- Paperback: 300 pages
- Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books; Reprint edition (June 2 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1623654009
- ISBN-13: 978-1623654009
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21 cm
- Shipping Weight: 522 g
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #202,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Traitor's Blade Paperback – Jun 2 2015
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"Like the sword its disgraced protagonist carries, Traitor's Blade is short and sharp and smart, and very well wielded, really . . . With a tip of his hat at Alexandre Dumas, Sebastien de Castell make a fine first impression in this entertaining debut."―Tor
"Traitor's Blade is the first 'new' fantasy of 2014 that met and even exceeded my expectations."―Fantasy Book Critic
"If this isn't your most anticipated debut novel of 2014, then you're doing it wrong. Traitor's Blade may well end up going down as one of the strongest first fantasy novels of recent times--it's an absolute stunner that you can't afford to miss."―Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
"Traitor's Blade never falters, with writing as smooth and decisive as a rapier's swish through the air and a story as passionate as life itself. I can't wait to read more about these wonderful characters. Highly recommended!"―Julie E. Czerneda, author of A Turn of Light
"In short, I loved loved loved Traitor's Blade. I would recommend it to everyone . . . Seriously, this is one excellent and remarkably entertaining book! Read it."―BiblioSanctum
"A gripping plot . . . I was utterly fascinated by the female characters in the book . . . written with vivid narration and humor. It made me laugh out loud and it made me shed an occasional tear. It dragged me right in to the world of Tristia. Traitor's Blade is a great book."―Fantasy Faction
"Like a master-crafted rapier, Traitor's Blade is perfectly-balanced, sharp and to the point. Very highly recommended, this is a must read."―Civilian Reader
"Some books you can't put down. This one won't even let you try; it whirls you along in a wild dance of fights, treachery, and jaw-dropping surprises."―Dave Duncan, author of King of Swords
"In Traitor's Blade, Sebastien de Castell combines the best of Joe Abercrombie and Alexandre Dumas. He can break your heart and spike your adrenaline with the same sentence. Riveting."―Violette Malan, author of Path of the Sun and The Storm Witch
About the Author
Sebastien de Castell had just finished a degree in Archaeology when he started work on his first job. Four hours later he realized how much he hated archaeology and left to pursue a very focused career as a musician, ombudsman, interaction designer, fight choreographer, teacher, project manager, actor, and product strategist. These interests and experiences provided fodder for his burgeoning writing career. He lives in Vancouver, Canada, with his wife. He now lives in Vancouver, where he is director of strategic program development at the Vancouver Film School.
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If you've read any of the promotional blurbs or advance reviews for Traitor's Blade, then you know Sebastien de Castell has successful served up a swashbuckling historical fantasy that's adventurous, thrilling, and often darkly humorous. It's also, however, a story that I found to be very cruel and depressing in a number of places, which unfortunately dampens my enthusiasm a bit. Having said that, the fact that the cruelty affected me so, getting so effectively under my skin, says a lot for Sebastien's storytelling prowess.
In terms of structure, this is book that is heavily dependent upon flashbacks. In fact, for the first half of the novel, I found the flashbacks infinitely more fascinating than the main story, and was actually impatient to do away with current events and get back to the history. Let's be honest, when you're dealing with a group of fallen heroes like the Greatcoats, the mystery behind how and why they've fallen so far is going to consume your imagination. There is, however, a definite point at which the main story catches up, and that is when Falcio is left to stand guard over a young girl, alone against the world, in a week during which blood must run freely. After that, it's very much a running battle to determine which aspect of the tale is the strongest.
My main issue with the present tale is that it felt as if too much of the main story was being kept from us, and I don't like being kept in the dark. I generally prefer a story with a defined quest to be attained or a clear conflict to be resolved, and I struggled with that here. If the early flashbacks and the mystery of the Greatcoats' fall hadn't been so compelling, I'm not sure I would have stuck with the tale. Once again, having said that, the way all the pieces fell into place was highly entertaining, and I completely appreciated just how many of the seemingly disconnected story threads were leading to the same climax. There was a bit of a fate/destiny cheat involved there, in my opinion, but not enough to completely derail the success of the telling.
One thing with which I am not all conflicted in my admiration for the conflict itself. Yes, this is a swashbuckling tale, and the swordplay is exquisite. I often find myself skimming through extended fight scenes, more interested in the dialogue than the dance of swords, but Sebastien absolutely demands that you dance with him. As we find out later in the story, there's a language to the dance of swords, and it really does feel as if part of the telling here is in the fighting. Exceptionally well-choreographed, the duels and battles are something you desperately want to see on the big screen.
As for the characters, they're conflicted themselves, but strong, fascinating, and well-developed. Heroes and villains alike are immediately identifiable, memorable, and entertaining. Falcio is more conflicted than most, and I fully expected his angry sort of self-pity party to become tiresome, but somehow Sebastien sustains it through more than one grand moment of transformation. A tragic hero in every sense of the word, we come to understand that his motives aren't always as grand as he'd have others believe, but they're nothing for which we can possibly fault him. Duchess Patriana, meanwhile, is an absolutely perfect antagonist, falling just shy of cartoon or fairy tale villainy. She's cruel, conniving, and as intelligent as she is imaginative. This is a woman to be honestly feared as well as hated, and she is largely responsible for making the second half of the tale so entertaining.
Like a number of other reads from the past few years, I suspect the best is yet to come for Sebastien de Castell. With the world and the characters established, and the storytelling expectations set, I suspect whatever follows Traitor's Blade will be a better, stronger, less conflicted pleasure.
A trio of swashbuckling Greatcoats, led by Falcio val Mond. Once revered throughout the land they are now reduced to working for hire, as their King is dead. The mighty Greatcoats are disbanded, but our three are staying true to their sworn oath to uphold and defend the law of the land - and fulfill the King's last command....
"Either the King's Charoites were out there somewhere and we would find them, or we would end our days at the end of a noose."
Through a series of machinations, they find themselves guarding a caravan headed straight to the stronghold of a dastardly Duke determined to thwart our heroes and put his own evil plan into play. Throw in some magic, a mysterious crone with unnamed powers, a few beautiful damsels, a war horse to rival no other, action packed fight scenes (very detailed as de Castell works as a fight choreographer)and wonderfully fun (and humourous) dialogue....
"When you're fighting a crowd, its good to shout potentially threatening things like 'Crossbows!' or Fire! or 'Giant Flying Cat!' every once in a while.".....
...and you've got one heck of a rollicking romp of a read! De Castell has created a fantastical world where one can imagine heroes on horseback (or foot as the case may be) ready to defend the poor and downtrodden, defeat the bad guys, save the girl (and the kingdom) and make you want to be there with them - sharing in the adventure.
We never question who is good and who is evil. But maybe we should have - the plotting keeps the reader guessing, with more than one twist thrown in along the way.
Traitor's Blade was a delightfully entertaining debut - and it looks like there will be further adventures of the Greatcoats in the future. I'll be picking up the next in the series. If you loved The Princess Bride (My name is Falcio val Mond) and The Three Musketeers, this is a book for you!
This book made me laugh and cry, and by the end I almost felt like if I picked up a sword, I could act out some of the fight sequences. This is a book I will read again, and again.
p.s. I <3 Kest!
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