Monday, July 12, 2021

Sebastien de Castell - Traitor's Blade / Knight's Shadow


Let's start with the verdict... Though it's a four book series, the first two are a very decent two-book set. And a very good read! Swashbuckling, light on magic, great on adventure. I'm a sucker for good swashbuckling, so yeah, I love it...


The king of Tristia is dead, murdered by the cabal of dukes. Falcio, one of the last Greatcoats, and his friends Brasti and Kest are on the run, trying to fullfil the quest the late king gave to Falcio. But if anything, Falcio is loyal to his king, and even more so, loyal to the beliefs the king instilled in him and the other Greatcoats.


Thus far I've only read the first two, but I'm looking forward to the third and fourth installment.
  1. Traitor's Blade
  2. Knight's Shadow
  3. Saint's Blood
  4. Tyrant's Throne
I'm not sure why, but book 3 currently costs 99 cents on Amazon. Add to that the 'add an audiobook of this tile for 2.99' and you have a great deal!

Low magic

Magic plays some role, so do gods and saints, but magic isn't the primary motivator, it isn't a 'high epic world destruction must save the world' kind of plot. The story on that point is fairly down to earth: three men (and two women) trying to save a country from endless civilian war. It's basically a medieval setting with the appearance of the incidental blunderbus and one shot flintlock pistol.

The Three Musketeers

Yes, it's swashbuckling, and yes, the three main characters are 'the best' swordsmen, archers, and so forth. But they're not Larry Stu type of characters. If anything more of the opposite and awfully flawed, making Sebastien de Castell's heroes more like anti-heroes. 
The narrator is the same as for the Spellslinger series, which I found a little jarring. Most characters are fine, but the Tailor sounds like Ferius Parfax (obvious because it is the same narrator) and that's just wrong.

Now and again I found myself a tad angry, because the primary character Falcio is... too stubborn, I guess.

Other works

I read the Spellslinger series first, and I like those even more. Perhaps because I read those first? Dunno' 😁 The same thing happened with The Sixth Sense versus Unbreakable. I watched Unbreakable first, and thus belong to the small crowd who belief that's the better one of the two.


If you're listening to the audiobooks I would suggest to keep some time between both series so it doesn't bother you too much that they used the same narrator. I hope they'll pick a different narrator for any future series. Not because this one did a bad job (actually the opposite, his voice is so perfect for Spellslingers that it almost hurt to hear him narrate something else)...

Verdict, yet again: go, read or listen, and enjoy!

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