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The Cardinal's Blades (Les Lames du Cardinal #1)

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  452 ratings  ·  85 reviews
Swashbuckling novel of adventure set in 17th-century France. The book was apparently originally written in French, so the default description below is in French.

Paris, an de grâce 1633. Louis XIII règne sur la France et Richelieu la gouverne. Le Cardinal, l'une des personnalités les plus puissantes et les plus menacées de son temps, doit sans cesse regarder des ennemis de
Paperback, 306 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Pyr (first published 2007)
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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna ClarkeDeathless by Catherynne M. ValenteThe Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer BradleyThe Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel KayHis Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
Best Historical Fantasy
109th out of 121 books — 121 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,178)
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Aug 14, 2013 Manny rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy fans who like Dumas and don't care about style
Recommended to Manny by: C.
The young man entered the tavern, glad to have finally reached a place of relative safety, and warily looked around him. A few of the habitués gave him a quick glance, then returned to their wine or their game of dice. Indeed, there was little in Pierre de Pevel's outward appearance that would attract idle curiosity. His plainly cut doublet and travel-stained boots had clearly seen better days, as had his wide-brimmed hat, ornamented with a single osprey feather. But a closer inspection would ha ...more
We bought a new blender recently. The manual for it was more interesting than this book. I mean: it has recipes! For 'Cuban Milk' among other things. That's just banana-milk with lemon if you're wondering. And no I have no idea what's Cuban about that either.

Can you tell that I really don't want to talk about this book? I'm just not sure what I can say about it. It's not bad in an entertaining way and (at least) also not in and offensive way, just in a very, very, very, very boring way.

The chara
Ranting Dragon

The Cardinal’s Blades is a work of alternative history set in a vividly realized reimagining of seventeenth century Paris. While many elements of the story and setting stay true to the period, this version of France is no stranger to dark magics and various fantastic, often draconic, beasts. The Cardinal’s Blades is the first book in an ongoing series, also titled The Cardinal’s Blades, by French author Pierre Pével, and was originally published in France
Sep 10, 2011 Mike rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Although I did like reading this book, I did not think it was up to the back-cover hype. My opinion of the book is complex. It appears that the author did a decent job of researching the period and physical state of Paris. I can't fact-check him, but whether he relied on primary sources or other popular literature for his knowledge may not matter. It was convincing enough that I accepted the milieu and the non-fantasy aspects of his world. In fact, I enjoyed the historical content of the novel q ...more
Olga Godim
I started reading this book because of my childish nostalgia for Alexandre Dumas and his famous The Three Musketeers. But Pevel disappointed me. I didn’t like his book at all.
Caveat: as I can’t read the original in French, I can only talk about the English translation of the novel, and it’s lousy, as if the translator has only a passing acquaintance with English grammar. Dangling participles litter every page, and pronouns referring to the wrong nouns mar almost every paragraph. I’m a grammar f
Michael Aaron
(Remember that two stars means 'OK', not 'bad'!)

Like a few other reviewers, I'm in two minds about this one. The good stuff first: It's a readable romp through the France of The Three Musketeers, with a little fantasy-style magic to add flavour. There's plenty of action and the author slips in lots of details to give a great sense of historical accuracy.

Now the less good. The story and characters are phoned in. All of the 'Blades' - Cardinal Richelieu's elite covert fighting unit - are from cen
Unashamed swashbuckling adventure with a great group of misfits and miscreants as the protagonists... The characters are defined in broad strokes by their actions. Pierre has depth to his writing even with this rollicking kind of adventure tale. I found I really liked the characters and like them even for their faults. They would be the crew if the Firefly had this been a space western.... but it's a musketeer era novel and it's a great read.
Ich bin mir nicht sicher ob dieses Buch schon schlimm genug für the-poop-shelf ist, denn da verfrachte ich normalerweise nur Bücher hin, von denen ich mich persönlich beleidigt fühle. Dabei ist die größte Last, die sich Drachenklingen zu schulden kommen lässt, dass es furchtbar langweilig ist. Gut, es ist auch noch furchtbar geschrieben, aber der Inhalt ist wenigstens lediglich öde und nicht derart frei von Verstand, dass es mich gegraust hätte, das Buch in die Hand zu nehmen.

