Tuesday, 26 July 2011

FANTASY REVIEW: Ancient Blades Trilogy 1: Den of Thieves - David Chandler

Release Date: 07/07/11


Enter a world of darkness and danger, honour, daring and destiny in David Chandler's magnificent epic trilogy: The Ancient Blades. Croy is a knight errant, and bearer of an ancient blade with a powerful destiny. He's also kind of, well, dim. He believes in honour. He believes that people are fundamentally good, and will do the right thing if you give them a chance. Unfortunately, Croy lives in the city of Ness. A thriving medieval city of fifty thousand people, none of whom are fundamentally even decent, and who will gleefully stab you in the back. If you give them a chance. Ness is also the home to Malden. Malden is a thief. He lives by his wits, disarming cunning traps, sneaking past sleeping guards, and running away very fast whenever people are trying to kill him. Which is often. One time Malden stole a crown. And then he had to steal it back to avoid a civil war. Croy got the credit, of course, because he's a noble knight. Another time the two of them went into the tomb of an ancient warrior race, and Croy accidentally started a barbarian invasion. Guess who had to clean that up? They probably wouldn't be friends at all if it wasn't for Cythera. Cythera is a witch. A mostly-good witch. And despite herself she can't stop thieves and knights falling in love with her! At the same time.


Whilst many may not know the name of David Chandler, this debut series is one that I’ve been keeping an eager eye on when I originally heard about its forthcoming release. Firstly as it was to be released in quite a short turnaround and secondly because I know David’s writing under another name David Wellington.

What I expected from this tale was a story that is cleverly woven, one that keeps the reader glued and a whole host of fascinating characters to populate the world and whilst that is what was presented the world felt a little flat and sadly not quite formed well enough in his imagination to help keep the reader attached.

Add to this sadly stereotypical characters that yet again felt more 2d than fully rounded and it was a title that whilst reasonable enough left me feeling that the author had taken a bit of a backwards step as a writer. Don’t get me wrong, for those not used to the authors writing style it will entertain but it doesn’t blast out from the genre to stand apart like a great many others and when you’re up against authors like Patrick Rothfuss and George RR Martin you really need to pull all the stops out. With luck the second book will pick up where this one fell and hopefully redeem the series to a level that is more reminiscent to David’s Laura Caxton series.

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