By Sebastien De Castell
Traitor’s Blade is a rare treat for the fantasy reader, it follows Falcio Val Mond, First Cantor of the Greatcoats as he and his loyal comrades Kest and Brasti struggle to survive in a world that has turned against them, valiantly trying to follow the last orders of their fallen king. Facing off against deadly assassins, tyrannical dukes, and even the very people they once aided, the trio become embroiled in a web of plots and conspiracies as they try to maintain their sense of justice.
Castell’s invention of the Greatcoats makes for a great premise, travelling magistrates that wander the land righting wrongs, now disbanded with the death of their king. The characters are superbly written, the banter between the trio is a continuous source of wit and humour, it instantly establishes the group and their interactions feel very real, quickly making the reader care for them. Their adventures show a true tale of camaraderie and friendship, adding a human touch to the narrative. The rest of the book is filled with complex and detailed characters, from power hungry dukes and their henchmen to the mysterious Tailor who weaves more than just coats.
The dialogue between them is rich and yet very earnest, staying away from the overly dramatic but seeming very realistic and natural. Even the most serious moments are undercut in a way that solidifies the story and makes the reader believe in it all the more. The narrative follows a duel timeline with Falcio’s current adventure side by side with his tragic history and the story of the rise and fall of the Greatcoats. Falcio’s past life and his narrative voice work well in describing the world to the reader, in a show of perfect pacing the story never slows too much, yet the reader has all the information they need.
The plot has a lot of depth with hints of greater machinations dropped throughout the novel, and even at the end there are still questions and it feels like the reader has just scratched the surface. There is plenty of action and intrigue to satisfy all, political manoeuvring is matched by deeds of great heroism, and Falcio’s story will definitely leave the reader wanting more.
Written on 9th June 2015 by Aaron Miles.