The Traitor’s Blade Book Review – Spoiler Warning!
Things to Know First
In the world of Tristia, the Greatcloaks act as magistrates to the King, they travel across the land hearing the complaints of the people and are tasked with passing judgement in the name of the King. Skip to the present-day story and the King is dead, his dukes having overthrown him for their ends and the Greatcoats have fallen into disrepute, now called ‘Tattercloaks’ for supposedly betraying their duty to their King.
My initial thoughts about this book were quite positive. The Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell had a stunning cover, an interesting sounding blurb and it even had a map in the front. It ticked all the boxes of everything I look for when I choose a book to read.
The first few chapters were worrying, at first, they were pretty uneventful and not exactly what I’d call a gripping opening. It starts with three Greatcoats: Falcio who is the main POV character and his friends Kest and Bratsi. The three of them have been hired to protect a merchant but things go wrong quickly. The reason why these initial chapters felt uninteresting at first is that they didn’t seem to link to a large plot.
Despite this though, I decided to keep reading.
The Pace Quickens
So for the brief lull in the story that was the opening chapters, The Traitor’s Blade soon picks up the pace. Chapters alternate between the present and the past building an intriguing backstory of the world and our main character Falcio. These worked well they started to root the mystery of this character and begin to understand his loyalty to his cause and the King.
The three of them arrive in the city of Rijou and this is when the plot kicks off. The promised intrigue and conspiracy as stated in the blurb become apparent which is what I was waiting for. Political intrigue mixed with some action is a winning combination in my eyes. The story shifts as Falcio decided to help a girl during a brutal annual celebration that lasts seven days where you can murder and steal without being penalised (think the Purge but only with sword, pistols, bows and arrows etc)
This served to show us what the Greatcoats are all about. Defending the innocent and bringing justice to those who have committed a crime. So Falcio decides to protect Aline, the last survivor of her family. For days they struggle to survive against a city turned against them with next to no respite.
Eventually, we get to see a bit more of the world beyond though, as the plots and schemes woven throughout the book come together with a big twist which I didn’t see coming at all but the payoff was effective and well done. It’s safe to say it laid the foundations of the next three novels in the series.