Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell
Series: Greatcoats #1
Published by Jo Fletcher Books on July 15th 2014
With swashbuckling action that recall Dumas' Three MusketeersSebastien de Castell has created a dynamic new fantasy series. InTraitor's Blade a disgraced swordsman struggles to redeem himself by protecting a young girl caught in the web of a royal conspiracy.
The King is dead, the Greatcoats have been disbanded, and Falcio Val Mond and his fellow magistrates Kest and Brasti have been reduced to working as bodyguards for a nobleman who refuses to pay them. Things could be worse, of course. Their employer could be lying dead on the floor while they are forced to watch the killer plant evidence framing them for the murder. Oh wait, that's exactly what's happening.
Now a royal conspiracy is about to unfold in the most corrupt city in the world. A carefully orchestrated series of murders that began with the overthrow of an idealistic young king will end with the death of an orphaned girl and the ruin of everything that Falcio, Kest, and Brasti have fought for. But if the trio want to foil the conspiracy, save the girl, and reunite the Greatcoats, they'll have to do it with nothing but the tattered coats on their backs and the swords in their hands, because these days every noble is a tyrant, every knight is a thug, and the only thing you can really trust is a traitor's blade.
Traitor’s Blade is a comically adventurous journey of survival and persistence. With sword fights! There is lots of steel on steel action, along with a few bows and axes. I honestly can’t think of much of anyone I would not recommend this one to. Unless they don’t like swords? Or fun? Not sure.
So what’s this book about? The King has assembled a legendary legion of Magisters that travel the land to read the King’s law, rule in disputes, and fight when need be. They even have legendary Greatcoats to help shield and protect them in their trials and travels.
This force of Magisters shares the name ‘Greatcloak’ with the distinctive and highly functional coats they wear. Sounds like quite the life right? Well, except the King is now dead, overthrown and assassinated, the Greatcoats are disbanded and dispersed across the land and labeled traitors. So instead of being revered, they are reviled. The people refer to them as “tatter-cloaks” and other ill terms. People’s opinion of them is so low; it’s pretty much the harshest insult you could throw at someone. And I’m not sure its possible to say tatter-cloak or Trattori (another common slur) without a sneer.
So, how does our protagonist, an overly idealistic, former friend of the King that was once also the first and the leader of the Greatcoats, handle this? Well, maybe not well, but definitely with humor. Lots of humor. I absolutely love Falcio val Mond. He remains insanely loyal to the King he loved and the laws he believes in. He’s just so righteous, it gives ample opportunity for laughs.
The story itself is captivating. With the King disposed of, the power of the land has fallen to the Dukes. And Falcio has managed to find himself in the middle of a deadly conspiracy for power. Hilarity ensues. And once again, sword fights. I’m by no means an expert on sword techniques or dueling, but as a reader, I was impressed by the choreography of the fight scenes.
This is an excellent choice for a lighter read, or a change of pace between grimmer, more serious books. Not to say you shouldn’t take this book seriously, there will just be more fun in reading it. It is thoroughly engaging and amusing from the very first chapter. Not convinced? I noticed there is an excerpt on Tor.com. Go read it and tell me you’re not hooked!