Excerpt: THE BLOOD MIRROR by Brent Weeks (Orbit)

weeksb-l4-bloodmirrorukThe Blood Mirror, the fourth novel in Brent Weeks‘s epic Lightbringer series, was published yesterday. To celebrate its arrival, Orbit has given me this excerpt to share. First, the novel’s synopsis:

Stripped of both magical and political power, the people he once ruled told he’s dead, and now imprisoned in his own magical dungeon, former Emperor Gavin Guile has no prospect of escape. 

But the world faces a calamity greater than the Seven Satrapies has ever seen… and only he can save it.

As the armies of the White King defeat the Chromeria and old gods are born anew, the fate of worlds will come down to one question: who is the Lightbringer?

The Blood Mirror is published in the UK and US by Orbit Books.

And now, the excerpt…


A few hundred paces directly ahead, the sea was cratering. Lightning bolts raced low on the water toward the crater, and were sucked in.

With a concussion that shook the galley and knocked down most everyone standing on deck, the sea exploded upward. Fire spiraled around the pillar of light, discharging into bright clouds above.


Kip clambered to his feet. Water and yellow luxin dropped on the ship in bucketsful, sweeping several sailors and half the Mighty off their feet. But it was liquid yellow, thank Orholam. It flashed into light as it hit the deck, blinding but not killing anyone. Whether they would be lucky enough to be hit only by liquid yellow or whether there were solid razors of yellow yet to come, Kip had no idea.

Discharging. Because it was out of balance.

Kip left the turtle, rushing to the prow just in time to feel it rise as the galley climbed a mountainous wave.

“Breaker, get back—” Cruxer shouted.

But the wave was too massive, too fast for the galley to climb. The prow dug into it instead, slowing the ship as suddenly as if it had hit a wall. Winsen was thrown off his feet. Kip snatched his wrist as he tumbled and was drafting before he knew it. He manacled one of his own wrists to a line connecting the prow and mainmast and the other to Winsen’s wrist.

Then water hit them like the slap of a sea demon’s tail.

Kip and Winsen were blasted back, and then up the line, into the air, halfway up to the mainmast. Blinded, and with lungs half- full of water, they were dropped, zipping down the line back to the deck as the wave crest passed and the prow suddenly dove, racing down the back side of the wave.

The rest of the Mighty were still crouched, clinging to the deck in a low, luxin- imbued circle like a tick burrowed into the ship’s skin.

As soon as Kip’s feet hit the deck, he was running. He threw Winsen toward the squad, not even aware of releasing the solid yellow luxin he’d drafted— solid yellow? That fast?

He leapt over the forecastle rail out onto the beakhead as the ship bottomed out between the waves, and lashed himself down with yellow luxin as the ship began its climb again.

A deep breath, and the beakhead plunged into the next wave, the waters pouring over him, scouring at him as if he were an offensive stain.

But then air. This second wave was smaller than the first had been.

Kip popped to his feet, reaching for the lens holster on his left hip. If yellow was out of balance, that meant . . . If the center of the spectrum was out of balance, it could be out of balance only with the ends of the spectrum. Kip’s lens holster had seven pairs of spectacles, ending at sub- red and superviolet, which balanced each other.

But there was one color beyond sub- red: Teia’s color, paryl. In legend, there was another in the opposite direction, beyond superviolet: chi. Kip had no idea how he’d draft chi. Hell, all he knew about drafting paryl was that Teia’s eyes went so wide open the black of her pupils took over the entire eye. Lashing one hand onto the line that held the foreyard to the figurehead, Kip moved forward as far as he could.

There was no third wave. A bit of luck, finally.

“Breaker! Whatever you’re going to do, do it fast!” Cruxer yelled.

The sea had gone still, again. An unnatural flatness that defied reason after the titanic waves that had just passed.

Lightning passed low over the waves to sizzle against the galley’s hull. For the first time Kip could recall, he saw fear in Cruxer’s eyes as they both realized that the next pillar of fire and light was going to spring up directly beneath the galley.

There was no way the ship or anyone in it would survive.

Kip turned to the waves. He stared straight down and widened his eyes, wider, despite the pain, despite the brightness. Into sub- red, and then beyond. It was like opening his mouth too wide, discomfort turned to pain, and the light stabbed daggers into his face.

And wider.

 And wider still.

He almost gagged— and then paryl snapped into focus as if it had been waiting for him.

Paryl was racing below the waves, like clouds blowing through a storm- swept sky, and Kip’s awareness was pulled along with the gale to its center, where it swirled beneath the galley. A hard knot of paryl and something else— chi?— was forming, buzzing like the lightning- catcher atop each of the Chromeria’s seven towers. Kip could feel the charge building, building.

Oh hells.

The paryl and that other color were just touching, and slowly twisting together, like partners coming together to dance. Kip could feel the pres-sures massing behind each.

And they twisted together hard, spinning together, lightning crackling—

Kip flung them apart with all his will.

The seas exploded, and his paryl- wide eyes were blinded. Everything was lost in the twin roaring to his left and right, and great jets of water streaming skyward pressed in on him. He could feel the jets twining together in the sky above the ship like wire and discharging the imbalanced yellow.

 The paryl and chi wanted to snap together, wanted to crush Kip in their embrace. Kip stood, hands extended, arms extended, shoulders knotted with effort, his screams lost in the cacophony. He wept in agony, tear water blending with seawater and brightwater, salt to salt, deep to deep, magic to magic.

Nothing but magic.

Kip barely dared blink, though the world was a wash of undifferenti-ated light stabbing him. He couldn’t lose the colors. His head lolled, chin down, arms out, shaking, exhausted, defiant. It didn’t matter where he looked with his blind eyes: the magic was everywhere. Magic was all.

And it was crushing him. It was like holding apart two rams who wanted to butt heads to show their dominance, each side lurching and twisting, ever lunging in.

Kip’s arms were stone. He dropped to his knees, still holding the paryl and chi streams apart.

His arms sagged, halfway to his sides, his will almost extinguished.

He wanted to drop dead, drop into the sea, and be no more.

But before his arms fell, he felt a presence behind him, embracing him, propping his arms up. “I’ve got you, Kip. Come on, Kip, we’re almost through!”

Kip? Everyone on the squad called him Breaker. Who . . .

“Help me!” Tisis shouted.

And Kip felt another pair of hands on him. “Breaker, you can do this!” Cruxer said, pulling him to his feet.

Kip was weeping. Oh, Orholam, it hurt. Stabs of pain shot through his eyes, down his spine. His arms were gelatinous. His will was dust.

“Another ten count, Breaker,” Cruxer said. “Give me just another ten.”

Mumbling through his tears, Kip counted with Cruxer.

“Captain, tell me when we’re through!” Cruxer shouted over his shoulder. “Eight, nine, and— keep going, Breaker, I know you, you’ve got five more—”

But Kip is gone.


For more on Brent Weeks’s novels and writing, be sure to check out the author’s website, and follow him on Twitter and Goodreads. Weeks is the author of the Lightbringer and Night Angel series, both published by Orbit Books.



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