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Sky of Swords (The King's Blades #3)

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  1,728 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
The mightiest swordsmen in the realm, are bound by magic to defend their noble the death.

The King's Blades

The unloved child of the unscrupulous King Ambrose,Princess Malinda learned at an early age to fight for what was rightfully hers. Now, with the Kings abrupt death, civil war has become her grim destiny. Making her uncertain way through the blood labyrinth o
Paperback, 466 pages
Published September 4th 2001 by Harper Voyager (first published 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Oct 20, 2012 Kate rated it did not like it
I'm not sure where to start with this book. It felt like a train wreck; a messy book, but not a good kind of messy, that broke the rules, but not in a good way.

The first issue I have with the book is Duncan's portrayal of women. It bothered me a little in the second book (Lord of the Fire Lands), but it is blindingly obvious in the second, where the entire story is about the princess. The culture presented in the King's Blades is strongly misogynistic, and I can't think of any strong female char
Mar 04, 2007 Ron added it
Recommends it for: Fantasy fans
The 3rd book in this series. Not his best effort; Duncan's A Man of His Word, A Handful of Men, and The Reluctant Swordsman series are all better than this one. That being said, it's still better than most fantasy out there. Duncan has believable and engaging characters, subtle humor, and an absolute gift for beautiful lyric prose. His antagonists are surprisingly human and subtle; not the over-the-top supervillains one comes to expect in high fantasy. If you haven't read Duncan, start with A ...more
Apr 25, 2010 Bertrand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, high-fantasy
Voici enfin le dernier tome des Lames du Roi, trilogie qui nous est décrite par l’éditeur français comme le sommet du talent de l’auteur, Dave Duncan. Chacun des tomes peut être lu de manière totalement indépendante des autres. Toutefois, comme on le verra ci-après, la lecture d’Un Ciel d’Epées offre bien des synergies avec celle des précédents. Les Lames du Roi se range aisément dans le genre fantasy, puisqu’il dépeint un univers parfaitement imaginaire, bien que proche du nôtre. Le contexte ...more
Scott Marlowe
May 27, 2010 Scott Marlowe rated it really liked it
Sky of Swords by Dave Duncan is the third novel in the King's Blades series. In book two, Lord of the Fire Lands, the reader is left hanging at the end as history inexplicably unfolds in a different fashion compared to what was told in the first novel in the series. Duncan not only has some explaining to do, but, as a writer myself, I was curious to see how he was going to handle this inconsistent situation. I wasn't disappointed in the storytelling or the characters, but I was a little at the ...more
Feb 07, 2013 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
Sky of Swords focuses on a character that is mostly mysterious so far—Malinda. She is mentioned quite a bit in the first two books but rarely seen.

When we read The Gilded Chain in my book club, we discussed how some aspects of the story and the world could be considered anti-woman. I’m still not decided if that was due to some underlying prejudice from Duncan, if it is just the traditional way of dealing with women in medieval fantasy, or if we’re all reading too much into it (I’m leaning toward
Jun 26, 2014 Cory rated it liked it
I rarely find myself reading books with female protagonists (call me subconsciously sexist, I guess?), so this one took a bit of getting into. I haven't been blown away by any of Duncan's writing (I read also read his Seventh Sword series), but find them to enjoyable company when I have some free time. This one falls into that same vein.

*Possible spoilers below, but no real worries.

For whatever reason, I had grabbed Lord of the Fire Lands (book 2 in the King's Blades series) first, and then read
Nov 21, 2010 Jess rated it it was amazing
Shelves: heroine-pov, fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 07, 2014 Lauri rated it it was amazing
Väga hea lõpetus King's Blades - esimesele triloogiale. Esimesele triloogiale selles mõttes, et sarjas on veel 3 romaani, mis ei moodusta ühtset tervikut. Eriliseks teeb selle esimese triloogia asjaolu, et kõiki kolme raamatut võib lugeda täiesti iseseisvalt ja ka suvalises järjekorras. Kui aga neid lugeda õiges järjekorras siis koorub nende tagant välja veel üks suurem, ühendav lugu. Eraldi lugedes räägivad raamatud üksteisele vastu, mõned sündmused ja tegelased on eri raamatutes risti ...more
Apr 13, 2011 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Note de l'auteur
Comme l'Insigne du Chancelier et le Seigneur des Terres de feu, ce livre peut être lu comme un roman indépendant. Toutefois, à eux trois, ils racontent une histoire plus vaste. Donc si vous en avez lu deux sur les trois, vous aurez remarqué des impossibilités qui ne seront expliquées qu'en ajoutant le troisième tome.

