The Gilded Chain
As unwanted and rebellious boys, they find refuge in Ironhall....Years later they emerge as the finest swordsmen in the realm—A magical ritual of a sword through the heart binds each to his ward—if not the king himself, then to whomever else the monarch designates—with absolute loyalty. And the greatest Blade of them all was—and is—Sir Durendal.
But a lifelong dream of...more
The Gilded Chain begins the six book series The King’s Blades by Dave Duncan. (If one includes the companion young adult trilogy The King’s Daggers, then there are nine novels in this fantasy world.) The unique thing about The King’s Blades series is that every book is a stand alone tale set in the same world but with brand new characters and different adventures; something that all readers weary of long multi-volume, interconnected fantasy works should ...more
When my wife gave me this book for Christmas, back in the 90s (I've got so many unread books piled in stacks that they tend to sit around a long time, alas!), my initial guess, having no prior experience at all with Duncan's work, was that the King's Blades series would be fantasy based on the Three Musketeers tradition in pop culture. That's not the case. The setting is a pre-technological world with ...more
The setting for this novel is a fantasy world separate from but much like our own Europe during the middle ages. There exists a knightly order called "The Blades" which recruits youngsters and then, through a mixture of magic and training, forges them into the finest ...more
*** This review originally appeared on Out of this World Reviews. ***
The Gilded Chain by Dave Duncan is the first in his six book King's Blade series. While the story in each novel takes places in the same world, each work stands alone as a tale unto itself. This first book tells the story of Durendal, a waif with little future who is recruited to become a King's Blade, a swashbuckling swordsman bound by magic to serve either the king or whoever the king so chooses.
The enchantment is ...more
What Duncan does especially well is trim out the bloat that usually infests fantasy. In a single book we're given a lifetime of adventures from possibly the greatest King's Blade of all time, from his first misguided binding to his final geriatric retirement.
While Duncan does end up tying a couple of the threads together in a loose way, essentially what we're presented are a ...more
(view spoiler) ...more
It's a swashbuckling story, vaguely inspired by The three Musketeers and by the swords & sorcery genre. The book follows the life and career of Durendal, perhaps the greatest of the King's Blades. The Blades are a knightly order which recruits young boys, often troublesome ones or ones without family but who show athletic ...more
Show, don't tell -
Constantly you read about what Durendal has done instead of him actually doing it... "He's the greatest", "He's saved the King twice", etc. Yet it's told to you rather than you actually reading about it.
Real lack of character building -
From the start our protagonist simply moves through the story and you're supposed to like him. He's the greatest because you're told so... Could the author not give our protagonist something to show ...more
This is a very standard issue, fun to read, fantasy novel that might be a smidge dull in the initial set-up if you are not really confusedly trying to figure out what made ...more
1 - Strong Do Not Recommend (Very Rare)
3 - Weak Recommend (Majority)
5 - Strong Recommend (Rare)
Dave Duncan is one of my favorite writers. His material may not have the depth of other authors, but he is prolific and enjoyable.
Anyways, this book is simultaneously exciting high fantasy and political drudgery. That's not to say that politics can't be exciting (in fact, the first segment is all politics, but I found it to be interesting... until the plot line ended just as the intrigue and conflict got juicy. That was really poorly done, in my opinion).
The story is divided into several parts, which each contain individual plots that ...more
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Even so, Duncan does things that detract from the story; most notably are the names. Whether it's the name of a place or a person, Duncan provides far too many alternate names for the reader to ...more
He wrote at times under the pseudonym ...more