Fencing, Fighting, Torture, Revenge: A Brief Review of Traitor's Blade
Falcio, Brasti, and Kest--Castell's three musketeers--are members of a disgraced group who were responsible for seeing that the King's Law was carried out in the duchies. The Greatcoats, now the disgraced "tatter cloaks," have been scattered following their king's death, each with a task from him.
Falcio was charged with finding some jewels called "Charoites", but he is having little luck and really only wants to fight himself to death. However, he still tries to hold up the King's Law, and finds himself caught up in political intrigues.
There were some nice twists, well-developed characters (although Falcio's self-hatred became exhausting as a topic of conversation), and vivid setting.
There was a weird sex scene directly following Falcio's torture and escape. The two scenes were disturbingly similar--Falcio chained up, a woman trying to get into his head and turn him from his purpose--but I got the impression that was not a connection I was supposed to make. I think Castell meant for it to be a positive experience. As a result, though, I am not sure what the scene meant, why it was even included, but I felt relief instead of sadness when Falcio is left convinced he will never see her again (267).
Altogether, though, this debut novel was great! My favorite thing about this book was the fight scenes. Castell's descriptions of the action are smooth. Falcio's fights with twin rapiers, and his witty quips made otherwise dark situations humorous. The book brought to mind Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers, of course, but also The Princess Bride. I would recommend Traitor's Blade for your summer reading list.