Friday Firsts – The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark


Friday Firsts is a new meme that will run every Friday here on Tenacious Reader. It will feature the first few sentences/paragraph of my current book and my first impressions as well. It’s meant to be a quick and easy way to share a bit about what I am reading, and I would love to hear others join in sharing their current reads as well.

The Court of Broken Knives (Empires of Dust, #1) by Anna Smith Spark
Also by this author: The Court of Broken Knives
on June 29th 2017
Pages: 470

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Chapter One


Knives everywhere. Coming down like rain.

Down to close work like that, men wrestling in the mud, jabbing at each other, too tired to care any more. Just die and get it over with. Half of them fighting with their guts hanging out of their stomachs, stinking of shit, oozing pink and red and white. Half-dead men lying in the filth. Screaming. A whole lot of things screaming.

Impossible to tell who’s who any more. Mud and blood and shadows and that’s it. Kill them! Kill them all! Keep killing until we’re all dead. The knife jabs and twists and the man he’s fighting falls sideways, all the breath going out of him with a sigh of relief. Another there behind. Gods, his arms ache. His head aches. Blood in his eyes. He twists the knife again and thrusts with a broken-off sword and that man too dies. Fire explodes somewhere over to the left. White as maggots. Silent as maggots. Then shrieks as men burn.

He swings the stub of the sword and catches a man on the leg, not hard but hard enough so the man stumbles and he’s on him quick with the knife. A good lot of blood and the man’s down and dead, still flapping about like a fish but you can see in his eyes that he’s finished, his legs just haven’t quite caught up yet.

The sun is setting, casting long shadows. Oh beautiful evening! Stars rising in a sky the color of rotting wounds. The Dragon’s Mouth. The White Lady. The Dog. A good star, the Dog. Brings plagues and fevers and inflames desire. Its rising marks the coming of summer. So maybe no more campaigning in the sodding rain. Wet leather stinks. Mud stinks. Shit stinks, when the latrine trench overflows.

Another burst of white fire. He hates the way it’s silent. Unnatural. Unnerving. Screams again. Screams so bad your ears ring for days. The sky weeps and howls and it’s difficult to know what’s screaming. You, or the enemy, or the other things.

Smith Spark, Anna (2017-06-26T23:58:59). The Court of Broken Knives (Empires of Dust) (Kindle Locations 143-157). Orbit. Kindle Edition.

My First Impressions

Heh … yeah. How’s that to make an impression?? This book definitely does not start off with a neutral style. Lots of blood and guts and shit. Can immediately see why its labeled grimdark. I do enjoy the author’s style quite a bit. It’s a bit more poetic than a lot of books, even if it is also gruesome.

What are you reading right now? Did it start out strong? Feel free to share in the comments, and also feel free to link up!

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20 thoughts on “Friday Firsts – The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark”

  1. Thankfully things do calm down a little after this opening – which isn’t to say it all becomes light and fluffy – but that start is rather brutal isn’t it. I really feel for the writing style of this one.
    Lynn 😀

  2. The beginning is indeed the most gruesome part of the story, and even though it does stay grim all the way to the end, there is indeed a successful mix of grimness and lyrical writing here that makes this book very intriguing. Happy reading! 🙂

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