Customs officers board a galley in a harbor and overpower its guards. In the hold they find oil and silver, and a naked boy chained to the bulkhead. The officers break the boy's chains to rescue him, but he escapes…. Duke Alonzo commands the seas, taxes his colonies, and, like every duke before him, fears assassins better than his own. In a side chapel, Alonzo's 13-year old cousin prays for deliverance from her forced marriage. When Moorish pirates break in to steal a chalice, they kidnap her and demand ransom from the Duke. As day dawns, Marco, the Duke's chief assassin, prepares to kill the man who let in the pirates. Having cut the traitor's throat, he turns back, and finds a stranger crouched over the man, drinking blood from the wound. The speed with which the boy dodges a dagger and scales a pillar stuns Marco, and the assassin knows he has to find the boy – he's finally found what he thought he would never find. Someone fit to be his apprentice.
©2011 Jon Courtenay Grimwood (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
They didn't build any character for me to be interested in. The story jumped around soo much it was hard to follow and after slogging through hour after hour hoping it would get better I cut my loses and quit.
Tell us about yourself!
Our own history is so full of mystery and intrigue that a good author has really no need to create his own fictional world in order to create a truly great novel. Travel back in time to Venezia the city of a thousand bridges and channels and there really is no need to create the lost elven city of Lothlorien. Add a dash of magic, a dash mystery and include some good old human cruelty and you have the recipe for what could be a great novel right?
Well yes. But even if Venezia surely is the perfect setting for assassins, nobility and political drama and I can hardly imagine a more ???magical??? city this novel still comes off as bland. The characters are, if not mostly one dimensional, all unlikable. This novel sadly falls into that broad category of historical fiction where the author has been so focused on creating a story in a true historical setting that the story part has somehow gotten in second line to what I assume is correct Renaissance architecture and sculptures. A shame really.
"well paced fun"
Great novel, part of a good series. Nice to have vampires and werewolves that aren't twilight style, without being nosferatu style either.
This story is an alternate history, fantasy work. Great description and scene setting. Great narrator too
"Could be a good series"
On the whole I love the work of Jon Courtenay Grimwood although some are much better than others. This one is by and large good but with some elements of confused logic. The "hero" is capable of grade A violence but puts up with regular capture and torture. There is also much confusion as to the why's and wherefores of his love interest(s). However the story is otherwise very good, not so the narration. Dan Miller cannot and should not ever do female voices as he comes over as comic camp with a squeaky petulant tone. I am not sure I could put up with another episode read by him.
"JCG has gone to a place I can't follow."
It's hard to believe that this story was written by the same Jon Courtenay Grimwood who started off writing such edgy, witty novels ( Lucifer's Dragon, Remix, Redrobe, etc, etc.).
Back then he seemed to be having fun and had something to say,now it feels like writing is his job. Don't get me wrong he still writes well, but the Fallen Blade feels so commercial that it could be the back story for a video game.
If the low score misleads you into thinking this book is badly written or it isn't well read then I apologise.
It is well read and has been professionally and competently written - it is my disappointment over the loss of one of my favourite authors that caused me to mark it so low.
"Great story, but narration was a problem"
The story here is good, rolling along at a decent pace with plenty of action and fun. There were one or two slightly mystifying gaps that might have worked on paper, but just felt a bit like something had been forgotten when read out loud.
And the narrator, while good for the male voice, could not do female voices at all well, sounding more strangled than anything else. This killed it a bit for me.
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