A Sword and Sorcery Series Review
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There is no greater honor then to be chosen as a King's Blade. Troublemakers, orphans and runaways, boys around the age of 14 are brought or find their way to Ironhall in Starkmore. If accepted they start training to become an elite bodyguard; best in the land. Sworn to the king and his heirs, a King's Blade is willing to give their life to protect and serve. In a complex ritual each will be bound, the king or a ward of his choosing stabbing them through the heart in a test of their loyalty. If the Blade is true to his oath, the wound immediately heals, if not, he dies on the spot. The price of this service is high. A bound Blade will never sleep, can't partake of more then one alcoholic drink, can't stand to be out of sight of his ward, though the latter eases up over time. Should the ward die, the Blade goes insane, attacking everybody in sight until he is in turn slain. But it is far more likely that the Blade himself will die well before his King or ward; his sword returned to Ironhall, the litany of his sacrifice added to those spoken to new cadets after the evening meal.
A Tale of the King's Blade encompasses 3 books, each told from the viewpoint of a different character but taking place at roughly the same time. Each book is written as a stand alone, but with a twist. The endings in Gilded Chain and Lord of the Fire Lands contradict each other. Both end with events falling out in completely different ways. Now comes the beauty and uniqueness of this series. Book 3, Sky of Swords, resolves the conflict between how book 1 and 2 end and brings the story back around full circle! And its wonderfully done. The best part, atleast for me, is this added an extra level of suspense to the entire series. I loved book one, I couldn't wait to see how book 2 ended differently and I turned pages almost all night long to find out how it was all resolved in book 3. It was alot of fun.
Added to the fun factor created by the way Dave Duncan laid out the plot were great characters, a fascinating system of magic which included some very dark elements, almost perfect pacing and a superb mix of suspense, thrills, chills, romance, love, loyalty, betrayal and throat cutting, backstabbing politics. I enjoyed all three books and I believe they would easily appeal to any fantasy reader. Mature audiences recommended, 18+, there are occasions of sex and violence but nothing I would object to giving to a mature teen. If you want more details please continue on to the individual book reviews but honestly you just can't go wrong with this set of books.
My Book Reviews of: The Gilded Chain - Lord of the Fire Lands - Sky of Swords
Originally issued as a YA trilogy, "The King's Daggers" (including volumes Sir Stalwart, The Crooked House and Silvercloak), The Monster War works equally well as a single novel. The story fills a gap in the first Blades novel, The Gilded Chain, when King Ambrose sought to shut down the evil sorcery of the "Elementaries" and the sorcerers fought back by trying to kill him. The same great characters are all here: Ambrose himself, Grand Master, and Blades Durendal, Bandit, and Snake. Appearing for the first time are Sir Stalwart, the only Blade who does not bear a binding scar, and Emerald of the White Sisters, the only girl ever enrolled in Ironhall. The action wanders across Chivial from the White Sisters' headquarters at Oakendown, to Grandon, and into the heart of Ironhall, for the evil penetrates even there. If you missed this one the first time (and most Blades fans did) then here is your chance to join the action as the King's Blades ride again! *Source Fantastic Fiction*
|Author: Dave Duncan
Genre: Sword and Sorcery
Content: Heroes, Adult
Series: A Tale of the King's Blades
Publisher: Harper Collins / Eos
Source: Personal Copies
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Series Summary of A Tale of the King's Blades by Dave Duncan - Reviewed by Mulluane - on August 6, 2008 - Rating: of 5 Stars