A lot of Dave Duncan fans let out a squeal at the end of Lord of the Fire Lands, the previous Tale of the King's Blades. (The Gilded Chain was first in the series, and Sky of Swords comes in third.) It seems that Duncan, in this ingenious, Rashomon-style series, had managed to kill off King Ambrose twice in just two books, and in a different way each time.
But this devilish author knew what he was up to, and Sky of Swords promises to answer all your questions. Just as The Gilded Chain jumped back and forth in time and Lord of the Fire Lands followed a concurrent tangent plot from Gilded Chain, Sky of Swords will likewise tie your brain in knots for a spell. (It should be stressed that all of these books are standalones, following different characters through overlapping timelines--you don't need to read them all, but each is much richer for having read the others.)
Swords picks up Fire Lands' crossbow-bolt-between-the-eyes finale somewhere around page 80. But this time we're looking through the eyes of Princess Malinda, this book's irascible (she is Ambrose's daughter, after all) but ultimately likable heroine. We learn about Malinda's bumpy upbringing, but Swords doesn't really get interesting until the aftermath of Ambrose's death, the ensuing threat of civil war, and the outcome of Malinda's trial for treason (which begins on page 1, but in true Duncan fashion, doesn't actually happen until near the book's finale). What's the best part of Sky of Swords? Not to ruin anything, but you've probably already read its conclusion--in the final pages of Gilded Chain. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
YA-In this third entry in the series, Princess Malinda is furious when her father, King Ambrose IV, arranges her marriage to the Baelish King Radgar in order to end a decade-long war. She fully intends to go through with it, however, until her groom gives her the option of walking away. So she does, and he assassinates her father in full view of the wedding guests and the King's Blades, an elite group of magically bound, magically enhanced swordsmen. The princess's baby half-brother is named king, but when the sickly child dies, Malinda seizes the throne, killing the Lord Protector in the process, but unfortunately letting two other contenders for the crown slip through her fingers. She is eventually imprisoned and accused of treason. A small band of Blades comes to the rescue, but rather than pursue her claim and subject Chivial to civil war, she determines to try a risky sorcerous ritual. This book, like the others, is an entertaining, swashbuckling adventure. The Blades are charming characters with legendary prowess at more than just swordplay. Malinda is a daring, stubborn, and kindhearted young woman who always acts with courage and aplomb. The realm of Chivial becomes more defined with each book, but there is plenty left for Duncan to explore.
Susan Salpini, Purcellville Library, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The novel fits the other novels in the sereies very well and presents a tale of court politics and double dealing along with a bit of a surprise conclusion.Published 16 months ago by R. Thomas
If you have read the first two books of this not a trilogy stay with this one. As it progresses there will be major discrepancies that will make you go WHAT THE ????. Read morePublished 18 months ago by SanteeFats
I really should have read the first books, but I got it cheap at a book sale, so what are you going to do? Read morePublished on July 11, 2013 by Sinuhe
I really like this series. It inspired me to go out and do great yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda.Published on September 21, 2012 by Amazon Customer
Include me among those who can't believe they've never heard of Dave Duncan until recently. His Reluctant Swordsman books were recommended in a fantasy discussion here, and since... Read morePublished on July 26, 2010 by Captain
Although this book can be read comfortably alone, it is part of an interlocking series along with The Gilded Chain and Lord of The Fire Lands which may be read in any order. Read morePublished on March 1, 2008 by Miz Ellen
At the end of "Lord of the Fire Lands" Dave Duncan did the unthinkable for those of us with good memories for what happens in a series; he contradicted what he'd written in the... Read morePublished on July 12, 2007 by M. J. Keel
The reason I was confused is because I read "The Gilded Chain" first, so I knew there was a disconnect somewhere. And I'm not sure I like the way it was resolved.... Read morePublished on October 26, 2006 by S. Potter