Sky of Swords

Last night I finished the third book in Dave Duncan’s King’s Blades series, Sky of Swords. This one followed the adventures of Malinda, daughter of King Ambrose.

This has been a strange journey and I really can’t talk much about it without giving away some spoilers. So consider yourself warned. The first two books in the series (The Gilded Chain and Lord of the Fire Lands) both dealt with the same time period but told events very differently. Sky most logically follows the events that took place in Lord but by the end of it, the trio of books are all in sync, more or less.

The problem is, the plot device that explains the differences and ‘fixes’ things is so predictable, in general terms, that it’ll be obvious what it is very early on. And when it happens, it essentially makes moot everything you’ve just read. It’s just shy of And then she woke up. “Ah! T’was all but a dream!” Malinda cried, hugging a pillow to her chest.

Well, I suppose if it was all right for L. Frank Baum, it’s all right for Dave Duncan.

Aside from that, the book was quite good. It’s a grim story of Malinda trying to hold together a country that seems determined to tear itself apart after the death of King Ambrose, due to the machinations of a few power-hungry and evil individuals. She’s a very different Malinda than the one we met in A Gilded Chain; much more likable and sympathetic. All in all, this volume is more about politics and subterfuge than it is about action. Happily Duncan is adept at writing both.

This seems to be a little-known series and that’s a shame. Although I was a tad disappointed with the ending plot device, it was still a wonderful ride.