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The Lascar's Dagger

(The Forsaken Lands #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  838 ratings  ·  100 reviews
A theft in a faraway land --- with repercussions that reach around the world...
The world thinks of Saker Rampion as a priest, a gentle man preaching peace. The truth is, he's a spy for the head of his faith, posted in the court of King Edwayn.
It's a time of fear --- as a mysterious and monstrous disease sweeps the country ---but also opportunity ---lucrative trade is o
Paperback, 464 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by Little, Brown Book Group (first published January 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2020
I do enjoy this author's books. She writes big, believable fantasy worlds and never resorts to information dumping. Her characters are memorable and intriguing, and the need to discover what happens to them speeds the reader's progress through the book.

The Lascar's Dagger features Saker who is a priest and a spy, Ardhi, the Lascar of the title and Sorrel Redwing, a sometime handmaiden to the Princess Mathilda. There is a lot of magic, called witchery, and a magic dagger with a its own agenda whi
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,
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
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
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
Fantasy Literature
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Kenneth Vickery
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Lascar's Dagger: The Forsaken Lands by Glenda Larke is a book that takes the reader to a stimulating and spiritual world of swords and horses. Saker, her main protagonist, is thrown into the conflict between human materialism and spiritual forces, which are protecting the natural environment.
I think our world would be kinder when it can have a black, female Pope. Saker works for a female Pope, who is from a minority group, but his world is still cruel and divisive. He uses his position as a
Mar 15, 2015 rated it liked it
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Saker you can be one helluva dumb brained idiot but you learned your lesson!
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Basically, there are two kinds of epic fantasy. In classical fantasy, there are elves, dragons, and dwarves, for example, Tolkien, and then there is political intrigue with a hint of magic such as the Belgariad by David Eddings. Even though the genre of dark fantasy arose from the Song of Ice and Fire, this series also belongs to the latter category.

The Forsaken lands also belong in this category and I truly enjoyed this book. One of the reasons was the unusual setting for this genre, as many se
Kinsey Breland
Mar 24, 2019 rated it liked it
It took a while to get into this book. I almost DNFed it, but it did finally start to pick up about a third of the way through. The last hundred pages or so were the most enticing to me when both of the plots in this book began to tie and weave together.

The main characters in this book were hard to like. Saker (a spy for his religion) was an idiot for most of the story. Things that seemed so obvious to me, went completely over his head. It wasn't until the end that he started putting everything
Lucie Müller
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah this is a difficulte one. The main Problem is, that i don't like Saker. He is a spy, but he behaves more like a fool. Well, he is designed to do that, otherwise the story wouldn't make much sense, but still, it was hard watching him. Thank god, Sorrel came along. She is everything a good protagonist needs to be. The Worldbuilding is en pointe again, and i like where the story ist heading in the big picture. There were several Times, when i thought, ok i will not read the sequel, but then it t ...more
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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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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