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The Privilege of the Sword

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Privilege of the Sword (2006) Ellen Kushner

I’ve been listening to the audio book version of this, when I reached a point where I gave up and started re-reading (from the beginning) on the Kindle.

Mind you, I’m still listening to the audio version, but it had been too long since I’d read the book, and I couldn’t remember all the details and needed to know NOW.

Katherine Talbert’s uncle is the Mad Duke Tremontaine, and when he offers to help her family financially if only Kate will come to the city, follow his rules, and learn the sword. As Kate is fifteen, this seems perfectly reasonable to her, so off she goes.

She really didn’t have a clue what she had let herself in for.

..(A)nd then the breeches–the buttons pulling closed flas that were all that stood between me and the world, and nothing to hide my legs from anyone’s eyes but the short hang of the jacket and the coarse stockings that revealed in outline everything the covered… Men’s clothing gripped me in places I did not want, showed me in ways I could not like, claimed me with strange bindings and unbindings.

But of course, the reason I loved this story so well is seeing what became of Alec and St Vier.

Mostly Richard St Vier.

But we didn’t spend much time with St Vier, and there are many surprises in store when we see him again. Of course Kate knows nothing about him.

I suppose being able to kill people was enough to make them very polite to you.

Alec, of course, hasn’t changed at all, at least on the surface.

Ferris felt almost disappointed. If there were indeed the pornographic frescoes, instruments of torture, naked serving girls and other items popular opinion had decorated the duke’s house with, they were not on public view.

Ah Alec.

Ah, but we also have Artemisia Fitz-Levy.

“Must all your friends beg you for favors, Lucius?” she teased. “You should be more generous!”

“You note,” her cousin said to Lord Petrus, “she does not demur at being called a beauty!”

“That is because I know how free men are with their compliments, when they cost them nothing.”

But of course, there were so many things that I loved, and things I wished to remember.

I let the insults go by. A good swordsman doesn’t pay attention to words in a fight.

That’s something I really should try to remember, even if I’m not about to get in a sword fight.

And then there was this:

If anything, I knew now that people were even stranger and more unpredictable than that, and that when we don’t know the truth about someone, we will make it up ourselves.

Did I enjoy this story as much this time around as I did before? Oh yes. Possibly more so, actually. I’d recently re-read Swordspoint, and had fallen for St Vier all over again, and enjoyed seeing him, but even more so, I read slower this time, and actually saw how Alec had changed as well, and that was all the more impressive.

If you have not read Swordspoint, don’t worry, you don’t need to have. But reading the one will make you want to read the other.
Rating: 9/10

Published by Spectra


 
 

Categories: 9/10, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult     Comments (0)    



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