The Cardinal's Blades



Swashbuckling Novel Of Adventure Set In Th Century France The Book Was Apparently Originally Written In French, So The Default Description Below Is In FrenchParis, An De Gr Ce Louis XIII R Gne Sur La France Et Richelieu La Gouverne Le Cardinal, L Une Des Personnalit S Les Plus Puissantes Et Les Plus Menac Es De Son Temps, Doit Sans Cesse Regarder Des Ennemis De La Couronne L Espionnage, L Assassinat, La Guerre, Tout Est Bon Tour Parvenir Leurs Fins Et M Me La Sorcellerie, Qui Est L Uvre Des Plus Fourbes Adversaires Du Royaume Les Dragons Ces Redoutables Cr Atures Surgies De La Nuit Des Temps Ont En Effet Surv Cu Et Se Dissimulent Parmi Les Humains, Ourdissant De Sombres Complots Pour La Reconqu Te Du Pouvoir D J La Cour D Espagne Est Tomb E Entre Leurs Griffes Alors, En Cette Nuit De Printemps, Richelieu D Cide De Jouer Sa Carte Ma Tresse Il Re Oit En Secret Un Bretteur Exceptionnel, Un Officier D Vou Que La Trahison Et Le D Shonneur N Ont Pourtant Pas Pargn Le Capitaine La Fargue Car L Heure Est Venue De Reformer L Lite Secr Te Qu Il Commandait Jadis, Une Compagnie D Aventuriers Et De Combattants Hors Du Commun, Rivalisant D L Gance, De Courage Et D Astuce, Ne Redoutant Nul Danger Les Lames Du CardinalThe Cardinal's Blades

Pierre Pevel est l un des fleurons de la Fantasy fran aise Il a obtenu le Grand Prix de l Imaginaire en 2002 et le prix Imaginales 2005 Avec une verve romanesque digne des grandes heures du feuilleton populaire, il signe l tout la fois un hommage aux romans de cape et d p e, un r cit historique admirablement document et une Fantasy pique grand spectacle La trilogie des Lames du Cardinal est un clatant succ s d j traduit en sept langues y compris, v nement sans pr c dent, en Grande Bretagne et aux tats Unis Le premier volume a par ailleurs remport le David Gemmell Morningstar Award du meilleur premier roman, en 2010.

!!> BOOKS ✶ The Cardinal's Blades ✬ Author Pierre Pevel – E17streets4all.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • 306 pages
  • The Cardinal's Blades
  • Pierre Pevel
  • English
  • 15 June 2018
  • 1616142456

10 thoughts on “The Cardinal's Blades

  1. says:

