The Fell Sword was one of my most anticipated books for 2014. Did it deliver? Lets see...
There are some things you can pay a man to do. And there are some you can’t. Betrayal by one of your own is usually free.
Hiring experienced mercenaries to protect your throne is not.
When an Emperor is deposed, the Red Knight and his men find their services in high demand – and themselves surrounded by enemies. The country is in revolt, the capital city is besieged and any victory will be hard won. But The Red Knight has a plan. The question, can he negotiate the political, magical, real and romantic battlefields at the same time – especially when intends to be victorious on them all?My thoughts and others reviews:
JPS via Amazon:
Just like in the Red Knight, the first volume, reading this one gives the impression that the author essentially has fun writing a piece that takes place in a fantasy world that borrows from European 14th century. It also makes "the Albin" into some kind of cross between Britain and North America, with the North West part of the continent full of monsters (Trolls and Giants, in particular, but no dragons in this episode, except "in disguise") but also elf-like creatures and various types of Indians (with some suggestive tribe names and place names such as the Abenakis or Ticondanga for Fort Ticonderoga).
The eastern part of the continent is called "Morea" and is the seat of a fictional and much reduced Empire modelled on the Fourteenth Century Byzantine Empire, with the capital city called Livianopolis (instead of Contantinopolis) and the second largest city called "Lonica" (instead of Thessalonika). Also very much present are the "Etruscan" merchants, with their respective city-states and colonies inspired from Venice, Genoa and Pisa. The southern part are the lands of Jarsay (would this be inspired from Jersey by any chance?) and Occitan (Languedoc?) while south of the North Cross Ocean lie the lands of Galle, Iberia and, to the south west, Ifrikiya.Just wanted to say thanks for the History lesson. Some may find Cameron's Alternate Historical "Fantasy" Fiction a bit lazy on the world building side of things and sometimes I agree but for the most part I've enjoyed his borrowing from the real world. Gives it a familiar feel.....if you paid attention during your History lessons....
Chris via Goodreads:
Yes! a smashing sequel to "The Red Knight" in The Traitor Son cycle by Miles Cameron. Again it has this multiple interweaving storyline narrative structure, which makes it hard to follow at first, but when you are familiar with the characters and their stories from the first novel `the Red Knight' it is like meeting old friends (and enemies) again and you instantly get hooked on how all of them will fare in this novel. And there's a couple of interesting new characters with their own storyline on top of the old cast that will play their part.The Eloquent Page:
I was pleased to discover that my two favourite characters from book one both return. Bad Tom remains as grimly cynical and uncouth as ever. Whenever he appears, a sardonic quip is just a breath away. You can tell that beneath all his mutterings and objections he has a soft spot for the Red Knight. I like their constant back and forth bickering. Their relationship feels natural and never forced. Meanwhile, Jean de Vrailly, the self-proclaimed “greatest knight in the world”, is still the same raging egotist he was before. He’s so damned self-righteous it’s genuinely intriguing to watch him going about his business. One monarch makes the ill-advised move of suggesting de Vrailly would make a good tax collector. Needless to say things get very bloody very quickly. Whenever Bad Tom or de Vrailly appears it always raises a smile. They’re both so much fun in a sociopathic nut-job type fashion.The Point of View(PoV) changes aren't as hectic as in the first book which was both good and bad. Good if I enjoyed the PoV, bad if I didn't. Keeping track of some of the new characters was a bit of a chore and I only truly enjoyed the PoV's centered on The Red Knight and the Queen of Alba. Not to say the others were bad, they just weren't as compelling.
de Vrailly is definitely a nut job and always good for a chuckle. Will be interesting to see if his honour allows him to play the role he's been put in by his King and "Angel". Bad Tom is just a LOON!
Fantasy Book Critic:
The short description for The Fell Sword is "fantasy as bloat": messy, disjointed, with some great moments, sorely lacking focus but also the intensity and to some extent the mystery that made the first volume a much better book despite its "bloatiness" aspectsThe Fell Sword definitely suffers from a bad dose of middle/second book syndrome. What's that you say? GillyB say's it better than I could so here ya go:
So what is Second Book Syndrome? This is an instance where the rhythm of the trilogy is off. Instead of upping the ante, the author ups the angst. Instead of quickening the plot, the plot drags. The shine wears off, the characters become more wearying, and that, ladies and gentleman, is Second Book Syndrome. It's when the second book falls short of the first, and it's sadly pretty common. Those second books are killer. They're the middle of the structure, and they've got a lot of heavy lifting to do. They bear so much narrative weight.Now 'The Traitor Son' Cycle may or may not be a trilogy but that description pretty much sums up my feelings about The Fell Sword. I agree with FBC when they say the book is less focused than the previous but I don't agree with the bloat comments. I didn't notice any bloat in the first book and until I read the third book I can't say whether what is contained in this book is bloat or just necessary set up. It didn't feel like bloat...one mans bloat is anothers world/story building....
Overall I enjoyed the The Fell Sword but was not blown away by it. It lacks the focus and intensity of the first book but maintains the great characterisation and authentic Medieval Warfare that made the first great. So did it deliver? Yes and no......