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The Fallen Blade

(The Assassini #1)

3.25  ·  Rating details ·  1,523 ratings  ·  222 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
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Paperback, 464 pages
Published January 27th 2011 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2011)
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3.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,523 ratings  ·  222 reviews


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Anne Lyle
Mar 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, historical
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
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Jacob Overmark
Historic Fantasy can be a fun experience, it presents the possibility to set up a lot of what-ifs and build your story on any chosen premise, even the unlikely ones.

14th-16th century Venice surely has a lot of potential and there has been no shortage of speculation about what really took place in the Doge Palace, in the Iron Chambers and beyond.
The political intrigue is plausible, and we know for certain the “disappearance” of rivals or
used-to-be allies was the order of the day but …
Now ente
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Mangrii
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
3,75 / 5

Nos situamos en una Venecia del siglo XV gobernada por dos regentes en la sombra de un duque incapaz, su madre Alex y su estratega tío Alonzo, ambos enfrentados en una guerra secreta entre sí. El gobierno posee una fuerza secreta, los Assasini, liderados por el veterano Atilo, que lleva tiempo en busca y captura de un heredero para su posición, y tras haber visto a un extraño muchacho que se mueve a una velocidad endiablada, cree que finalmente ha encontrado a alguien digno de ser su apr
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Katie.dorny
Aug 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
It’s truly disappointing and bittersweet when you realise your reading tastes have changed, sometimes it is better to leave your favourite books as a teenager in the past as they don’t hold up years later.
This was a 3.5/3 star read for me.
Set in historical Venice, here alongside ruling Italian families there is also magic that freely roams.
Tycho arrives in Venice chained in the Cargo hold, we see the world through his eyes as he struggles to adapt to this world he has never seen before. He quick
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Amanda (awesome)
May 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
DNF after ~50 pages. Every single female character's introduction included a description of her breasts, sometimes more than once, sometimes in the same sentence, e.g. "She was full-breasted, plump, and buxom."

BUT WHAT WERE HER BOOBIES LIKE THO.

-_-

I finally gave up where a woman was described as "just a slit."

Hey Publishers! Big thanks for giving this guy so many book deals. JK, fuck you forever.
Tamara
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.
Olethros
-Buena idea, buena ambientación, gran localización para la trama y, luego, problemas narrativos que afean gran parte de las fortalezas del libro.-

Género. Narrativa fantástica.

Lo que nos cuenta. En el libro La espada maldita (publicación original: The Fallen Blade, 2011) y a comienzos del siglo XV, Venecia es un próspero enclave comercial y de negocios que está en el punto de mira de imperios y facciones mucho más poderosos que la rodean tanto por tierra como por mar. Algunas de esas amenazas son
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Alix Taylor
Jan 31, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Dishonor
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
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Kris43
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
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Jason
Jun 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2014
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.

Tha
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Gary
Mar 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Stefan
Jan 04, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Dee
Meh.

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'
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Danielle
Apr 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
I always finish a book - but not this one. For about 10 pages or so, it starts off fairly interesting... then it becomes so utterly garbling that I couldn't tell you who is currently the POV. On that point, I never really see the value in establishing multiple viewpoints between characters that are constantly in the same setting. The Fallen Blade falls deep into this, presumably the intention is to gather another character's opinion something, a quick way to open up the world. For me, this becam ...more
Babel
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oscura, sensual, macabra y fantástica. He adorado cada página.
Bücherfresserin
"Gelungenes Venedig mit einer Mischung aus viel zu vielen Charakteren und vorhersehbarer Spannung."

Inhalt:
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
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Alison Smith
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it
A historical fantasy, in 15th century Venice. History, with a dash of the paranormal tossed in just to make things REALLY interesting. A dark, page turner. I needed something un-serious, un-literary, maybe a bit trashy. I got it, big time! Its compelling, its grim, but you keep turning the pages. If blood and guts, flaying, rape, and squalor are not your thing, avoid this book. Sword and sorcery fans will love it. I must admit, I wouldn't mind reading Books 2 & 3 in the trilogy . I, too, hav ...more
Becky
Apr 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I'd like to give this another star as I quite enjoyed the story and the new take on the vampire legend, but the rather choppy writing style caused me to have to re-read many a sentence. Here's hoping the second book is better written!
hevs
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
There is hope for the vampires in fiction after all!
James Curtis
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
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Magpyd
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Julie Dawson
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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Dawn
What was I thinking, vampires are not my thing, at all. I quit at 20%.
Ian
Rating: 3/10

You can read my full length review of this book at Another World. Below is an overview of my thoughts about it.

OVERVIEW
In theory, reading a book blind―not knowing the first thing about it―shouldn’t lead to disappointment as there are no expectations for the book to live up to. Nonetheless, The Fallen Blade proved to be a very disappointing read for me―which is a shame. The ingredients for a compelling tale are all there: the premise is great, and the opening chapter (combining elemen
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Liviu
Sep 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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Nigel
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Chelsea
Oct 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
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Hpstrangelove
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook_done
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
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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
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Other books in the series

The Assassini (3 books)
  • The Outcast Blade (The Assassini, #2)
  • The Exiled Blade (The Assassini, #3)
“There were old firemasters and bad firemasters; there were no old bad firemasters” 2 likes
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