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Traitor's Blade

Traitor's Blade

Scritto da Sebastien de Castell

Narrato da Joe Jameson


Traitor's Blade

Scritto da Sebastien de Castell

Narrato da Joe Jameson

valutazioni:
4.5/5 (54 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
12 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Dec 26, 2017
ISBN:
9781541483798
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descrizione

With swashbuckling action that recalls Dumas's Three Musketeers, Sebastien de Castell has created a dynamic new fantasy series. In Traitor'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.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Dec 26, 2017
ISBN:
9781541483798
Formato:
Audiolibro


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4.3
54 valutazioni / 22 Recensioni
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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (4/5)
    "The world isn't a romantic stage play; it's not all love or glory."
    The Writing and Worldbuilding

    This was a fun, wish-fulfillment fantasy, with altogether too many swordfights but just the right amount of Brasti. The writing itself was probably the best part, though the plot was a bit too repetitive. For a debut, it's really good. I enjoyed it a lot!

    The world was a bit confusing, and some of the more magical elements were introduced a bit too late in my opinion, but on the whole I liked it enough. For a fictional country, it felt real and I got a pretty good grasp on the land, the people, and the differing cultures.

    The very ending was alright, albeit cliché. Kind of wished some things had remained in place, but I guess you can't have a series if it stayed as it was. Overall, it wasn't a particularly deep or original story, nor was it well plotted. But it had some fun characters and read like a mindless action movie. So I enjoyed it.

    The Characters

    Falcio: He was an impulsive idiot, but at least that was kinda recognized in the story. He was very much a Gary Stu but I liked him enough. Again, mindless action hero.

    Aline: No action movie is complete without a young girl the male lead has to protect, and this book was no different! For the most part, she didn't have a personality and seemed to know things the plot said she didn't know, but she was fine.

    Brasti and Kest: They may be on the cover, but they're barely in the book. I liked them though, especially Brasti. He's a riot.

    The interchangeable hot women who are either daughter-like or lover-like, and there's basically no difference, which is disturbing but I try not to think about it: They're okay, I guess. They're usually almost villainous, which was odd. One of them quite literally comes out of nowhere and then promptly disappears. Like a good woman ought to 🙃

    Tailor: She was an icon, honestly.

    The villains: Were they really even a thing?

    Conclusion

    It was okay. I say if girls can get their mindless wish-fulfillment fantasy books, like Caraval, then boys should get them too.

    "That's what being free means—not the right to do whatever you want, but the right to take a stand and say what you'll die for."
  • (3/5)
    Traitor's Blade is the first in The Greatcoats quartet by Sebastien de Castell. I love it when authors pay homage to one of my favorite classics, in this case Dumas' The Three Musketeers. A bit of warning first: this book reads more in line with the works of Scott Lynch and Joe Ambercrombie than it does Dumas so if you don't like it when bad things happen to your characters or don't like a grimdark-lean make sure you give this series a pass. Now, on to the review.The King is dead and the Dukes ruthlessly rule of the country. The Greatcoats, the King's traveling Magistrates, have been scattered. Branded as traitors for standing aside while their King was murdered, their cloaks and their honor are in tatters. Yet there is still hope. Before his death the King charged each of them with a geas, a secret mission to fulfill the King's dream of unifying the country: find the King's Charoites.I found the story to be an uneven read. The tale is told entirely from the first person point of view of Falcio, the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. The story jumps back and forth between past and present without warning or reason which kept jolting me from the story until I got used to it. Falcio is traveling with his two closest companions, Brasti and Kest, as they search for the King's Charoites. No one knows what the Charoites are or where to look for them, the King being rather vague with his instructions, so they are mostly following where rumors lead them. We are immersed in the friendship of these three, which was my favorite part of the book. The camaraderie and witty banter between the friends was a joy to read. The dialog has a great, somewhat sarcastic sense of humor that was a lot of fun.de Castell really did his research when it came to writing rapier duels/fights. The action had an unrehearsed, breathless quality that felt very authentic. Since the book focuses on Falcio, he is the character we learn the most about and has the best character development. For the remaining characters we're given either very basic backstories or just the barest of hints. I hope that future books help flesh out the remaining characters more.And now for my main problems with the book. The plot is choppy at best and has a lot of randomness to it. There are way too many conveniences that allow characters to overcome some impossible situations. There is also as significant lack of world building. If the story had stuck with just being a swashbuckling adventure, I think it would have done better. Instead there is some magic thrown in that is neither explained nor built upon, just more of a "it shows up when it's needed' kind of convenience that was annoying. After giving us some truly fantastic fight scenes, the ending felt anticlimatic. Most of the plot twists happen just about where you expect them and at least two major scenes happen off screen, which was disappointing. Taking my warning from the beginning, there are also a couple of disturbing scenes of torture and rape. Still, it was a pretty good debut novel. While the series shows promise, I'm not sure I'm in a big rush to read the second one just yet. I need a break between grimdark-ish books.
  • (5/5)
    4.5/5 stars.