Je me suis empressée de dévorer cette série quasi d'une traite pour plusieurs raisons:
- la curiosité
- la peur de mélanger les différentes Lames, et de ne pas me souve
Jul 18, 2011 Victoria rated it it was amazing
If I were to pick a favorite of Dave Duncan's stories, I believe it would have to be this one. Third in his "King's Blades" trilogy, where the first two novels focus on male protagonists, Swords follows the journey of Princess Malinda, daughter of King Ambrose. A character who is mentioned in both of the other novels (The Gilded Chain and Lord of the Fire Lands), the novel allows us to glimpse at her side of the story. While in the other two, she is most half depicted as a spoiled brat, screamin ...more
Sean Randall
Feb 03, 2010 Sean Randall rated it really liked it
As I said in my reflections of Lord of the Fire lands (which is the second of this connected threesome), the only question I had coming out was of the apparent double dying of King Ambros. Superbly spun and masterfully orated, this third installment wraps everything up quite neatly.

I'd give it a five star rating, if it weren't for the fact that it was one very short, and two made little show of the blades themselves, who are key in the series. of course given the length factor the amount of onst
Feb 03, 2009 Trickey rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
Probably my favorite of this series. I wasn't looking forward to reading it assuming it wouldn't stand up seeing as how he chose Malinda for the main character. As a pleasant surprise, she turns out to have her own head. Though she does a lot of yelling and screaming and other more "female" things, by the time the book wraps up I firmly believed her development and growth as a strong leader and formidable plot wielder. While I do like Dave Duncan, his female characters can be hit or miss with ...more
Sep 07, 2010 Ane rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 14, 2014 Kivrin rated it really liked it
Discovered this at an old book sale and thoroughly enjoyed it. Nice medieval world with magic thrown in. Loved the main character, Malinda, although she made frustratingly stupid mistakes in her bid for the throne. Loved the idea of The Blades who were sworn to defend her. About 1/3 of the way through the book, I realized this was part of a series and that it wasn't the first book, then I understood why I felt like the author wasn't explaining as much about the system of magic as he needed to. ...more
Aug 16, 2008 Sbuchler rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sbuchler by: Daniel or Diana
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I read this book years ago (I think I was still in high school) and I don't remember liking it all that well. Apparently it had a lasting effect on me, however, because although I lost the book the plot-line stuck in my head and I have been searching for it for about 10 years now. I do remember thinking it was too convoluted with all the court-intrigue which I think I might enjoy more now because I devour that in other novels but probably didn't as my high school self. I am definitely going to ...more
Sep 06, 2015 Hrishabh rated it liked it
The way the second book ended, I had to wait till I finished the third book to write both reviews. Already expecting things to be topsy turvy, the story feels more like a romance in this book. The idea of how the first book and the second and third book would be reconciled is introduced early on. From then, its just plowing on till the scene finally happens. 3 stars are for the series but not really for the book as it doesn't have sufficient plot twists or some innovative way to reconcile the ...more
Aug 02, 2016 Cal rated it liked it
3.5 I didn't like the "time travel conjuration". It's too easy. The author is able to create a terrible, no-win situation - and, magically turn it to sun and roses. Why did he want to show the dissolution of the Blades and civil war in Chivial - except to show that he could. The final chapter does segue into the ending of the The Gilded Chain - so, the beat goes on.

Malinda is a good character creation. She is caught (by accident of birth) in the game of thrones. Done with the "Tales" and now for
Dec 17, 2013 Xiaoke rated it really liked it
Sky of Swords satisfyingly wrapped up the discrepancies from The Gilded Chain and Lord of the Fire Lands. I didn't like it as much as the first two books because it was al little too dry and political, but I love the ending(not the Aftermath).(view spoiler) Although the author states each book can be read alone, I would recommend reading this after The Gilded Chain and Lord of the Fire Lands because the storylin ...more
Dec 14, 2015 Katie rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This book resolves the plot differences between bk 1 & 2. It becomes fairly obvious how they're going to do this halfway through the book & the fact that it took until nearly the end to do so was like an itch I couldn't scratch. Rather than it being a cliffhanger, it was more an irritation. It also seems to focus a lot on the romance of the princess & one of her guards, which isn't my cup of tea. She's a bit of a thick-headed self-centered brat for a 1/3 of the book. Overall it was ...more
Nov 25, 2010 Aneel rated it it was amazing
This is the third in a neatly-dovetailed trilogy (after The Gilded Chain and Lord of the Fire Lands) that describes the same events from three different perspectives. The first two conflict in important ways. Not trivial "Well it might have seemed that way to you, but..." differences. Huge differences in plot.

