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The Privilege of the Sword
     

The Privilege of the Sword

4.0 16
by Ellen Kushner
 

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Welcome to Riverside, where the aristocratic and the ambitious battle for power in the city's ballroom, brothels and boudoirs. Into this alluring world walks Katherine, a well-bred country girl versed in the rules of conventional society. Her mistake is thinking that they apply. For Katherine's host and uncle, Alec Campion, aka the Mad Duke Tremontaine, is in

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The Privilege of the Sword 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mad Duke of Tremontaine, David Alexander 'Alec' Tielman Campion still hosts wild orgies in his two prime residences, Tremontaine House and his Riverside house. That is when the duke of debauchery is not stirring up trouble for his family, neighbors, and rivals as someone has to fund his hedonism. In other words nothing has changed in the past two decades in terms of this depraved soul. --- His latest ploy is to make his enemy widower Lord Ferris bow to him. Alec blackmails his sister into handing over her daughter. Alec has plans for his niece Katherine who looks forward to a season of galas in beautiful gowns only to learn she will dress like a male and learn to fence as she will become his bodyguard. Though she detests most of what her hideous uncle does to her, Katherine enjoys dueling and become quiet proficient with swords, and makes friends with Lady Artemisia Fitz-Levi, engaged to Lord Ferris. The Duke takes Katherine to the infamous Rogues¿ Ball where Artemisia pleads with Katherine to help her escape her engagement at the same time that her uncle enacts his scheme to destroy Ferris. --- THE PRIVILEGE OF THE SWORD is a fantastic sword and society thriller that uses no magic to portray a medieval like realm in which SWORDSPOINT wielders become critical defenders of relationships teaching ¿manners¿ to their foes. The plot is character driven to a degree by the rivalry between the Mad Duke Lord Ferris, but belongs to Katherine as she becomes as adept with a sword as any of the male bodyguards no one will rape this lock. Ellen Kushner provides a superb intelligent gender bending medieval manners motif that grips the audience from the moment the Duke deems it will prove amusing to make his niece a swordswoman. --- Harriet Klausner
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The book, I feel, had a good story line but....written 'choppy' sometimes it was incoherent. Also, you need to be tolerant of homosexuality, there's alot of it written here. Why would Katherine have anything to do with Artemisia after the way she was treated the second time they met? The book did have some humor but that's all I can say that was really good about this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you want a book with some interesting characters, political intrigue, insightful social machinations and a large dollop of sex and sexual situations 'G, L, & S' a tale that forces a young ingénue to learn the sword in what first seems a sort of oppression but ultimately is an act of liberation but also a story in which the protagonist never really acts to forge her own destiny or take control of her own life¿ then this book is for you. If, on the other hand, you¿re hoping to read about a strong, intelligent young woman who is compelled to take up the blade and thereby experience a series of challenges¿both mental and physical, some won, some lost, but all serving to help her learn more about herself and the world that she inhabits¿before ultimately, in a climactic battle of wit and steel, she defeats 'or seriously hinders' her enemy¿ then you should look elsewhere. Personally, I would have preferred to see a clever mix of both. There was plenty about this book that I enjoyed. I found the Mad Duke neither mad nor abusive but rather subtle, directed, and even altruistic. I enjoyed Lord Ferris and his slow revelation as a powerful and very dangerous villain. And I liked Katherine. I also liked lines in the book. Things like: ¿In the morning there was chocolate.¿ On the other hand there were a number of contrivances that rung false. I had trouble with Katherine¿s unexplainable devotion to Lady Fitz-Levi¿a girl who laughed at Katherine to her face the second time they met. The idea that an unwilling ingénue could be forged into a supercompentent swordswoman in only six months with only 3 instructors 'at different times' is ludicrous. And by personal experience I can attest that someone who does not know the sword 'and plenty of them who do' would not be able to identify Katherine¿s teacher by the moves she uses in one short duel. But all of these I would have forgiven if not for the disappointing ending 'I am not speaking of the dénouement, which is fine as far as such things go'. The climactic moment of this story felt to me felt hurried, abbreviated, unlikely, and entirely out of character for at least one of the two involved. It was almost as if the author had tired of writing it and simply wanted to move on. How much more I would have enjoyed a climactic resolution in which Katherine personally faces her enemy or at least her own demons. Indeed, I would have willingly read longer to see her wrest her own destiny from the hands of those who would control it. Instead, I shall have to look elsewhere.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had a lot of fun reading this book. The plot really caught me in, and I anticipated how Katherine would live with the sword, and truly, the scenes where she was fighting brought the biggest grins to my face. I had to put the book down often because I was going to start laughing like a maniac, not because of some smart joke, but because it was just so fun that I couldn't help myself. I just wish that Ellen Kushner had focused a bit more on the sword fighting, because it didn't seem to really exist through the whole book. Stuck between 3 stars and 4.