Fine, I thought. Let it be just as Heryn said. Let them tell stories of Falcio the fool; of Falcio, who like a child, believed that the world can change just because you want it to.
To say I have been waiting a lifetime for this book would be a minor exaggeration. After all, I only recently discovered the Greatcoats a couple of months ago in their debut novel, Traitor’s Blade. After I finished Traitor’s Blade, I wanted more, and to say I was excited to see there wasn’t an epic wait for the second installment, Knight’s Shadow, would be an understatement.
The land is in chaos, which is really nothing new. The country’s one shot at peace and stability was assassinated five years earlier, when the Dukes banded together to put down Tyrant King Paelis. Still loyal to his beloved king, even in death, Falcio val Mond–The King’s Heart, will do anything to keep Paelis’s heir, Aline, safe from harm. In a game of power, there are those who would do more than just harm Aline. Many want her dead, while others would do anything to see her on her father’s throne–even if it means betraying everything right and good to put her there.
For five years the true power of the realm has reigned with collective iron fist, pushing the common rabble further into the mud with one hand, while stabbing one another in the backs the other. The Dukes have no love for the King’s Greatcoats–the men and women granted the power to uphold the King’s law. People in the land loathe them, calling them Trattari and Tattercloak, believing them to be the most corrupt and dishonorable people in the land. No matter how much the world rails against them, however, Falcio refuses to give in, instead staying true to the values and expectations of a king he still serves in his heart. When someone begins mysteriously killing off Dukes and their families, it’s up to the Greatcoats to make things right, even if it means sacrificing every part of themselves to do so.
Despite the fantasy elements of this story, the concepts within are incredibly relative. The fight to remain true to one’s values, no matter the cost. The strength it requires to be a force of good in a world that’s chosen to wallow in its own corruption. The conviction one must cling to if they want to truly rise above the half-hearted expectations of those who’ve decided its easier to look the other way than do the right thing…
There is something about the way Sebastien de Castell tells a story that resonates long after you close the book. For weeks I will walk around thinking about Falcio, Kest, Brasti, Valiana, Dariana and even Ugh. I will wait impatiently for the third book in the series, Tyrant’s Throne, which I hope will release sometime in 2016. I will spend hours contemplating the nature of corruption, the purity of true valour, the strength and power of love, the nature of childlike belief that allows us to change the world simply because we want to.
I started reading these books because I love The Three Musketeers, and a friend who knew that recommended it to me. I keep reading them because I am in love with the noble ideal that one man, no matter how exhausted or pained, no matter how broken and distraught, no matter how blind and foolish, has the power to make his world a better place.
Knight’s Shadow is currently available for sale in the UK in paperback and ebook, and will be available in the U.S. June 2, 2015. I received a copy of this book from Quercus through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It doesn’t get any more honest than this. I cannot wait until June, when I can hold the hardcover version of this book in my hands and start the adventure all over again.