Duncan had me wondering if he'd just forgotten what had happened in the first book well into the third, but, once I realized how it could work out, I could see the setup going way back. Ver
Apr 30, 2013 Sam rated it did not like it
If I hadn't already read the first two in this series, I would have given up on this book pretty early on. The only reason I kept reading was to figure out how the first two books managed to kill the same guy two different ways at two drastically different times.

The first two had more action, this one was all political intrigue and things going wrong (which can be interesting in the right hands, but apparently Dave Duncan does not have those hands) and overall just dull. I'm just glad it's over
Apr 07, 2007 Ruth rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was excellent. The previous book, The Gilded Chain, was a nice set up to this one, and although they can be read as stand alone books, I think it would not have been as good if I had not read the Gilded Chain first. I thought it was clever, I liked how the problems were solved. It was a neat story and not just a variation of the same story line that many fantasy books use. It reminded me of the story of Lady Jane.
Éric Kasprak
This is a political/court drama with the King's Blades in the background and not an action/adventure novel. Once I came to peace with this fact I really like this story. But I really hope that Dave Duncan brings back the series to what it was in the first book. That being said, the universe of the King's Blades is so well construct that any story base on it is a good one. If you like knights and kings story with a dash of magic you will like this book.
Mar 31, 2016 Ginger rated it liked it
I didn't enjoy this one nearly as much as the first two, but I had to read it to resolve discrepancies between them, which Mr. Duncan warns the reader about in all three books. Mr. Duncan very much enjoys jumping from current events to years past, which I don't particularly enjoy as a storytelling technique. But it has a satisfactory ending, a little too pat, but nothing that really discouraged me from reading the other King's Blade novels.
Sep 23, 2012 Beth rated it it was amazing
So I read this one before the second one. It was ok until the middle of the book when it started to get really exciting and I loved the ending. The author never really got into Malinda until around the middle of the book and I didn't know to cheer for her or not. I guess while she grew into herself, the reader also grew as well. I did enjoy this book, now will start Lord of the Fire Lands.
Aditya /
Apr 13, 2015 Aditya / rated it really liked it
This book started out as a five star book and then drops down to a 3 star or below book because the main character made stupid mistakes that they basically said they were not going to make.. the end was able to drag this up to barely being over a 4 star book because it had a good ending for the most part.
Adrion Saenz
Dec 16, 2014 Adrion Saenz rated it liked it
Not what I expected from the third book in the series. I wasn't prepared for a story about Malinda's ascension. The emphasis is not on the Blades anymore, which is where the second book began to go wrong. It is well written, but takes you further away from what made The Gilded Chain such a wonderful read.
Jul 05, 2008 Janet rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
In this sequel to Lord of the Fire Lands, Duncan plays around with alternate endings, and the way one's future can be completely changed by one decision, one instant. I enjoyed it, and Malinda is a great strong female main character (so rare in sword and sorcery fantasy). However, once was enough for the alternate ending ploy. It could get old fast.
Alisa Kester
May 18, 2008 Alisa Kester rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Loved loved loved this much fun! And I loved the solving of the central mystery involving the death of one of the major characters in this series. I wasn't going to keep this series in my personal library, but after finishing the trilogy, I now feel it's earned its place on my bookshelf.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Lady Pain (Gil Trilogy, #3)
  • The Ring (The Sword, the Ring, and the Chalice, #2)
  • The Prince of Shadow (Seven Brothers, #1)
  • The King's Own (Borderlands, #2)
  • Le secret de Ji I (Le secret de Ji Intégrale, #1-2)
  • The Eye of Night
  • The Chick is in the Mail (Chicks in Chainmail, #4)
  • The Wolf of Winter
  • Revelation (Rai-Kirah, #2)
  • The Legend of Nightfall (Nightfall, #1)
  • Shadows of Doom (Iron Tower, #2)
  • The Unlikely Ones (Pigs Don't Fly, #1)
  • Beyond the Blue Moon (Hawk and Fisher, #7)
  • The Gate of Gods (The Fall of Ile-Rien, #3)
  • Valley of the Soul (Dubric Bryerly, #3)

Other Books in the Series

The King's Blades (9 books)
  • The Gilded Chain (The King's Blades, #1)
  • Lord of the Fire Lands (The King's Blades, #2)
  • Paragon Lost (The King's Blades, #4)
  • Impossible Odds (The King's Blades, #5)
  • The Jaguar Knights (The King's Blades, #6)
  • Sir Stalwart (The King's Daggers, #1)
  • The Crooked House (The King's Daggers, #2)
  • Silvercloak (The King's Daggers, #3)

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