cover image Swords and Scoundrels

Swords and Scoundrels

Julia Knight. Orbit, $14.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-37496-5

Knight (The Viking’s Sacrifice) opens her Duelist trilogy with a lighthearted secondary-world fantasy that quickly evolves into a tangled web of lies, deceit, and twisted loyalties. Kacha and Vocho love and hate each other in the ways only siblings can. Her perfection frustrates him; his bravado and lies enrage her. Both are top-notch sword fighters and had been members of the elite Duelist Guild until one of their jobs went very badly awry. Now forced to thieve for a living, they end up stealing the wrong things from the wrong people and must fight for their lives even as they struggle to protect the province of Reyes. Threads of humor lighten what could very easily be an uncomfortably dark tale filled with magic, politics, and crushing disillusionment. Beautifully crafted action scenes blend intimately with strong emotion and realistic characters. Told from several viewpoints and punctuated by flashbacks, the shifting narration serves to paint a well-rounded picture filled with fascinating surprises and unforeseen twists. Agent: Alexander Field, Alexander Field Literary Agency. (Oct.)