Traitor's Blade, by Sebastien de Castell

Traitor's Blade
Falcio val Mond is an inconvenient man. With is former king, Paelis, Falcio resurrected the Greatcoats. The Greatcoats used to travel the land, hearing cases and dispensing justice. No one stood in authority over them, so it was probably just a matter of time before they were disbanded. When the Dukes rebel against Paelis, the king orders Falcio to have the Greatcoats stand down. In exchange for amnesty for the 144 members of the Greatcoats, they are once again disbanded. Traitor's Blade, by Sebastien de Castell, picks up Falcio's story five years after Paelis' death.

Falcio, along with two former Greatcoats, have taken a position with a caravaner, hoping that their employer will use his influence to reinstate the Greatcoats. Within pages, however, the caravaner is assassinated and Falcio and his companions are framed. They manage to escape just in the nick of time by signing on with another caravan, only to find themselves embroiled in political machinations. With no king, the land has fractured into dukedoms. The dukes and duchesses reign like absolute monarchs. Their knights enforce their rule. No one speaks for the lower classes and their lives tend to be distinctly Hobbesian.

As Falcio gets further entangled with plots and injustices, de Castell shares scenes from his early life, showing why Falcio has such a drive to stop the powerful from abusing those without power. He's got a seemingly impossible fight ahead of him. At times, his frustration and rage take over. He is a berserker when he encounters former enemies and people who remind him of former enemies.

Traitor's Blade is a lightning fast read. The fight scenes are impeccable. The plotting is tight—though characters often meet in remarkable coincidences. What I enjoyed most about the book was the quick banter between Falcio and his companions, Kest and Brasti. I snickered at their insults and laughed out loud at several of their jaundiced comments. This is the first book in a series and, according to de Castell's website, the second book has been submitted to the publisher for editing.

I received a free copy of this ebook from Edelweiss, in exchange for a fair review. It will be released 1 July 2014.

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