In today’s audiobook review, I’m sharing my thoughts on the first book of the Greatcoats series, Traitor’s Blade. This is the first book I have read/listened to by Sebastien de Castell, but it’s not the first I’ve seen. If I recall correctly, I first saw Spellslinger.
However, I added Traitor’s Blade to my TBR as it’s a more typical fantasy with tropes I know and love. This was a massive hit and I’ve gone on to download the rest of the series on audio. To date, I have also listened to the second book of the series.
But, we are getting ahead of ourselves. We’re here to talk about the first book. Let’s dive in!
Traitor’s Blade – Sebastien de Castell
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Publication Date: 10 Feb 2014
Falcio is the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. Trained in the fighting arts and the laws of Tristia, the Greatcoats are travelling Magisters upholding King’s Law. They are heroes. Or at least they were, until they stood aside while the Dukes took the kingdom, and impaled their King’s head on a spike.
Now Tristia is on the verge of collapse and the barbarians are sniffing at the borders. The Dukes bring chaos to the land, while the Greatcoats are scattered far and wide, reviled as traitors, their legendary coats in tatters. All they have left are the promises they made to King Paelis, to carry out one final mission.
But if they have any hope of fulfilling the King’s dream, the divided Greatcoats must reunite, or they will also have to stand aside as they watch their world burn…
If you enjoy your fantasy when it’s full of action, with plenty of fight scenes, Traitor’s Blade is the start of a series I would recommend to you! As somebody who typically enjoys fantasy with more magic than we see in Traitor’s Blade, this didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book at all. Rather, I enjoyed the change of pace and emphasis within the writing.
Traitor’s Blade is the kind of book that will have you on the edge of your seat throughout. There is not a chapter that goes by without hasty retreat, violent clashes, or danger lurking around the corner. I can only liken the main characters of the story to the three musketeers in terms of companionship and the dangers, they find themselves in constantly!
Political turmoil is the driving force behind current events in Traitor’s Blade. There is plenty of backstory in the narrative to explain how Falcio, Kest, and Brasti wind up in less than favourable straits at the beginning of the narrative. I already enjoyed how much world-building there is already, but I hope to see yet more of it throughout the series. If anything, the plot is slightly more action-heavy than I would typically read, but that’s understandable. I hope a full explanation of historic events comes to pass in future books.
I really enjoyed the narrative of this book. The writing style is really easy to read and approachable. If you enjoy your sarcasm and witty comments, then this will appeal to you. I really enjoyed the humour that shines through even in the grave situations our main characters end up in.
The narrative is told in first person from the perspective of Falcio. If I have to choose, my preference is to read in third person as it’s a neutral perspective. However, I really enjoyed this even though it was first person. The telling of this story from Falcio’s perspective gives us ample opportunity to explore his past and backstory in more detail – of which there is a lot to unpick!
Whilst Traitor’s Blade already has a compelling narrative style, it’s really came to life in the audiobook edition. The narrator, Joe Jameson, brings each of the characters and the events to life. In particular, I think he does a great job with the sarcasm and witty remarks that form a significant portion of the dialogue between our three main Greatcoats.
Each of the characters has their own distinct voice, and it was very easy to follow the narrative and dialogue because of this. The acting behind the events of the story really added an extra layer of enjoyment.
This was not a chore to listen to by any stretch of the imagination. Rather, this is a great companion listen to accompany you whatever you are doing. I listened to Traitor’s Blade whilst commuting, doing Pilates, or even when washing the dishes. It made everything more entertaining and is a great distraction from real life.
Traitor’s Blade is told from the perspective of Falcio, the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. He was once head of this great order, however, he now finds himself with just a small band of friends. As a result of reading the story from his perspective, we get far more in the way of character development from him, and his experience in the past than Kest and Brasti. Whilst there is enough in the book to get a distinct feel of the characters and personalities, I hope to see a little bit more from them in the future.
The main characters are developed quite well, but there are a lot of peripheral characters that are honestly quite forgettable. Personally, I think the book would have benefited from focusing more on a smaller pool rather than adding in a vast array of characters that couldn’t be done justice in the page count available.
I enjoyed listening to Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell so much that I have already listened to the second book of the series! This was my first book by this author, and it certainly wasn’t going to be my last! I can’t wait to resume the series and see what heroic events await Falcio and the gang next.