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    Review of PARAGON LOST by Dave Duncan (see his website)


    HarperCollins EOS, October 2002

    He was the greatest blade of his generation, but assigned an impossible task. Beaumont, along with two other blades, is tasked to take the Knig's chief counselor across half the world to a Russia-like kingdom where they are to meet the King's bride and safely escort her home. This would be a standard task for a trained blade like Beaumont, except that the counselor is dying (and blades whose ward dies are in trouble), the country in between is nearly impassible, and the Czar, Igor, is insane, cruel, and sees conspiracies everywhere. Even Beaumont's abilities with his blade and his rapier-like mind seem inadequate to confront this task. Should he be successful, Beaumont knows what is in store for him--not welcome back as a hero, but suspicion on the part of his own King. For everyone knows that any woman will fall for a blade--even if she is a royal princess and the King's intended.

    Author David Duncan (see more reviews of fantasy novels by Duncan) creates a medieval world close to our own, but separated by the existance of magic. The magic of the blades--a band of trained warriors who become bonded to the man (or woman) who pierces them with a sword through their hearts, adds a level of fascination to the story. Beaumont might be a little too smart, too clever, to be believable, but his situation demands exactly that from him and he doesn't disappoint. Side-kicks Oak and Arkell serve to highlight Beaumont's superior skill and provide a bit of humanity to the larger-than-life characters who make up much of the rest of the novel. Duncan's strong writing compells the reader forward and the close parallels back to our own world ground the reader.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 5/29/03

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