Book Glee

Mar. 2nd, 2009 01:15 am
dangermousie: (Goong beach by autumn_yaar)
[personal profile] dangermousie
I am reading more of Dave Duncan's fantasy series (I use the term loosely - you do not need to read the books in order, but they are set in the same world and sometimes have interconnecting characters, but each book is a standalone with no necessity of reading others) about the King's Blades - magically enhanced swordsmen in a fantasy equivalent of Tudor England who, after training, are bound to a ward (usually the Monarch, but sometimes someone else) to protect them to the death. It's awesomely fun - like reading well-written take on adventure/politics novels set in fantasy version of the 16th century world.

I posted earlier about my love for the book centering on Queen Malinda (a fictional equivalent of Queen Elizabeth), Sky of Swords. I also mentioned that in that book my favorite character, other than Malinda, was the secondary but purely awesome character of Lord Roland, Malinda's father's Lord High Chancellor, who eventually becomes Malinda's political mentor. I totally wanted to know more about him! So imagine my delight when I found out that the very first book that Duncan wrote that was set in that world, The Gilded Chain, was about him.

I recently finished it and I so have a new literary crush! I adored TGC even more so than SoS. The book tells the story of Durendal (who eventually becomes Lord Roland. Duncan is being cute here. Durendal was the name of Roland's sword, in the Song of Roland) who just might be the best swordsman graduated from Ironhall (the Blade school) in hundreds of years, but who ends up bound (they don't really get a choice) to a useless, despicable courtier - a brother of the King's current mistress. Whatever his personal opinions of his charge, the magic enchantment means he must protect him at all costs - so what happens when said charge begins to engage in treason? To say more would be to spoil it, but suffice it to say there is complicated plotting, tons of adventures (some pretty creepy), a very understated but incredibly sweet love story, and I emerged with a ginormous crush. I adored Durendal to bits - Duncan really managed to convince me that the character was not only honorable, ridiculously loyal and competent without being Gary Stuish (he makes plenty of mistakes, for one), but just generally someone extraordinary who didn't realize he was. But I also loved (or loved to hate) all the other characters - talented, outsized, ruthlessly irresistable King Ambrose (modeled on Henry VIII), in some ways Durendal's most influential relationship. Slimy, creepy, deliciously twisty Secretary Kromman. Kate, Durendal's OTP, who is immensely practical and maybe cleverer than Durendal, Montpurse - Durendal's idol during school years and eventual biggest regret, etc etc. Basically, it's an awesome book.

Now I started another one in the series, Paragon Lost, which seems to involve a mission to fantasy version of Russia by characters I haven't met in the two other books. It seems good so far. But it will totally teach me to skim through the book in random fashion - I did so and was appalled to discover that the hero, who we are clearly supposed to like, was cavorting with a lady in "Russia" while he had a pregnant wife at home. What kind of a jerk, thought I, doesn't even think of his pregnant wife before hopping in the sack with someone else? LOL - it turned out the book was written in a nonlinear fashion and the reason he wasn't thinking of unborn baby or lonesome wife was because he didn't have either at the time. Whatever questionable behaviors he indulged in, at least that wasn't one of them.

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November 2012

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