“Anyone can face ease and success with confidence. It is the way we face trouble and misfortune that defines us. Self-pity goes with selfishness, and there is nothing more to be deplored in a leader than that. Selfishness belongs to children, and to half-wits. A great leader puts others before himself. You would be surprised how acting so makes it easier to bear one’s own troubles. In order to act like a King, one need only treat everyone else like one.” (Joe Abercrombie, Before They Are Hanged)
Book Review – Traitor’s Blade: The Greatcoats, Book 1
Title: Traitor’s Blade: The Greatcoats, Book 1
Author: Sebastien de Castell
Publication Date: 2014
Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
What It’s About
I have the pleasure of diving into the pages of Traitor’s Blade, the debut novel by Sebastien de Castell. This novel is the first entry in the critically-acclaimed Greatcoats series, a swashbuckling adventure set in the fictional realm of Tristia.
Traitor’s Blade follows the story of Falcio Val Mond, the First Cantor of the Greatcoats, a group of traveling magistrates and warriors who once served the now-deceased King Paelis. Alongside his companions, Kest and Brasti, Falcio embarks on a thrilling journey to preserve their king’s legacy and restore justice to the kingdom. As the trio navigates the treacherous political landscape of Tristia, they must confront the formidable Dukes and Duchesses, who have plunged the realm into chaos after the king’s assassination.
De Castell masterfully weaves a tale of camaraderie, loyalty, and betrayal in a world filled with complex political intrigue and unforgettable characters. The author’s background in fencing and historical reenactment lends an authentic touch to the vivid swordplay and duels that punctuate the novel.
Falcio’s narrative voice is relatable and engaging, drawing the reader into the heart of the story. His unwavering dedication to the Greatcoats’ mission, combined with his moral compass and quick wit, make him a compelling protagonist. Meanwhile, the supporting characters, including Kest and Brasti, are well-rounded and contribute to the story’s emotional depth.
The novel’s pacing is brisk, and de Castell adeptly balances moments of humor and heartbreak with thrilling action sequences. The author also skillfully reveals the broader world of Tristia and its history, hinting at the larger narrative that will unfold in subsequent books.
In conclusion, Traitor’s Blade is an exhilarating and captivating fantasy adventure that pays homage to the swashbuckling tales of old while carving out its own unique space in the genre. Sebastien de Castell has crafted a world full of intrigue and memorable characters, leaving readers eager to follow Falcio and his friends on their quest for justice. This novel is a must-read for fans of epic fantasy and those looking for an immersive, action-packed story with heart.
How I Discovered It
I wish I could say that there was great intention and planning that led me to this book or that it had been on my TBR for a long time. But that’s simply not the case. I finished another book on Scribd and was just browsing the catalog. Traitor’s Blade looked interesting, and I dove in. And I loved it!
As I said, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The characters are well-developed, and you feel the sense of urgency they have throughout their travels.
In Traitor’s Blade, we join Falcio and his fellow Greatcoats, Brasti, and Kest, on a thrilling journey through a corrupt kingdom. From the very beginning, the novel charges ahead at an exhilarating pace, leaving readers breathless as they experience Falcio’s sheer determination firsthand. The relentless action and challenges faced by our heroes make for an incredibly immersive read, as they must utilize every weapon, tactic, and bit of cunning at their disposal to survive. Through it all, the witty and razor-sharp dialogue stands out as some of the finest in the fantasy genre.
At the heart of this enthralling tale lies the unbreakable bond between Falcio, Brasti, and Kest, which proves to be an absolute delight to behold. Falcio’s strategic mind, Brasti’s cheeky archery skills, and Kest’s unrivaled swordsmanship make for a captivating and formidable trio. Indeed, the comparison to the Three Musketeers is apt, as the natural and playful camaraderie between these characters is one of the novel’s strongest elements. As a reader, you can’t help but laugh, smile, and feel the heartache alongside them as they battle adversity, bicker, and find themselves in the most precarious situations imaginable.
