The Exiled Blade The Exiled Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Venice has always been the gateway between the Holy Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire. It is feeling strong too as it has held these two powers back, and the regent, Duchess Alexa holds a strong position. As she ages she is lining up Lady Giulietta to take over as regent, or maybe even Duchess. But they are still threatened, this time by the exiled regent and traitor Prince Alonzo. His plotting and anger over what is really a Millioni family dispute, will bring Alexa’s empire the closest it has ever come to destruction. To add to their problems, Venice is gripped by the coldest winter in living memory, wolves have returned across the ice. As they teeter on the edge of the abyss, the future of Venice is in the hands of Lord Tycho, former slave, kreighund and Assassini.

It is atmospheric, brutal and fast paced with great twists and turns. I am a fan of Grimwood’s writing anyway, but I do like the way that he has deeply embedded a fantasy story into a historical setting. Characterisation is not strong, but good enough to carry the story along. It is a fitting conclusion to the series, but does suffer the similar problem that more series have in that it is a tad predictable. Good though; just need him to get back to writing more sci fi!

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