on June 2, 2015
Following his beloved debut, Traitor's Blade (a "swashbuckling romp packed with charisma, camaraderie, quick wit and even quicker swordplay"-NPR), Sebastien de Castell returns with volume two of his fast-paced fantasy adventure series, inspired by the swashbuckling action and witty banter of The Three Musketeers. Knight's Shadow continues the series with a thrilling and dark tale of heroism and betrayal in a country crushed under the weight of its rulers' corruption.
A few days after the horrifying murder of a duke and his family, Falcio val Mond, swordsman and First Cantor of the Greatcoats, begins a deadly pursuit to capture the killer. But Falcio soon discovers his own life is in mortal danger from a poison administered as a final act of revenge by one of his deadliest enemies. As chaos and civil war begin to overtake the country, Falcio has precious little time left to stop those determined to destroy his homeland.
First Date: Well, technically, it’s a second date, considering this is the second book in a series. And you really need to read the first book. Sure, you *can* pick this one up and catch up but you’ll spend a lot of time baffled and trying to figure out what in the world they’re talking about when they’re ribbing each other about past battles and disappointments. Falcio. Oh, Falcio. Such an honorable man in a dishonorable time. He’s a true knight, bound to his sword and his oaths and those he considers his charges and colleagues. He’s a man you can have a drink with, enjoy some swordplay of a different kind (waggles eyebrows), and he won’t disappear in the morning without at least bringing you breakfast in bed.
Second Date: But life is hard for men of honor, especially those who are honorable to their core. They’re easy to deceive, easy to surprise because they trust people. And those around Falcio are not always what he needs or who he believes they are. He’s struggling with holding his Greatcoats together, struggling with the poison that’s slowly killing him, struggling with keeping the young heir alive. His life is so not easy. But he still has such a sense of humor (sometimes very black humor) about him that it keeps the story moving along at a fast pace, rather than mired down in all of the bad that’s going on to and around our plucky main character (yeah, he’s plucky. He’s an optimist. It’s a problem…)
Third Date: While I enjoyed reading about Kest, Brasti, Aline, Valiana, and all the rest of the cast of characters, Falcio holds a special place in my heart. He wouldn’t be the man he is without his fellow Greatcoats, Kest and Brasti, but the world is changing and he’s losing some of his friends, as they go off to follow their own destinies. The betrayals Falcio faces as well as the results of those betrayals is heart-rending. But Falcio, being the man he is, perseveres. Cheers to you, my man. “Tell them the Greatcoats are coming.” Yes, please.
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