Traitor's Blade (Greatcoats #1) by Sebastian de Castell
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
There are 3 well-known stories with which I've always been fascinated since childhood, Robin Hood, King Arthur and the knights of Camelot and The Three Musketeers. When I came across someone recommending Sebastian de Castell's Greatcoats series and likening it to Dumas' The Three Musketeers I was immediately on board because let's face it anything that can bring us close to the joy of the tales of adventure of Athos, Porthos & Aramis is worth a try.
Castell's story tells us of a band of justices who worked for the King traveling his land meting out justice and ensuring fair treatment of its citizens, the Greatcoats. Unfortunately, however, the King has been overthrown by the Duke's of his Kingdom and executed and the Greatcoats have been disbanded and because they did nothing to save their King are branded traitors. They now travel the country taking work where they can find it, providing security to rich patrons who sometimes don't pay them. We follow 3 Greatcoats in this story Falcio, Brasti and Kest who find themselves blamed for the death of their employer and follow their journey to try and fulfil the dying wishes of their King Paelis who has entrusted them all with quests upon his death.
From Page 2 of this book it is evident that the camaraderie and wit that I wanted between my three heroes was going to be there in abundance as they discuss whether or not their employer is engaging in carnal activities beyond the door they wait for him outside. From there we just fall in love with their relationship with each other and the three different personalities they bring to the story. Falcio leads the book as the Greatcoat known as First Cantor and the one who leads us through his backstory and his journey to becoming a Greatcoat but we have Kest his childhood friend on hand with words of wisdom and a calming influence and Brasti is the lighter-hearted comic relief with an eye for the ladies.
Part of a now 4 book series Traitors Blade is clearly laying out the ground for the books that will follow and therefore Falcio's outlining of his journey to becoming a Greatcoat and how he met Paelis, the boy who became his King and founded the Greatcoats with him helps us to understand the political landscape on which we stand and the characters around us. We learn about the plot by the Duke's to try and place a new person on the throne, one who they can control and we meet this contender in Book 1 and this is again where this book is pulling us in and committing us to the series as a whole. This book, therefore, has lots of information to impart and scene setting to do but this is not at the expense of action and plenty of sword fights.
Yes, like our beloved 3 Musketeers this book is full of duels and battles that are magnificent to read about. We have Falcio and Kest who are both masters of swordplay and Brasti who is a legend with the bow and the way in which they fight tactically with each other makes for amazing scenes in the book and keeps you gripped from start to finish. It is joyful and so reflective of Dumas' classic and it has been some time since we've had a book that really encapsulates that atmosphere.
I devoured this book in a few days, it kept me glued because there was so much going on throughout. I fell in love with Falcio, Kest and Brasti but strangely came away with my favourite character being the strange and mysterious Tailor who kept popping up in all kinds of strange places with information from the past and a quirky personality that brought such joy and light relief. I really cannot recommend this book enough, I am so excited I still have 3 books to read in this series and am absolutley on board for more of the adventures that Sebastian De Castell gave us in this book.