What I Liked About It
The worldbuilding in Traitor’s Blade is top-notch, with a rich history and political landscape that feels fully realized. The addition of the Greatcoats, with their unique blend of law enforcement and warrior skills, adds an intriguing layer to the story. The swordplay scenes are also incredibly well-written and exciting, making this a must-read for fans of action-packed fantasy.
What I Didn’t Like About It
One thing that might be a drawback for some readers is the occasional nonlinear storytelling, which can make the timeline of events feel a bit disjointed at times.
Who Would Like It?
As a fan of the book, I wholeheartedly recommend Traitor’s Blade to anyone looking for a fast-paced, action-packed fantasy adventure that showcases the power of friendship, loyalty, and the human spirit. Other books in the Greatcoats series include Knight’s Shadow, Saint’s Blood, and Tyrant’s Throne.
Other Books You Might Enjoy:
- The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch – A gritty, fast-paced tale of a talented con artist and his band of thieves in a richly detailed fantasy world.
- The Blade Itself (The First Law Trilogy #1) by Joe Abercrombie – A dark, character-driven fantasy that delves into the lives of a diverse group of protagonists, each with their own agendas and motives.
- The Riyria Revelations series by Michael J. Sullivan – A captivating fantasy series following a pair of thieves, Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, as they navigate a world filled with political intrigue, danger, and adventure.
- Kings of the Wyld (The Band #1) by Nicholas Eames – A humorous and heartfelt story about a group of retired mercenaries who reunite for one last epic quest.
- Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo – A fast-paced, character-driven heist story set in a richly imagined world featuring a diverse and morally complex cast of characters.
- The Powder Mage Trilogy by Brian McClellan – A gripping tale of magic, politics, and revolution set in a unique world where powder mages wield gunpowder-based sorcery.
- The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks – An action-packed fantasy series following the story of a young assassin, Azoth, as he navigates the treacherous world of magic and politics.
- The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books #1) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón – A literary thriller set in post-war Barcelona, where a young boy discovers a mysterious book that changes his life and leads him on a dangerous quest.
- The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb – A richly detailed, character-driven epic fantasy series following the life of FitzChivalry Farseer, a royal bastard turned assassin, and his complex relationships with those around him.
- The Broken Empire Trilogy by Mark Lawrence – A dark and compelling fantasy series about a ruthless prince, Jorg Ancrath, who embarks on a brutal journey to claim his birthright and conquer a fractured empire.
Book Review – The Lies of Locke Lamora
Title: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Author: Scott Lynch
Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
What It’s About
In the bustling, corrupt city of Camorr, an orphan named Locke Lamora emerges as an ingenious thief, a master of deception, and the leader of a band of skilled swindlers known as the Gentleman Bastards. In Scott Lynch’s captivating debut novel, “The Lies of Locke Lamora,” we are transported to a richly imagined world of criminal intrigue and breathtaking adventures that keep us hooked from the very first page.
The story follows the life of Locke Lamora from his tragic childhood to his rise as a skilled con artist under the tutelage of Father Chains, a blind priest who is, in fact, a criminal mastermind. Alongside his fellow Gentleman Bastards, Locke sets out to carry off the ultimate heist: swindling the city’s wealthy nobles of their fortunes while avoiding the attention of the city’s powerful criminal underworld, led by the mysterious figure known as Capa Barsavi.
As the plot unfolds, the stakes rise, and the intricate web of lies and deception grows ever more tangled. The Gentleman Bastards find themselves embroiled in a perilous game of cat and mouse with the enigmatic Gray King, a deadly figure who seeks to overthrow the established criminal order. As the danger escalates, Locke must use every ounce of his cunning and guile to outwit his enemies and protect his friends while navigating the thin line between loyalty and betrayal.
Lynch’s writing is a delightful blend of humor, suspense, and rich world-building. He has created an intricate, layered society that mirrors the complexities of our own world. The Lies of Locke Lamora is a tale of friendship, loyalty, and the fine art of deception. With its vivid characters, razor-sharp dialogue, and thrilling action sequences, the novel is a masterclass in storytelling.
