Sebastian de Castell’s Knight’s Shadow is the follow up to Traitor’s Blade, his first novel about Falcio val Mond and the Greatcoats. Traitor’s Blade was an exciting, swashbuckling adventure; well-written with an interesting protagonist, a good dose of humour, and an engaging story. It was so good, that it would be hard to follow.
Knight’s Shadow is something of a chimaera. I found the beginning slow, with a great deal of focus on the protagonist’s deteriorating health. The story seemed stymied, almost as though the author himself was uncertain of his own abilities. The quality of the writing carries the plot enough, though, that I wasn’t inclined to put the book down. And the book is worth sticking with, because it gets progressively better, and once the story opens up the novel begins to feel more epic like its predecessor – more grandiose than a story about one man’s failing health.
By the novel’s end, the story has built to a symphonic crescendo, something to rival its predecessor. By the end I was once again hooked on the tale of Falcio and the Greatcoats, and hungry for the next installment in the adventure, and that’s the mark of a great writer.