    The young man entered the tavern, glad to have finally reached a place of relative safety, and warily looked around him A few of the habitu s gave him a quick glance, then returned to their wine or their game of dice Indeed, there was little in Pierre de Pevel s outward appearance that would attract idle curiosity His plainly cut doublet and travel stained boots had clearly seen better days, as had his wide brimmed hat, ornamented with a single osprey feather But a closer inspection would ha The young man entered the tavern, glad to have finally reached a place of relative safety, and warily looked around him A few of the habitu s gave him a quick glance, then returned to their wine or their game of dice Indeed, there was little in Pierre de Pevel s outward appearance that would attract idle curiosity His plainly cut doublet and travel stained boots had clearly seen better days, as had his wide brimmed hat, ornamented with a single osprey feather But a closer inspection would have revealed the rapier that hung by his side, forged from the finest Toledo steel, a rarity in the France of 1633 where Cardinal Richelieu s devious policies against Spain had restricted trade between the two countries to the barest minimum Few men could boast a blade as keen as the one that rested in de Pevel s ordinary looking scabbard, or a heart that beat as fearlessly and true in the service of the country he loved Now he sat in the darkest corner of the room and toyed with the curious signet ring that ornamented the fourth finger of his left hand A buxom serving wench came over to greet him Bonsoir, monsieur , she smiled Et alors, what can we be getting the gentleman De Pevel relaxed a little as he heard her Gascon accent Just a pitcher of Beaujolais, he replied, as he pressed a gold doubloon into her hand And if anyone bookish should enter, I would greatly appreciate it if you had the kindness to inform me Immediately The girl looked at him, evidently in no doubt as to his meaning The Chaude Dentelle, founded by Henri IV shortly after his ascension to the throne in 1589, was the most feared organization in France Fanatically devoted to high critical standards and taking their recruits only from men with the most impeccable literary antecedents, their web of power stretched throughout the country, and even the Cardinal dared not openly oppose them Their spies were everywhere, and de Pevel knew he was taking a risk in approaching this unknown girl But, at the same time, his instinct told him that she could be trusted You need not be concerned, monsieur, she said, as the coin disappeared into her corsage In Gascony, we have no love for the Hot Lace Now I will bring you your wine She disappeared in the direction of the kitchen, and de Pevel tried to relax Surely he had managed to shake off his pursuers But a moment later, the door opened again, and the blood froze in his veins.The Chaude Dentelle Five of them, led by a man whose face was only too familiar the Baron de Piquy, last scion of a decadent family who could trace their ancestry back to Dagobert II, and author of countless critical pamphlets, the least of which had the power to make or break an author s reputation And when the written word was insufficient, de Piquy was known to have other methods at his disposal He turned his gaze insolently around the room, examining each person in turn until he finally spied de Pevel An affected smile creased his features as he sauntered over to the young nobleman s corner, his ruffians a step behind But what a pleasant surprise he lisped, as he levered his bulk into the seat opposite de Pevel s I trust you will not object to my joining you No But this is splendid, now we will be able to resume the conversation we were having when we were so rudely interrupted the other day You do not agree De Pevel gritted his teeth and said nothing The critic smiled mirthlessly I was merely offering you a few opinions on your little novel, Les Lames du Cardinal, he continued A fine effort, but even the best work can be improved, n est ce pas Perhaps it is a trifle too melodramatic in places The character development slightly thin The writing, I dare suggest, lacking a certain je ne sais quoi De Pevel still kept his silence The critic shrugged I was trying to be constructive, you understand, he said All the same, you are right, there is no point in making pretences The book, let us speak plainly, is abominably badly written A miserable parody of Dumas Stilted, unimaginative dialogue Slipshod construction Every woman a ridiculous, sexist stereotype And above all, his voice slipped into an English accent you neglect the most basic rule of competent writing Show, don t tell I was wondering where the name came from, said de Pevel Toujours du sang froid, replied the critic But is that the best retort you can make Possibly not, mused de Pevel I would also like to add this With a single motion, he flung the heavy table at his adversaries, drawing his blade at the same time One of Piquy s henchment was crushed against the wall, and a slash of Spanish steel opened up another s face from chin to eyebrows Breathing heavily, Piquy drew his own sword, as his two remaining men fanned out, one on each side De Pevel kicked his left hand opponent in the crotch, pivoted gracefully, and disarmed the other with a neat flick of his sword But suddenly he found himself pinned in the corner, Piquy s dagger an inch from his throat I admit it, said the critic You do capable fight scenes But nonetheless With a look of great surprise, he left the sentence unfinished, slumped forward and collapsed on the floor The serving wench pulled the carving knife from his back and wiped it clean on de Piquy s lace collar That s for ridiculous, sexist stereotype , she murmured And now, monsieur de Pevel, I think it is high time we end this terrible review

  2. says:

