Series Fantasy: The Greatcoats by Sebastien de Castell

Series Fantasy: The Greatcoats by Sebastien de Castell

Traitors-Blade-small Knights-Shadow-smaller Saint's Blood Sebastien de Castell

In her review of the second volume in Sebastien de Castell’s Greatcoats trilogy, Sarah Avery said:

De Castell is carving himself an enduring place in the fantasy canon….  I forgot I was wondering or worrying or writing a review, because the stalwart, somewhat cracked hero Falcio Val Mond was tugging me back into his story. I’d follow Falcio anywhere… he makes us laugh, raucously, especially in the bleak moments when he and we need it most…

One of the great pleasures of Knight’s Shadow is that the worldbuilding deepens, opens outward, flowers. In Traitor’s Blade, the Dashini made only a brief onstage appearance, and otherwise were basically ciphers, bogeymen the Greatcoats feared because so little was known about them. In the new volume, we learn about their tragedies and traumas, and why they were founded in the first place. The Greatcoats themselves had a centuries-long history with a violent end before King Paelis refounded them… Like Traitor’s Blade, Knight’s Shadow ends on a note that could still be satisfying if the series ended right now. One hazard of series fantasy is an endless episodic structure in which boundaries between volumes can feel arbitrary… It’s one problem you won’t find in de Castell’s work. Each of the two books now before us has a clear beginning, middle, and end…

Knight’s Shadow is so strong, the only way I can see the Greatcoats series failing to achieve eventual wide recognition as a classic is if the author meets an untimely demise before he finishes writing it. Live a long life, Sebastien de Castell.

Saint’s Blood, the third installment in the series, was released in hardcover by Jo Fletcher Books last month. Here’s the description.

How do you kill a Saint?

Falcio, Kest, and Brasti are about to find out, because someone has figured out a way to do it and they’ve started with a friend.

The Dukes were already looking for ways out of their agreement to put Aline on the throne, but with the Saints turning up dead, rumours are spreading that the Gods themselves oppose her ascension. Now churches are looking to protect themselves by bringing back the military orders of religious soldiers, assassins, and (especially) Inquisitors – a move that could turn the country into a theocracy. The only way Falcio can put a stop to it is by finding the murderer. He has only one clue: a terrifying iron mask which makes the Saints vulnerable by driving them mad. But even if he can find the killer, he’ll still have to face him in battle.

And that may be a duel that no swordsman, no matter how skilled, can hope to win.

Our coverage of the first two volumes in the series includes:

Future Treasures: Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell
Future Treasures: Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell
The Series Series: Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell by Sarah Avery
The Series Series: Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell by Sarah Avery

There’s one more book in the series, Tyrant’s Throne, scheduled for release April 6, 2017.

Saint’s Blood was published by Jo Fletcher Books on June 7, 2016. It is 592 pages, priced at $26.99 in hardcover and $12.99 for the digital edition

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Sarah Avery

The review for Saint’s Blood is in progress. Short version: every bit as wonderful as its predecessors.

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