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The Lascar's Dagger

(The Forsaken Lands #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  746 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Faith will not save him.

Saker appears to be a simple priest, but in truth he's a spy for the head of his faith. Wounded in the line of duty by a Lascar sailor's blade, the weapon seems to follow him home. Unable to discard it, nor the sense of responsibility it brings, Saker can only follow its lead.

The dagger puts Saker on a journey to distant shores, on a path that will
Paperback, 469 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2014)
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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  746 ratings  ·  91 reviews

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Jun 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

The Lascar’s Dagger by Glenda Larke is one of those novels that sort of defies assignment to a particular category. On one hand, it has lots of interesting and unique concepts about magic and religion that surely makes it a fantasy. But on the other, it focuses more on political intrigue and personal betrayals than on fantastical creatures or otherworldly powers, and so it reads more like historical fiction. The simple fact is that The Lascar’s Dagger i
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The word "spy" has such heavy undertones, especially when it comes to genres in fiction. When I first picked up The Lascar's Dagger by Glenda Larke, everything I knew about it came from its description, so I was surprised when it turned out not to be the kind book I thought it'd be. Not that I had an inkling of how a story about a cleric-intelligencer was going to play out in a fantasy setting in the first place; still,
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Lascar's Dagger follows two main protagonists.

First, we have Saker Rampion, a witan (cleric), for the church of the Va-Faith and an agent of it's pontifect. On a mission he gets into the possession of a mysterious dagger that he can't get rid of henceforth.
He's then tasked to be the spiritual advisor to the princess and prince of Andronne, the local kingdom.

Our second protagonist is Sorrel Redwing, who is on the run for murdering her husband, after he killed their daughter, because she was b
Katherine Barka
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the seventh novel by Glenda Larke that I've read and I enjoyed it as much as the other ones.
It had an interesting story, as well as well-developed characters. The only thing that I feel was not built enough was the world, which was intriguing to some extent, but not nearly enough as the one in her Stormlord books.
Although this book did have some fantastical elements, the story read almost like a historical fiction, full of court intrigue, politics and religion.
I didn't expect some thin
Blodeuedd Finland
Arghh, I am not having a good time with my xmas books! This book had some good parts, but most of the time it was dull or I wanted to kick a character in the nuts.

Saker, our good priest who is a naive little idiot. I mean come on, you are a spy? HA. A naive little idiot. Yes I did not like him after a certain point.

Sorrel, ok she was sort of interesting but she needed backbone.

Mathilda, oh I hate this bitch. That was not cool!

So no characters to like. The world building was there, but lacking. T
Fantasy Review Barn

It was during the otherwise enjoyable ‘Weavers of Saramyr’ that I finally figured out what was bugging me about the magic in several fantasy series I had been reading. I decided to name it the ‘X-men magic’ approach, where for reasons never explained different people could do completely different types of magic; often being the exclusive user of that particular power. And it was one of those things I couldn’t unsee; I don’t require an explanation of magic in every book but for
Pauline Ross
Glenda Larke is one of a very small number of authors whose works are on my must-buy list, and a new book, and the first of a series to boot, is always cause for celebration. Larke writes a traditional kind of fantasy, not the elves and dwarves sort, but the type that relies on a refreshingly original created world, engaging characters and a story that compels right from the first line. And it doesn't hurt that she has a wonderfully vivid writing style.

So why does this one not quite set me on fi
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Sometimes reading a book feels like coming home. You crack open the spine and find that the words inside are exactly what you need. The Lascar’s Dagger was that kind of book for me. I was hooked from the first page.

My favourite aspect of The Lascar’s Dagger is definitely its plotting and the complexity of the world it is set in. I bring those two up together because they are intertwined in this story. At its heart this is a story about a handful of people, with their own fears and motivations, b
The Lascar's Dagger: The Forsaken Lands is a big themed fantasy novel set during an age of trade when fortunes are being made on the high seas in far flung sailing ventures. Powerful merchants use magic to gain favor with kings, evil worshippers of A'Va seek to corrupt the pious and destroy the old religion, the selling of a strong willed King's daughter for a trade route, the unfairness of the treatment of women in a medieval setting, a King's bargain with an evil god to retain his throne, and ...more
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
Via The Obsessive Bookseller at

I want to start out by saying how much I love Glenda Larke. She has the best world building of any fantasy writer I’ve ever read and it only seems to get stronger with each book. She’s taken me from stone cities to tropical islands to port cities to desert oases – basically anywhere that sounds interesting and exotic. If that were awesome enough, she also tells her stories beautifully, creates complex an interesting characters, and provides epic
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Originally posted at:

When I read about The Lascar's Dagger late last year in the Orbit catalog this book directly made it onto my to read list of 2014. The synopsis of The Lascar's Dagger promised a lot of cool things that only could turn into an adventure of epic proportions, the sense of the story for me was further aided by the front cover, men and women in hooded cloaks swinging weaponry always work for me. The Lascar's Dagger is written by Glenda Lar
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Great read!

I agree with other reviews that say it gets off to a bit of a slow start, and there are some early plot points that felt like the main character was acting more stupid/naive than a spy would, but I got over that issue fairly quickly and was willing to accept that the character was in a place/position where he didn't feel like he was in danger, and thus was more willing to accept things at face value. And happily, that period of stupid choices doesn't last too terribly long. Once his e
Mar 15, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Lascar's Dagger read differently from other Larke novels. Maybe it was because her main characters are usually tough, strong women and there was an absence of that in this series so far. Larke has written male main characters before, but there was usually a likeable female main character as well. Her novels always have multiple points-of-view, which keeps things moving and gets you better perspective on the world and the customs. In The Forksaken Lands series, the main character we follow is ...more
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Lascar’s Dagger’s opening pages drew me instantly into an outstanding, fast-paced fantasy. Within paragraphs we have racing feet, fallen coconut palms and “the sun-whitened driftwood of a forest giant” (p1) followed by murder, a dagger steeped in menacing magic and a mission of retrieval and revenge.

