Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner

I was about halfway through this book before I realized it was a sequel of sorts to Kushner's Swordspoint, which I had read back in the late 80s when it was published. I couldn't remember much about it other than the fact that I'd enjoyed it, and I was too excited to see what happened to stop reading this and pick up the first one - which is saying something, because normally I'm such a stickler about reading things in order.

The setting is the city of Riverside, where our heroine, Katherine, is sent to live with her uncle. She had envisioned going to the city and attending lavish parties wearing lovely gowns, maybe even falling in love - but her uncle has other plans for her. Known as the Mad Duke Tremontaine, he has decided that it would be far more amusing to have her trained up to become an expert at swordsmanship. And because her mother is in the duke's debt, Katherine has little choice. She finds herself thrust into a world of political intrigue, duels, and swordplay, and the more she learns of her uncle, the more she wonders about the truth behind his often outrageous behavior.

This was a wonderful read - fantasy writing at its best - with rich world-building, complex characters, and an exciting, fast-paced plot. Katherine is an admirable, endearing heroine who will appeal to fans of Graceling and Sorcery and Cecelia. I'm looking forward to returning to the city of Riverside when I go back to reread the first book, Swordspoint.

Books in The Swords of Riverside series:
1. Swordspoint
2. The Privilege of the Sword

The Privilege of the Sword (#2 in The Swords of Riverside series) by Ellen Kushner (Bantam Books, 2006)


  1. I am hoping to get to this trilogy in 2014. I am thinking audios. I have heard they are good.

    1. I bet these would be fun on audio. I have been meaning to go back and reread the first one, but now that you mention it, I'll look for the audiobook!

  2. I read this when it came out and remember that I loved the world building but didn't really connect with the characters. I didn't know it was part of a series... I should have guessed though, everything is part of a series. grrrr

    1. Josh - It's more of a related book than a series book per se - new POV character and perspective, but yeah, everything IS part of a series, isn't it?


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