Monday, May 25, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Traitor's Blade by Sebastien de Castell

The stars aligned to get me to pick my latest book. I have a stack of should-reads, but I was in the mood for something fast-paced and fun, something adventurous. Ever since reading The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan, I’ve been on the lookout for more fantasy of the same sort. (Game of Thrones is on the list but too daunting because of its sheer volume.) So I was excited to find a recommendation for Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell. I bought the book. My son read it and enjoyed it. Then it sat on my shelf.

However, book 2 in the author’s Greatcoats series, Knight’s Shadow, became available on Netgalley and I received a review copy. I can’t read book 2 before reading book one! So I settled in for my weekend read.

Traitor’s Blade is a rip-roaring tale of loyalty to a cause and to a dead king (and good friend) against all odds. The protagonist, Falcio Val Mond, is one of the last of the Greatcoats, magistrates of the king. In fact, Falcio was the Cantor, the leader of the Greatcoats. Their duty was to administer the king’s law throughout the land, protecting the people from the injustices of the rapacious Dukes. The Dukes didn’t like that much. They killed the king and dispersed the Greatcoats, convincing the people that the Greatcoats were nothing but traitors.

Falcio now roams the countryside with two fellows, Kest (the greatest swordsman in the history of forever) and Brasti (a bowman who never misses) trying to honor the king’s last request: find his Charoites. Falcio is happy to try, except he doesn’t know what they are or where they might be–some sort of treasure hidden within lowly loyal noble households. He has to hurry, because the Dukes are doing their best to stamp out every last bit of loyalty to the memory of the king, and that includes hunting down the last of the Greatcoats.

For starters, someone murders the man who has just hired Falcio and company as bodyguards, and then frames them for the murder. Things go downhill from there.

This novel is fun. There is nonstop adventure. Falcio nurtures a deep wound and a strong sense of honor that push him onward despite obstacles that seem insurmountable. His fellows have issues of their own, but cling to the Greatcoat ideals out of loyalty to either the king or possibly to Falcio. The reader will likely figure out the secrets before Falcio, but we’re not under the same pressures he is! The book delivers what is promised and I’m eager to move on to book 2!