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The Gilded Chain [Mass Market Paperback]

Dave Duncan
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 10.99
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Book Description

Oct. 7 1999
As unwanted and rebellious boys, they find refuge in Ironhall....Years later they emerge as the finest swordsmen in the realm -- A magical ritual of a sword through the heart binds each to his ward--if not the king himself, then to whomever else the monarch designates -- with absolute loyalty.And the greatestBlade of them all was -- and is -- Sir Durendal.

But a lifelong dream of protecting his beloved liege from enemies, traitors, and monsters is dashed to bits when Durendal is bonded till death to an effete noble fop at his king's orders.Yet Destiny has many strange and inscrutable plans for the young knight -- for a mission, acontest, and, perhaps, a treasure await him in a faraway land.But he soon finds himself enmeshed in treason and foul intrigues, compelled to betray the king he had hoped to serve.The Blades have ways to protecttheir own, but death and madness haunt the path to salvation -- and few ever return unscathed.As unwanted and rebellious boys, they find refuge in Ironhall....Years later they emerge as the finest swordsmen in the realm-- A magical ritual of a sword through the heart binds each to his ward--if not the king himself, then to whomever else the monarch designates--with absolute loyalty.And the greatestBlade of them all was--and is--Sir Durendal.

But a lifelong dream of protcting his beloved liege from enemies, traitors, and monsters is dashed to bits when Durendal is bonded till death to an effete noble fop at his king's orders.Yet Destiny has many strange and inscrutable plans for the young knight--for a mission, acontest, and, perhaps, a treasure await him in a faraway land.But he soon finds himself enmeshed in treasonand foul intrigues, compelled to betray the king he had hoped to serve.The Blades have ways to protecttheir own, but death and madness haunt the path to salvation--and few ever return unscathed.


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From Amazon

Swords-and-sorcery fans aren't always proud. At times, they're left feeling a little embarrassed when they get a fix for their "pulp" addiction, maybe even sheepishly admitting that the genre isn't always that... sophisticated. Well, with Dave Duncan's The Gilded Chain, no apologies are necessary.

