Malinda is no petite princess. Her arm does not falter when she plunges a sword into the heart of each of her four Blades, thus binding them to her in a centuries-old magical ritual. Nor has hers been a fairy tale existence. Living in exile until summoned to court by her despotic father, she is to be married off to a pirate so that he will cease his raiding. At the wedding, things go horribly wrong. Her father is killed by treachery, and the country is plunged into chaos. Malinda is beset on all sides by relatives who want to wrest the throne from her sickly young brother and clear the path to power by eliminating her. Her options grow ever fewer, and only at the last, desperate moment does she risk death for herself and all those who serve her by going back in time to the moment before her father is killed to change the course of history. This third book in The King's Blades series is wholly Malinda's story. She matures from an uncertain, untried youth into a woman who knows her strengths and weaknesses yet is unafraid to do what must be done to save her country from civil war. The story is told in a series of flashbacks with excellent pacing. Crisis after crisis must be met, and although the villains are not horrific, the most evil of men sometimes seem ordinary on the surface. The language is appropriate, the world building is competent, and the concept is intriguing. Duncan is a master of fantasy, and this tale of a strong, capable woman triumphing over many obstacles is a pleasure to read. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2000,EOS/HarperCollins, 385p, Ages 16 to Adult. Reviewer: Diane Yates SOURCE: VOYA, April 2001 (Vol. 24, No.1)
With the death of her father, King Ambrose, Princess Malinda takes upon herself the duty of protecting the kingdom of Chivial's rightful heir, her infant brother, Amby. When Malinda comes under suspicion of crimes against the realm, only the magically bonded King's Blades can protect her--if they believe in her innocence. Though not dependent on previous books in the series (The Gilded Chain, Lord of the Fire Lands), this tale of swashbuckling adventure belongs in most fantasy collections. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
YA-In this third entry in the series, Princess Malinda is furious when her father, King Ambrose IV, arranges her marriage to the Baelish King Radgar in order to end a decade-long war. She fully intends to go through with it, however, until her groom gives her the option of walking away. So she does, and he assassinates her father in full view of the wedding guests and the King's Blades, an elite group of magically bound, magically enhanced swordsmen. The princess's baby half-brother is named king, but when the sickly child dies, Malinda seizes the throne, killing the Lord Protector in the process, but unfortunately letting two other contenders for the crown slip through her fingers. She is eventually imprisoned and accused of treason. A small band of Blades comes to the rescue, but rather than pursue her claim and subject Chivial to civil war, she determines to try a risky sorcerous ritual. This book, like the others, is an entertaining, swashbuckling adventure. The Blades are charming characters with legendary prowess at more than just swordplay. Malinda is a daring, stubborn, and kindhearted young woman who always acts with courage and aplomb. The realm of Chivial becomes more defined with each book, but there is plenty left for Duncan to explore.-Susan Salpini, Purcellville Library, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Third of Duncan's talesor, rather, the third variation on the same themeof the King's Blades (Lord of the Fire Lands, 1999, etc). The Blades are expert swordsmen, bound by powerful magic to defend the person to whom they're boundusually, but not always, the monarch of Chivial. With the heir to the throne, threeyearold Amby, ailing, King Ambrose seeks to wed his mettlesome daughter Malinda to Radgar, King of Baelmark, and thus end the ruinous war between the two kingdoms. But when Radgar arrives in his longship to collect Malinda, he seizes the opportunity to assassinate Ambrose with a crossbow bolt. Malinda, protected by her blades, escapes, but the war continues, and Ambrose's bastard brother, Granville, becomes Lord Protector. After young Amby duly dies, Granville captures Malinda and imprisons her on trumpedup charges. Months of interrogation and maltreatment later, Malinda's rescued by her loyal Blades and flees for her life. Radgar too is dead, killed in a raid, and Chivial's situation looks to be beyond recovery. Where, wonders Malinda, did it all go wrong? Ambrose was brutal and ruthless, but capable and commanding. What ifand here fans of the previous books will exclaim aha!he hadn't died?