    Although I did like reading this book, I did not think it was up to the back cover hype My opinion of the book is complex It appears that the author did a decent job of researching the period and physical state of Paris I can t fact check him, but whether he relied on primary sources or other popular literature for his knowledge may not matter It was convincing enough that I accepted the milieu and the non fantasy aspects of his world In fact, I enjoyed the historical content of the novel q Although I did like reading this book, I did not think it was up to the back cover hype My opinion of the book is complex It appears that the author did a decent job of researching the period and physical state of Paris I can t fact check him, but whether he relied on primary sources or other popular literature for his knowledge may not matter It was convincing enough that I accepted the milieu and the non fantasy aspects of his world In fact, I enjoyed the historical content of the novel quite a bit.Although the specific characters are unique they do adhere to common types which is almost unavoidable in the fantasy adventure genre And, because the author has decided on an ensemble style book, we have a moderately predictable cast of characters By itself this is not a problem the spread of personalities allows the book to introduce different aspects of their world and the backstory.Where I had the greatest difficulty was with the plot and the pacing I m likely to be in the minority on the pacing I have not read any other reviews or opinions, yet I found the story to be too choppy It was as if the book is a screenplay written to give fast paced action shots and quickly concluded scenes that fill in information or motivation before the next action shot At the beginning, this didn t bother me as it let the story present a lot of information in a lively manner, but by the middle I was tired of hoping for a scene withcomplex character interactions The interactions do happen they are just spread out over several of the short 2 5 pages chapters I have read plenty of books that use short, punchy chapters to move the story along, but I don t usually get the impression that the device is just that a device and not a component of the tale Again, they read like scenes in a TV or movie script.Although there are a few good plot turns where secrets are revealed, one of the core mysteries was obvious long before it was revealed in one of the key chapters Was that intentional so that the reader felt that they were clever enough to solve the puzzle or just poor writing It s hard to judge, but specific key facts were presented from the earliest chapters throughout the book, so perhaps Mr Pevel wanted the reader to know this long before the characters did.I don t think this is a bad book just not a great one It covers an interesting time in the history of France and her neighbors What s not to like about anything using Cardinal Richelieu These real world components are part of the storyline and I think that the historical aspects create a great and interesting background The fantastical elements are not objectionable there seems to be a solid background to his world that should develop nicely If one takes the book as merely one entry in a series of fast paced light fiction, then I think it does okay However, if you read a book expecting it to be a good standalone novel, then this isn t that book Yes one big plot event is resolved along with some smaller ones, but the bulk of the action is carried forward to the next installment I may go for the next book, but I may wait until I can get the entire set, since I expect that only the whole collection will be equal to one novel

  3. says:

