His duty is to die young, but fate has something far more lethal in mind. If Kaell breaks, the kingdom breaks with him. And prophecy says the 19th Bladesman will break…
The BookViral Review: Genre – Sword and Sorcery Fantasy Books
The opening volume of a projected series, you know from the very first page that The 19th Bladesman is something rather special.
Few fantasy writers demonstrate Hartland’s range and in a taut 600 pages she packs in impressive world building and superb characterization. From Kings, princes, warriors and sorcerers; it’s little short of brilliant and reminds us why the Sword and Sorcery Fantasy genre remains unerringly popular.
With the eponymous Kaell at the centre of events, the plot is labyrinthine, with twists and turns and reversals of fortune whilst battle scenes are rendered with graphic realism and tangible feelings of tension.
Clearly, character development is her forte and the relationship between Kael and Val Arques is deeply explored and intelligently conveyed. But without the need for overwrought sentimentality as she expertly reveals characters flawed by circumstances beyond their control. On first glance you might be forgiven for thinking Hartland’s novel is a classically clichéd good versus evil telling but the notion itself is subversive and the real story here is one of honour and fortitude on an epic scale.
Culminating in a heart-rending and rousing finale that sets the scene for the second volume. The 19th Bladesman and the Shadow Sword series is an unmissable read for discerning fans of the genre and is recommended without reservation.