I just finished The Gilded Chain: A Tale of the King’s Blades by Dave Duncan.
What a wonderful, wonderful book. Duncan has put together a fantasy world that’s heavy on the swords and relatively light on the sorcery. The King’s Blades are swordsmen who are bound to the king by a conjuration; its somewhat derivative of Mercedes Lackey’s Companions of Valdemar, or Anne McCaffrey’s riders and dragons of Pern, except in this case both parties are human. But really, the binding is just a plot device and a motivator, and the real story here is about the men themselves (what I’m trying to say is, the men act like men, not like some kind of ensorcled automatons). And if I say any more than that, I’ll ruin at least one surprise, so I’m not even going to touch on the plot. You’ll have to trust me.
This book isn’t heavy with meaning and no scholar will ever decree it an ‘important book.’ It’s just a well-paced yarn, full of surprises, hard to put down, and well worth reading. It gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from me.