Paragon Lost

by Dave Duncan

Eos, October, 2002.
Hardcover, 348 pages.
ISBN: 0380978962

Paragon Lost by Dave Duncan Over a dozen years after the events chronicled in the first books in the King's Blades series, (The Gilded Chain; Lord of the Fire Lands; Sky of Swords), King Athelgar now reigns and the country of Chivial is at peace. Athelgar decides to take a bride, and to send his trusty friend, the elderly Lord Wassail, to fetch his betrothed from the cold and forbidding realms of the criminally insane Czar Igor. In order to defend Wassail, Athelgar gifts his old friend with three excellent swordsmen from the famed school of Ironhall. Bound to Wassail in a magical ceremony which involves Wassail striking a sword through the heart of each swordsman, the three blades will be loyal to Wassail for life. The exuberant and incredibly skilled Sir Beaumont, the scholarly Sir Arkell and the steady Sir Oak take to their duties with enthusiasm. But the trip to the land of the Czar is filled with danger and treachery, and tragedy strikes. Sir Beaumont is exiled from the Blades in disgrace. The former paragon of virtue is barely eking out a living when the legendary Sir Durendal, the Master of Ironhall, offers Sir Beaumont a chance to reclaim his sword and his place at Ironhall. But this mission is a perilous one, and will require Beaumont to face a terrible evil.

Although this is the fourth book set in the world of The King's Blades, Paragon Lost is a stand-alone fantasy which requires no knowledge of the prior books in the series. Sir Beaumont's story is a fascinating one. Amazingly skilled at both swordsmanship and tactics, he was known as a paragon of virtue and skill while a student at Ironhall. Now he has one chance to redeem himself, and he is determined not to let that chance slip by. Dave Duncan is one of the best writers in the fantasy world today. His writing is clear, vibrant and full of energy. His action scenes are breathtaking and his skill at characterization is excellent. With adventure, swordplay, magic and a host of vivid characters, Paragon Lost is an outstanding fantasy tale.

--Claire E. White

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This review was published in the October - November, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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