    Cardinal s Blades is a work of alternative history set in a vividly realized reimagining of seventeenth century Paris While many elements of the story and setting stay true to the period, this version of France is no stranger to dark magics and various fantastic, often draconic, beasts The Cardinal s Blades is the first book in an ongoing series, also titled The Cardinal s Blades, by French author Pierre P vel, and was originally published in France Cardinal s Blades is a work of alternative history set in a vividly realized reimagining of seventeenth century Paris While many elements of the story and setting stay true to the period, this version of France is no stranger to dark magics and various fantastic, often draconic, beasts The Cardinal s Blades is the first book in an ongoing series, also titled The Cardinal s Blades, by French author Pierre P vel, and was originally published in France in 2007 The first two volumes have since been translated into English with a third due in the not too distant future This review focuses on the English version of the novel, translated by Tom Clegg.While King Louis XIII may rule in name, the true power in France is Cardinal Richelieu, remembered throughout history for his extensive influence and cunning political manipulations However, it s not all fun and games being one of the most powerful and renowned figures of your age Not only must Richelieu contend with ambitious peers and a nearly constant stream of assassination attempts, but also the threat of war brewing with Spain All the while, the Black Claw, a notorious sect of dragon descendants, covetously watches France, awaiting an opportunity to establish itself within her borders In response to this insidious threat, Cardinal Richelieu is compelled to reunite the previously disbanded group of elite spies and swordsmen known colloquially as the Cardinal s Blades Unfortunately, the Blades are now scattered across the country, tainted by betrayal and shadowed by loss They are, however, France s last defense against the oncoming storm.Historical Paris with a draconic twistP vel evokes a vibrant and believable 1633 Paris, from the decadent aristocratic mansions to the stinking, filth covered streets of the city s slums Much of the action in the novel takes place within the city walls and P vel frequently makes reference to various distinctive Parisian landmarks Luckily for those like me who are unfamiliar with the finer details of historical French urban planning, the appendices of the book contain some detailed maps of the city layout to help the reader along As previously mentioned, one of the key differences between the historical France that we find in the history books and the France depicted in The Cardinal s Blades is the presence of various dragon like creatures While many works of fantasy feature dragons in one form or another, I cannot recall another that contains so many different dragon variations in one novel P vel s France is inhabited by many kinds of dragons cat sized dragonets that are kept as pets or roam wild throughout the city, flying wyverns that are used as a form of arial transport, humanoid drakes, and half bloods The most powerful and dangerous dragons, however, are the ancient Ancestral Dragons, whose descendants may move undetected throughout society in human form.En garde A word that frequently recurs in reference to The Cardinal s Blades is swashbuckling and I must agree that this is a completely accurate description This is no long, drawn out epic, but in essence an action adventure novel filled with plenty of vicious sword fights, daring escapes, and nick of time rescues P vel provides us with ample fight scenes complete with detailed play by play combat While the lightning fast pace of the narrative and constant switching between characters take a little getting used to and may be confusing for some, others will absolutely adore the constant engagement this writing style provides.Colorful charactersThe many characters may initially appear to be an extensive collection of character clich s We have a battle hardened captain a dashing cad a good humoured, hard drinking old soldier a brooding half breed assassin a prodigal swordsman and a strong willed token female thrown in for good measure Nevertheless, P vel uses these characters well and as the story progresses it becomes evident that, although they may not be the most fleshed out characters in the fantasy genre, they do indeed havedepth than one may initially assume I also anticipate thattime and energy will be devoted to characterization in later books, especially as much of the history and other background knowledge have already been laid out in this one The upside of having so many different characters is that almost any reader should be able to find one orthat they can relate to While I was fond of most of the Blades, my personal favourite would have to be Agnes, the sole woman on the team Despite the historical setting, I found it refreshing to find an independent, clever, and unconventional woman who can hold her own amid the men in this kind of novel.Lost in translation Now, it s all perfectly well to convert a popular title into other languages, but if the translation is subpar it doesn t matter how well written the book originally was or how interesting its premise Thankfully, Tom Clegg s translation is pretty solid and, from all accounts, stays as true to the original as possible However, one does occasionally get the feeling, especially in some of thequick witted humour scenes, that a little may have been lost in the translation and that the text probably flowedsmoothly in its native language Generally though, I would say that the benefit of being able to experience works originally written in foreign languages vastly outweighs any trifling complaints one might occasionally have with the translations The Cardinal s Blades is no exception.Cliffhanger extraordinaireOne aspect of P vel s writing that may be considered a downside by some and a mark in its favor by others is his seeming infatuation with ending his books on dramatic cliffhangers While most of the main plot lines are wrapped up neatly enough by the end of the novel, P vel throws in a dramatic revelation right at the end which is fine if you have the next in the series already on hand, but can be frustrating if you have to wait If you are a particularly impatient person, I would still recommend The Cardinal s Blades however, you may be advised to wait until the series is closer to completion The overall motives of Black Claw are also left somewhat unclear by the end of the novel However, I am sure this is not the last we will hear from the malevolent sect.Why should you read this book The Cardinal s Blades is an extremely colorful, fun and action packed read that will keep you turning pages The characters are interesting, the plot is exciting, and the French setting is a nice change from the usual English alternative history fare This novel also offers a great opportunity to sample some quality translated fantasy, and if the trend to translate popular foreign titles into English continues, we may all get the opportunity to broaden our horizons and experience books and authors we may never otherwise have had access to

  4. says:

    We bought a new blender recently The manual for it wasinteresting than this book I mean it has recipes For Cuban Milk among other things That s just banana milk with lemon if you re wondering And no I have no idea what s Cuban about that either.Can you tell that I really don t want to talk about this book I m just not sure what I can say about it It s not bad in an entertaining way and at least also not in and offensive way, just in a very, very, very, very boring way.The chara We bought a new blender recently The manual for it wasinteresting than this book I mean it has recipes For Cuban Milk among other things That s just banana milk with lemon if you re wondering And no I have no idea what s Cuban about that either.Can you tell that I really don t want to talk about this book I m just not sure what I can say about it It s not bad in an entertaining way and at least also not in and offensive way, just in a very, very, very, very boring way.The characters are all so flat that even at the end I still had trouble telling them apart They are all amazing fighters and that s pretty much it Marciac sticks out because he has an on off girlfriend whom he treats like crap and another character has dragon blood in him which gets mentioned a lot In fact I m think he s referred to as Mix blood almost as often as by his real name which I foundunfortunate Yes it is just a fantastical creature but I still felt uncomfortable with the obsession about his heritage.Apart from thathave I mentioned how boring that book was Cause it was Most of the time our main characters fight Usually alone against an overwhelming number of enemies Of course they win Always The one time one of them doesn t it s because his opponent didn t fight fair and brought a gun to a swordfight When they re not fighting they areplanning fights, Marciac has sex or one of the characters angsts about their tragic past But mostly they are fighting Or fighting Or fighting Oroh right I mentioned that already.Now I don t mind fights, e.g James Barclay s Raven chronicles are also pretty packed with them But there are two major differences a the Raven sometimes loses People die or get seriously injured As mentioned this doesn t happen in The Cardinal s Blades So why should I worry about them b I actually care about the Raven I don t want them to die As mentioned above this doesn t happen in The Cardinal s Blades So even if there was an actual sense of danger in the books my only reaction would be great one less character that bores me to death And the worst thing is the author almost solely relies on the fact that his readers care about these characters and worry about them dying Almost every chapter ends with some sort of cliffhanger that means danger for them It often felt like reading fanfiction where the writer needs to make sure that the readers come back the next time Except that most fanfiction readers would have quit after that many three or four page chapters in which nothing happens except fighting The same is true for the ending We are treated to somedramatic reveals about the characters and their backstories I assume that is meant to hook us for the second part but I cared as little about these revelations as about any of the previous ones

