Sunday, December 12, 2010

"The Black Prism"

Brent Weeks was born and raised in Montana. After getting his diploma from Hillsdale College, Weeks had brief stints walking the earth like Caine from Kung Fu, tending bar, and corrupting the youth. (Not at the same time.) He started writing on bar napkins, then on lesson plans, then full time. Eventually, someone paid him for it.

He applied the Page 69 Test to The Black Prism, the first book in the Lightbringer series, and reported the following:
A reader picking up The Black Prism and performing the page 69 test would be getting lucky - statistically speaking, anyway. Page 69 of The Black Prism has a flashback, which is a technique I use rarely.

That said, page 69 does deepen two of the main characters of this book and as such, is representative of my work. I tend to introduce back story at the very moment that it causes more tension.

On page 69, the main character and his love interest have to hold hands for a completely prosaic reason. She is squeezing out a tempo into his hand, and this reminds him of the first time that they danced together when they were little more than children. That dance was his first betrayal of her. This page also brings up one of the primary elements that I wanted to explore in The Lightbringer Trilogy, which is the idea of overlapping and competing loyalties. I drew inspiration from the politics of early Renaissance Italy, where one person might have loyalties to family, spouse’s family, church, God, state, and state by marriage, and self, all at the same time – and all of which might conflict.

In this scene, a father orders a younger son to seduce a girl, so that he can keep his older son to marry to somebody else. But both boys fall in love with her, precipitating a cataclysmic war. Page 69 shows a small glimpse of the very human emotions and mistakes that will precipitate events vast beyond the characters’ comprehension.
Read an excerpt from The Black Prism, and learn more about the book and author at Brent Weeks' website.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue