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
YA-In this third entry in the series, Princess Malinda is furious when her father, King Ambrose IV, arranges her marriage to the Baelish King Radgar in order to end a decade-long war. She fully intends to go through with it, however, until her groom gives her the option of walking away. So she does, and he assassinates her father in full view of the wedding guests and the King's Blades, an elite group of magically bound, magically enhanced swordsmen. The princess's baby half-brother is named king, but when the sickly child dies, Malinda seizes the throne, killing the Lord Protector in the process, but unfortunately letting two other contenders for the crown slip through her fingers. She is eventually imprisoned and accused of treason. A small band of Blades comes to the rescue, but rather than pursue her claim and subject Chivial to civil war, she determines to try a risky sorcerous ritual. This book, like the others, is an entertaining, swashbuckling adventure. The Blades are charming characters with legendary prowess at more than just swordplay. Malinda is a daring, stubborn, and kindhearted young woman who always acts with courage and aplomb. The realm of Chivial becomes more defined with each book, but there is plenty left for Duncan to explore.
Susan Salpini, Purcellville Library, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The third book in the series does not come close to guilded chain but neither did Lord of the Fire lands. One thing that niether book 2 or 3 did was follow the Blades! Read morePublished on Aug. 29 2003
This book is literary genius. The historically conflicting endings of the first two books are resolved in a clean and brilliant stroke. Read morePublished on Aug. 12 2003 by wench
The following are the major problems with this book. Firstly, there is no getting round the fact that it was written and plotted primarily to get round the discrepancies in the... Read morePublished on Sept. 17 2002
I have passionatly loved every book in this series and in the junior companion series until I read this one. Why? Read morePublished on Sept. 5 2002 by Mike Nebeker
An outstanding story of loyalty, love, honor, conjuring and deception. A story of a king and a swordsman bonded to the king by sorcery. Read morePublished on June 3 2002 by C. Turner
I found the book a little slow to unfold. I considered not finishing it at one point, but I am glad I did continue to read. Read morePublished on Sept. 27 2001 by John Oyerbides
There are many reasons to read this Tale of the King's blades, but here a few:
A Sword is named Sword
The Princess is the hero
Wolfbiter is avenged. Read more
The Gilded Chain was a well thought out book and The Lord of the Fire Lands would have been great except for it's different and disappointing ending. Read morePublished on April 22 2001 by "lisalou"