Also Hut ab, Buch,
Lloyd Black
The Cardinal's Blades should be an interesting novel: Musketeers meets dragons? How could that fail to appeal?

And in many ways it does. The setting is beautifully done, there is an excellent attention to detail, and there is a political plot that should enthral.

So where does it go wrong?

Simply put, the absence of character.

This is a book full of names, and all of them are meaningless. No one is described by anything other than a habit, mannerism, or even geography.

We meet seven musketeers, The
Michael Burnam-fink
The back of this book promises "breathless swashbuckling, intrigue, spying, and sword fights" in the vein of The Three Musketeers plus dragons. On that account, the book delivers. On the other hand, if you want things like a plot that make sense and relatable (or even distinguishable) characters, this is not the book for you.

Yes, works in translation are always a little chancy, but I think the problems with The Cardinal's Blades are structural. The average chapter length is about four pages. Fas
Un livre un peu déroutant dans son rythme de narration mais qui pourtant se révèle intéressant.
J’ai eu beaucoup de mal à entrer dans l’histoire, la majeure partie du livre présentant les différents personnages, je me suis retrouvée perdue plus d’une fois. Ils y a beaucoup de personnages importants et donc beaucoup de descriptions. Le petit souci est que l’on passe trop vite de l’un à l’autre, d’un endroit à un autre et cela amène une sacrée confusion sachant qu’on ne connait pas les protagoniste
Matti Karjalainen
Ranskalaisen Pierre Pevelin "Kardinaalin miekat" (Gummerus, 2010) on perusidealtaan niin posketon, että siitä on vaikea olla innostumatta. Lisäksi kirja alkaa kohtauksella, jossa paha velhotar kylpee verellä täytetyssä ammeessa pentagrammin keskellä, mustien kynttilöiden palaessa vieressä. Jehnaa! Lukija on tässä vaiheessa täysin myyty.

Lupaavan alun jälkeen luvassa onkin alamäki, joka osoittautuu valitettavan pitkäksi ja jyrkäksi. Pevelin fantasiaromaani on juoneltaan sotkuinen ja täynnä melko m
C'est un livre qui se laisse lire, une lecture d'été qui ne fatigue pas le cerveau.
Le problème c'est que je l'ai lu en septembre.
Tous les personnages sont mystérieux mais aucun n'est vraiment original. Je ne me suis attachée à aucun. Laincourt est celui qui s'en est le plus approché, mais c'était probablement parce que (view spoiler)
Le scénario est creux. Pendant 37% du livre (les p
Firstly, a point for clarity: in my role as part of the Gemmell Legend Awards Committee I’ve met and talked through email to Pierre a couple of times. He’s a lovely chap, very unassuming and a genuine fan of the genre. He’s also the author of two award winning novels (2002 Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire and 2005 Prix Imaginales) for Best Novel, although The Cardinal’s Blades is Pierre’s first novel to be translated into English. It was a winner of the Gemmell Morningstar Award in 2009.

And therein li
(2009) This was more a very fast read through to see if there is anything that would make me read it carefully and I cannot say I found that; average Dumas pastiche with magic and dragons; no plans to pick up next volumes

After the wonderful Knight I decided to give another try to this one and its sequels and this time I liked it more, though it still has the above mentioned flaws - suspension of disbelief required big time to combine real history and personages like Richelieu with stuff like Dra
Ευθυμία Δεσποτάκη
Προσφάτως βραβεύτηκε με το βραβείο Gemmell για καλύτερο πρωτεμφανιζόμενο. Βασικά το είχα αγοράσει γιατί ήθελα να δω τι ψάρια πιάνουν οι Γάλλοι στο φάνταζι και σιγουρεύτηκα ότι είναι τόσο κολλημένοι στον Αλέξανδρο Δουμά, που δε μπορούν να κάνουν τίποτε καλύτερο...