    I really really really really liked this book! The characters were funny, complex, and I loved them. The world De Castell created was so intriguing and I can't wait to find out more in the next books. I love fantasy worlds and I also love political intrigue in my books, so this was great. This book was definitely more about the characters and their journey, so hopefully in the next books we get a little bit more about the world they live in. The plot was super entertaining, bringing you from one trouble to the next and it was written very well. I liked how the past was weaved into the present, and it was relevant to what was going on in the scene. I also liked how little bits were revealed throughout the novel of what really happened the day the king died.

    Overall, really great story and I am excited for the next instalment!
  • (4/5)
    I started reading this last night and couldn't put it down. The voice of this, Falcio Val Mond, just drew me in and wouldn't let me go until it was well into the night. Falcio used to be the head of a group of men who had resurrected the concept of the Greatcoats. They delivered justice in the kingdom and made the dukes answer for their crimes. Then the king died and now they're disgraced. Falcio and two of his comrades are trying to fulfil the wishes of the king, their last mission. They still believe in the purpose they had originally when they joined and can't leave it behind, particularly when they see injustice done. What happens will change their future.It's interesting and well done and I want more, bravo, Sebastien de Castell.
  • (4/5)
    This story has interesting characters with good quippage. There are detailed and interesting explanations of various blade and arrow weapons with some martial arts as well. The world is nicely set up, rather dark, but there is a feeling that things will improve with the help of these people. I hope there will be another book, and that Sebastien de Castell continues writing.
  • (3/5)
    The Three Musketeers meet fantasy. Some fun swashbuckling action. We see some of the usual fantasy tropes executed unusually well. And we have witty humor which is a nice break from some of the grimmer fantasy that has been popular of late.

    Each fantasy author usually likes to do something in their magic or world that stands out that no one else is doing like they are. I like the leather armor great coats the Greatcoats wear giving them greater mobility than those with heavy armor with decent protection. In the story the main character has already let the king down leading to his death instead of protecting or becoming the king (thus, the title). We do see magic but it's not something the main character or his two companion use.

    I like the single protagonist viewpoint of the book. It seems like having multiple protagonists has become popular of late but not always done well. The story has some good twists. Some things you see coming and others not as much. I loved the way that you get to parts of the story you feel the author could have ended things but instead he adds another layer to the story.

    The author uses flashbacks to explain some of the backstory but the transition from present to past in the story telling was seamless. The best new fantasy I've encountered this year. I'm in for book two when it's released.


    Note: The one discordant note (to me) was the occasional modern American profanity. Curious if the version in the UK uses words more common there? There is one sex scene, not terribly graphic, but this book is probably not written for the kiddos.
  • (5/5)
    As now I'm reading the second book ([book:Knight's Shadow26246230]) and enjoying it to the most, I think it's not fair that I didn't write any review of Traitor's Blade.Story happens in a broken country ruled by an young idealist king that was beheaded by corrupt Dukes and Duchesses who couldn't stand seeing their brutality and power to be reduced by king's laws which were Greatcoats responsibility.Before the king was killed he assigned each of his Greatcoats a last mission, Falcio the First Cantor and his two best friends (Kest and Brasti) were best Greatcoats and now they are looking for something they don't even know what it is.When reading this book I thought of it as somehow [book:The Three Musketeers7190] but in Fantasy world.The characters are so fun and good processed that I felt I had not enough of them.Brasti is a big mought and always impatient and Kest is cold and patient; both of them will obey Falcio even when they think he's lost his mind. And Falcio an idiot who sometimes know what to do and how to be brave and how to do the right thing.It is an awesome book.
  • (4/5)
    Good start for a series. The characters are starting to develop and be interesting. As, does the world, the author is creating. More Dumas than Martin, lighter on the fantasy and somewhat less bloody. Retrospectively, the character of the dead king is evolving to support a more complex story line.
  • (4/5)

    It's like the three musketeers!

