Sky of Swords : A Tale of the King's Blades

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9780380791286: Sky of Swords : A Tale of the King's Blades

The mightiest swordsmen in the relm, are bound by magic to defend their noble wards...to the death.

The King's Blades

The unloved child of the unscrupulous King Ambrose,Princess Malinda learned at an early age to fight for what was rightfully hers. Now, with the Kings abrupt death, civil war has become her grim destiny. Making her uncertain way through the blood labyrinth of schemesand betrayals, Malinda can trust none but the Blades of the Royal Guard. But the Blades themselves are in grave peril. And the young Queen faces the most crucialdecision of her life: a choice that will either redeem her kingdom from chaos...or bring ultimate destruction down upon it, her Blades, and herself.

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Review:

A lot of Dave Duncan fans let out a squeal at the end of Lord of the Fire Lands, the previous Tale of the King's Blades. (The Gilded Chain was first in the series, and Sky of Swords comes in third.) It seems that Duncan, in this ingenious, Rashomon-style series, had managed to kill off King Ambrose twice in just two books, and in a different way each time.

But this devilish author knew what he was up to, and Sky of Swords promises to answer all your questions. Just as The Gilded Chain jumped back and forth in time and Lord of the Fire Lands followed a concurrent tangent plot from Gilded Chain, Sky of Swords will likewise tie your brain in knots for a spell. (It should be stressed that all of these books are standalones, following different characters through overlapping timelines--you don't need to read them all, but each is much richer for having read the others.)

Swords picks up Fire Lands' crossbow-bolt-between-the-eyes finale somewhere around page 80. But this time we're looking through the eyes of Princess Malinda, this book's irascible (she is Ambrose's daughter, after all) but ultimately likable heroine. We learn about Malinda's bumpy upbringing, but Swords doesn't really get interesting until the aftermath of Ambrose's death, the ensuing threat of civil war, and the outcome of Malinda's trial for treason (which begins on page 1, but in true Duncan fashion, doesn't actually happen until near the book's finale). What's the best part of Sky of Swords? Not to ruin anything, but you've probably already read its conclusion--in the final pages of Gilded Chain. --Paul Hughes

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.

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