Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books (February 10, 2014)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
In Traitor’s Blade, Sebastien de Castell has succeeded in deftly crafting a sword and sorcery delight that harkens back to a simpler time when fantasy readers expected to be entertained with humor as well as action. Here, the characters’ playful banter and sword fighting flare is near equal to the legendary Three Musketeers, making this a debut novel that should not be missed by any true fan of action and adventure tales. The simple fact is that Traitor’s Blade is a swashbuckling adventure that brings the fun back to epic fantasy!
The story itself follows Falcio and his companions. This group of Trattari, or “tatter-cloaks”, were once members of the legendary “Greatcoats”, who traveled the land enforcing the king’s justice, dealing out punishment to those who dared oppress the weak. It was a glorious life, which filled Falcio, First Cantor of the Greatcoats, with a sense of accomplishment as he tried to right the world’s wrongs. But like all dreams, it came to an abrupt end.
Years have passed since the Greatcoats became the Tattari: branded traitors by nobles and commoners alike, yet Falcio still cannot forget the past nor forgive those he views as responsible for the destruction of the king’s dreams. Now, his only remaining desire in life is to fulfill a cryptic mission given from the royal lips themselves, and no matter if it takes him a lifetime, Falcio will find the mysterious Chariotes of the king — even if he must personally thrust his rapier through the gut of every unscrupulous noble in the kingdom!
There are a lot of good things to say about this book. It is well written, paced to near perfection, filled with the correct amount of back story and politics to establish the setting, overflowing with humor and sword fighting, and blessed with a nice, surprising ending. Sure, there are a few times when our light, witty swashbuckling adventure turns dark and grim with a torture scene or an over-the-top villainess or even some bad flashbacks for Falcio or an all-knowing benefactor, but none of these “issues” ever overshadowed the brilliance of this book. From first page to last, Traitor’s Blade is exactly what it sets out to be: an exciting, witty adventure that any fantasy aficionado will adore.
In my reviews, I generally point out the problems I have with a book at this point. However, with Traitor’s Blade, I have chosen not to do that. I prefer to just recall the absolute fun I had while reading this novel and allow Mr. Castell the benefit of the doubt that the few problems in his writing will be resolved in the next book, because I dearly hope the second book in this lively series is soon to be published. In fact, I can hardly wait for another chance to laugh and frown and fight and love with the Greatcoats, as they line up once again to do battle with the forces of tyranny!
I received this book from Jo Fletcher Publishing and Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank both of them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.
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