In summary, “The Lies of Locke Lamora” is an enthralling and inventive fantasy novel that will leave readers eagerly anticipating the next installment in the series. Scott Lynch has created an unforgettable protagonist in Locke Lamora, a character whose cunning and charm will undoubtedly resonate with fans of the genre. A must-read for anyone who enjoys immersive world-building, clever heists, and unforgettable characters.
How I Discovered It
This book was recommended to me by nearly everyone I know who reads books similar to those I enjoy.
While I enjoyed the book, it did take some time for me to get into it. There is quite a bit of world-building at the beginning of the book, so much so that I began to wonder exactly where the plot would end up.
However, once the story picked up, I was completely engrossed. The characters are well-developed, and the plot is full of unexpected twists and turns. I especially enjoyed the intricate heists that Locke and his crew pull off. The world-building is also impressive, with vivid descriptions of the city of Camorr and its various factions.
What I Liked About It
I loved the dynamic between the members of the Gentleman Bastards and the witty banter that they engage in. The world-building is also fantastic, and I found myself fully immersed in the richly imagined city of Camorr.
What I Didn’t Like About It
As mentioned before, the beginning of the book can be slow due to the extensive world-building. Additionally, some of the violent scenes may be too graphic for some readers.
Who Would Like It?
Fans of fantasy heist novels will love “The Lies of Locke Lamora.” It’s a great choice for readers who enjoy complex plots, well-developed characters, and immersive world-building.
Readers who enjoyed “The Lies of Locke Lamora” may also enjoy the sequels, “Red Seas Under Red Skies” and “The Republic of Thieves,” as well as “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo.
Books I Read in May 2022
I’m consistently working to keep my reading on track this year. I have a book with me wherever I go (physical & ebook) and carve out a little time each day.
Some days more than others 😉
Here are the books I read/finished reading during May 2022:
- The Hunger of the Gods – John Gwynne (fantasy, Norse-inspired)
- The King’s Ranger – A.C. Cobble (fantasy)
- The Library Book – Susan Orlean (non-fiction) PLEASE READ THIS BOOK IT WAS AMAZING!
- Theodore Rex – Edmund Morris (biography, history)
- Mastery – Robert Greene (non-fiction, psychology)
- Black Sun – Rebecca Roanhorse (fantasy)
I Have a Book Problem and I’m Not Afraid to Admit It
OK, this is a total brain dump post as I just need to get some thoughts down. My mind is racing with ideas and I just need to write. But I’m going to share this with you because… reasons…
I love reading. However, I’ve not always been the most dedicated reader. Far too often I have relied on moving pictures in one form or another to keep me entertained and/or intellectually engaged. I love movies and tv shows. I love documentaries.
But I really love the worlds I can transport to within the pages of a book. Fiction, non-fiction, I don’t care.
As I said, I haven’t always been the best reader. It was far easier to just sit on my computer, watch the TV, or stare at my smartphone.
Then, about two years ago, I committed to reading more. I felt that I had missed so many opportunities to read great books that I couldn’t waste any more time. After all, I’m 45 as I’m writing this and, statistically, I’m about halfway done with my time on this pale blue dot.
So I started reading more. Consequently, I started buying more books.
Like, a ton of books. Seriously. I just had six show up at my house today.
And not just little books. Big books. BIG f’n books.
Here’s the list that showed up today (all Amazon links):
- The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932
- The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-1940
- The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965
- Means of Ascent (The Years of Lyndon Johnson)
- Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson
Last month, I ordered ten physical books (most in the fantasy genre) and 10-12 ebooks (I have a Kindle Unlimited account, too).
Yes, I have a problem. I’m trying to play catch up for years of not really reading books. And I’ll never reach my goal.
My Goodreads “to be read” list is almost 1,500 books long. And growing.
Why do I have a problem? Because I have become insatiably curious and full of fanciful dreams. I didn’t explore my passions for too long because I was concerned about what other people thought about me.
I’ll write that off as having spent my time in a fundamentalist, controlling, right-wing, bible-thumping church from the ages of 11 to 25. Oh, well.
Now, I’m running after learning about the things that excite me. And enjoying the things I love.
So I have a book problem. Do you?