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Crown Duel [Kindle Edition]

Sherwood Smith
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $8.99
Kindle Price: $4.99
You Save: $4.00 (44%)

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Kindle Edition $4.99  
Library Binding $17.99  
Paperback $18.95  
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Mass Market Paperback $8.89  
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Book Description

Over their father’s deathbed, young Meliara Astiar and her brother Branaric promise to lead their people against the evil King. The impoverished count and countess discover that even when the cause is right, leading a war is much tougher than it appears. When Meliara falls into the hands of the elegant Marquis of Shevraeth, the enemy commander, she knows she has to either escape or die. After a desperate chase across country, she discovers that she and Bran are not alone—but the alliance is offered by the person she hates the most.

Once the king is gone, she faces a new type of battlefield: not muddy fields and sharpened steel, but marble palaces. The weapons now are fashion, manners, and the subtle and secret language of fans. Finally, there is the toughest challenge of all, courtship. For how do you defend yourself when the one who draws your eye, and your heart, is your worst enemy?

Crown Duel, once published as Crown Duel and Court Duel, was put together with an added story by Firebird in 2003.

The e-book edition has the above plus several scenes from the hero’s point of view.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sherwood Smith started making books out of paper towels at age six. In between stories, she studied and traveled in Europe, got a Masters degree in history, and now lives in Southern California with her spouse, two kids, and two dogs. She’s worked in jobs ranging from counter work in a smoky harbor bar to the film industry. Writing books is what she loves best. She’s the author of the high fantasy History of Sartorias-deles series as well as the modern-day fantasy adventures of Kim Murray in Coronets and Steel. Learn more at

Product Details

  • File Size: 706 KB
  • Print Length: 471 pages
  • Publisher: Book View Cafe; 3 edition (February 7, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,159 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, and a must-read July 22, 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is easily my favorite book. I first read it in early high school and now, at the end of college, get just as much if not more out of it with every re-read. It combines a vivid, original fantasy world with realistic sociological and political portrayals and analyses, absolutely fascinating to any sociology or political science major. Neither the magic nor the romance overpower this book; the romance is fulfilling even while the book focuses on more important themes.

The most fascinating part of this book, however, and what brings me back to read it over and over again, is the heroine, Mel. She makes real mistakes, misinterprets practically everything, and is driven further into trouble by the very ignorance she strives to rid herself of. Mel is as real to any young adult (or anyone who remembers that age) as any heroine ever written. I can't count how many times I've read of her mistakes and winced myself in sympathy, knowing I've made the same mishaps and showed identical character faults. Anyone who enjoys realistic fantasy with a dash of romance and sci-fi will adore this book.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read for Anyone! January 7, 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Wow. I got this book for Christmas and I could not put it down! From the very beginning Smith hooked me with the way Mel was a Countess in a crumble-down castle, and she was fighting the good fight with no other noble to help her. Mel's brother is nice, but he doesn't understand her. The one person who understands her is her so-called "enemy," Shevraeth. He was sent by the king to put down her uprising.

I'm not going to give the whole book away, so let me just say that this has something for everyone. Girl tries to kick butt, but finds it is harder than it looks. Then she's a captive, and running from the bad guys. Later, she is playing a game of deception and secrets when she goes to court. And, last, but definitely not least, she falls in love.

I love the way Sherwood Smith's characters are all well-developed, no matter the role they play in the book. I am amazed and gratified at the incredible job she did.
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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Heroine borders on rediculous too often January 16, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm a bit shocked by the rave reviews for this book (originally 2 books merged into 1). The story tells the tale of Mel - a young, poor, tomboy of a noble who gets swept up into the bigger world when the evil King sets his sights on her little corner of the world. Eventually she makes her way to court where she strives to overcome her ignorance and succeed in the complex web of relationships that make up the court. Sounds promising, yes?

The first half of the book finds Mel largely on the run from the evil King and his minions. During this adventure she makes so many poor choices, including consistently being rude and untrusting to the one person who repeatedly saves her life, that it becomes difficult to continue to cheer her on. Also, somewhat humorously, Mel finds herself unconscious every time anything exciting is going on. Madcap escape from the dungeon? Well it happens but you don't really know how because Mel snoozed through the whole thing. So much of the adventure is lost as its basically happening "off camera."

