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The Fallen Blade (The Assassini #1)

3.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,297 Ratings  ·  196 Reviews
In the depths of night, customs officers board a galley in a harbor and overpower its guards. In the hold they find oil and silver, and a naked boy chained to the bulkhead. Stunningly beautiful but half-starved, the boy has no name. The officers break the boy's chains to rescue him, but he escapes.

Venice is at the height of its power. Duke Marco commands the seas, taxes hi
Paperback, 464 pages
Published January 27th 2011 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2011)
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The Way of Shadows by Brent WeeksGraceling by Kristin CashoreThrone of Glass by Sarah J. MaasAssassin's Apprentice by Robin HobbPoison Study by Maria V. Snyder
SF/F Assassins!
43rd out of 167 books — 658 voters
The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick RothfussRevelations by Lindsay Anne KendalTorment by Lindsay Anne KendalA Dance with Dragons by George R.R. MartinThe Heroes by Joe Abercrombie
Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of 2011
11th out of 63 books — 96 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Anne Lyle
Jun 13, 2011 Anne Lyle rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, historical
I was very excited when I saw this book was coming out: I love alternate history, Venice is one of my favourite cities (the book I’m working on is set there in large part), and it sounded like an interesting twist on the hoary old vampires-vs-werewolves trope. In all these respects I was not disappointed. Unfortunately it was not all moonlight and roses – but more about that later.

The Fallen Blade tells the story of Tycho, a young man of about seventeen who finds himself in early fifteenth-centu
Feb 13, 2016 Mangrii rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,75 / 5

Nos situamos en una Venecia del siglo XV gobernada por dos regentes en la sombra de un duque incapaz, su madre Alex y su estratega tío Alonzo, ambos enfrentados en una guerra secreta entre sí. El gobierno posee una fuerza secreta, los Assasini, liderados por el veterano Atilo, que lleva tiempo en busca y captura de un heredero para su posición, y tras haber visto a un extraño muchacho que se mueve a una velocidad endiablada, cree que finalmente ha encontrado a alguien digno de ser su apr
I can tolerate constant, graphic sexualized violence if it has some point. I might also let it pass if it rounded out an actual good novel. Theres nothing here under the rapes and the murders and the excrement. Characters are flat, plot is boring and incomprehensible, writing bland.
I finished The Fallen Blade a few weeks ago, and it breaks my heart to say that I didn't like it. On one hand, I didn't actively dislike it either, but it never formed a seamless whole for me.

Maybe I've fallen out of love with fantasy, and it's taken an otherwise well-written and well-conceptualized book to make me realize it. The Fallen Blade follows a number of threads in a modified historical Venice, where the dukes are descendants of Marco Polo, and assassins and alchemists have free rein. W
Alix Taylor
Jan 31, 2011 Alix Taylor rated it liked it
Venice, 1407. The city is at the height of its powers. In theory, Duke Marco commands, but Marco is a simpleton so his aunt and uncle rule in his stead. They seem all powerful, yet live in fear of assassins better than their own. On the night their world changes, Marco's young cousin prays in the family chapel for deliverance from a forced marriage. It is her misfortune to be alone when Mamluk pirates break in to abduct her - an act that will ultimately trigger war. Elsewhere Atilo, the Duke's c ...more
This book made me angry. I was really hating it for a while.
The first 10 pages was amazing. I was glued to my seat and in ecstasy.

Then the pacing changed and it never got back to the way it was in the beginning.
The focus shifts from the main character and the action and for the next 150 pages gets into unnecessary details, This isn't a novel about the assassins, don't be fooled by the title. This novel spends majority of its time setting up illusive grandiose plot lines and that shift so many
Jun 16, 2014 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2014
3 Stars

First off, I love the writing of Jon Courtney Grimwood. He is an exceptional author. This book is no exception, it is well written, detailed, and atmospheric. This book is a fantastic time piece and it really brings to life the 14th century.

I am not sure why I lost interest at the halfway mark, but I did. I just could not keep focused on the story from that point on and frequently found myself lost to as what I just read. I should have stopped and come back to this rather than push on.

Jun 08, 2011 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well this was a switch in periods and style for J CG and he's pulled it off! I love all his other books and most are set in modern-ish times but this takes us to Venice of the 15th century and there's a vampire too! Now, I'm a sucker for historical settings especially when realised as well as Mr CG has managed here and he's brought his usual prose aplomb to bear with a great cast of characters. It's the first in a series and I'm salivating already. Highly recommended.

Actually, this is an interesting book to try and talk about, because my emotional response when reading was "this is just lacking" but once I actually try and think about "how to fix it", I become puzzled as to why it doesn't work. It seems to have everything it should - a pretty tight story focused around a collection of interlocking characters with high stakes. Also vampires, werewolves, magick and swooning maidens.

Why doesn't it work?

