"The Hidden Blade is one of those rare gems you find in the Independent Publishing arena. Well written, imaginative, with great characters and a wonderful story." - Maxwell Alexander Drake
How far will commitment to his liege take the assassin Louis? The bluron’s wings delivers a stark command of death as the Empire teeters on the edge of a most uncivil war. For the first time in Her long history, a ducal line has failed. The last duke of Etendulat is dead and none of his heirs have undertaken the Trials of Dusang. The wealth of farmlands that lies at the heart of the Blutben peninsula lack a ruler and greedy men circle the bountiful plains. Into this high stakes game, Louis is sent to end the ambitions of Tybalt du Mamel, Baron of Somfaux, who would reach for the Etendulat Sash. With every step, he uncovers more of a treacherous plot that is poised to strike at the heart of the Empire. Forbidden magic shadows him and ultimately he must make a dire decision: Can he take the life of an innocent for the greater good? The Hidden Blade is the first book in an exciting new fantasy series. If you like epic fantasy with strong world building, a plot that stretches from the past to the future, human characters with human flaws and realistic magic, this book is for you! Plunge headlong into the world of Sangwheel Chronicles to learn what happens when the subtle game of politics turns deadly, start reading The Hidden Blade today!
The Hidden Blade - Reviews
I think the first thing that really struck me about the story was the strength of the world building and the way information is parsed to the reader so easily. The author has beautifully crafted a well thought out world, an empire with Duchies and nobles, barons and merchants, all feeding into the wealth of the places. Somfaux is, in spite of its size, a town but it is one of strategic importance as its barge routes transport goods throughout the empire. On top of this we have well thought out ideas in relation to magic, religion, everyday terms and expressions and the passage of time and how it is tracked. These are all subtly woven into the everyday occurences that take place in such a way that they eventually help to build a clear picture of the place and people without the need for burdensome expositions. I would also mention at this point that there is a glossary at the back of the book which is really helpful and deserving of a read.
Characters were well written too. Louis, the sole POV character, dons various roles (assassin, merchant, mercenary, bard, etc) to good effect. There was some sort of fate at play, bringing people together across different lifetimes. That led to Louis working together with Falk and it was good to see their friendship bloom. I hope Falk gets POV chapters in the sequels.
"A rich and sumptuous brooding fantasy treat. Not to be missed." - Caldon Mull, author.
The older the secret, the more dangerous its revelation. In the far north, Louis and Roul prepare to confront the darkness seeping through Lumeaux, the Jewel of Lumiaron. The machinations of Brice Rennaurd, Shadow Master to the Emperor, continue to grow in scope and ambition, and the specter of civil war looms over the Empire. A world away, Naira follows the dream of her left-hand husband into the red dunes of the Cidan Mashada, where the scent of prophecy awaits them. As two worlds converge, the spiderweb of conspiracy entangles all and knives glint like malicious sneers in the shadows. For at the heart of the Lumiaron Empire lies a secret so sinister, that its keepers would consort even with the dire power of Sang Sorcellerie to preserve it.
The Ducal Heir - Reviews
This is the sequel to The Hidden Blade and definitely ups the stakes significantly. Instead of only following the POV of Louis, the main protagonist, this book now follows multiple POVs as they weave their own stories that slowly draw together for the climax of the book. The storytelling feels richer and more complex, and each of the character perspectives has a unique voice and flavour. The worldbuilding is expansive and full of flavour. The story is very compelling and I was sad to reach the end and realise that book 3 of the series isn't out yet. I can't wait!
I definitely grew into this book as time went on. Some of the last book items were explained and, whilst the other points of view were at first distracting, the pieces of the puzzle came together nicely (if sometimes obviously) and I can't wait for the next book.