Later at court Mel is supposedly learning to navigate the labyrinth of courtly manners and intrigue. But sadly there is absolutely no tension about it. Mel seemingly has nothing at risk, there isn't really much point for her to be there, and at any point she could happily return to her home without any repercussion. The given reason for her to be there is to decide if the heir apparent to the crown (Shevraeth who after saving her life repeatedly seems to be still highly suspect as a person - seriously?!?!) will be a good king. However she gives almost no time to figuring this out as she is too busy with pointless social outings and party planning. She also strikes up a pen-pal relationship with a mysterious person which supposedly develops over time.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm Speechless! December 10, 2005
A Kid's Review
Format:Mass Market Paperback
...I absolutely loved this book!!! I can't write a book review to save my life but this was a 10 star book all the way. As soon as I put this down I was ready to read the sequel...only to realize it was out of print and was too expensive to buy... The action keeps you going, the bravery and heroism that young Meliara must demonstrate is an awesome experience. I was astounded by this book. I re-read it so many times I practically know it by heart. Read it! It's sooo COOL!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Smith's best work, a bit boring till the end February 5, 2011
By Shari
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I give this book 2.5 Stars.

The idea for this story was a good one, promising. But. I read that this was originally meant to be just one book, but the author had to write it as two for some reason, then was allowed to combine them into one later on - the story suffered as a result of this, if it's true.

The first half (Crown Duel) is... well, it was just boring and does not feel like a complete story. The main character Meilara is on the run and it should be exciting, but it feels dragged out and her misplaced attitude and bad decisions are too frustrating for my tastes. In the second half, Mel's gotten a bit better, she's educating herself, but her judge of character hasn't much improved and her brother's obliviousness is, again, frustrating.

I wanted badly to like the love interest, but you're not given a chance to get to know him enough because Meliara is too stubborn, so when they do finally get together, you're left wondering why this guy still wants to be with her.

It's a pity that the whole tale wasn't written in Shevraeth's point of view - at the end of the ebook, there are some scenes retold in his POV and they're so much more interesting, you get to know him (he actually has a personality, and a sense of humor!) and see the side characters in a more interesting and revealing way, and you can understand why and when he fell in love with Meliara.

I will say that it got much better by the end of the book, I enjoyed it a bit as Mel got out of her own way, but it took quite a while to get to that point. If you are looking for a good read from this author, I would suggest The Trouble With Kings, instead of this one.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for young adults.
Daughter in law loved the book.
Published 26 days ago by Dianne
3.0 out of 5 stars Deeply flawed, but by the end quite charming. Moderately recommended
I wanted to like the first book, but found it frustrating: the politics are simplistic, the plot predictable, and in the midst of that the protagonist--intentionally written as... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Juushika
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I love this book! I read it for the first time in grade school, and was totally enchanted by the world and admired the main character's strength. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Elizabeth R
5.0 out of 5 stars I have loved reading this book over the years and I'm glad ...
I have loved reading this book over the years and I'm glad I can now take it with me everywhere.
Published 1 month ago by Jessica Tounsand
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
enjoyed this as expected
Published 2 months ago by Anne Williston
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I really enjoyed this.
Published 2 months ago by Valerie L
5.0 out of 5 stars So Wonderful I Read It Twice In Two Weeks!
There are books you'll never find unless someone points you to them, and this was one of those. And I am SO GLAD it was brought to my attention, because I was completely hooked and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Robin Brande
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun read!
One of my all time favorite books. This book is a lot of fun. I highly recommend it.
Published 2 months ago by Kami
5.0 out of 5 stars Honestly one of my favorite Sherwood Smith stories
Honestly one of my favorite Sherwood Smith stories. Yes, Meliara isn't perfect, but that's actually kind of nice finding flaws in the protagonist.
Published 2 months ago by C. Tetley
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite heroines and fantasy romances ever
One of my favorite heroines and fantasy romances ever. The creation of the socio-political situation, the culture, the elaborate necessity of codified behavior--all do nothing but... Read more
Published 3 months ago by celina summers
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More About the Author

Sherwood Smith studied in Austria, finally earning a master's in history--she's been a governess, a bartender, and wore various hats in the film industry before turning to teaching for 20 years. She began her publishing career in 1986. To date she's published over forty books, nominated for several awards, including the Nebula, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and an Anne Lindbergh Honor Book.

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