The Cardinal's Blades
by Pierre Pevel
Gollancz Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780575084384
Date: 19 November 2009 List Price £9.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK /
I was rather disappointed by The Cardinal's Blades when I dipped into the proof copy I received earlier in the year. It promised much in the way of swashbuckling, dragon-filled adventure, but I found its multi-viewpoint narrative robbed it of focus and the promised dragons took an awfully long long time to appear. That said, this translation from the original best-selling French text published by Bragelonne in 2007 - is worth a look and much kudos to Gollancz for deciding to bring it to an English speaking audience (they did the same with Andrzej Sapkowski and were applauded (and Gemmell awarded!) for doing so.
"THE CARDINAL'S BLADES is part historical novel, part old-fashioned swashbuckling high-action adventure, and part classic fantasy. Pierre Pevel has woven some of the best-loved fantasy tropes - musketeer-style adventuring, daring swordsmen, political intrigue, non-stop action and dragons - into a stunning new fantasy series. Paris, in 1633. Louis XIII reigns over France . . . and Cardinal Richelieu governs the country. One of the most dangerous and most powerful men in Europe, Richelieu keeps a constant, sharp eye on the enemies of the Crown to avoid their assassination attempts, thwart their spies and avert their warmongering. But he's up against people who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals, even going so far as to forge alliances with France's oldest and deadliest enemies. Spain, and the Court of Dragons. The nobility keep tiny dragonnets as pets; royal couriers ride tame wyverns, and lethal man-shaped scaled dracs roam the country. But the power rising from the Court of Dragons is anything but mundane; the Black Claw sect draws on dragons as they once were: ancient, terrible, utterly merciless . . . and poised to move against France. Faced with the growing threat from Spain, Richelieu summons Captain la Fargue, an exceptional swordsman, devoted officer and brilliant leader. If he's to turn aside the Black Claw's schemes, La Fargue and his legenday company of swashbucklers and rogues must be persuaded to once again risk their lives, fortunes and reputations for Richelieu, and for France. It's the biggest challenge yet for The Cardinal's Blades - and they'll need to be sharp . . ."