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The Gilded Chain by Dave Duncan
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7011113,533 (3.85)19
Title:The Gilded Chain
Authors:Dave Duncan
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The Gilded Chain by Dave Duncan (1998)


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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com by express permission of this reviewer   Synopsis A young blade is bound to a foppish nobleman, only to find he's just a pawn in the politics of the kingdom. He is then rebound to the King, has a series of adventures in a foreign land, comes home and ends up as Prime Chancellor, only to have his adventures in foreign lands come back to haunt him in the worst way. And Ambrose, the king, is still playing politics.   My Thoughts When I finished Lord of the Firelands,  I didn't see how Duncan could write another novel that was as good, much less better. Well, I was wrong and glad of it.   This was a corker of a novel.  It dealt almost exclusively with Chivian politics and characters and we find out a lot more about the workings of Ambrose the King and his attitude towards the Blades, the Kingdom, just about everything.   In this book we follow Blade Durendal, as he is used, abused and treated like an object instead of a man by his king. We get to see how Durendal must reconcile his magical bonding [which allows him to in no way harm the king] with his strong sense of right and wrong. The issue at hand is immortality, but at such a cost that Durendal knows it is evil. We see him from the start of his Blade years until his retirement and at each point along the way he must be so imaginatively creative in his thinking and doing that it was a true feat of mental gymnastics. It was a joy to read.   This was a straight up adventure story seasoned with a little fighting, a little politics, a little magic and a little romance. Highly recommended!   Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars Author: Dave Duncan " ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
This is my third time reading this book, yet it has been a long enough that I only remembered the general plot, and not much of the specifics. It was interesting reading it this time as I know more history, and was now able to appreciate that Henry VIII was the obvious inspiration behind the character of the king. This book is a fast paced, entertaining, yet fairly grisly, standalone tale, but the true brilliance of it can only be appreciated when you read all three books in the series. ( )
  bangerlm | Nov 22, 2013 |
This is the story of Lord Roland, Durendal (named after the founder of Ironhall), the greatest swordsman of the King's Blades and a legend in his own lifetime. He entered Ironhall, as all those elite swordsmen do, as the Brat, was forged into a Blade there, and was assigned in service by the king ... to a fop. The binding conjuration ensures that each Blade will defend their ward to the death, whether they like them personally or despise them. But Durendal's dream has been to serve his king, Ambrose IV (very much reminiscent of Henry VIII), and he gives the crown a lifetime of the best service.

This is a story of courage and honour and loyalty, of duty and adventure. It takes us through coming of age, action and court politics, love and sorrow, and it's funny (hilarious, even) and engaging. In short, I had a rollicking good time reading it, and I shall be hunting down the others in the series. One of Duncan's best.

( )
  humouress | Aug 26, 2012 |
I liked this fantasy about loyalty, friendship, and the dark side of immortality. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, The Monster War. ( )
  krin5292 | Jun 4, 2012 |
Absolutely wonderful book, I picked it up sometime last night and devoured it within the hours I could before bed, during my watch, and sneaking a peak here and there during lunch and finally after work. Books like this could get a gal like me in trouble, unable to put the damn thing down when it's time to work!I found the characters extremely engaging and wanting to much more about everyone, so I guess it's off to the next book in the series for me! ( )
  shavienda | Jul 29, 2010 |
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This book is dedicated with all my love to my grandson Brendan Andrew Press in the hope that one day he will find pleasure in it.
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Grand Master looked even older than the Squire, but he had a hard trimness that age had not softened, as if he would still be deadly with that sword he wore.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380791269, Mass Market Paperback)

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. --Paul Hughes

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:38 -0400)

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