Back in late July, I received a copy of the first book in a new series of fantasy novels called the Ancient Blades Trilogy (which I reviewed here). The author was kind enough to send me the next two books in the series as well, and I just finished the last one today. The author, David Chandler, is a member of the New York Red Box campaign in NYC. It helped that at the time I was looking for a new fantasy series to start, and Chandler’s trilogy fit the bill.
The books deal with a petty thief, Malden, who is befriended by a knight, Sir Croy, and the daughter of a witch, Cythera. The first book, Den of Thieves, takes place completely in the free city of Ness, which is a typical but well-rendered fantasy city a la Lankhmar or Greyhawk. There he becomes embroiled in the politics of the city and sinister goings-on that threaten to tear the place apart, both literally and figuratively.
I don’t want to give away much of the plot, but the books become progressively more expansive as the trilogy moves on, introducing more characters and showing us more of the fantasy world. The next book, A Thief in the Night, takes the heroes across the kingdom of Skrae and into the bowels of a supposedly-abandoned dwarven city which holds a great secret (or three). The final book, Honor Among Thieves, is the largest in scope, as the kingdom of Skrae finds itself at war, and Malden and Croy are at the forefront of the action.
Although Malden, the central character, certainly changes in terms of his situation and station as the books progress, there isn’t really a lot of changes to him as a character; he maintains his central core throughout the action that swirls around him, and the final book ends on a note that suggests we will be seeing more of him and this world in the future.
This isn’t Tolkien by any stretch of the imagination, but all three books are a fun read. I found myself actively looking forward to picking up the book and continuing; the chapters are numerous and very short (3-5 pages each), which makes reading them in short bursts very easy to do. Chandler’s familiarity with the tropes of fantasy novels and role-playing show through, but not in such a way that the books read like a novelization of someone’s campaign.
You can find all three books of the Ancient Blades Trilogy on Amazon.com or at your local bookstore. I give them three and a half stars out of five.