    Go read.

  • (4/5)
    Just dipping in to the first few pages and I am engaged. Think of the 1993 Disney film of The Three Musketeers. The byplay amongst Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O'Donnell and Oliver Platt is entertaining. That's what this book reminds me of.
  • (4/5)
    It's very good for a first book. The big issues I have with the book is it'a bit hard to get into right at the beginning. It's the first book in the series, but there's enough background and detail presented in the beginning that it makes you feel like you've picked up book 2 of a series. After you've gotten going the book is fine.


    The story is captivating, and it gives you plenty of background without feeling like you're stuck in flashback mode, or that what you're reading won't be relevant to the main point. There's plenty of action and "swashbuckling".
  • (5/5)
    This one was SO MUCH FUN. Unexpectedly so. Even when the earliest descriptions came trickling in, calling this book a bold, dashing adventure and pure swashbuckling entertainment, I had no idea. I figured those were just buzzwords, right? Ah, no. In this case, Traitor's Blade really does deliver the great time all those descriptions promise.There are so many things I love about this book, but most of all, I love how it doesn't take itself too seriously. It was lighter in tone than I expected, which was a huge plus because I always appreciate a bit of humor with my fantasy. The only thing sharper than main protagonist Falcio val Mond's rapier is his own clever wit, and if you don't believe me, all you have to do is read the prologue. It had me hooked, not to mention earning a few chuckles from me by page 3.The thing that strikes me about this book is how well it presents itself. To me, it reads like a medieval fantasy told in the tone of an urban fantasy, mainly due to the narrative style and the of the snappy pace of storytelling. Falcio and his companions Kest and Brasti are the last remnants of late King Paelis' mighty force of Greatcoats, seemingly the only ones still dedicated to upholding the laws of the land, despite their order being shamed and labeled as traitors after they stood aside and let the Dukes take the kingdom. Before his king died, however, Falcio was given one last mission. And trying to fulfill it is probably going to get him killed, if his silver tongue doesn't manage to do it first.A natural born smooth talker (the other characters in the novel even poke fun at this), Falcio's narrative is as delightful as they come. He will endear himself to you with his fierce loyalty and moral compass, but also keep you on your toes with his unpredictability. Here is a protagonist who would just as soon vanquish his foes using words and cunning, despite his strength and skill a sword. As Falcio is quick to remind everyone, above all the Greatcoats value justice, not honor, and therefore he'd show no qualms about certain unsportsmanlike behaviors, such as kicking someone between the legs (trust me though, the character totally deserved it). There is also a darkness within Falcio, and I thought one of the more interesting aspects about him is his goodness warring with that pain.As such, it's a very fast-paced book with non-stop action, just one obstacle after another thrown at the characters. The humor throughout keeps things nice and light, which I think makes this the perfect choice for readers looking for a story with traditional elements like heroes and magic and epic quests, but also with the added flair of dash and panache. In other books with this many fight scenes, I'm always tempted to skim, but not so with this one. First of all, the author has done work as a fight choreographer and knows what great action looks like. And like I said, with Falcio's devil-may-care ways and the unpredictability of his fighting style, you really don't want to miss anything. Anyway, as we all know, very few books are perfect. But at the same time, some stories have a way of bringing you to a point where you're just having too much fun to care. That's the place Traitor's Blade took me. I thought the ending and the revelations therein were a bit predictable, but honestly, that is a teensy tiny quibble considering how much overall enjoyment I got from this book.In short, I loved it. Can't wait for the sequel! I would recommend Traitor's Blade to everyone, and I think fencing and swordfighting types will especially get a kick out of it. Seriously though, this one's excellent and remarkably entertaining. Read it!
  • (4/5)
    There was a time when literature dealt with honor, conviction and had a good battle or two. Be stories of the 'Knights of the Round Table' or the 'The Three Musketeers' these were tales that held our imagination for a while. Sebastien De Castell has brought us readers back into such tales with his novel Traitor's Blade.There are elements in this book that de Castell has brilliantly taken from his work and studies in history and the theatre and included them. His prose is light yet gripping. A perfect read for the any fan of history, romance or fantasy.
  • (4/5)
    Now, I must admit - Sebastien de Castell's debut novel Traitor's Blade is not my normal fare. But right up front, I want to say that I am so glad I picked it up! Why? Well....let's see.... A trio of swashbuckling Greatcoats, led by Falcio val Mond. Once revered throughout the land they are now reduced to working for hire, as their King is dead. The mighty Greatcoats are disbanded, but our three are staying true to their sworn oath to uphold and defend the law of the land - and fulfill the King's last command.... "Either the King's Charoites were out there somewhere and we would find them, or we would end our days at the end of a noose." Through a series of machinations, they find themselves guarding a caravan headed straight to the stronghold of a dastardly Duke determined to thwart our heroes and put his own evil plan into play. Throw in some magic, a mysterious crone with unnamed powers, a few beautiful damsels, a war horse to rival no other, action packed fight scenes (very detailed as de Castell works as a fight choreographer)and wonderfully fun (and humourous) dialogue.... "When you're fighting a crowd, its good to shout potentially threatening things like 'Crossbows!' or Fire! or 'Giant Flying Cat!' every once in a while."..... ...and you've got one heck of a rollicking romp of a read! De Castell has created a fantastical world where one can imagine heroes on horseback (or foot as the case may be) ready to defend the poor and downtrodden, defeat the bad guys, save the girl (and the kingdom) and make you want to be there with them - sharing in the adventure. We never question who is good and who is evil. But maybe we should have - the plotting keeps the reader guessing, with more than one twist thrown in along the way. Traitor's Blade was a delightfully entertaining debut - and it looks like there will be further adventures of the Greatcoats in the future. I'll be picking up the next in the series. If you loved The Princess Bride (My name is Falcio val Mond) and The Three Musketeers, this is a book for you!
  • (3/5)
    Ok so think Three Musketeers set in a fantasy land and everything is just much worse.