For me, it's because I'm just not feeling it, and that'
Feb 11, 2011 Stefan rated it liked it
The Fallen Blade is set in an alternate version of early 15th century Venice, ruled by the Milioni family, who are descendants of Marco Polo. Jon Courtenay Grimwood offers a vividly realized fantasy setting with this not quite historically accurate but still surprisingly realistic version of “la Serenissima,” the Serene Republic of Venice. You’ll get many authentic looks at what life in this amazing city-state must have been like, from the perspectives of both the rich and the poor. As a matter ...more
Jan 11, 2013 Babel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oscura, sensual, macabra y fantástica. He adorado cada página.
"Gelungenes Venedig mit einer Mischung aus viel zu vielen Charakteren und vorhersehbarer Spannung."

Die Geschichte spielt in Venedig im frühen 15. Jahrhundert. Zwischen politischen Machtkämpfen erwartet Atilo allerhand Arbeit. Als Anführer der Assasinen arbeitet er meist im Hintergrund, bekommt den Auftrag gezielt zu töten. Doch er wird alt, sucht einen passenden Nachfolger. Da trifft Tycho ein, durch Venedig gejagt und als Sklave gefangen genommen bekommt in Atilo unter die Fittiche. Schn
Aug 08, 2012 Magpyd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read the Arabesk Trilogy last year I was very excited to discover Jon Courtenay Grimwood was making his first foray in (alt-historical) fantasy.

At times I can sympathise with other readers' issues with Grimwood's style; it isn't easy at times. However, his style does brilliant articulate the inward struggles of his characters as they try to discover who (and what) they are and who they can become. The lack of definite answers, I feel, is the greatest strength of the novel. Medieval Europe
Nov 19, 2010 Liviu rated it really liked it
I was somewhat disappointed in this book in the sense that i expected a blow me away A++ novel based on prior experience with the author's novels (read all 10 so far) and the premise of this one - alt-history fantasy set in an Earth with some magic in the early 1400's Venice.

The book has a lot of goodies: extremely good atmosphere, you can really visualize and even "feel" the Venice of 1400;s so good are the descriptions; great vivid characters in Tycho, Atilo, Giuletta, Desdaio, Alexa and sever
So. What did I think? Well, to be honest, nothing particularly good. It wasn't poor, but it certainly wasn't great, nor good, nor average. Somewhere in-between poor and average maybe; bearable? Well, yeah, okay - bearable. Two Stars

Despite having a back-log of reviews, I thought I'd write this one the moment I'd finished. Why? Because I wanted to make sure my thoughts were fresh and didn't dim over time. I'd hate to end up making this sound better than what it is, and coercing some poor sap int
Julie Dawson
Jan 04, 2013 Julie Dawson rated it really liked it
I confess that The Fallen Blade is one of those books that left me rather conflicted. Atilo Il Mauros is head of the Assassini, the private enforcers of Venice's ruling family during the 15th century. While attempting to rescue the Duke's kidnapped cousin, he comes across Tycho, a young man with preternatural strength and inhuman powers. Where Tycho goes, bloodshed and death follow. But to the head of the deadly Assassini, this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Grimwood excels at taking Venice and m
Pas mal, de bonnes idées et une franche inspiration de Brent Weeks et Assassin's Creed, Anne Rice en revanche je cherche un peu pour le tome 1...
Mais des soucis de mis en page qui perturbent la compréhension du récit (on saute plusieurs mois d'un coup sans changement de mise en page...c'est chiant), de légères erreurs d'impression (sur de l'italique ou des espaces rien de vraiment gênant je chipote) et une intrigue un peu trop dispersée pour le moment...av
Nov 08, 2013 Chelsea rated it did not like it
I drive between two and three hours every day, back and forth from Long Beach to LA, with my carpool/cousin/coworker. It's a LOT of time to spend in the car, and while my car doesn't have one of those nifty jacks that plug into an ipod, it *does* have a CD player.

So what, I thought, could be better than a book on CD? What could help to dull the aching dreariness of that outrageous commute? Stopping at every single red light up and down Washington Blvd, every day?

A book on CD! A book on CD abou
Mar 19, 2013 Hpstrangelove rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook_done
I listened to the audiobook, which gives me a slightly different perspective of the book. The male narrator did an excellent job, especially with the female voices. It's very irritating when a narrator reads the female characters with a falsetto voice - I can hardly stand to listen.

That said - it was difficult at times to follow the plot. I had to go back and replay certain chapters before I could finally work out what was going on.

One thing that did cause distraction - the author's seeming fas
Feb 22, 2011 Karlo rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, own, alt-history
I've always been fascinated by Venice, so the premise of the book was enticing to say the least: Decendants of Marco Polo rule Venice and fight hidden struggles against multiple political factions of the Renaissance. Not enough? How about we add in some werewolves, witches, and maybe a vampire (or not)?

