Duncan (The Great Game) raids some of the juiciest eras of European history for this classy opener to his King's Blades series. In the sorcery-ridden land of Chivial, the grim Ironhall nurtures unwanted boys, transmuting them by muscle-building, weapons-training and fearsome magic ritualizing into an elite corps of swordsmen, each spiritually bonded to defend a master unto death. Bound first to an outrageous fop, then to a Henry VIII look-alike monarch, rebellious knight Durendal pursues adventure and the horrifying secrets of immortality. Duncan's people are marvelously believable, his landscapes deliciously exotic, his swordplay breathtaking. Initially, the narrative disconcertingly alternates between dashing young Durendal and righteous Chancellor Roland, but all soon becomes satisfyingly clear. ""Durendal,"" the sword that legendary Roland used to smite his Saracen enemies in France's national epic, binds swordsman and statesman into one irresistible hero in this handsomely crafted commentary on honor and betrayal. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1998 Release date: 11/01/1998 Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 432 pages - 978-0-380-79126-2
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