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King of Swords (Assassin #1)

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  1,034 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
Librarian's Note: This is an alternate cover edition - ASIN: B006HVW2H0

King of Swords is an epic assassination thriller framed against a gritty backdrop of brutal drug cartel violence in modern Mexico.

The G-20 Financial Summit is planned for San Jose Del Cabo. The world's pre-eminent finance ministers will attend, along with the presidents of the U.S. and Mexico.

Captain Ro
Kindle Edition
Published by Reprobatio Ltd (first published December 3rd 2011)
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Dec 09, 2011 Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Amber by: An absolute genius
If there's one Blake book you should read (and that's just crazy talk... buy and read all of them, they're wonderful!), make it the King of Swords. It grips your mind and pulls you into the story immediately, and doesn't let go until the very end. The twist and turns continue until the very last page.

If there was any way for Russell Blake to trump his previous excellent novels, this is it.
Steven Konkoly
Dec 13, 2011 Steven Konkoly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Russell Blake is no stranger to the thriller genre. His previous thrillers have turned the headlines inside-out, with gritty, no-holds-barred, edge-of-your-seat plots. With King of Swords, Russell Blake has clearly taken the best of his previous novels, and combined them into an honest, often brutal, heart stopping thriller, that left me gasping for air, and squirming on my couch. I know this sounds overly dramatic, but in reader-speak...this book kept me glued to the Kindle screen.

In King of Sw
Nick Fields
Dec 10, 2015 Nick Fields rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Teresa Collins
May 30, 2012 Teresa Collins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book and all the ones in the series. Night of the Assassin is actually the prequel to King of Swords, King of Swords, and Revenge of the Assassin. These books are definitely not for the squeamish because Mr Blake tells it like it is in the world of the drug cartels. Living in Mexico himself, he has a pretty good view of that world. Even though the books are a bit, (ok, quite a bit) violent, Mr Blake still creates characters you really learn to care about. Even the villain, El Rey, ...more
Frederick Brooke
Jan 01, 2013 Frederick Brooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I highly enjoyed King of Swords. The entire book except for two or three short scenes takes place in Mexico, whether in Mexico City, various cities in Baja California, or other locations. Together with the author's obvious command of the local language, his knowledge of the way things work in Mexico made the plot extremely credible. I like feeling like I'm really there, wherever the story takes place, and in King of Spades you're treated to an insider's view of modern Mexico.

The other great stre
Jim A
Jun 14, 2012 Jim A rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well put together thriller involving a world class assassin and the Mexican Federal Police captain trying to prevent the assassination of the President of Mexico and the President of the United States at a G-20 summit meeting. Throw in some political intrigue in the United States and the lack of help from his own government, Captain Cruz has his work cut out for him.

As another reviewer mentioned, without looking at the author's name, I could have though I was reading something by Ludlum,
Jul 06, 2012 Rose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
King of Swords is the second in the Assassin series, but first in publication date as the author wrote this book first and then wrote the prequel. This book tells the story of El Ray, the notorious Mexican assassin. El Ray works his way up by using his brains to become the top paid hit man for the drug cartels, or anyone who has the money. But there is a Mexican policeman hunting for him who is just as smart. The action is good and very well thought out. Highly recommend the series.
James Fant
Oct 31, 2016 James Fant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great Action. At times too much Passive Tense

The first few passages of the book grabs you. The author's wordplay is phenomenal. So much so, you feel you're in the thick of that interrogation. You can smell human flesh searing against that lit cigarette. But as the story moves along, I thought the usage of passive tense was excessive. Nevertheless, a good read.
Robert Sterling
Nov 21, 2016 Robert Sterling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good start to the series.

