Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Impossible Odds by Dave Duncan (A Chronicle of the King's Blades: Book 2)

Mulluane | 12:03 PM | 3 Comments so far

Elite warrior swordsmen, they are unequalled in any time or realm . . .

The King's Blades

The King has decreed that new Blades must be sworn into the service of the Grand Duke Rubin, deposed by a foul usurper and currently on the run. But none of the rough youths being readied at Ironhall possess the seasoning to survive what better, more skilled Blades already have not. Still, two woefully unprepared candidates are approached with an offer of early bonding and probable death: deft but dense, rude Ranter, and eager, impetuous Ringwood . . . with a third, the inadequate swordsman but potentially able spy Bellman, enlisted into their threadbare ranks. Joining the Duke's entourage along with the courageous and prescient White Sister Trudy, the would-be champions must restore a rightful ruler to the throne or die in the process.

But before them waits an army of the dead. And the Duke whom the Blades must protect to the last drop of their lifeblood is not the liege they imagined . .

*Blurb source*Eos
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Book Cover of Impossible Odds by Dave Duncan (A Chronicle of the King's Blades: Book 2)

| Author: Dave Duncan
| Genre: Sword and Sorcery
| Content: Heroes, Adult
| ISBN-10: 0060094451
| ISBN-13: 9780060094454
| Publisher: Eos (September 28, 2004)
| Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
| Source: Personal copy
| Rating: 4 Stars
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Impossible Odds (King's Blades, #5)

♥ Mini Review ♥
When the King commands, Blades must be bound into service, even if the highest available candidates have not completed their training.

Sword and Sorcery Book Review by Mulluane

This is what happens to Ranter and Ringwood when a deposed grand duke asks for assistance from the king. Ranter, a rude malcontent, is less then pleased, but, true to his name, he is never pleased with anything. Ringwood is young enough to view the events as a marvelous adventure. Fortunately, for the pair, they will not be alone in their quest to restore Grand Duke Rubin to his throne. Bellman, his future uncertain, makes up for his lack of exceptional swordplay with a sharp mind. His skills with a blade have deteriorated to the point where he is being released from Ironhall as unsuitable for binding. With nothing to lose, Bellman volunteers to enter into service to the Grand Duke. Rounding out our party of champions will be Trudy, a talented White Sister whose strong opinions, and her propensity to express them, has made her unpopular with her superiors.

Our heroes will need her skills for not only has the Grand Duke fled an assassination attempt but also armies of undead have followed him in an attempt to finish the job. Can our four heroes beat impossible odds and restore the Grand Duke to his throne? This is another fun read. Romance, intrigue, mystery, and drama fill the pages and keep you riveted for hours. Nobody is exactly who they appear to be and just when you think you know who is plotting what; you discover that you are wrong. I loved every minute of it. Once again, Dave Duncan expands the world, this time taking us to a country that resembles Germany but with magic. Dark magic and hordes of undead add a dark element to the tale while snippets of humor provide a balance. This story abounds with twists and surprises, the drama keeps you on your toes, and the characters develop rapidly. For the most part, this book contains all of the things I love most about fantasy.

This was a fast read and a solid page-turner. Dave Duncan does characters with skill, he constructs a world that you can easily envision and tells one heck of a story. By comparison, the magic is kind of weak and convenient. Blades are bound by a ritual that commits them to their ward, allowing them to go for extended periods with no rest, little food and endows them with sexual prowess. None of the magic appears to have consequences, with the exception of Blades going insane if their ward is killed. Mortal wounds are magically healed, undead are created, illusions are crafted, all without cost. Granted this is a minor flaw, just one I personally object to. I like my magic to have clear-cut rules and not used as an easy answer.

As far as content goes, it is not bad. Now there are two ways of determining readable age, is the book marketed as YA or just suitable for YA readers. These books were not marketed as YA. However, the main characters are young, teens to early 20s, the violence is not overly graphic, but the sex, while not graphic, is prevalent. As usual, it depends on the reader. I am going to err on the side of adult, simply because Blades will sleep with any woman, even married ones and sexual prowess is part and parcel of what defines a Blade. Other then that, I see no reason why these books would not appeal to a very wide audience. I know I love them!

♦ Additional Reviews ♦

Series Summary ~ Book One ~ Book Three

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

Librarything Rating 3.74/5

Amazon Rating 4.2 out of 5 stars
(12 Customer Reviews)

What Should I Read Next?
Sample Chapter: Author's Website

Kindle: Impossible Odds (Tale of the King's Blades)

Audible: No

Buy Book: AbeBooks ~ Books-A-Million

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Sword and Sorcery Review of Impossible Odds by Dave Duncan - Reviewed by Mulluane - on December 2, 2008 - Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

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. Do you mean an assassination attempt here?

    Our heroes will need her skills for not only has the Grand Duke fled an assignation attempt but also armies of undead have followed him in an attempt to finish the job.

    I think the undead fit better with one. {SMILE, wink}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  2. "mumbles something rude about stupid spell checkers and the dumb writers who use them incorrectly"


  3. You're welcome. {SMILE}

    This is one typo I like. The images it conjures are quite funny. Now someone needs to write up a scene where hordes of undead are trying to complete an assignation attempt. What a good reason to run! {REALLY BIG GRIN, LAUGHTER}

    I just wish my sex drive wasn't too low to be up to the task. {REALLY BIG GRIN, wink}


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