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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: A rather clean ex library issue hardback with a few usual marks. Has good condition, clean dust jacket with a spine sticker. Text/pages are free from other imperfections. Rather light overall handling/shelf wear. A very good spine.
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The Sword-Edged Blonde Hardcover – October 1, 2007

57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Equal parts sword-and-sorcery action/adventure and noir whodunit, Bledsoe's finely polished debut is evocative of fantasy legend Fritz Leiber's classic tales of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Bledsoe's narrative, while set in a comparable world, features only one protagonist: sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse, a private investigator who has spent most of his life trying to distance himself from a shadowy and tragic past. When his old childhood friend, King Philip of Arentia, enlists his help to unravel a scandalous mystery surrounding the brutal death of the young royal heir—a murder in which the king's beautiful wife, Rhiannon, is the prime suspect—LaCrosse accepts only to encounter a deity who forces him to come to grips with the horrific events of his youth. Incorporating elements from both hard-boiled mystery and heroic fantasy, Bledsoe's genre-blending first novel is both stylish and self-assured: Raymond Chandler meets Raymond E. Feist. (Nov.)
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Some writers write funny stuff. Some writers write funny characters. With The Sword-edged Blonde Alex Bledsoe has written a compelling story with fascinating characters - who are so witty and whose attitude is so wry that I laughed AND cared. That's real comedy, folks, the hardest kind of fiction to write, and Bledsoe brings it off with panache. --Orson Scott Card

The Sword-Edged Blonde has all the finesse and depth of a great hard-boiled mystery, but takes place in a fully-realized heroic fantasy setting. From start to finish, it's a treat for readers of either genre, and easily one of the better books I've had the pleasure of reading this year. Don't miss this one. --Charles deLint

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books; 1st US Ed edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597801127
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597801126
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,229,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up in west Tennessee an hour north of Graceland (home of Elvis) and twenty minutes from Nutbush (birthplace of Tina Turner). I've been a reporter, editor, photographer and door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. I now live in a Wisconsin town famous for trolls, write before six in the morning and try to teach my three kids to act like they've been to town before. I'm the author of the Eddie LaCrosse high fantasy/hardboiled mysteries ("The Sword-Edged Blonde," "Burn Me Deadly," "Dark Jenny," "Wake of the Bloody Angel" and "He Drank, and Saw the Spider"), two novels about vampires in 1975 Memphis ("Blood Groove" and "The Girls with Games of Blood"), the Tufa novels ("The Hum and the Shiver," "Wisp of a Thing," and the upcoming "Long Black Curl") and the "Firefly Witch" short story ebook chapbooks.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Glinda Good on December 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Sword-Edged Blonde came in a box of many Nightshade books. For authors I'm not familiar with, I rely on interesting covers and good jacket descriptions. After checking out the horrible cover (the twins on the reclining maiden put me right off), and wincing over the book's title, I read the recommendations on the back cover. All the right keywords were there to entice me: sword, action, detective, noir, mystery, comedy.

I started reading, and quickly decided Bledsoe's novel was definitely not a comedy. Although there are wry touches, the solid storytelling, interesting characters, and subtle unfolding of main character Eddie LaCrosse's world kept me immersed in the story from page one until the end. There's mystery, romance, tragedy, revenge, poor decisions, sacrifice and consolation. In short, a perfectly seasoned story regardless of genre.

I've seen this novel likened to the stories by Leiber, and Glen Cook. A touch of Simon R Green came to mind as well. Bledsoe has his own voice --the fantasy and magic are there, the mystery is there, but what's most important is the characters that inhabit his world.

The story in brief: Sword jockey and private investigator Eddie LaCrosse is summoned back to his childhood home to ascertain the guilt or innocence of the current queen, who has been accused of murdering her own child. The investigation takes him over roads that lead to terrible events in his own past.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By the_smoking_quill on March 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A foaming tankard for public libraries. If mine hadn't featured Alex Bledsoe's engrossing debut novel, TSEB, I doubt I'd have ever discovered it.

Granted, I only discovered it because of the quasi-garish cover and title (neither of which has much to do with the actual story), picking it up just to shake my head at one more piece of fantasy trash. But then I read the cover blurbs from Charles de Lint and Orson Scott Card, which were positive enough to overcome my natural revulsion to pulp detective stories in fantasy settings (which usually aren't half as clever as their creators think). The author should buy them tankards, too.

The plot of the TSEB is deceptively and satisfyingly complex. Eddie LaCrosse is an aging mercenary who tends to take jobs that require more mind than metal (though he'll gladly use both). He accepts a job to find a missing princess, but one thing leads to another, and soon he's in his homeland, which he left years before after a personal tragedy, and investigating an increasingly wide-ranging mystery at the behest of his childhood friend, King Phil. (Yes, he's the actual king, and his name is Phil.)

The tale is too complex to discuss in a brief, spoiler-free review. (Its influences appear to include hard-boiled detective stories and low-fantasy fare, such as Simon Green's tales of Hawk and Fisher.) However, on the side of its strengths are the author's natural wit and storytelling ability; his gift for the creation of memorable minor characters; and the lightly- but effectively-described setting reminiscent of a medieval civilization in the Mississippi delta. (The author grew up in western Tennessee.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Daedalus on May 5, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was a valid attempt at an under-explored, interesting concept. Bledsoe asked what would happen if I dropped a Marlowesque, hard-boiled detective type into a fantasy setting. To be honest, I am surprised that this is not a more common theme, so when I heard about this book I had to give it a try.

I think that he did a very admirable job melding these two genres, and from a broad perspective, I think the book was successful. The plot was intricate enough to keep your attention, although anyone who reads fantasy regularly probably knew how it would end about half way through the book. It was light, and easy, and funny in spots. Even the dark points weren't so bleak as to be depressing.

There were, however, some issues that I had a difficult time reconciling. First, the title of the book is simply ridiculous. It sounded silly before I read the book, but I figured that it would make sense by the time I was finished. It didn't.

Then there were the names. People in this book are given names like "Eddie" and "Mike", and "King Phil"(I'm not kidding). It makes me question if the author understands the fantasy genre at all. An important part of the setting is that the names are not modern. It helps transport the reader to a different world. I thought it made it difficult to stay immersed in his world. I can only assume that this was intentional, and meant as a wink-and-a-nudge to the detective part of the story. I just didn't think it was very effective.

While on the subject of names, I would like to mention a pet peeve of mine that crops up in a few places in this book. Simply spelling things backwards does not make it sound all fantasy-like.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By David Keith on November 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Over the past few years I've read a ton of fantasy novels and have burned out a bit on the genre. (Too much "world-building"; thin characters; plodding plots with too little action; never ending series; tongue twisting names, etc.) This book however, comes as a welcome antidote to all those ills. It's got action, mystery, interesting characters, all nicely paced in page-turning action. The rather worn out and creaky noir detective is melded with a light touch to the fantasy tropes; and the author plays fair with the mystery. No deus ex machina ala fantasy magic revelation here. All the clues are presented for you to solve the case. This book is Good Fun!
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