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The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer #4)
Author:Brent Weeks

The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer #4)

Brent Weeks

To Kristi, whose “No.” “Not… no.” “Yes!” taught me all I needed to know about love and publishing.

And to my sisters, Christa and Elisa, my stories’ first (and wildly appreciative) audience.

The Lightbringer Series Recap

In the empire of the Seven Satrapies, a small number of people are born with the ability to learn to transform light into a physical, tangible product called luxin. Each color of luxin has unique physical and metaphysical properties and innumerable uses, from construction to warfare. Trained at the empire’s capital, the Chromeria, these drafters lead lives of privilege, with satrapies and powerful houses vying for their services. In exchange, they agree that once they exhaust their ability to safely use magic—signaled when the halos of their irises are broken by the colors they draft—they will be killed by the emperor, the Prism, in a ceremony on the most holy day of the year: Sun Day. The drafters who have broken the halo (called wights) go mad with the luxin coursing through their bodies. If they run away instead of surrendering, they must be hunted to death. Only the Prism can draft with limitless power, and he or she alone can balance all the colors in the satrapies to prevent the chaotic luxin from overwhelming the lands. Every seven years, or on a multiple of seven years, the Prism also gives up his or her life, and the ruling council appoints a new Prism. If the Prism refuses death, he or she is likewise hunted down.

The current Prism is Gavin Guile.

Book One: The Black Prism

Prism Gavin Guile learns he has an illegitimate son living in a satrapy that’s threatening civil war for the second time in fifteen years. But Gavin is actually Dazen Guile in disguise; after the battle that ended the last war and killed his brother, he stole Gavin’s identity. Now he has to take responsibility for his brother’s bastard. Gavin travels to Tyrea with Karris, his former fiancée and now a member of his elite defensive corps, the Blackguard. They find Kip, his son, in time to save him from a rebellious satrap who is calling himself King Garadul. The king allows them to leave, but takes Kip’s knife—the only thing left him by his mother. While Gavin takes Kip back to the Chromeria to begin his magical education, Karris stays in Tyrea to rendezvous with a spy in the king’s army.

Karris is captured by the king’s forces, and she discovers King Garadul’s right hand, a wight who calls himself the Color Prince, is the one fomenting rebellion. He is her brother, whom she’d thought long dead.

Kip tests into the Chromeria’s school for drafters and meets a friend from his hometown, Liv Danavis, daughter of one of Dazen’s greatest generals. Gavin is focused on killing wights and finding a political solution to the war, but he must also deal with the man he’s secretly imprisoned deep beneath the Chromeria: his brother. Gavin’s father, Andross, tasks him with going back to Tyrea to stop the rebellion from becoming an empire-wide war and with retrieving the very knife Gavin allowed the king to take when he rescued Kip.

When Gavin, Kip, and Liv arrive at Tyrea’s capital, Garriston, they meet Liv’s father, former general Corvan Danavis. They realize the city is indefensible, so Gavin begins to draft an entire wall. Gavin has almost completed the wall when a cannonball destroys the gate he’d been drafting. Gavin’s forces defend the retreat of Garriston’s citizens as they attempt to escape via barges. Kip learns where Karris is and decides to rescue her. Liv follows him, but they are separated when Kip is captured by the Color Prince’s forces.

Kip is imprisoned with Karris, and in the chaos of battle they manage to join the army marching toward the city. Kip kills King Garadul, and Liv saves both Kip and Karris by agreeing to join the Color Prince if he’ll use his sharpshooting skills to prevent their deaths in battle.

Kip races to meet another threat: he knows a young polychrome, Zymun, has been assigned to assassinate Gavin. He doesn’t stop the attack, but Gavin survives when Kip intercedes. Kip takes the dagger Zymun used and realizes it is the same blade his mother gave him. Gavin, Kip, and Karris escape the city on barges with much of the city’s civilian population. Gavin is unaware that his brother has escaped the first of multiple prison chambers back at the Chromeria.

Book Two: The Blinding Knife

Gavin negotiates with the Third Eye, a powerful Seer, to get permission for the refugees to build a home on her island. Karris and Gavin build a harbor for the refugee fleet, and Gavin hunts the blue bane, a horror forming in the Cerulean Sea. If he doesn’t destroy the bane, an ancient god will be reborn.

Kip returns to the Chromeria to test into the Blackguard. He befriends a few of his fellow Blackguard candidates, including Teia, a color-blind paryl drafter and a slave. Her owner forces her to steal valuable goods and to spy on Kip. As hard as training is, the new interest his grandfather has taken in him is worse. Andross demands Kip play a card game, Nine Kings, for high stakes.

A librarian, Rea Siluz, introduces Kip to Janus Borig, an artist who creates ‘true’ Nine Kings cards, which allow drafters to experience history as it happened. But it’s not long before Kip finds Janus mortally injured by two assassins. Kip manages to kill both, acquire their magical cloaks, and save Janus’s deck of true Nine Kings cards. Kip uses a new deck made by Janus to beat Andross in a game, winning Teia’s slave contract. Kip gives the cloaks, the cards, and his mother’s knife to his father, who’s just returned with Karris. Gavin has destroyed the blue bane and resettled the refugees, so he’s ready to manipulate the Spectrum (the ruling council of the Chromeria) into declaring Seers Island a new satrapy and make Corvan Danavis its new satrap.

Karris is given a letter from Gavin’s dead mother and learns Gavin has loved her all along. He broke their betrothal so Karris wouldn’t have to marry a man she might not love. Karris approaches Gavin that night, but he’s already in bed with another woman—a woman he didn’t invite. Enraged at losing Karris again, Gavin throws the woman onto his balcony. She tumbles over the railing and falls to her death.

Certain he’ll be arrested for the murder, Gavin decides he must free his brother to take his place as Prism. But Gavin realizes his long-imprisoned brother is crazy, so he kills him. Gavin returns from the prison to find the Spectrum has declared war and that his two Blackguards, the only witnesses to the girl’s death, have sworn Gavin acted in self-defense, leaving him free to be Prism.

As the trainees continue with their elimination matches, Kip almost enters the Blackguard ranks—but loses at the last moment due to cheating by some of the other trainees. But his friend Cruxer uses a loophole to get Kip in anyway.

Gavin and Karris reconcile and marry just before they go to war against the Color Prince. With the new Blackguard inductees and the Chromeria’s forces, they must destroy a green bane that is birthing a new god, Atirat. Liv is still with the Color Prince’s army and uses her superviolet skills to help create Atirat.

Kip, Gavin, and Karris kill the god, but lose the city and the satrapy to the Color Prince’s forces.

After the battle, Kip realizes that Andross is actually a red wight. As he confronts Andross, he draws the knife his mother gave him and stabs Andross in the shoulder. Gavin tries to stop the two, but can only redirect Kip’s knife into his own body. He falls overboard, and Kip jumps after him. The ship sails on, only Andross aware of what truly happened. Gavin is picked up by Gunner, a master cannoneer on a ship they’d earlier destroyed. Kip is rescued by Zymun, who says he is actually Gavin and Karris’s long-lost illegitimate son. Gavin wakes to find he is completely color-blind… and a slave rower.