Overall the pace of the book seemed brisk; even though the plot takes place over 1-2 years. The major characters are engaging and the story takes turns I didn't expect (always a good sign). I give
May 30, 2011 Josephine rated it did not like it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
UGH! I found the story difficult to follow because the point of view continued to switch with alarming frequency, especially in the beginning. The imagery was gorgeous and the plotline was well developed and wonderfully complex. I found myself unable to find any connection with any of the characters. I wanted to like it, but much of the character development felt one dimensional. I normally wouldn’t have bothered to write anything but I felt that my star needed a little context. I wished the des ...more
Jun 16, 2015 Tristenkozinski rated it did not like it
It was a fight to read the first three-quarters of The Fallen Blade, and the last quarter only worked because it was incessant action involving a character you actually like. Almost every character, both protagonist and villain, are either bland and or unlikable, and not in the good way. There were so many times I just wanted to slap one of the POV characters upside the head, lost track of who they were duo to the sheer number of them combined with very little distinction,or ended up putting the ...more
Apr 27, 2015 Atsuna rated it did not like it
j'étais impatiente de pouvoir lire ce bouquin quand je l'ai vu sur le site de Bragelonne, me disant qu'une histoire de vampires se passant à Venise serait certainement bonne. Mais... arrivée à la page 140, je lâche complètement. entre les personnages mal dégrossis et les descriptions pauvres, les dialogues constituent peut être le seul élément qui sauve l'histoire. Il est mis sur la couverture que c'est le meilleur roman de vampires depuis lestat... Si voilà leur conception du meilleur, ça laiss ...more
Mar 08, 2015 Becca rated it liked it
2.5 Stars, I rounded up. Lately I've been just adding e-books from the library without reading descriptions, so, I really had no idea this was paranormal - and by that I mean vampires and werewolves yay... hardly any books feature those...

Ahem, anyway. I enjoyed the setting and it made me want to learn more about the time period, which is why I enjoy historical fiction in the first place. This alone gives the book an extra half star. The problem was, I just didn't get the main character. I stil
Oct 31, 2014 Nigel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Grimwood, who developed his style writing mean nasty cyberpunk thrillers, applies it to a mean nasty historical fantasy set in Venice in 1407. Assassins battle with werewolves over fleeing aristocratic brides-to-be, with the assassins coming off the worse, leaving the city of Venice defended in the secret war by a few surviving killers and a lingering reputation. Can the strange young man with silver hair taken from a hidden compartment in a Mamluk ship, with his unnatural strength, speed and hu ...more
Alex Tsay
Jun 29, 2014 Alex Tsay rated it it was ok
(There may be teeny spoilers here)

I really liked the character of Tycho- he was mysterious and amazing. Throughout the novel I was fascinated by him and his storyline!

What I liked about this book was the darkness and the violence. There was no sugarcoating of the abuse the people went through in this novel, of the reactions people have to fear or death and most of all what powerful characters would do to anyone standing in the way of their ambitions.

Even so I found it hard to be fully involved
Housewife Bubuchu
Apr 15, 2016 Housewife Bubuchu rated it really liked it
В целом очень качественное начало серии.
Изумительно выписанная Венеция, много интересных персонажей, многообещающий главный герой с достойным набором перков, включая почти полную неуязвимость в сочетании с почти полной амнезией. Интриги правителей и войны благородных домов, внезапные сюжетные повороты и слой сверхъестественного, предательства, похищения и Настоящая Любовь - все, что нужно, чтобы задерживать внимание читателя. Три четверти книги я буквально наслаждалась каждым словом, каждой небо
Isabel Giustiniani
Pensavo fosse amore invece era un calesse. Questa frase, citazione del titolo di un film con Massimo Troisi, riassume perfettamente il mio pensiero durante lettura del romanzo La Città degli Assassini.

Devo confessare che ho comperato il libro d’impulso, attratta dalla bella copertina, dal periodo storico in cui si svolge la vicenda (a cavallo tra il XIV e il XV secolo che è tra i miei preferiti), nonché da una sinossi molto accattivante. L’editore, Newton Compton, pone il romanzo tra i gialli e
Jun 20, 2015 Allan rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, fantasy, drama
Set in an alternate, early 15th-century Venice we enter a world rife with assassins, back-stabbing Machiavellian politics, pirates and of course werewolves, witches and vampires.
It's certainly a twist on the usual horror theme and the assassin theme reminded me a bit of The Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks although this has a truer historical feel to it.
The hero/anti-hero here is Tycho. Certainly a vampire, possibly a Fallen Angel, and in training to be the next Duke's Blade or chief assassin
Terese Damhøj
Sep 17, 2013 Terese Damhøj rated it really liked it
Oplagt at læse nu hvor jeg er på ferie i Venedig og i forvejen sætter pris på Courtenay Grimwoods Arabesk-trilogi.
Den er rigtig fin, en levende fortælling om et alternativt Venedig i 1400-tallet.
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'Tough, sexy and brutal, but leavened with sharp humour... Grimwood is a name to watch.' The Times

Jon Courtenay Grimwood was born in Malta and christened in the upturned bell of a ship. He grew up in the Far East, Britain and Scandinavia. Apart from novels he writes for magazines and newspapers. He travels extensively and undertakes a certain amount of consulting. Until recently he wrote a monthly
More about Jon Courtenay Grimwood...

Other Books in the Series

The Assassini (3 books)
  • The Outcast Blade (The Assassini, #2)
  • The Exiled Blade (The Assassini, #3)

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