IMPOSSIBLE ODDS: A Chronicle of the King's Blades

Dave Duncan, Author . Eos $24.95 (365p) ISBN 978-0-380-81834-1

Canadian author Duncan explores the perils and pitfalls of dynastic politics in this swashbuckling fantasy, the fifth entry in his popular King's Blades series (after 2002's Paragon Lost ). When Grand Duke Rubin of Krupina asks King Athelgar of Chivial for help in regaining his duchy, he's promised two of the King's Blades, peerless swordsmen mystically bonded to their wards. Given the shortage of trained Blades, though, Rubin will have to make do with Ranter and Ringwood, two senior boys. They, meanwhile, have to make do with Rubin, a deposed noble of uncertain prospects to whom they will be pledged for life, and his companion, Baron von Fader, an acerbic old man. Getting Rubin back to the throne of Krupina involves fending off shadowmen, preserving secret identities, uncovering traitors and penetrating impregnable fortresses. The author makes an admirable attempt to introduce a mature ambiguity in the book, enhancing the sense of mystery surrounding Rubin. However, the differing perspectives on the characters can get confusing, and two long digressions to establish background slow the action to a crawl. The novel is a thinking reader's Prisoner of Zenda , which may be missing the point. (On sale Nov. 4)

Reviewed on: 10/06/2003
Release date: 11/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 464 pages - 978-0-06-116015-8
Ebook - 464 pages - 978-0-06-182807-2
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 464 pages - 978-0-06-087981-5
Open Ebook - 464 pages - 978-0-06-087984-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 442 pages - 978-0-06-009445-4
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