MAYBE you don’t love piratical sea-battles, nautical insults (“Your skull’s worm-holed, Kesleer, if you think we’ll agree to that!”), oak trees with invisible spirit guardians or bird-filled rain
Tsana Dolichva
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Lascar's Dagger by Glenda Larke is the author's most recent release, and the start of a new trilogy. Glenda Larke has long been on my auto-buy list, so it comes as no surprise that this book was excellent. The blurb is short and sweet but only gives a small hint of what's inside. (Oh, and the handle and guard of the knife on the cover are totally not as described in the book.)

I enjoyed The Lascar's Dagger a lot. It reminded me that, proportionally, I don't read as many complex BFF (big fat f
Helen Venn
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lovers of fantasy
Shelves: fantasy
I was fortunate enough to go to a kaffeklatsch with Glenda Larke at Conflux in Canberra last year where she told us about some of the background to writing The Lascar's Dagger. It sounded fascinating and I have been waiting anxiously for it to come out.

It didn't disappoint because this was an enthralling read. While there is plenty of action and drama this is only part of the story. It's also about court intrigue, politics and economic forces. In particular it deals with what happens when peopl
Jul 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Lascar's Dagger is excellent start to a new trilogy! Two very likeable characters - Saker the Witan (priest) and Sorrel, handmaiden to a spoilt princess - each on a quest, cross paths again and again. We quickly realise that they would make a great partnership, but their commitments lie along separate tracks, each fraught with different dangers. Each time they meet, however, one manages to help the other in some way.

This is a wonderfully varied book, both in the contrast between the two mai
Phillip Berrie
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Glenda Larke is my favourite Australian fantasy author. I have read all her books so far and all of them have been great reads.

The things that impress me most about this author is the depth and innovation of her world building and the strength of her characters and their motivations (both male and female).So, if you are looking for a great immersive fantasy story, then I recommend you give this new series a look.

And, if you are interested in some of her other books, my favourites are her Waterg
Fantasy Literature
May 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
The Lascar’s Dagger is an interesting blend of political intrigue, religious debate and illustrations of how stereotyping is seldom a good idea. Glenda Larke writes at a fairly easy to consume level, neither demanding that the reader track complex plot elements nor boring the reader with nothing interesting to say. For the first book in a new series, it’s not bad, but I’m not dying to read the next book in the series either.

Saker is a rogue. By the classic definition, he lies, he cheats, he sedu
Feliza Casano
More of a 3.5, but engaging enough to round up to a 4 on GR.

While I tend to appreciate more subtlety in my fantasy, I appreciated the issues the book tackled. The world Larke builds is fascinating, completely believable, and crafted with nods to many aspects of society.

I'll admit I found a lot more enjoyment in the secondary protagonists - while the premise of Saker Rampion, the protagonist, was very interesting and certainly drew me in, what sold me on this book was the fascinating view from se
Kasey Cocoa
Feb 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: review-requested
The writing is good, not great and by far not bad. The characters are fairly well fleshed out with just a few minor issues with the main characters development. The plot, while unoriginal, is interesting and keeps the pages turning, although a bit on the slow side at first. The author shows potential and is one to watch for future releases. I received an evaluation copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: australian, fantasy
I think Glenda Larke's biggest strength as a writer is her ability to surprise. The originality of her creations (worlds, characters and plots all) never cease to astonish me, and The Lascar's Dagger is no exception.
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Saker you can be one helluva dumb brained idiot but you learned your lesson!
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Posted at The Qwillery first.

The Lascar's Dagger converted me. I'm now a follower of Glenda Larke. The Lascar's Dagger is the first book in Larke's new series, The Forsaken Lands. This is her second series of books. It's my first introduction to Larke's writing, but like I said I'm a fan and will be seeking out her other books as soon as I finish this review.

In this book, we follow a young priest, Saker Rampion, who also works as a spy in the Pontifect's spy network. While spying on the neighbo
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Once I got into this book I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. The dagger mentioned in the title is special and affects the lives of the characters. All of the characters are well drawn and have hidden depths. Nobody is quite what they appear to be but it is interesting finding out who is hiding what. There are some really imaginative touches too
Mark Webb
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aww2015
This review forms part of my contribution to the Australian Women Writers 2015 Reading Challenge. All my 2015 AWWC reviews can be found here.

The Lascar's Dagger by Glenda Larke first came to my attention by being nominated for both of this year's major Australian SF awards - the Ditmar (voted) and the Aurealis (juried). I must admit, while I was vaguely aware of Larke's name before seeing the nominations, I hadn't had the chance to read any of her work.

Larke has chosen an interesting setting fo
Sep 30, 2017 rated it liked it
I wish we could do half stars, because this is really more like 3.5 stars.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 i thought it was boring and slow. it takes years for nothing to happen!
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Another excellent Glenda Larke book.
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Glenda was born in Western Australia, the daughter of a farmer. She was educated at government state schools and the University of Western Australia, where she obtained a degree in history and a diploma in education. Married to a Malaysian scientist, she has grown-up children, and now lives in Malaysia, where she is actively involved in rainforest conservation.
Author of The Isles of Glory trilogy

Other books in the series

The Forsaken Lands (3 books)
  • The Dagger's Path (The Forsaken Lands, #2)
  • The Fall of the Dagger (The Forsaken Lands, #3)
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