- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Orbit (3 Feb. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1841498459
- ISBN-13: 978-1841498454
- Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 3 x 23.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,065,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Fallen Blade: Act One of the Assassini by by Jon in Courtenay Grimwood [Paperback] Paperback – 3 Feb 2011
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Sharp as a stiletto, dark and dazzling as a masquerade. Grimwood's Venice is totally compelling (Mike Carey)
Full of mysteries that remain unsolved . . . Grimwood creates a fascinating world and involving characters . . . most importantly, he makes us want to read the next two volumes of the trilogy (INDEPENDENT)
Vividly gothic . . . complex but compelling (IMPACT)
A tale of ambition, revenge and the rise of a vampire assassin from this critically acclaimed British author.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
For a relatively compact book, The Fallen Blade contains a sprawling cast of characters and no shortage of action. The ostensible lead is a mysterious young man called Tycho - who has, quite literally, appeared from nowhere (or ancient Scandinavia, same difference). Tycho is a gorgeous physical specimen with the face of an angel. However, that's where the resemblance ends. He's a vampire (Mr. Grimwood gains kudos not only for avoiding the word but also avoiding it in a natural way) and one with no self-control.
Anne recently drew parallels between vampirism and puberty and, in The Fallen Blade, Mr. Grimwood continues to link the two. Tycho is a raging pit of hormones - hungry, horny and hot - and he's straddling not two, but a half-dozen worlds. His distant Viking past is a series of upsetting memories, his life on the Venetian streets is confusing and lawless and his cultivation into high society is a series of unpleasant, non-sensical rules. Tycho is a perpetual conflict between his festering, murderous instincts and the brittle veneer of civilisation that has been lacquered onto him by his more patient friends.
Arguably the least patient of said friends is Atilo, the city-state's chief assassin. In a previous life (figuratively - unlike Tycho, Atilo is still very much human), Atilo was a warlord for the city's enemies.Read more ›
Venice is ruled by Duke Marco, Prince of Serenissima, but he's a simpleton and so his uncle, Prince Alonzo the Regent, vies for power with his sister, Marco's mother, Duchess Alexa. Atilo, spy, assassin and head of the Assissini is past his prime, but he's driven to find his own successor in the wake of a battle with krieghunds, the shapechanging warriors of Leopold, the German emperor's bastard son, in which he loses most of his trained assassins.
Into this brutally Machiavellian setting comes a strangely beautiful pale boy, discovered shackled with silver and walled up in the hold of a Mamluk pirate ship. He's strong, fast and agile, can absorb peoples' thoughts and knowledge, has a strange hunger, burns in the daylight and fears to give in to the full moon.
His only memories are of a northern village where he was an orphan and a slave, and then of falling through fire... but it seems that was a hundred years ago. While in hiding the boy discovers and forms an attachment to Giulietta, Duke Marco's cousin and a marriage pawn. When Giulietta is abducted, supposedly by Mamluks Venice begins to slide towards war.
Atilo discovers the pale faced boy at the scene of a kill and the boy's speed and agility make him realise that if only he can find him, tame him and train him, he might have found the successor he's been looking for. He names the boy Tycho.
The twists and turns in this story take Tycho from being Atilo's prisoner to his apprentice until he finds Giulietta once again and falls foul of Venetain justice.Read more ›
Imagine my astonishment, then, that having resolved to give Jon Courtenay Grimwood's dark fantasy debut a little longer to find its feet, and taken the opportunity to realign a few of my own key expectations, I found in The Fallen Blade the first act of a trilogy with such tremendous promise that at this point, its difficult beginning be damned, I wouldn't hesitate to proclaim it the finest new series of the year to date.
Perhaps the problem I found myself facing, starting in on book one of The Assassini, was a lack of familiarity with the author: an award-winner, at that. And here I hadn't read End of the World Blues, or The Arabesk Trilogy -- more fool me, from where I stand now.
But I don't think that was it.
I think the trouble was, I came to The Fallen Blade expecting a certain standard of fantasy -- which is to say, politely put, standard fantasy. We all know the like, no doubt. And what with the uninspiring blurb and cover art adorning Orbit's edition of The Fallen Blade, it's surely fair to say I had my reasons. Namely a city teetering on the brink of collapse, with a war in the offing, a history of horrors and a proliferation of political strife.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have to admit that I'm biased where JCG is concerned BUT even so, this is an amazing book.
Vampires, werewolves, mages and witches abound, set against the backdrop of... Read more
Interesting but I found it difficult to follow, and of course full of weird mysticism and monsters. I did not like it very much!Published on 3 Feb. 2014 by Bob Innes
I bought this book for a friend for Christmas because he loves this writer.
My friend said he will love it
Interesting take on the vampire mythology, well written, good plot, set in historical venice, draws on the politics of the time, but loosely and with artistic license.Published on 10 Feb. 2013 by Steve Hunt
Boring. The author tried too hard. Stick to the day job.
Try other writers, they do it better. Seriously overwritten.
Generally don't like derivative fantasy whether it is vampire, were beasts or Tolkien. I liked this because it was original in setting and Very grey in the sense of black and white... Read morePublished on 15 Dec. 2012 by Scifiken
Stephanie Meyer and Deborah Harkness need a lesson in what a vampire really is and that lesson is "The Fallen Blade". Read morePublished on 4 Nov. 2012 by Ms. M. Patel
Recently I've been embarrassed to tell people I like books about vampires, because the whole sparkly teenage angst thing has ruined them for me. Read morePublished on 28 Jun. 2012 by L. C. Fisher