    The book had a lot of flashback and they worked cos they had a meaning. Instead of beginning at the beginning we began 5 years after the Dukes killed the king and took power. Thanks to Falcio's flashbacks we see why he became a Great Coat, how his life began and small things that happened during those 5 years. So the story kept on building. In a way that just felt like building and it took a while for things to get rolling, but either way we still had to know.

    The book starts with Falcio and his two friends being framed for murder. Then we see them on the road and then, well I have to say it cos a lot happens there. Something that takes place in a city where something truly F up is going on. That was the first time I really saw what the Dukes where really about. Sure things before but this was just wtf? And people think the king did bad? He did nothing bad! He was good, these assholes are psychopaths.

    So I guess we will see hopefully for the country to come together, see that the Dukes should all die and for the great coats to be great once more. But that is yet to come.
  • (5/5)
    Lots of fun
    Characters are worth further ready
    Quick read, and never boring
  • (5/5)
    I originally stumbled upon this audiobook by accident and immediately fell in love with the characters. This is now one of my favorite series of all time. Currently, the world is going through some serious things (COVID-19 to reference back to) and I found myself flocking to this series. It transports me and makes me feel among the group I am reading of, the group I adore. And I look forward to reading this series many many more times to come.
  • (3/5)
    Really enjoyed this! But it also made me feel physically ill at some points and vaguely disappointed and lost at others. The epicness of this book comes from the main character's determination to hold to dreams of justice, mercy, and a better world than the one that surrounds him; and where that theme shines through, the story is magnetic and inspiring. But it also contains a lot of rape mentions, including several mentions of women being raped to death, a villain who tortured a horse into madness (which was the part that made me feel ill), a bit of completely unnecessary nudity and that weird tendency some books have to describe women by their sex appeal and little else. I'm invested in the story now, but it's definitely a mixed bag.
  • (5/5)
    What happens when everything you want is taken away? And what do you do when it happens again? Falcio and his two companions were once the revered magisters who upheld the king’s justice. Now they search the land on the king’s dying order.Hated by the people they are sworn to protect, carrying the pain of betrayal, guilt and grief, the greatcoats persevere.I recommend this book to anyone who loves adventure and adversity.
  • (5/5)
    Let’s start this off with a little Jedi mind trick hypnotic suggestions shall we?Traitor’s Blade is the book you are looking for, you will read Traitor’s Blade. *waves book in front of your face*Not convinced? Alright – then I’ll just lay it all out straight for you. This book had pretty much everything I could possibly want. I was hooked from page 3 for crying out loud. How you might ask? The humor, the swashbuckling, the humor WHILE swashbuckling. As if you needed a definition here’s one anyway. swash·buck·ler (swshbklr, swôsh-) n. 1. A flamboyant swordsman or adventurer. Watch my feet now, see how I dance?There was a constant flow from one scene to the next such that I never had a chance to get even remotely bored. If you’re an action oriented reader like I am this will tickle you pink. Don’t get me wrong there is still plenty of room that was given over to world building and character development and we even saw flashbacks into the past. The story is told from the perspective of Falcio Val Mond, the First Cantor of the Greatcoats (i.e. leader of the disbanded King’s magistrates that previously used to uphold the law throughout the kingdom). So when we get these flashbacks they are of his past, how he came to be a Greatcoat as well as his interactions with his now deceased king. I can freely admit that I fell more than a little bit in love with Falcio. Indeed I even told my husband one night while reading in bed and petting the gorgeous blood red cover “I think I’ve fallen in love with somebody else…and he has a longer sword than yours…and pointy-er too.” To which he promptly looked at me with a long suffering smirk and said “You’re so messed up.”But the humor – let me share with you the scene by by page 3 had me completely roped in. ‘Let what go, pray tell?’ he said. ‘The fact that you promised me the life of a hero when you tricked me into joining the Greatcoats and instead I find myself impoverished, reviled and forced to take lowly bodyguard work for traveling merchants? Or is it the fact that we’re sitting here listening to our gracious benefactor – and I use the term loosely since he has yet to pay us a measly black copper – but that aside, we’re listening to him screw some woman for – what? The fifth time since supper? How does that fat slob even keep up? I mean–’ ‘Could be herbs,’ Kest interrupted, stretching his muscles out again with the casual grace of a dancer. ‘Herbs?’ Kest nodded. ‘And what would the so-called “greatest swordsman in the world” know about herbs?’ ‘An apothecary sold me a concoction a few years ago, supposed to keep your sword-arm strong even when you’re half-dead. I used it fighting off half a dozen assassins who we’re trying to kill a witness.’ ‘And did it work?’ I asked. Kest shrugged. ‘Couldn’t really tell. There were only six of them, after all, so it wasn’t much of a test. I did have a substantial erection the whole time though.’ Pg 2 – 3 But you didn’t get just one of these amazing characters – oh no my sweets we get three of them. It reminded me somewhat of The Three Musketeers – which I have loved my whole life ever since I was a child and would prance around the house terrorizing the dog and my sisters with my antics wielding a long wooden spoon or an offending turkey baster – what I’m not ashamed! The way these three characters, Falcio, Kest and Brasti interacted will immediately reel you in. They just can’t seem to stop snarking at each other and it left me with a perpetual smirk on my face.I’m sure I dreamed of adventure, sword fighting, magic wielding fantastical creatures even when I was in the womb. So not only did I get this amazing wry humor from this trio but there was a wealth of action, swordplay and intrigue, heart break and heroism. There wasn’t as much magic as I had originally anticipated but there was just enough to still lend an edge of the fantastical to it and I didn’t feel like it needed anything more than was there. While this is sword and sorcery fiction, it’s lighter on the sorcery and heavy on the sword. But even you die hard magic fans won’t mind even a bit. To put it mildly – *hums* this book was made for me and you!I got this, let me tell you about this one time…Throughout Traitor’s Blade I would see hilarious little bits thrown in that I’m sure might be part of any adventurer’s life but here they are given to us in a style and method fitting to the style of the book. These snippets detail just how crazy the lives of the Greatcoats can be. Each time I came across them, which were pretty frequent, they served to hook me deeper and deeper into the story and in love with this author’s storytelling method. The three of us invented ‘punch-pull-slap’ some time ago. One of the things you discover after you’ve been wounded enough times is that the body only really keeps track of one source of pain at a time. So, for example, if your tooth hurts and someone pokes you in the stomach, your body momentarily forgets about the tooth. So the way this is supposed to work is like this: Brasti punches me in the face, Kest pulls the arrow out of my leg and then Brasti slaps me so hard my brain never has time to register the bolt and therefore I don’t scream at the top of my lungs. I screamed at the top of my lungs. -pg 30 One second please – I sense a fangirl moment coming on! I feel like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music right now and literally want to sing at the top of my lungs, from a mountaintop, just how much I loved this book. Or wait picture me as a big opera singer shaking the rafters of a roof down upon the heads of the audience. Ok maybe I’m carrying on too much. I have a tendency to go overboard when I really enjoyed a book. Back to why it was so great…Not only was it humorous but Traitor’s Blade was heart-wrenching. As I moved through it gobbling up pages like a crazed junkie on a total book high – all of a sudden the author showed me that he could not only be darkly funny but he could twist and wrench my heart and poke me with ouchie ouchie things beside.But how did he DO that? Why did do that!? To taste the elixir of my tears!? He was pulling out all the stops. Excellent world building, evil nobility – I gotta give it to him he can write some nasty villains. The setting is a kingdom that has five years past lost their king. The only good king in over a hundred years who cared for his people down to the lowest serf. But the nobles