The GenreSword & Sorcery/Heroic Fantasy
The PlotFrom Amazon:
"Gilded Chain follows the career of Durendal, one of the King's magical and deadly swordsmen, who's compelled to serve his ward until death with single-minded purpose. Bound to a conniving, sniveling courtier and apparently doomed to a boring--or worse, compromising--existence, Durendal must find a way to fulfill both his potential and his duty.
Events quickly hurl him halfway across the world to investigate the grisly secret behind a brotherhood of immortal swordmasters. This quest fuels the plot for the remainder of the book, which is nearly impossible to put down after the halfway point (just about the time a side story involving a Lord Roland cleverly dovetails with the main narrative). An inventive, intelligent exploration of duty and honor, and just a corking good adventure besides, The Gilded Chain is swords-and-sorcery at its best."
The ReviewI actually read this book a while back but it has taken me forever to write this review because I don't think I can do it justice. This books is one of the best I have read and Mr. Duncan's writing is simply exquisite. I think this is a modern-day masterpiece along the lines of Dumas and Sabatini blended flawlessly with fantasy.
There was nothing I found lacking in Duncan's writing or in the plot itself. Durendal is an excellent hero and he quiclky became one of my favorite. In short, I wish I could say more but this book is better experienced than talked about. Or maybe it's just me and I can't come up with enough praises for this!
This is a great example of quality fantasy as Duncan doesn't sacrifice language, characterization, or plot unlike a lot of modern day fantasy authors that write as if their readers where teenagers or pre-teens.
As a side note I should say that this book should appeal to Temeraire fans. The concept of a bond between master and Blade is similar to the dragon and rider bond in that series. A bond that cannot be broken without terrible consequences and the choices they must make because of it.