Knight’s Shadow – Greatcoats #2 – Sebastien de Castell
Release date: March 5th, 2015
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Age Group: Adult
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Tristia is a nation overcome by intrigue and corruption. The idealistic young King Paelis is dead and the Greatcoats – legendary travelling magistrates who brought justice to the Kingdom – have been branded as traitors. But just before his head was impaled on a spike, the King swore each of his hundred and forty-four Greatcoats to a different mission.
Falcio Val Mond, First Cantor, with the help of fellow Greatcoats Kest and Brasti, has completed his King’s final task: he has found his Charoites – well, one at least, and she was not quite what they expected. Now they must protect the girl from the many who would see her dead, and place her on the throne of a lawless kingdom. That would be simple enough, if it weren’t for the Daishini, an equally legendary band of assassins, getting in their way, not to forget the Dukes who are determined to hold on to their fractured Kingdoms, or the fact that the heir to the throne is only thirteen years old. Oh, and the poison that is slowly killing Falcio.
That’s not even mentioning the Greatcoat’s Lament…
The first thing I thought when I received the review copy of ‘Knight’s Shadow’ was something along the lines of “OH YES!” followed immediately by “What a tome!”. Knight’s Shadow is a lot longer than the first book, ‘Traitor’s Blade’. I don’t mind big tomes and was very enthusiastic when I saw that this one was more than 600 pages long. More of Falcio and his Greatcoats is never a bad thing.
A lot is happening in this second book in the Greatcoats series and it gave the story some more depth. Quite some time was invested in character development for all the main characters. Brasti’s more sensitive side and his surprising decision nearing the end of the book, Kest’s struggle with the Sainthood and all that it entails, Valiana wanting to prove herself as a Greatcoat and Falcio, who is facing certain death.
The Neatha is slowly shortening Falcio’s life and with it comes a grim and very psychological storyline. It’s very confronting to read about the panic Falcio feels, the sadness, the doubt with every decision he has to make, but also the determination to do good by his King and the people.
With this book, I was really glad to get a deeper look in Kest and Brasti’s storylines. Kest is now the Saint of Swords and as with every exceptional thing, it comes with a price. There are a few twists and revelations throughout the book that shine a new light on his behaviour and his situation. Brasti, who is usually full of talk and bravado, shows a whole different side of himself. One that made me like him even more.
The success recipe is still there: the dynamic trio, with addition of Valiana and the mysterious Darriana. There’s the witty banter that will make you smile and on occasion even laugh out loud and there’s the Greatcoats’ struggle to get some credit again and uphold the law in a land that is falling apart. Knight’s Shadow does feel a lot darker than the first book did. While Falcio has now found the King’s daughter, he still has to find a way to put her on the throne. This while one of his rivals is building an army to take the throne for herself. To make things even worse, a guild of assassins seems to be targeting the Dukes while laying the blame on the Greatcoats.
There are some pretty dark sections in the book where the author countered the humor and banter with the very serious implications of war. Death is never far away for the people in Tristia and not even the Dukes are safe anymore. There is also a very extensive torture scene that might put some people off, but which I thought really strengthened the serious tone of this book.
‘Knight’s Shadow’ was everything I’d hoped it would be. The fantastic dialogue, the humor, the twists and the exhilarating action all make this a worthy sequel to ‘Traitor’s Blade’. It has certainly proven that de Castell is not a one hit wonder and makes me eager to see what the future will hold for him. I’m certainly looking forward to ‘Tyrant’s Throne’, the third book in de Greatcoats series and the continuation of Falcio’s story.