Swords-and-sorcery fans aren't always proud. At times, they're left feeling a little embarrassed when they get a fix for their "pulp" addiction, maybe even sheepishly admitting that the genre isn't always that... sophisticated. Well, with Dave Duncan's The Gilded Chain, no apologies are necessary.|
The author presents traditional high fantasy, with knights and magic (and even a few monsters) in a Tudoresque setting. The Gilded Chain satisfies all the usual cravings, while still managing to be both original and thought-provoking. Subtitled A Tale of the King's Blades (an indication that more excellent stand-alones should follow), Gilded Chain follows the career of Durendal, one of the King's magical and deadly swordsmen, who's compelled to serve his ward until death with single-minded purpose. Bound to a conniving, sniveling courtier and apparently doomed to a boring--or worse, compromising--existence, Durendal must find a way to fulfill both his potential and his duty. Events quickly hurl him halfway across the world to investigate the grisly secret behind a brotherhood of immortal swordmasters. This quest fuels the plot for the remainder of the book, which is nearly impossible to put down after the halfway point (just about the time a side story involving a Lord Roland cleverly dovetails with the main narrative). An inventive, intelligent exploration of duty and honor, and just a corking good adventure besides, The Gilded Chain is swords-and-sorcery at its best.
Source: Paul Hughes, Amazon.com.