Home > The Burning White

The Burning White
Author: Brent Weeks

The Lightbringer Series Recap

In the empire of the Seven Satrapies, some people are born with the ability to transform light into luxin: a physical, tangible substance that exists in one of nine colors. The process is known as drafting, and each drafted color has unique physical and metaphysical properties and innumerable uses, from construction to warfare. Trained at the empire’s capital, the Chromeria, drafters lead lives of privilege, with politicians and powerful families 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. Drafters who have broken the halo are called wights, and they descend into madness if they are not Freed; those who run from the ritual Freeing are hunted to their deaths. Only the Prism can draft with limitless power, and he or she alone can balance all the colors in the satrapies to prevent luxin from overwhelming the lands and creating chaos. Every seven years, or on a multiple of seven years, the Prism also gives up his or her life, and the ruling council installs a new Prism. If the Prism refuses death, he or she is likewise hunted down by the elite squadron assigned to protecting the empire: the Blackguard.



Book One: The Black Prism

Kip Delauria is scrounging for shards of luxin on a battlefield of the False Prism’s War outside Rekton. He comes upon a green wight, Gaspar Elos, bound and trying to escape. Satrap Garadul has declared himself king and is planning to lay waste to Rekton; there is an army camped not far away. Kip races to the home of red dyer Master Danavis, who urges Kip to find his friends and run. During his escape attempt, Kip inadvertently drafts. Later he finds his mother, Lina, gravely injured, hidden in a cave with one of his friends. She gives him a rosewood box containing a mysterious jewel-encrusted dagger before dying.

At the Chromeria, Prism Gavin Guile receives a message from Lina, telling him that he has a son in Rekton named Kip. Gavin soon sets off with Blackguard Karris White Oak. They make their way to Tyrea on a luxin skimmer/glider of his own creation, which allows them to cross the entire Cerulean Sea in a day. Upon their arrival they discover that Rekton has been destroyed, and they find Kip trying to defend himself from Garadul’s Mirrormen. Gavin quickly dispatches the soldiers, realizing that Garadul is trying to set up his own Chromeria and has declared himself king. Gavin recognizes Kip as his bastard and claims him; Garadul takes the dagger before they leave.

Gavin and Kip make their way back to the Chromeria, where Kip is immediately tested to see what he can draft. He is discovered to be a superchromat and is revealed to be a blue/green bichrome. He also reunites with Aliviana (Liv) Danavis—a friend from his hometown and daughter of Corvan.

Meanwhile in Tyrea, Karris has set out on her own. She finds Corvan Danavis—Dazen’s greatest general in the False Prism’s War—in a basement, the lone survivor of the brutal massacre in Rekton. Karris is captured by the king’s forces, and she discovers that King Garadul’s right hand, a polychrome wight who calls himself the Color Prince, is the one inciting rebellion. He is Karris’s brother, whom she’d thought long dead. Corvan begins to make his way to Garriston to warn the governor.

Back at the Chromeria, it is revealed that Gavin is in fact Dazen, masquerading as his older brother. The real Gavin Guile (‘the prisoner’) is still alive, held in a blue luxin prison far beneath the Prism’s Tower. Prism Guile meets with the Spectrum, the governing body of the Seven Satrapies, and tells them what Garadul is planning. Gavin decides to make his way to Garriston with Kip, Blackguard Commander Ironfist, and Liv—who is to be Kip’s tutor. Once they arrive in Garriston, Gavin deposes Governor Crassos and takes command. He reunites with and reinstates General Danavis, giving his old friend command of Garriston’s defenses.

Gavin plans to build a magnificent yellow luxin wall around Garriston in an attempt to save the otherwise vulnerable city. Brightwater Wall is nearly complete when a cannonball destroys the gate as Gavin is finishing it. Meanwhile, Kip sneaks away to infiltrate Garadul’s camp as a spy to find Karris, and Liv goes with him; Kip is captured, and Liv is invited to join the Color Prince. Liv saves both Kip and Karris by agreeing to join the Color Prince if he’ll spare Kip’s and Gavin’s lives.

During the Battle of Garriston, Gavin goes down after drafting white luxin, Kip kills King Garadul, and the rest of the forces retreat to the docks. Kip helps rescue Ironfist, and they run across the ocean to one of the barges, where Kip races to meet another threat: a young polychrome, Zymun, who has been assigned to assassinate Gavin. Zymun’s attempt fails when Kip intercedes. Kip takes the dagger Zymun used and realizes it is the same blade his mother gave him; he recovers the knife, which now has a blue gem in the hilt.

Gavin realizes he has lost the ability to see or draft blue. The prisoner has broken out of the blue prison to find himself inside a green one.



Book Two: The Blinding Knife

Gavin and the refugees from Garriston are aboard the barges, and he tries to reconcile with the fact that he has lost blue. He saves the refugees from a sea demon, then departs with Karris for Seers Island, where he negotiates with the Third Eye, a powerful Seer, to get permission for the refugees to build a home on her island. The Third Eye knows who he really is and that he has already lost blue. She gives Gavin some useful advice about the bane, and Gavin later kills the blue bane by himself.

After they make their way back to the Chromeria, Kip goes through Blackguard training against the wishes of Commander Ironfist. Kip makes some friends and meets Teia, a color-blind paryl drafter and a slave. The war isn’t going well for the Chromeria, and Ironfist announces that the Blackguard will graduate the top fourteen candidates instead of the usual seven. As hard as training is, the new interest Kip’s grandfather, Andross Guile, has taken in him is worse. Andross demands Kip play Nine Kings for extremely high stakes.

Gavin and Karris return to the Chromeria after getting the refugees settled in their new home. He meets with the Spectrum, and Seers Island is renamed New Tyrea, giving it power as a satrapy and Danavis as satrap. Karris is ambushed and beaten by men hired by Andross Guile.

A librarian, Rea Siluz, introduces Kip to Janus Borig, an eccentric old artist who creates priceless original Nine Kings cards infused with magic. Janus warns Kip that her life is in danger, and soon Kip discovers Borig’s house burned and Janus mortally wounded by two mysterious assassins. Kip recovers a deck of completely new cards, kills the assassins, steals their shimmercloaks, and gives the items to Ironfist and Gavin. Kip eventually ranks fourteenth in his Blackguard testing and is revealed to be not a bichrome, but a full-spectrum polychrome.

Meanwhile, Liv has sworn fealty to the Color Prince and his cause. His army begins to make their way from Garriston toward Ru, a large city in Atash. Gavin travels to Ru with Kip and a team of Blackguards. They go on scouting missions. Gavin reveals his skimmer to the Blackguards, and together they sink the Gargantua, an enormous ship owned by pirate king Pash Vecchio.

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. Ironfist and Teia lead a team in an assault on a watchtower. The green bane emerges from the sea; Gavin, Kip, and Karris fight their way to it, killing wights in their wake. Amid the chaos, Gavin realizes he has lost the ability to see or draft green. Liv directs a huge beam of light to the bane spire, awakening the new green god Atirat.

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