Impossible Odds: A Chronicle of the King's Blades (Tale of the King's Blades)

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9780060094454: Impossible Odds: A Chronicle of the King's Blades (Tale of the King's Blades)

Elite warrior swordsmen, they are unequalled in any time or realm . . .

The King's Blades

The King has decreed that new Blades must be sworn into the service of the Grand Duke Rubin, deposed by a foul usurper and currently on the run. But none of the rough youths being readied at Ironhall possess the seasoning to survive what better, more skilled Blades already have not. Still, two woefully unprepared candidates are approached with an offer of early bonding and probable death: deft but dense, rude Ranter, and eager, impetuous Ringwood . . . with a third, the inadequate swordsman but potentially able spy Bellman, enlisted into their threadbare ranks. Joining the Duke's entourage along with the courageous and prescient White Sister Trudy, the would-be champions must restore a rightful ruler to the throne or die in the process. But before them waits an army of the dead. And the Duke whom the Blades must protect to the last drop of their lifeblood is not the liege they imagined . . .

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About the Author:

Dave Duncan is an award-winning author whose fantasy trilogy, The Seventh Sword, is considered a sword-and-sorcery classic. His numerous novels include three Tales of the King's Blades -- The Gilded Chain, Lord of the Fire Lands, and Sky of Swords; Paragon Lost, a previous Chronicle of the King’s Blades; Strings, Hero; the popular tetralogies A Man of His Word and A Handful of Men; and the remarkable, critically acclaimed fantasy trilogy The Great Game.

From Publishers Weekly:

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.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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