  5. says:

    I started reading this book because of my childish nostalgia for Alexandre Dumas and his famous The Three Musketeers But Pevel disappointed me I didn t like his book at all Caveat as I can t read the original in French, I can only talk about the English translation of the novel, and it s lousy, as if the translator has only a passing acquaintance with English grammar Dangling participles litter every page, and pronouns referring to the wrong nouns mar almost every paragraph I m a grammar f I started reading this book because of my childish nostalgia for Alexandre Dumas and his famous The Three Musketeers But Pevel disappointed me I didn t like his book at all Caveat as I can t read the original in French, I can only talk about the English translation of the novel, and it s lousy, as if the translator has only a passing acquaintance with English grammar Dangling participles litter every page, and pronouns referring to the wrong nouns mar almost every paragraph I m a grammar freak Each time my eyes stumbled upon such mistakes, frustration built up I felt jarred out of the story, disoriented The story itself is jumbled, built like a series of short vignettes, each one with its own POV I couldn t discern one distinctive protagonist or even three I stopped counting POVs at a dozen, but I think there areThe genre of the novel is a political thriller with a nod to fantasy there re dragons somewhere in Spain and they, allegedly, threaten France Cardinal Richelieu opposes the dragons and takes actions to prevent their dominance he resurrects the company of his spies Blades to take care of the dragons threat The Blades are in the center of the novel, which is a tale of their coming together for their first mission But the author adopted a puppet master attitude towards his characters they re his cardboard marionettes, and he shuffles them like cards, any way he chooses Lots of page space is dedicated to descriptive details the color of clothes, the lengths of hat plumes, the streets and architectural history of Paris but the characters emotions are practically hidden, and very little of their thought process is revealed.As the action jumps abruptly from character to character, the readers lack time to bond with any of them In any case, no participant in this non stop adventure is lovable or even likable They are all two dimensional, with an emphasis on cruelty Everyone is bloodthirsty Everyone kills without hesitation Betrayal flourishes on every level And the leaders on both sides of the conflict are equally ruthless, manipulating their own people for the sake of political expediency In these conditions, the traitors actions actually makesense than those of the loyal supporters If your leader or your comrades are as ready to destroy you as your enemies, then maybe money is the only thing of value and loyalty is worthless Which makes the readers wonder why should one side win against another They re both equally bad The only well defined entity in the entire novel is France of the 17th century After finishing the book, I got a sense of a barbaric country where brutality was norm, treachery abounded, human life cost nothing, and everyone was drowning in filth The heroes were supposed to serve France, but she didn t seem to deserve it Maybe that was what Pevel wanted to show If so, he s a great writer

  6. says:

