The King is dead, the Greatcoats have been disbanded, and Falcio Val Mond and his fellow magistrates Kest and Brasti have been reduced to working as bodyguards for a nobleman who refuses to pay them. Things could be worse, of course. Their employer could be lying dead on the floor while they are forced to watch the killer plant evidence framing them for the murder. Oh wait, that’s exactly what’s happening.
Now a royal conspiracy is about to unfold in the most corrupt city in the world. A carefully orchestrated series of murders that began with the overthrow of an idealistic young king will end with the death of an orphaned girl and the ruin of everything that Falcio, Kest, and Brasti have fought for. But if the trio want to foil the conspiracy, save the girl, and reunite the Greatcoats, they’ll have to do it with nothing but the tattered coats on their backs and the swords in their hands, because these days every noble is a tyrant, every knight is a thug, and the only thing you can really trust is a traitor’s blade.
“If there was one thing I’d learned in life, it was that honour just gets you into trouble.”
This book follows the story of Falcio, Kest and Brasti; former Greatcoats to the previous King, who was recently killed when the Dukes took over the kingdom. They are now trying to get by, working in whatever jobs they can find while the majority of the population hates them and considers them traitors. Before the King died he gave the three MCs a mission: to find the King’s secret treasure, that they believe will somehow help them restore order to the kingdom, although they don’t know where or what this treasure really is.
The best way I’ve seen this story described is imagining it as The Three Musketeers, with a fantasy twist and a fair dash of grim-dark on the side. The story is told from Falcio’s point of view in the first person, with bits here and there where he addresses the reader as he narrates the story. This is woven in with various flashbacks of Falcio’s past telling you about how he got to where he is at the start of the book.
After a few pages I instantly knew the vibe of this book was one I really loved. The fun banter between the characters instantly sold me and I’m happy to say this continued throughout the whole book. The main characters are all written very well and have such a fun chemistry between the three of them. Having said this, the story itself is not all fun and games. There are quite a few elements that get very dark, with things like murder, torture and cruelty of various kinds. The balance between the lighthearted feel and the darker elements is done very nicely, resulting in something I couldn’t put down.
The book doesn’t go too heavy on the fantasy front, with the emphasis largely on physical action rather than the characters throwing magic around everywhere. The sword fighting sequences are all really fun to read. There are a fair number of them and I was waiting for them to get boring after a while but they never did. The author does a great job of keeping them very interesting.
My small misgivings were largely around a few scenes that I felt were out of place, and just didn’t fit the feel of the rest of the story. I won’t say what they are exactly for spoiler reasons but one in particular I still can’t think why it was necessary for it to be there at all. The story also took a few turns, especially towards the end, that I wasn’t expecting resulting in a less polished feel. I still enjoyed it though and it didn’t ruin my reading experience at all.
If you want something fun and quick to read that will keep you smiling as well as gripped to a good story, you should all go and read this book. It was great!