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The Fallen Blade (The Assassini #1)

3.24 of 5 stars 3.24  ·  rating details  ·  1,210 ratings  ·  187 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!
42nd out of 157 books — 623 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
9th out of 63 books — 94 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Anne Lyle
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
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
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
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.

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'
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
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
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
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 Ann Dawson
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
(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
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
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.
Reseña de Lorenzo Martínez · Nota: 6,8 · Reseña en Fantífica

Venecia, la ciudad ubicada en el nordeste de la península italiana, ha sido, y es, germen de innumerables historias (la más reciente, la de la saga de videojuegos Assassin’s Creed), desde ficciones históricas a ambientaciones fantásticas como la que ahora nos ocupa, con la primera entrega de la trilogía «Los Assassini». El autor británico Jon Courtenay Grimwood teje en La Espada maldita un tapiz en el que la historia y la fantasía se en
Holy disjointed narrative, Batman!
Janice Bonczek
I thought this book was very good. The story moved along quickly, several times I had to force myself to put it down and go to sleep.

It is historical fiction, of an alternate Venice in the beginning of the 15th century. There was soo much intrigue, between most of the main characters who were trying to plot for their own gain, while simultaneously attempting to deceive each other and bring down their enemies.

Enter Tycho, a boy who is brought to the city chained in a hidden, locked compartment on
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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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