would have none of that. I doubt there was one good noble depicted in this book. The depths of depravity that these people went to just curdles your stomach. I’m a firm believer in if it can be imagined it can happen. Which makes me cringe all the more. Don’t be scared though this acts as the perfect counter balance to the rest of the narrative.So, then when my heart strings and the power of my righteous anger were done being toyed with, at any given time another marvelous thing would be thrown at me like assassins or fey horses or swordplay used to have conversation, or or or FISTICUFFS!! That’s right baby you haven’t seen fisticuffs til you’ve seen these fisticuffs. In fact I’d love to pepper this entire review to bursting with quotes so that you can’t help but be tempted to read it but then that might spoil your fun. And that wouldn’t be very nice of me. So to sum up…Everything and the kitchen sink!Swordfighting, archery (come on who doesn’t love a good bit of archery?) assassins, heroes in disgrace, humor, berserker mode, amazing world building, fey horses, hidden jewels (wink wink, nudge nudge), heart break, revenge, fisticuffs, ass kickery, snark, Saints with names like “Saint Zaghev-who-sings-for-tears" and “Saint Caveil-whose-blade-cuts-water, the bloody-faced Saint of Swords” and so much more! Alright I’ll stop now…So do you want to learn the first rule of the sword that Traitor’s Blade will teach you? ‘The first rule of the sword is -’ ‘-put the pointy end into the other man.’ – pg 25
  • (4/5)
    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!
  • (4/5)
    All Falcio val Mond ever wanted to be was a Greatcoat, the men who roamed the country enforcing the king’s law. Now he has achieved it but there is no king. The Dukes, in their constant petty fights for power, have killed him and the greatcoats have scattered. They are seen by almost everyone as traitors, thieves, and worse. But Falcio refuses to stop wearing his greatcoat or trying to enforce the king’s law to protect the common folk even though it almost never ends well. He and his two best friends, Kest and Brasti also Greatcoats, have been reduced to guarding caravans. When the latest rich Caravaner they are supposed to protect is murdered while they are outside completely unaware, they are forced to flee. They manage to find a spot with a new caravan carrying a spoiled noble woman the Dukes plan to place on the throne as a puppet princess. She is heading for Rijou, the most corrupt city in the empire and on the eve of Ganath Kalila, or Blood Week, seven days in which “there are no rules except one: what you can’t hold you don’t own”. Not surprisingly, the Duke’s sychophants use the time to win the Duke’s favour by killing those not in the Duke’s favour. When one such family is targeted and their home burned with a woman and her children inside, only thirteen-year-old Aline survives. Falcio swears to protect her and likely die in the process for no other reason than she shares his dead wife’s name.Traitor’s Blade by author Sebastian de Castell is a kind of hybrid of high and realist fantasy. Falcio and the Greatcoats aspire to be real heroes and to do the right thing against all odds and at great risk to themselves despite the derision most people hold them in. There is some magic in their world but this is a tale more sword than sorcery. Even though pistols exist, swords and crossbows are still the weapons of choice and there is a great deal of swordplay throughout. In fact, if I have any criticism of the book, it is the amount and length of the swordplay but that is a minor criticism.The story is more character- than plot-driven but fortunately, the good guys are extremely likable and the villains are the kind you like to hate. The world building is interesting and there’s plenty of action. It is the first in a series and, as such, much of the book is taken up with the back story and how they got to where they’re at. But the thing that sets this book apart and makes it a whole lot of fun to read is the humour which, although it is a bit on the blue side at times, acts as a nice counterpart to all the swordplay and violence. Admittedly, at times the tale is predictable but there are also, at times some real surprises to keep the reader guessing about what comes next. Lately, fantasy seems to be divided between either grimdark or urban fantasy romance. Traitor’s Blade, with its clear ties to high fantasy as well as its obvious nod to classics like The Three Musketeers is a nice change of pace. It is one rollicking, swashbuckling romp and I am really looking forward to the next in the series.