As unwanted and rebellious boys, they find refuge in Ironhall. ' Years later they emerge as the finest swordsmen in the realm ' A magical ritual of a sword through the heart binds each to his ward ' if not the king himself, then to whomever else the monarch designates ' with absolute loyalty. And the greatest Blade of them all was ' and is ' Sir Durendal.
But a lifelong dream of protecting his beloved liege from enemies, traitors, and monsters is dashed to bits when Durendal is bonded till death to an effete noble fop at his king ' s orders. Yet Destiny has many strange and inscrutable plans for the young knight ' for a mission, a contest, and, perhaps, a treasure await him in a faraway land. But he soon finds himself enmeshed in treason and foul intrigues, compelled to betray the king he had hoped to serve. The Blades have ways to protect their own, but death and madness haunt the path to salvation ' and few ever return unscathed. As unwanted and rebellious boys, they find refuge in Ironhall. ' Years later they emerge as the finest swordsmen in the realm ' A magical ritual of a sword through the heart binds each to his ward ' if not the king himself, then to whomever else the monarch designates ' with absolute loyalty. And the greatest Blade of them all was ' and is ' Sir Durendal.
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1 . Begin an amazing journey here...
Posted February 24, 2010 by Richard Birdsall , Brea, CAWith an amazing touch of intrigue, adventure, and characters you feel as though are waiting in a tavern next door, Dave Duncan introduces his world of the King's Blades with a book you will return to over and over again! After nearly refusing to read the book based soley on the cover (yes, I've heard the saying), I was fortunate enough to read a short excerpt from the book somewhere, and I had to have more. He is able to mix a kind of magic into a swashbuckling adventure that only enhances, never overshadows. Read the preview of the book and let the words speak for themselves. Enjoy!
September 07, 1999
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Excerpt from Gilded Chain by Dave Duncan
"Treason," Kromman whispered. He repeated the word, mouthing it as if he found the taste pleasing: "Treason! Your treachery is uncovered at last. Evidence has been laid before the King." He smiled and licked his wizened lips.
Roland considered drawing his sword and sliding it into Kromman until the blade would go no farther, then taking it out againýby another route, for variety. That would be an act of public service he should have performed a lifetime ago, but it would create a serious scandal. Word would flash across all Eurania that the King of Chivial's private secretary had been murdered by his lord chancellor, sending courtiers of a dozen capitals into fits of hysterical giggles. Lord Roland must behave himself. It was a pleasing fantasy, though.
Meanwhile, the winter night was falling. He still had work piled up like snowdrifts, a dozen petitioners waiting to see him, and no time to waste on this black-robed human fungus.
Patience! "As you well know, Master Secretary, such rumors go around every couple of yearsýrumors about me, about you, about many of the King's ministers." Ambrose probably started most of the stories himself, but if his chancellor said so to Kromman, Kromman would tattle back to him. "His Majesty has more sense than to listen to slander. Now, have you brought some business for me?"
"No, Lord Chancellor. No more business for you." Kromman was not hiding his enjoyment; he was up to something. Even in his youth, as a Dark Chamber inquisitor, he had been repugnantýspying and snooping, prying and plotting, maligning anyone he could not destroy. Now, with age-yellowed eyes and hair trailing like cobwebs from under his black biretta, he had all the appeal of a corpse washed up on a beach. Some days he looked even worse. Even the King, who had few scruples, referred to him in private as rat poison. What secret joy was he savoring now?
Roland stood up. He had always been taller and trimmer than this grubby ink slinger, and the years had not changed that. "I won't send for the Watch. I'll throw you out myself. I have no time for games."
"Nor I. The games are over at last." Kromman slithered a letter onto the desk with all the glee of a small boy waiting for his mother to open a gift he has wrapped for her. Definitely up to something!
Over by the door, Quarrel looked up from his book with a puzzled expression. No voices had been raised yet, but his Blade instincts were detecting trouble.
Roland's face had given away nothing for thirty years and would not start doing so now. Impassively he took up the packet, noting that it was addressed personally to Earl Roland of Waterby, Companion of the White Star, Knight of the Loyal and Ancient Order of the King's Blades, et cetera, and closed with the privy seal, yet it bore no mention of his high office. That odd combination warned him what he was going to find even before he lifted the wax with a deft twist of his knife and crackled the parchment open. The ornately lettered message was terse to the point of brutality:
is therefore commanded to divestý will absent himself from business of our Privy Councilý will hold himself available to answer certain grave mattersý