Sunday, August 3, 2008

Lord of the Fire Lands (A Tale of the King's Blades: Book 2)

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.

Lord of the Fire Lands is neither a sequel nor a prequel. Because most of the action overlaps the first book in time, I call it a "paraquel". King Ambrose and Durendal make brief appearances, but the main characters are two young men we first meet in Ironhall as Candidate Wasp and Candidate Raider. Neither quite fits the pattern for a would-be Blade, and when the King arrives to harvest the latest crop of seniors and proposes to bind those two to his service, the traditions break down. Ancient secrets are revealed and suddenly danger threatens, right there in Ironhall.*Blurb source Author*

Affiliate Link
Lord of the Fire Lands
| Genre: Sword and Sorcery
| Content: Heroes, Adult
| ISBN-10: 0380791277
| ISBN-13: 978-0380791279
| Publisher: HarperCollins (September 5, 2000)
| Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
| Source: Personal copy
| Sample Chapter
| Rating: 5 Stars

Fantasy Series Book Review by Mulluane

Wasp is ecstatic, after 5 intensive years of training to become a King's Blade the King is coming to Ironhall to bind his next group of Blades. Little did he envision what would actually happen. That his best friend Raider, the man who had once saved him from a burning building, would do the unthinkable. Raider would refuse to enter into the King's service. Wasp in a moment of blind loyalty decides that his friend and savior must not be allowed to be cast out, friendless and alone, so he too must refuse so that he can remain at his friend's side. Ah but its said that no good deed goes unpunished. Wasp is about to embark on a journey he could have never imagined, to the lands of the Baels, the same people who killed his parents and left him an orphan. And to make matters worse he is bound, tied by mind, body and soul unto death to the man who may just be next in line for the throne in this savage land.

So starts the next installment of Dave Duncan's King's Blades series. Now there are a few things I need to point out about this book. First of all it starts with a warning from the author that this is a stand alone. Both this and Gilded Chain take place at roughly the same time but with very different endings. This is intentional so don't let it confuse or throw you. The third book is supposed to resolve the discrepancies. Secondly, this is not a sequel, this is a retelling of the events that took place during the first book, but from a totally different viewpoint. Some of the previous characters play a role, King Ambrose for example, but if you are looking for more of Sir Durendal you will find only a few passing mentions.

That being said, this is another great book. There is more story telling in this novel then there was in the first. Raider acts as narrator for parts, the author serves as narrator for other parts. To clarify, there is a section that goes, "here is what Raider wanted to tell, if he only had time..." and the author proceeds to tell the story for him. Different narrative style then I am used to but it worked out really well. Again this is a full chronicle of the life of Raider similar to how Sir Durendal's story was told with sections of past and present intermingled. The main difference being that it doesn't follow Raider into old age as it did Sir Durendal. There is plenty of action and great back story. The elements of sword play, sorcery, underhanded politics and betrayal are just as prevalent here as in book one. Of course there is also the unyielding loyalty of two friends who must rely on each other for survival. Its also interesting to note that Dave Duncan inserts a few elements of horror into his world as well. Necromancy and zombies (called thralls) play a role in this rich and well plotted story. Truly something here for nearly every Sword and Sorcery fan.

I'm looking forward to the third book which will be told by yet another viewpoint and promises to resolve the surprising differences in viewpoint between book one and two. What a unique way of creating a cliff hanger without compromising the stand alone qualities of each book. I love breaks from tradition! Especially when executed as well as these books have done so far. I consider these a must read.

Series Summary
Book One ~ Book Three

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

Librarything Rating 3.76/5

Amazon Rating 4.0 out of 5 stars
(46 customer reviews)

What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Lord of the Fire LandsLord of the Fire Lands

Audible: No

Buy Book: AbeBooks

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Book review of Lord of the Fire Lands (A Tale of the King's Blades: Book 2) by Dave Duncan - Reviewed by Mulluane - on August 3, 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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