Γενικά το βιβλίο έχει καμιά εικοσιπενταριά Νταρτανιάν, άλλους τόσους Ροκφόρ, μια μυλαίδη που βγάζει μάτι και κάνει κι ο Άθως μια καμέο εμφάνιση. Μέχρι να μας συστήσει όλους τους ήρωες κάνει σαράντα χρόνια, ο τρόπος γραφής του είναι φτυστ
Kari Sperring
One of my favourite recent series and one of the best homages to Alexandre Dumas I have read. Verve, panache, charm, wit and wonderful sword-fights draw you into Pevel's textured, detailed alternate Paris, where scheming human dragons plot, and only the Cardinal's Blades -- elite warriors and spies -- stand between France and chaos. A glimpse into European fantasy as European writers write it: smart, sharp, wonderful.
While not a perfectly composed book, I had a ridiculous amount of fun reading it. Alternate history, a dash of Three Musketeers, dragons... daring swordfights, and an elite squad of fighters loyal to Cardinal Richelieu and the crown, out to roust a secret organization set to take over the world.

If you love silly swashbuckling and 7th Sea, this is a perfect book for you. It starts a bit slow as we are introduced to our cast of characters, but picks up and dives headlong into the fun before too lo
*read in French*

While this book isn't quite bad, and did end with some last lines that made me want to read more... It's definitely lacking something.

Maybe what it lacks are deeper, more subtle characters: I'm okay with characters starting out as clichés as long as you learn more about them and what makes them complex or different latter... But it didn't happen here. They remained superficial, and just not very interesting.

The book also seems to rely a lot on action, and by that I mean, battle
c2007: FWFTB: dragons, musketeers, Paris, Richelieu, Black Claw. The author is new to me although I can see from the blurb that he is in fact a prolific writer of French fantasy. I think I have been missing a trick here. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, the characters, the setting oh - and of course - the dragons. I am only hoping that there were some more books translated. Definitely recommended to the normal crew. "The innkeeper had the satisfied smile of one who, without saying anything, want ...more
Paul Weimer
The ring of swords. The clash of steel. Action. Adventure. Swashbuckling. Romance.
Even in this modern age, there is a irresistible romance to swordplay, musketeers and the derring-do of a long lost age. Captured by Alexandre Dumas in his 19th century novels, the world of the musketeers has extended into many movie adaptations (and yet more to come). As a seminal influence, the Three Musketeers are one of the principal inspirations for both the sword and sorcery and sword and sandal genres in fan
Die Idee mit den verschiedenen Nachkommen der Drachen fand ich wirklich sehr gut. Den Rest, na ja. Wie schon gesagt wusste ich lange nicht, wer wer ist, was vielleicht zum einen an den mir ungwohnten französischen Namen lag, aber auch daran, dass die Männer zu Anfang einfach alle als "super Kämpfer" dargestellt wurden, was nicht sehr hilfreich ist beim Differenzieren. Nach 200-300 Seiten ging das dann aber.
Wegen der vielen Straßen- und Brückennamen... Ich denke, wenn man in Paris lebt oder das a
Le roman se construit en deux parties : dans la première, l’auteur introduit de nombreux personnages, que l’on suit tour à tour sur de courtes scènes. Le premier est le cardinal de Richelieu, que l’on découvre dans son bureau en train de caresser un dragonnet. Richelieu rencontre le capitaine La Fargue et lui demande de remonter Les Lames du Cardinal, un groupe de soldats aguerris, autrefois utilisé pour des missions officieuses, notamment au siège de La Rochelle. La Fargue hésite : le Cardinal ...more
Les Lames du Cardinal est un ouvrage que j'ai reçu de Gabrielle, dans le cadre d'un swap organisé sur Imag'In, et dont l'objectif était d'avancer dans la lecture d'une de nos sagas en cours, peut-être même de se lancer dans une nouvelle série, le but étant surtout de se faire réciproquement plaisir. En l’occurrence, il était ici question de commencer une saga dont j'entendais parler en bien depuis longtemps, Pierre Pevel étant l’un des écrivains majeur de la fantasy française.

