The Gilded Chain Mass Market Paperback – Sep 1 1999
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished on April 11 2004
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 morePublished on Dec 19 2003 by K. Maxwell
The Guilded Chain was one of the first fantasy books I read and now I'm hooked.
The characters are wonderfully developed. Read more
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 morePublished on April 25 2003 by Maddely
This book is lighter than Tolkein, Jordan, or Martin. Duncan has a straight forward style that is very intelligent. Read morePublished on March 14 2003 by James C. Ladd
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
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 morePublished on Feb. 6 2003 by the_smoking_quill
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 morePublished on Dec 25 2002 by Laura M. Bangerter