These are quick read books but well written. For the reader who likes action books this will not disappoint. Will look forward to reading the second in the series.
Dean Williams
Nov 10, 2016 Dean Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story

Rated the characters and plot. You will find it hard to out down.. Now I am on to the next...
Kevin Reeder
Nov 12, 2016 Kevin Reeder rated it it was amazing
great suspense, had a hard time putting it down
Gae-Lynn Woods
Sep 29, 2012 Gae-Lynn Woods rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of Russell Blake's many gifts is his ability to take current events and twist them until they squeal. He does it again in KING OF SWORDS with the fight against the Mexican drug cartels, blurring the line between justice and vengeance. El Rey is the legendary assassin whose expertise is in demand by the cartel leaders. Captain Romero Cruz is the detective whose burning goal is to bring down the cartels and save Mexico's future. The passion of both men was born in brutal violence, and Blake ...more
Shawn Hopkins
Mar 02, 2012 Shawn Hopkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Russell Blake is known for using his fiction as a means to educate. Or at least to get readers to start thinking for themselves. King of Swords is no different. In this fast-paced thriller, he takes us on a journey into Mexico (where he lives) and sits us in the front seat of a rollercoaster - the amusement park itself the impact the drug war is having on the people of Mexico. The story is great, and the ending I found to be refreshingly real. This isn't your candy thriller supported by all the ...more
William Bentrim
King of Swords by Russell Blake

This novel looks at the Mexican drug cartels, the corruption that ensues from those cartels and the violence that surrounds them. The background and violence are real, the interaction between El Rey, the assassin and Captain Cruz is fiction.

This book was about as fast paced and violent as any book I have read. Capt. Cruz bends the rules to get results and the drug cartels know no rules. If only 10% of this plot is factually based, the drug business in Mexico far s
May 07, 2015 Denise rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-goal
'The King of Swords' pulled me in from the beginning and did not let go. The storyline was well written and extremely thrilling. Full of drug cartels, corrupt authorities, bad-ass characters and quite the mystery of who was pulling strings in both sides of the Mexican and American border. The descriptive way Mexico was portrayed was both beautiful and disturbing. The characters were an array of good guys, evil bad guys and some caught in the middle. Cruz was a great lead. Faithful to his cause, ...more
Aug 31, 2013 Christian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Will Decker
Nov 15, 2013 Will Decker rated it really liked it
Russel Blake is not one to disappoint. If you've read any of his other works, you'll find this one of the same high caliber of writing. His characters are believable, the plot flows, and you can't help but be drawn into the action. However, one of my disappointments is in the lack of character interaction. In real life, (Possible spoiler alert) the hero (el Capitain) would have bedded the teacher and the author would have made it memorable for everyone, including his readers. Also, the escape by ...more
Dec 16, 2012 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rally enjoyed this book, great plot, well written for the most part. there are a number of flashback, and transitions aren't exactly smooth, and there seem to be a lot of them. They do serve a purpose, and they do provide some insight tothe appropriate parts of the story, generally, but the were a couple short ones that referenced the past Interior Ministers that could have been done jsut as easily or in a cleaner fashion with the main character providing a better narrative to his buddy in real ...more
Mar 08, 2016 D.W.Jefferson rated it liked it
A decent action book that keeps you turning the pages, but Blake could really use a decent editor. I believe he makes a second pass through each chapter, after writing the first draft, thesaurus in hand, semi-randomly changing individual words to make it sound more "literary". The resulting phrases are often hopelessly obscure.

The title character uses the word sanction to describe his contract killings. I've never seen this usage in English before. Could this be a usage of the Spanish word sanci
Jun 07, 2012 Rodney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Russell Blake book and it won't be my last. A very entertaining, fast paced and violent book. The violence was not gratuitous though as I feel it adequately describes much of the violence occurring in that part of the world among the drug cartels.

The book is well written and edited. I enjoyed it more than many titles by much better known and popular writers. The characters were well developed and you really begin to care about them and know them. I want to read more about them.
Apr 02, 2012 The rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Day of the coyote

This was a fast paced thriller. It is well written and has an interesting premise and setting.
It is surprisingly realistic and plausible. Though admittedly like around ninety percent of readers I haven't tried to assassinate any heads of state at a G20 summit meeting.