    Firstly, a point for clarity in my role as part of the Gemmell Legend Awards Committee I ve met and talked through email to Pierre a couple of times He s a lovely chap, very unassuming and a genuine fan of the genre He s also the author of two award winning novels 2002 Grand Prix de l Imaginaire and 2005 Prix Imaginales for Best Novel, although The Cardinal s Blades is Pierre s first novel to be translated into English It was a winner of the Gemmell Morningstar Award in 2009.And therein li Firstly, a point for clarity in my role as part of the Gemmell Legend Awards Committee I ve met and talked through email to Pierre a couple of times He s a lovely chap, very unassuming and a genuine fan of the genre He s also the author of two award winning novels 2002 Grand Prix de l Imaginaire and 2005 Prix Imaginales for Best Novel, although The Cardinal s Blades is Pierre s first novel to be translated into English It was a winner of the Gemmell Morningstar Award in 2009.And therein lies the problem, in that it has put me off reading the book for a while I really liked the idea when it was explained to me in 2007, but what if I didn t actually like it And would reading it conflict with my other duties Well, I really shouldn t have worried Now that I have finally got round to reading it, The Cardinal s Blades is a rip roaring romp that can be truly said to be swashbuckling In summary, and perhaps a little unfairly, it can be summarised as The Three Musketeers with dragons And although this is a fair assessment, it s not the only thing that made me enjoy this book Yes, like Dumas, the tale is set in France in the 1600 s, under the rule of Louis XVIII Like Dumas, in 1633 we also have a Cardinal Richelieu, who is Louis s principal minister and spymaster like Francis Walsingham to England s Queen Elizabeth I 1573 until 1590 The extra layer to this rather historical novel is that, like Naomi Novik s Temeraire tales, we have dragons And there are some intriguing points made throughout the novel to show this Richelieu has a pet dragonet often perched on his shoulder Dragons are used for communication, with wyverns ridden like horses There are dracs, half breed people, created by human male fathers and dragon mothers Though in human form with dragon like eyes , they have superb reflexes and inhuman strength Dragons are also able to take on human appearance so they intermix with humans in public Humans can catch a disease, the ranse plague, from dragons, though its exact cause and cure are unknown.The Cardinal s Blades are the legendary group rumoured to have carried out secret missions on the cardinal s behalf Disbanded after some nasty business during the siege of La Rochelle , Richelieu and the Crown have need of them again, as there are signs that the Black Claw, a dragon led secret society, are up to no good, dealing in secret with France s enemy, Spain Led by the beautiful blonde looking Vicomtesse de Malicorne, the Black Claw are the Blades nemesis in this tale.The first part of the novel therefore introduces us, in the third person, to the original members of the group, led by Captain LaFargue, as they are summoned to return to Paris This means that we meet a motley group of superb swordsmen and women, all currently pursuing alternative lifestyles We re introduced to the characters that make up the band These include Nicolas Marciac, who spends his time running up debts and duelling, living off the money he makes in such matters Red spectacle wearing Saint Lucq is a half dragon, half human assassin Arnaud de Laincourt is a Blade suspected of being a traitor to France We have to add to this a strong heroine, Baroness Agnes de Vaudreuil The weak point for me was the unfortunately named LePrat who manages to get injured is a bit of a misstep, though clearly just one of those names that just translates badly internationally Whilst I m mentioning the odd misstep, there s a couple of plot points that jar a little a survival from death that seems a little too convenient, and some other very violent if not visceral deaths For a book with such a clear point about dragons to make, it was interesting that for much of this book their presence is implied rather than shown Some readers might complain at the lack of dragons, at least initially, though this did not bother me as it is clear that they are integrated into this society and so seen not as a novelty but as part of the furniture, as it were By the end the dragons are back, and no doubt will appearin the next book in the series.The plusses definitely outweigh the minor minuses though The tale s fast paced, accentuated by the short chapters that flit from character to character Initially this can make the characters a little interchangeable, but one we ve got used to them, the pages fly The prose, no doubt helped by the English translation by Tom Clegg, is great and really made the book feel strangely, yet appropriately, French This, and the detail of places throughout, added to the allure of the tale.A real strength of this book is the fight scenes The action s pretty frenetic We ve swordfights a plenty, rooftop battles and lots of visits to inns, with alleyway brawls, point blank shootings and lots of galloping horses Not to mention some rather extensive dragon damage towards the end All in all, a great read Sorry I arrived late to this one Can t wait to get to the next

  7. says:

