The Fallen Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood
(The Assassini, Book 1)

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In the depths of night, customs officers board a galley in a harbor and overpower its guards. In the hold they find oil and silver, and a naked boy chained to the bulkhead. Stunningly beautiful but half-starved, the boy has no name. The officers break the boy's chains to rescue him, but he escapes.

Venice is at the height of its power. Duke Marco commands the seas, taxes his colonies, and, like every duke before him, fears assassins better than his own. In a side chapel, Marco's thirteen-year old cousin prays for deliverance from her forced marriage. It is her bad fortune to be there when Moorish pirates break in to steal a chalice, but it is the Moors' good fortune - they kidnap her and demand ransom from the Duke.

As day dawns, Atilo, the Duke's chief assassin, prepares to kill the man who let in the pirates. Having cut the traitor's throat, he turns back, having heard a noise, and finds a stranger crouched over the dying man, drinking blood from the wound. The speed with which the boy dodges a dagger and scales a pillar stuns Atilo. And the assassin knows he has to find the boy. Not to kill him though - because he's finally found what he thought he would never find.

Someone fit to be his apprentice.

About Jon Courtenay Grimwood

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Jon Courtenay Grimwood was born in Malta and christened in the upturned bell of a ship. He grew up in the Far East, Britain and Scandinavia. Apart from writing novels he works for magazines and newspapers. For five years he wrote a monthly review column for The Guardian. JCG's novels Felaheen and End of the World Blues, won the BSFA Award for Best Novel. He has been shortlisted twice for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award, the August Derleth Award (UK), John W Campbell Memorial Award (US), among other awards. He is married to the journalist and novelist Sam Baker, currently editor-in-chief of Red. They divide their time between London and Winchester.
Published January 27, 2011 by Orbit. 454 pages
Genres: History, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Fallen Blade

Kirkus Reviews

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Alonzo, the idiot Duke Marco's uncle, rules as Regent, his authority enforced by a cadre of assassins and the mage-alchemist Hightown Crow, while Alexa, Alonzo's sister-in-law, and her witch A'rial keep Alonzo in check.

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The Bookbag

Summary: Grimwood's Venice is a living, breathing (and smelling) place that leaps out of the page and surrounds you as you read.

Mar 11 2011 | Read Full Review of The Fallen Blade (The Assassi...

Open Letters Monthly

Thus the central difference between this novel and certain recent $18 million dollar best-sellers: Grimwood isn’t cashing in on a craze, he’s organically developing a story entirely his own.That story will keep readers breathlessly hooked until the very last page – The Fallen Blade, despite havin...

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Love Vampires

This is the first book I’ve read from this author so I can’t give The Fallen Blade any context in respect to Grimwood’s sci-fi works – however as a work of historical fantasy this novel has left me feeling highly conflicted… The characters of The Fallen Blade cover a wide section of Ve...

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SF Signal

Grimwood convincingly branches into alternate history fantasy with the first of a series set in and around 15th Century Venice.

Apr 12 2011 | Read Full Review of The Fallen Blade (The Assassi...

Fantasy Literature

The Fallen Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood.

Feb 21 2016 | Read Full Review of The Fallen Blade (The Assassi...

Shelf Awareness

"There's a lot of talk in the media about books being a dying format and bookstores being a dying business.

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