Thursday, November 14, 2013

King of Swords: Book One of the Starfolk by Dave Duncan

The blurb:
Rigel has always known he is not quite human, but the only clue to his origin is the otherworldly bracelet that he has worn since childhood.

His search for his parentage leads him to the Starlands where reality and fantasy have changed places.  There he learns that he is a human-starborn cross, and his bracelet is the legendary magical amulet Saiph, which makes its wear are an unbeatable swordsman.  Fighting off monsters, battling a gang of assassins seeking to kill him, Rigel finds honorable employment as a hero.  He knows that he must die very soon if he remains in the Starlands, but he has fallen hopelessly in love with a princess and cannot abandon her.

Through the imaginative landscape of the Starlands, Rigel's quest leads him to encounter minotaurs, sphinxes, cyclops, and more fearsome creatures in Dave Duncan's latest fantasy series.

I'm a big fan of Dave Duncan and was so excited to find King of Swords, his latest novel and the first book of his new series, Starfolk,  featured in the Amazon Vine Program.  This new series, The Starfolk, shows us a completely new world where star folk have built their world by imagining new places and destinations.  Many of the Starfolk have visited Earth at different times and have used these experiences to imagine unusual places in their world.  

In the Starfolk's world there are clear and distinct hierarchies with those with Royal blood and special magical gifts at the very top, the others of Royal blood and rank make up the next tier, then the different Starfolk based on their magical gifts (rank is shown by color), those of mixed blood are of significantly  lesser rank and must be sponsored by one of the Starfolk in order to live free and move in their world.  The humans in the Starfolk world are considered property, much like slaves.

The hero of the series grows up on Earth but knows himself to be an alien of sorts.  When he suddenly finds himself in the world of Starfolk, he discovers that he's been gifted with one of the most powerful amulets/swords in the universe.  This gift that he's had throughout his life is a clue to his parentage.  As he learns how to use his power, he searches for his parents and discovers a tie to some of the most dangerous beings in the Starfolk universe.  

Dave Duncan's King of Swords introduces a new hero in an unusual world.  I had hoped to care for the characters but while the mystery of the hero's family was particularly interesting, I wasn't invested in the other characters or their problems.

  • ISBN-10: 147780739X - Paperback $8.97
  • Publisher: 47North (September 17, 2013), 394 pages.
  • Review copy courtesy of the publisher and the Amazon Vine Program.

About the Author:
Dave Duncan is a prolific writer of fantasy and science fiction whose books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.  He is best known for his fantasy series, particularly The Seventh Sword, A Man of His Word, The King's Blades, and Against the Light.  He and his wife Janet, his in-house editor and partner for over 50 years, live in Victoria, British Columbia.  They have three children and four grandchildren.

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