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Having loved Jon's original story, I couldn't wait to embark on this next adventure, so much so that when it landed I had a hard time saving it for a time when I wanted something not only special but to transport me to a world that should have been. What Jon presents within this latest release is a story of mystery, treachery and of course plots that interweave flawlessly as each element comes to the fore.

Add to this an overall arc that is complex, wonderfully rich with solid prose and characters that you can't help but want to spend time with and all in, the reader is in for a solid adventure. My only tip however is if its been a while since you read the original a reread is in order to bring everything fresh to your mind to get the most out of this extravagantly rich tale.
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on 30 August 2012
An excellent follow on from the Fallen Blade. Top quality fantasy that is full of subtlety and intrigue.

It concerns the recently widowed Lady Giulietta, who has the German and Byzantine empires wanting their preferred suitors to marry her and control Venice. The fly in the ointment is Tycho, a lethal assassin, but afraid of the day, who detests the city, but starts to love Lady Giulietta with a blind passion.

The climax of the book is a battle between the German and Byzantine empires with Tycho making a bond and eliminating one of the suitors.

Cannot wait for the final book.
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VINE VOICEon 26 June 2012
I discovered this author, and this book, while on blog tour for Eagle of the Twelfth. The Outcast Blade was reviewed just above it on the Falcata Times blog... I liked the sound of it, ordered it on the spot (oh, the joys of Amazon) and read it on the way to London for the HWA dinner. Such is the power of internet marketing.

This is the back cover blurb:

As the Byzantine and German emperors plot war against each other, Venice's future rests in the hands of three unwilling people: The newly knighted Sir Tycho. An ex-slave and trained assassin who defeated the Mamluk navy but cannot make the woman he loves love him back. Tortured by secrets, afraid of the daylight, he sees no reason to save a city he hates. The grieving Lady Giulietta. Impossibly rich, deeply spoilt. A virgin, a mother, a widow ...Both emperors want her hand for their sons in marriage. All she wants is to retire from the poisonous world of the Venetian court to mourn her husband in peace. And finally a naked, mud-strewn girl who crawls from a paupers' grave on an island in the Venetian lagoon and begins by killing the men who buried her.

What this doesn't tell you, is that 'The Outcast Blade' is a vampire/werewolf story, and, because this is the second in a series and I hadn't read the first one (tho' will do now), I didn't realise until a good third of the way through. By then, I'd come to know Tycho as a person and got to grips with the 'almost-but-not-quite-realistic' fantasy Venice that is Grimwood's setting.

On the face of it, it's not the most obviously attractive of narratives: ex-slave who finds he's a vampire (or is made into one, I still don't know that yet), falls in love with a girl who hates him, for the very good reason that he let her (werewolf) husband die in some massive battle when there seems a chance he could have saved him. She loved her late husband, ergo she hates Tycho. Which is a pity, because he's probably the only one with the wit, forethought, care and sheer reflexes to keep her alive in the poisonous nest of intrigue (I use the word advisedly) that is the Venetian Court, of which she is likely to become Duchess.

But it works. It's an intriguing story and there are enough plot twists and character developments to keep the reader guessing. There's a nicely done girl-girl love in the middle (blink and you'll miss it: so don't blink) and some touching moments of intimacy amongst all the blood and gore. Tycho's vampire is still very much human, he just doesn't like daylight, goes wild at the scent of blood and can tell a man's history from the taste of a drop.

Vampire lovers will love this - it's as good as The Discovery of Witches and oddly similar. Those who simply like alternative history of the Guy Gavriel Kay variety will welcome a newcomer to the fold. Those who like Joe Abercrombie will find themselves a soul-brother... and that's my one niggle. Abercrombie writes good, solid, soldierly stuff, but his English is appalling and JCG seems to have studied from the. Same text with its. Bizarre sentence. Structure and.

Weird paragraphs breaks.

If it wasn't for that, I'd give this four stars (bearing in mind that five is reserved for the likes of Hilary Mantel and Rob Low.) So it's three, because I was close to throwing the book across the room at times: 1* for the language, 5* for the story. And I'm heading back to Falcata Times for more book ideas.
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on 29 January 2013
Having read the first installment 'The Fallen Blade' , I looked forward to reading the Outcast Blade. sadly, I was disappointed as this book seemed slow, with the feeling of treading water in places. JCG fans should read it though as the alternative Venice construct is quite dazzling at times, however this is no Stamping Butterflies or Arabesk.
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on 19 May 2014
If you loved Ashraf Bey, you'll adore JCG's new unwilling but hypnotic protagonist "Tycho".

Book two in the Assassani trilogy, picks up where book one ends with Tycho still struggling to find himself or rather, what he is. This doesn't however prevent love blossoming as at last it dawns upon his love interest, that she too is equally smitten, despite her long drawn out denial - star crossed they are not.

A terrific book that I would recommend to ALL ... from baby booming "Twilight" aficionados to those still intrigued by the legend that is Dracula. Happy reading!
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on 1 September 2014
Great condition .. very big book ( size )... did not expect ( I thought it will be the same size as a normal book )but does not bother me at all. Easier to read. Came fast and the book looks like a new one. Recommend it !
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on 19 May 2013
This book is a first class story with plots within plots and certainly keeps you guessing. I recommend this book.
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on 13 June 2012
I was thinking of putting book 2 off but yielded to my desire at the end and I was not disappointed!!!
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on 31 October 2014
Very enjoyable read it in 4 days
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on 14 October 2015
great !
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