    The Cardinal s Blades should be an interesting novel Musketeers meets dragons How could that fail to appeal And in many ways it does The setting is beautifully done, there is an excellent attention to detail, and there is a political plot that should enthral.So where does it go wrong Simply put, the absence of character This is a book full of names, and all of them are meaningless No one is described by anything other than a habit, mannerism, or even geography.We meet seven musketeers, The The Cardinal s Blades should be an interesting novel Musketeers meets dragons How could that fail to appeal And in many ways it does The setting is beautifully done, there is an excellent attention to detail, and there is a political plot that should enthral.So where does it go wrong Simply put, the absence of character This is a book full of names, and all of them are meaningless No one is described by anything other than a habit, mannerism, or even geography.We meet seven musketeers, The Cardinal s Blades, but all we ever know about them is that one acts broody, one is quiet, one is a drunk, one is a poor Spaniard, etc etc.At no point do we ever see inside the characters their thoughts, aspirations, conflicts, doubts, or purpose Because of that, we are never given any insight to make the reader care for any of them.Ironically, we learn muchabout the various buildings, establishments, and areas of Paris Somehow, Pevel forgot to do the same to the characters.The result is that it is impossible to be emotionally engaged by this story All too often the author tries to keep as much hidden as possible, and makes the mistake of cutting out any potential emotion This leaves the characters as flat and lifeless Supposed cliff hangars fail for their lack of urgency There is also the frustrating habit of the author introducing people who remain anonymous, even when these characters have already been introduced to the reader, for no other reason than cinematographic effect Other characters come to the fore for no other reason than to update the reader with information already at hand.The world of dragons is very undeveloped as well, and seems to have been tacked on in the final edit to classify this as a fantasy novel rather than historical fiction This creates curious anomalies for example, the postal service has men riding wyverns, and there is also a messenger service using little dragons instead of pigeons, but life or death political dispatches are sent by lone horsemen who can be waylaid for the sake of plot advancement.In the end, dragons play no part in the story, instead relegated to a background detail that never materialises into anything significant.There arethan a few hat tips to the original story of Dumas, yet somehow never acknowledges the plot or politics of that The King s Musketeers and Cardinal s Guards appear remarkably chummy, and there no apparent tensions between Cardinal Richlieu or King Louis The good news is that at least the novel is reasonably well paced, with most chapters quite short However, the volume of characters is far too large and the plot itself constantly suffers from lack of stakes which are, ironically, lessened towards the end.Overall, Pierre Pevel tries too hard to make every single character mysterious by blocking them from the reader This results in a story that is nothingthan a catalogue of names going through a catalogue of motions that fails to give the reader any reason to care about any of it.The addition of dragons to the story also reads too much as an afterthought, undermining a key premise and selling point.This is the shame as the story has a lot of potential, and if we learned even half as much about the characters as the city of Paris, this could have been a much stronger book

  8. says:

    Remember that two stars means OK , not bad Like a few other reviewers, I m in two minds about this one The good stuff first It s a readable romp through the France of The Three Musketeers, with a little fantasy style magic to add flavour There s plenty of action and the author slips in lots of details to give a great sense of historical accuracy Now the less good The story and characters are phoned in All of the Blades Cardinal Richelieu s elite covert fighting unit are from cen Remember that two stars means OK , not bad Like a few other reviewers, I m in two minds about this one The good stuff first It s a readable romp through the France of The Three Musketeers, with a little fantasy style magic to add flavour There s plenty of action and the author slips in lots of details to give a great sense of historical accuracy Now the less good The story and characters are phoned in All of the Blades Cardinal Richelieu s elite covert fighting unit are from central casting and wouldn t be out of place in an 80 s action movie, each of them capable of taking on multiple opponents with a sword and a one shot pistol Their enemies are supposedly semi godlike dragons but they only do things via teams of bumbling hoods and consequently it s not a spoiler to say they are easily beaten For those of you used to your characters actually getting into trouble and even killed, this is like a return to children s stories.Pretty much the first half of the book could safely be cut, as it is all used to show the Blades getting together including a bizarrely wasteful intro of the character Saint Luc, where we follow him for tens of pages on a mission that has nothing to do with the rest of the book That said, it s not bad it just could have been so much better if the author had concentrated less on putting a swordfight in every other page, andon meaningful character development and plot

  9. says:

    Unashamed swashbuckling adventure with a great group of misfits and miscreants as the protagonists The characters are defined in broad strokes by their actions Pierre has depth to his writing even with this rollicking kind of adventure tale I found I really liked the characters and like them even for their faults They would be the crew if the Firefly had this been a space western but it s a musketeer era novel and it s a great read.

  10. says:

    A fun read,but be wary the story jumps around a bunch.

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