Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Gilded Chain ( A Tale of the King's Blades: Book 1)

Mulluane | 10:04 PM | 3 Comments so far

By Dave Duncan

The grim school of Ironhall takes in unwanted, rebellious boys and five years later sends forth the finest swordsmen in the world, the King of Chivial‘s Blades. Bound to absolute loyalty by a magical sword-stroke through their hearts, they stand ready to defend the King or whomever else he designates against all perils, whether human or sorcerous.

Each book in this trilogy stands alone, but together they make a larger story.

The Gilded Chain tells of the greatest swordsman Ironhall has produced in its long history, Sir Durendal. When King Ambrose needs a Blade to accompany his agent on a dangerous mission to the far ends of the Earth, he naturally chooses young Durendal. Alas, even the plans of kings can go sadly awry . . *Blurb source Author*

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The Gilded Chain
| Genre: Sword and Sorcery
| Content: Heroes, Adult
| ISBN-10: 0380791269
| ISBN-13: 978-0380791262
| Publisher: HarperCollins (September 1, 1999)
| Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
| Source: Personal copy
| Sample Chapter
| Rating: 5 Stars

Fantasy Series Book Review by Mulluane

In this medieval type world, magic plays a huge part. The Kings Blade's, unwanted young boys raised from about the age of 14 at Ironhall in Starkmoor, are destined to be bound to a ward of the King's choosing. The ritual involved requires that the ward stab the candidate through the heart. If the young man survives, (survival comes with immediate healing), he is now bound heart, mind, body and soul to the person he is assigned to, risking even death to protect that person from harm. The ward can be anyone the King decides needs a Blade, could be the King himself or just someone he favors (or wants watched). The Blade pays a price for this service. He doesn't sleep, can't get drunk, can't tolerate being out of sight of his ward for more then a few minutes. Fortunately the latter eases up over time but there is one plus, they become very popular with the ladies due to all that extra stamina!

This book rocks. The pace flows almost seamlessly. There is something for almost everybody. Love, loyalty, magic, betrayal, danger, adventure, sword play and politics. There are even a few elements of horror thrown in for good measure. This is very much a plot driven story, which is an unusual choice for me as I tend to find myself enjoying character driven novels as a rule. (But then I'll read almost anything but Urban Fantasy /shudder). This is not to say the story isn't full of great characters, it is, but the focus is primarily on plot. This was a fairly quick read for me too, not in terms of pages or lack of action but because it flows so evenly throughout the story. Not even the sword play scenes lost my attention and I'm not really all that intrigued by those.

This book is rated 18+ by the publisher. There is allusion to sex but no detail, definite gory violence involved in the fight scenes, the horror element is a pretty gross concept but the themes and vocabulary aren't all that complex. This book is a stand alone but it's also part of a series. I'm looking forward to reading the rest!

Series Summary
Book Two ~ Book Three

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books, Affiliate Links

Librarything Rating 3.86/5

Amazon Rating 4.2 out of 5 stars
(81 customer reviews)

What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: The Gilded Chain: A Tale Of The King's BladesGilded Chain

Audible: No

Buy Book: AbeBooks

Amazon:  USGilded Chain  - UKGilded Chain  - CanadaGilded Chain
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Book review of The Gilded Chain ( A Tale of the King's Blades: Book 1) by Dave Duncan - Sword and Sorcery - Reviewed by Mulluane - on August 5, 2008 - Rating: 5.0

Mulluane is a 56-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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Old Bat's Belfry - Witty Wacky and Wise Quotes


  1. Sounds like my kind of story. I'm adding this one to my "to buy" list.

  2. Have you read any of Duncan's other works? I'm curious how it compares to his Seventh Sword series (if it does).

  3. I haven't yet but they are on my 'to buy' list.


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