The author presents traditional high fantasy, with knights and magic (and even a few monsters) in a Tudoresque setting. The Gilded Chain satisfies all the usual cravings, while still managing to be both original and thought-provoking. Subtitled A Tale of the King's Blades (an indication that more excellent stand-alones should follow), Gilded Chain follows the career of Durendal, one of the King's magical and deadly swordsmen, who's compelled to serve his ward until death with single-minded purpose. Bound to a conniving, sniveling courtier and apparently doomed to a boring--or worse, compromising--existence, Durendal must find a way to fulfill both his potential and his duty. Events quickly hurl him halfway across the world to investigate the grisly secret behind a brotherhood of immortal swordmasters. This quest fuels the plot for the remainder of the book, which is nearly impossible to put down after the halfway point (just about the time a side story involving a Lord Roland cleverly dovetails with the main narrative). An inventive, intelligent exploration of duty and honor, and just a corking good adventure besides, The Gilded Chain is swords-and-sorcery at its best. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Duncan (The Great Game) raids some of the juiciest eras of European history for this classy opener to his King's Blades series. In the sorcery-ridden land of Chivial, the grim Ironhall nurtures unwanted boys, transmuting them by muscle-building, weapons-training and fearsome magic ritualizing into an elite corps of swordsmen, each spiritually bonded to defend a master unto death. Bound first to an outrageous fop, then to a Henry VIII look-alike monarch, rebellious knight Durendal pursues adventure and the horrifying secrets of immortality. Duncan's people are marvelously believable, his landscapes deliciously exotic, his swordplay breathtaking. Initially, the narrative disconcertingly alternates between dashing young Durendal and righteous Chancellor Roland, but all soon becomes satisfyingly clear. "Durendal," the sword that legendary Roland used to smite his Saracen enemies in France's national epic, binds swordsman and statesman into one irresistible hero in this handsomely crafted commentary on honor and betrayal.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Grand Master looked even older than the Squire, but he had a hard trimness that age had not softened, as if he would still be deadly with that sword he wore. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gilded Chain - A phenomenally well told story! April 17 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
First and foremost, Dave Duncan is an incredibly imaginative and detailed masterful storyteller within the genre of fantasy fiction for adult readers! A few weeks ago I was searching for something different to take with me on a business trip outside the country where I knew I would have lots of time on my hands and happened to see his latest paperback out of the corner of my eye and read the back cover for it which brought me to his first book in the "Tales of the King's Blades" series. Needless to say, but I will, discovering this outstanding author's work was a serious boon for me as I discovered his work to be absolutely superior!
Upon starting "The Gilded Chain," one quickly discovers that Dave Duncan is truly a masterful storyteller in that his pacing is breakneck in speed; incredible in plot setup and execution; incredibly well detailed as he not only tells a story but sets the reader up within his newly created world of Chivial where "conjurations" are common and there is an overall exceptionally rich history to his story! My only regret in beginning to read his novels is that I hadn't discovered his work earlier.
The cover art for "The Gilded Chain" is perfectly well suited to the story and does what it is intended to do, draw a reader to the novel.
The Premise:
Welcome to Dave Duncan's world of Chivial where conjurations are commonplace and the King, Ambrose the IV has at his disposal Ironhall where his personal guards are known as Blades. From an early age, young men who have nowhere else to go, if they show some promise, are admitted to the school and given the best training in the world in the practice and art of being swordsmen!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent tale. March 20 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was the first book I have read from Duncan and I thought it was a great tale. This story and the stories following are involve a group of swordsman called Blades as they are the Blades of the King. There is magic in this land in the form of conjurations and these swordsman are boned to either their King or someone he decrees by this form of sorcery. It ensures undying loyalty to their bonded. The main Hero of the Blades and the man this story is centered around is a man named Durendal and his adventures.
I found this approach to sword and sorcery very refreshing. It didn't seem as though he was rehashing your typical fantasy themes in different words. Instead this book feels very original and the writing doesn't wander aimlessly. This book is aptly called "A Tale" because thats what it is, a tale, a story; not a long, drawn out, piece of fluff but an action filled tale of loyalty, courage, honor, and friendship and I enjoyed it very much.
Also, there are three more books in this series so far (I am about to start the second) but this book has a beginning and an end. It doesn't have a cliffhanger like some other series, so you can be comfortable just buying the first book and if you agree with me and like it, you can get the others at your liesure.
Other authors you might like in this same genre; Paul Kearney, George R. R. Martin, Deborah Chester, David Gemmell, J.V. Jones, and Matthew Stover.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be fooled by it's fluffy appearence... Aug. 14 2003
By Kalika
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is certainly one of the most amazing that I have ever read. Don't be fooled by the "blurb" on the back, this is not a fluffy cheap romance, though it somewhat looks like one, I'll admit. Durrendal has got to be one of the greatest swordsmen ever written into a book, (Sorry Inigo Montoya) and this book deals with the era in which he was in his prime. There are three books in this series by Dave Duncan, and many have called it a trilogy (and indeed, it is.) BUT. There is no specific order in which you must read them. Each is a stand alone novel. Take the advice of someone who's read them over and over read them in this order:
1) The Gilded Chain
2) Lord of the Firelands
3) Sky of Swords.
The Gilded Chain and Lord of the Firelands have two VERY different endings, both dealing with the death of a character (in two different ways) There are many discrepancies between the two. However, all of this confusion is resolved in Sky of Swords. This is a wonderful book that you'll want to come back to again and again. Try it out. You won't be dissapointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!!! May 28 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"The Gilded Chain" was one of my Amazon.com recommendations. ... It was the first Dave Duncan book I've ever read, and I am very, very impressed.
This book would make a spectacular animé, I think (and I don't even like animé!). "The Gilded Chain" just has this wonderful spirit about it that makes the images jump off the page. Mr. Duncan's characterization was wonderful as well. The characters were very well-rounded and REAL. The magic system--particularly the binding ceremony--was unlike any I have encountered before. Very original.
I was also really surprised (and pleased) that rather than following Durendal's journey through the desert, a quick synopsis of his terrible trip was given. Most authors would have stuck the additional 150 pages in there as filler. Also, Mr. Duncan allows the story to tell itself, almost as if he was just the medium through which these legends were put on paper. His writing style is wonderful.
The only thing I wish is that Mr. Duncan had provided for more of a demarcation between chapters featuring young Durendal and Roland--maybe title pages or headers listing the year, like Katherine Kerr does in her Deverry series. I got a little confused as the time periods jumped around.
I've already bought and devoured "Lord of the Fire Lands" and I intend to continue the series. I heartily recommend this book to any fantasy lover.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Shallow and Uninspiring
If you are looking for a book that gossips about the adventure as seen only through the opinion of the main character, this book is for you. Read more
Published on April 11 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Boy makes good with a sword and common sense
This book is the first in the 'King's Blades' series of novels. It is essentially a series of highlights in the life of the most famous of Blades, Sir Durendal. Read more
Published on Dec 19 2003 by K. Maxwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
The Guilded Chain was one of the first fantasy books I read and now I'm hooked.
The characters are wonderfully developed. Read more
Published on Sept. 15 2003 by Miles J
5.0 out of 5 stars My first Dave Duncan book...
but definitely not my last. I usually don't read Sci/Fi or Fantasy but I can say I do now. I really liked this book and this author. I liked the story and the characters. Read more
Published on April 25 2003 by Maddely
5.0 out of 5 stars Clearly good fantasy
This book is lighter than Tolkein, Jordan, or Martin. Duncan has a straight forward style that is very intelligent. Read more
Published on March 14 2003 by James C. Ladd
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
Im not really a fantasy reader and being that I could not get through the first book in
Lord of The Rings without being bored, I was a bit skeptical on reading another... Read more
Published on March 10 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Musketeers on speed
Fantasy books can be like beverages: you have your exquisitely aged wines (The Lord of the Rings, Mists of Avalon); your rich ports and liquors (the works of Guy Kay and Patricia... Read more
Published on Feb. 6 2003 by the_smoking_quill
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME
I have read EVERY Dave Duncan book and have not read one book of his that I haven't liked. Duncan's books are never the same and never formulaic. Read more
Published on Dec 25 2002 by Laura M. Bangerter
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo!
An intriguing tale full of heroes, villains, and great sword-play. This may not be world-building on the scale of Martin or Jordan, but then again, who cares! Read more
Published on Oct. 15 2002 by Chris
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