The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

The basics

Title: The Black Prism


Series: Lightbringer #1

- The Black Prism (2010)
- The Blinding Knife (2012)
- The Broken Eye (2014)
- The Blood Mirror (2015)
- The Burning White (2019)

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Goodreads Summary:

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.

Read a full summary of The Black Prism by Brent Weeks below. If you can’t remember what happened in The Black Prism and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

What happened in The Black Prism?

  • Gavin Guile, the Prism, receives a letter from a woman who claims to have had his son. The woman is called Lina, and she lives in Tyrea with the teenage boy.
  • Gavin reflects on how he had an affair with a woman while he was betrothed to Karris. Karris is now his bodyguard.
  • Karris is sent to Garriston to spy on the army there, and Gavin accompanies her. The two of them spot a fire in the distance as they’re traveling. They follow the smoke and come to the town of Rekton, where the main character Kip lives.
  • Soldiers burnt down Kip’s town and slaughtered everyone in it. Kip was able to escape because he was able to use magic that he didn’t know he had.
  • Kip is actually Gavin’s son, which explains why he’s so powerful.
  • Karris and Gavin save Kip and learn that King Garadul plans to seize Garriston. 
  • Garadul takes a dagger from Kip.
  • Karris learns of Gavin’s affair back in the day and heads off to Rekton while Gavin and Kip go to the Chromeria.
  • Karris means Corvan Danavis, who used to be part of Dazen Guile’s army. Dazen was Gavin’s brother, and the two fought on opposing sides of the Prism war.
  • Kip joins the recruits and is shadowed by a commander called Ironfist.
  • Corvan’s daughter, Liv, agrees to tutor Kip. 
  • Gavin then heads to see his brother, who is imprisoned. We learn that Gavin is actually Dazen, and Dazen is actually Gavin. GASP. TWIST.
  • Dazen posed as Gavin after the war and broke up with Karris. Dazen asks Gavin about the dagger and Kip – it seems the real Gavin is Kip’s real father.
  • Dazen (as Gavin) goes to speak to their father, Andross. Andross brings up the white luxin, a mythical substance that may have been in the box that Garadul took from Kip. Andross assumes Dazen knows what this is, since the real Gavin would have known.
  • Karris is captured by Garadul.
  • Kip, Dazen (still as Gavin), Ironfist, and Liv head to Tyrea to defend Garriston. Andross warned that Garadul must be stopped and the dagger retrieved.
  • Corvan arrives, and knows that Dazen is pretending to be Gavin. They have to put on a front, though, because the real Gavin distrusted Corvan as they were on opposite sides of the war.
  • Karris is taken to Lord Omnichrome, who turns out to be her brother Koios.
  • Ironfist, Kip, and Liv go to save Karris. 
  • Liv joins up with Lord Omnichrome, who is trying to off Garadul. Kip then klls Omnichrome instead before Corvan and Dazen can save him.
  • Kip saves Ironfist at the docks. He runs across the water to the ship, and as he reaches it he sees Gavin (Dazen) get stabbed in the back. Kip throws the assnn into the water.
  • Dazen gives Kip the box that he retrieved, and in it there’s a note from Kip’s mother saying she was raped by Gavin Guile.
  • Gavin – the real one – escapes from his blue prison into a green one. 
  • Dazen discovers that he can’t draft blue any longer.

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