Soyons clair, Les L
Also published under The Ranting Dragon

The Cardinal’s Blades is a work of alternative history set in a vividly realized reimagining of seventeenth century Paris. While many elements of the story and setting stay true to the period, this version of France is no stranger to dark magics and various fantastic, often draconic, beasts. The Cardinal’s Blades is the first book in an ongoing series, also titled The Cardinal’s Blades, by French author Pierre Pével, and was originally published in France i
Allie Grasshopper
Je ne lis pas beaucoup d'héroic fantasy, préférant l'urban fantasy. Je dois l'avouer, même si j'apprécie lire un texte avec un style poussé et travaillé, je préfère lorsqu'il s'agit de roman ne pas avoir à trop me concentrer sur les mots pour m'évader rapidement. J'aime lire vite et dévorer une histoire afin de la vivre intensément. J'ai donc un peu hésité avant d'entamer les Lames du Cardinal. Mais je me suis dit qu'il fallait soutenir la littérature française et qu'il n'y avait pas que les his ...more
Si la fantasy anglo-saxonne se nourrit de mecs en armures et de grosses épées, la fantasy francophone, elle, préfère l'époque des mousquetaires, le siècle de les lumières. C'est vrai des oeuvres de Laurent Kloetzer par exemple, mais aussi de celles de Pierre Pevel. Par exemple, le chevalier de Wieldstadt doit se passer dans le même contexte temporel : les armes à feux existent, et permettent aux combattants d'abandonner les armures lourdes pour un style plus aérien.
Un style plus aérien qu'on ret
Marcus Gipps
I don’t know why, but I don’t often read fantasy in translation. I don’t read a lot of stuff in translation, to be honest, but I always seem to get turned off by fantasy. Perhaps it’s because I’ve read a couple where the translation was, shall we say, a little suspect, and perhaps it’s because there’s been such a wealth of good stuff written in English that I haven’t felt the need, but this book sounded too fun to resist. A version of Dumas’ musketeers, but with dragons and magic, written by an ...more
Lee Dunning
Most of the problems I had with this book can probably be laid at the feet of the translator and whoever was supposed to edit it once the translator was done with hit. Like a lot of people have already said, the sentence structure and punctuation leave quite a lot to be desired. The publisher seems to have not bothered with an editor beyond the translator.

I do think the story could have been about 50 pages shorter. A good half of the book involves little vignettes showing us what each former me
At time this is slow going, not slow as in boring, but slow in it's pace. It's a very descriptive and detailed book. There are many street names used and descriptions of characters walking down one street, and turning onto another and then another and ending up on another which can all get a little tiresome.

The story overall is good but seems to all really take place in the last 100 or so pages. Most of the first half of the book is more preamble about the characters and them coming together. S
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Pierre Pevel est l’un des fleurons de la Fantasy française. Il a obtenu le Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire en 2002 et le prix Imaginales 2005. Avec une verve romanesque digne des grandes heures du feuilleton populaire, il signe là tout à la fois un hommage aux romans de cape et d’épée, un récit historique admirablement documenté et une Fantasy épique à grand spectacle. La trilogie des Lames du Cardinal ...more
More about Pierre Pevel...

Other Books in the Series

Les Lames du Cardinal (3 books)
  • The Alchemist in the Shadows (The Cardinal's Blades #2)
  • The Dragon Arcana (The Cardinal's Blades #3)
The Alchemist in the Shadows (The Cardinal's Blades #2) The Knight (High Kingdom, #1) The Dragon Arcana (The Cardinal's Blades #3) Les ombres de Wielstadt (Wielstadt, #1) Les Enchantements d'Ambremer (Le Paris des Merveilles #1)

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