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Sky Of Swords Hardcover – Oct 5 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Eos; 1st ed edition (Oct. 5 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380974622
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380974627
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 16.4 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 748 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,806,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

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

From School Library Journal

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.

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First Sentence
On a bright and frosty morning in Eleventhmoon, Malinda came awake with a start, remembering that this was the second day of her ninth birthweek. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
The first two King's Blades tales, "The Gilded Chain" and "Lord of the Fire Lands" were absolutely phenomenal stories and it only stands to reason that this third one, "Sky of Swords" would carry on that literary excellence and indeed it well does. What makes this third novel that much more interesting is that the entire premise is in contradiction to the conclusion of the first novel "The Gilded Chain" because at the end of "Lord of the Fire Lands" King Ambrose IV is killed off some twenty years prior to when he was killed off in "The Gilded Chain." With superb writing skills that include well tuned pacing and characters with extraordinary depth, Dave Duncan weaves the tale of Malinda, King Ambrose IV's daughter.
The Premise:
This novel is perfect in the sense of overwhelmingly superb political/court intrigue as we follow Princess/Queen Malinda's life from the point of her marriage to Radgar that was briefly described in "The Gilded Chain" and carried out to detail in "Lord of the Fire Lands." Princess Malinda must now find a way to survive as she is in the precarious position of being the heir apparent behind her sickly infant sibling who is king and her [illegitimate]half brother who becomes regent based on King Ambrose IV's will...
What follows from there is nothing less than another stunning success in the King's Blades tales as we're treated to more incredible "history" of the King's Blades and a character in Malinda that is full of depth.
I highly recommend not only this third and final novel in the King's Blades tales but all three just as the author notes in the beginning of each book that they can all be read independently of each other but that would truly leave one in the loop on the overall story. {ssintrepid}
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By ChaucerCat on July 19 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I must say this first of all: Dave Duncan is the best male writer of female characters I have ever encountered.
Until I was recommended "The Gilded Chain" by Amazon I had not touched a modern fantasy book by a male author other than Guy Gavriel Kay for several years. I was completely sick of the silly, illogical, and improbable female characters male authors often create. I figured I'd just read "Chain", be disgusted, and toss it away.
Three books later...
In no way, shape, or form does Mr. Duncan demean Princess Miranda--or indeed, any other female characters in any of the Blades books. Miranda was a real person, not just a male writer's opinion of what a woman should be. Throughout "Sky of Swords" she displays strengths, failings, and needs any male author would give a male character. I was never embarrassed or annoyed by her behavior, which is saying something. In fact, I admired her tenacity and courage.
Nothing infuriates me more that watching a female character do something incredibly stupid "because she's a woman", and that's what the male author thinks a woman would do in that circumstance. In "Sky of Swords", Miranda makes mistakes because she is human and inexperienced -- and Mr. Duncan makes sure we know that.
I was also impressed with the way Mr. Duncan handled Miranda's affair with Sir Dog. He had her choose not the handsomest of her guard, nor the cleverest, but the one who would be kindest and most gentle. He does not encourage the reader to brand Miranda with a great big red letter "A", not even when she steals a kiss from Sir Eagle as a teenager. He recognizes (gasp!) that women are sexual beings and have desires of their own -- and that this is NORMAL!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was the first of Dave Duncan's books I read; it will not be the last. I devoured this book in a night (and that is the staying up all of the night to read the book variety of night)and then hotfooted to the library to get the rest of the series- The Gilded Chain, Paragon Lost, and Lord of the Fire Lands (and the juvie series Sir Stalwart, etc.) At last count, I have now reread the whole series three times- and I've only known about it for a month.
This is the only one of the series from a woman's point of view, which makes it interesting- all the other Blade books are man's POV.
The plot of the book is recurrent, if you have read any of the others, but the characterizations and the humor make the writing sing!
Malinda is a willful, spoiled princess, marriage bait, and is surrounded by the young, handsome, and alarmingly virile King's Blades, ensorcelled bodyguards bound to protect their wards at all costs, even their lives. Malinda's father, King Ambrose, dies, and she is endangered by the Court and the intrigues of those who would use her for power.
Wonderful, wonderful books- I haven't been so entranced since I discovered Mercedes Lackey in the 80's.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Something needs to be kept in mind whenever reading a series by Dave Duncan, and that is that he's BRILLIANT. That doesn't just mean that he creates entire worlds that are unique, richly detailed, and believable. It doesn't just mean that his characters are fully fleshed out individuals. It means that when you read the ending you say "Wow! How did he come up with that." Well, it's because he's brilliant. It also must be because he started with an idea of the ending and crafted the entire story to lead up to it. Unfortunately it's difficult to review his stories without giving the ending away. If you've read some of Duncan's other series, like "The Seventh Sword", "A Man of his Word", or "The Great Game", you'll know what to expect.
"The Sky of Swords" is the conclusion of a trilogy. The first book is "The Gilded Chain" about a character named Durendal. The second book is "Lord of the Fire Lands" about a character named Radgar, although many of the characters from the first book also appear in the second. The problem is that something happens in the second book, which specifically doesn't happen in the first. Resolving this contradiction is really the whole purpose of the third book. Although it's possible to read this as a stand-alone novel, it's really a bad idea.
The thing about resolving the contradiction is that the characters haven't read the books, and don't know that there's a contradiction. Events have to occur which force them to want to change things. For this reason "Sky of Swords" is not as happy a book as the first two were. It's rather dark and depressing, as the characters are being driven to desperation. It wouldn't be much fun to read this story by itself. The ending not only resolves the contradiction though; I found it very satisfying.
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