This has been well edited and could easily have been put out by one of the big publishing houses.
I thought that it was better than the majority of thrillers written by the big names. It certainly made more sense and
Mar 04, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it
Probably 4.5 stars (I considered 5)! This is my first Russell Blake book and it won't be my last. Mr. Blake has debuted in my top 5 writers in the genre with the likes of Joe Lansdale, Barry Eisler, Michael Connelly,...heady company! The plot and its development is intelligent and very plausible/possible. There is good character development and you will be hard pressed even at the end to tell who is the protagonist and who is the antagonist. The story moves along and reminded me of Day of the ...more
Feb 19, 2013 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Continuing the series I started recently (technically this is the first book, but later on the author wrote a prequel which I read first) - really enjoyable, interesting read. This volume is seen primarily from the viewpoint of the federal police captain charged with tracking down our assassin/protagonist rather than from the assassin's view as in the prequel volume. Gives a different flavor to it, and the interspersing of some scenes from his point of view keep the general tenor in there. On to ...more
Nancy Silk
Apr 06, 2012 Nancy Silk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very well written novel that also presents much realist information about drug cartels in Mexico and the struggle law enforcement goes through trying to bring them down. It's a fast paced hunt for El Rey, a hired killer of many cartels who resembles The Jackel in that he has never been seen and never caught. The story moves right along with unexpected rapid fire action. The plot never varies, and I found myself wanting to rapidly see how it ends. Read this intriguing novel for yourself ...more
Janet Keto
Aug 18, 2013 Janet Keto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I read King of Swords, I also read newspaper accounts of cartel activity involving torture and murder. The corruption and greed of city officials and police have created a deplorable state of affairs in Mexico. The intense violence and disregard for human life shown by the drug cartels is shockingly depicted by Russell Blake in this fine novel. He writes from experience and creates some jarring images. It is not a comfortable book to read because it is based on the real world of drug ...more
Samuel Frogley
Aug 21, 2016 Samuel Frogley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Yeah, well written, but it totally threw me off the back story of the lead character. After reading the prequel with the great in depth character development, which is exceptional Night of the Assassin I was thinking this was the back story of an anti-hero or perhaps the lead detective ??

however, This was a great read.
May 09, 2015 Deborah rated it it was amazing
I must admit that the author got my interest from the first page and kept it through the entire read. This thriller has a lot of action, suspense,rape, murder, violence and intrigue. There is also political intrigue thrown in from both sides of the border.

Have a seat, get a drink and enjoy an exciting well done book. Enjoy I did. This is my first time reading his work, it won't be my last.
Aug 06, 2016 RJ rated it really liked it
Based on the prequel "Night of the Assassin" this book started out as though it were from a different author. It focused on Romero Cruz, Mexican Federal Police Captain. So much time was spent on Cruz that I was wondering when El Rey was going to make an appearance. He did of course appear.
The location was the G-20 Summit in San Jose Del Cabo. The target(s) may be one or both of the presidents of the U.S. and Mexico. Captain Cruz is tasked with stopping El Rey.
Jun 03, 2012 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really interesting thriller set in the wild and dangerous barrios of Mexico City. A phantom assassin is rumored to be targeting the current President of Mexico and the President of the United States who are to meet at the G20 Meeting. The Federales have to infiltrate the very dangerous world of the Mexican drug cartel families, who are notorious and blood thirsty.
So far this is a really good one!
Fiona Watkins
Jan 19, 2015 Fiona Watkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ReasonBly fast paced story, although there were a couple of times I felt that the plot dragged. Really enjoyable and really liked the character development. Not quite my normal type of book as I tend to go more crime than this style of thriller but enjoyed reading about a world I'd not seen or heard much about - that of the Mexican drug cartels...obviously it's fiction but I presume some must be based in facts. Looking forward to other books by this author.
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