 600 pages long, but don't let that scare you. It is seamlessly written and captivating; a gripping story that will leave you begging for more. Weeks characters were complex and I felt engaged and connected with them. Our young protagonist Kip is fifteen and the bastard child of Gavin Guile, the Prism. He is a chubby, quick to temper, loyal, winey, courageous and loveable hero. I was entranced by so many of the characters in this book especially, Gavin, Dazen, Liv, Kallis, Corvan, Ironfist and the White. The political games and the way Weeks describes this world and its history brought the pages to life. Just when I thought I knew the direction the story was going and who was who, Weeks turned everything inside out. It made me crazy, it made me mad and I want more. There were a few sub-plots which made the story more fascinating. While this is the first in a trilogy, I wasn't able to find even the hint of a release date. Mr. Weeks.I do not like waiting!
this man Brent weeks can do no wrong he exploded his great night angel trilogy in the world and became known now he enters into the writing world the black prism that has amazing characters, great story,a bit of romance and to top it off great magic system with the color spectrum.i look forward to the next. if its anywhere near as good as this one then it official Brent weeks is the man
Usually, i'll read a book or series and be done with it, but Weeks's style manages to reel me back in to reread (Especially Shadow's Edge [if you hant ead the Night Angel tril, do it!]), and this one was no exception! A little slow to start, but well dveloped characters and a world and plot to boot! Also, i found this view of magic to be refreshing and intriguing and was continually drawn to keep reading when I should have slept. I can't wait for book 2 to come out x.x
Once again Brent Weeks has done it. He's managed to keep me up all night reading his book and all i can say is thank you. If you havent read his Night Angel trilogy, stop right now and go pick it up or download it. Seriously right now! Brent weeks is my now my favorite author i will forever read anything he writes, he's that damn good! Everything from the plot, to the battles, to the romance, to the double crosses, to the humor, i mean everything is so good it's hard to believe it's one person writing so many different things so incredibly well. Read this book, you will enjoy it i promise. Give Brent Weeks a few pages and he'll give you a helluva ride! And why are you still reading this go read the Night Angel trilogy and then pre-order Perfect Shadow!
I loved the Night Angel Trilogy and now I'm sure I'll love the lightbringer series. My main problem with black prism is that the series protagonist "Kip" suffers from what i call WBS (Whiny Female canine Syndrome). Some people find Kip relatable, I on the other hand find that Kip's constant second guessing and detestably low self esteem to be annoying. I also found the fact that kip was fat and out of shape of particular irritance; call me old fashioned but i think hero's should be at least in some semblance of physical health. All the other characters i throughly enjoyed reading. All in all its a great book the only drawback is the aforementioned problems with the protagonist.
I enjoy reading but am picky about the series i read. This one was slow to really explain the type of magic used but once I grasped it I loved the whole story.
Takes a good look at his other clan members. Decides which one to talk to. Shadow cant decide. He decides to go and train by himself.
Help result 5
Thought it was Blue
After discovering Brent Weeks's books on Hoopla, I couldn't help but read/listen to them. The description was intriguing. I didn't quite know what the colors involved, nor the Prism, but I'm glad I chose the series. It's wonderful. The characters have depth, the world is wide and intriguing, and the cultures make the entire thing so realistic, as much as fantasy can be. It is very reminiscent of Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series.
Badly written, poorly characterized, and a mediocre plot
This is a fantastic, in depth story with twists and turns; it is not a fast read.
The story is interesting, but I feel like the author forgot to edit his work. There is a lot of deadwood and characters don't act as if they were really from the world the book describes. Very unique ideas though, I just wish the style was better.