Saturday, March 28, 2009

Book Review: The Fencing Master

Following Knifestorm's recommendation I just finished reading The Fencing Master by Arturo Perez-Reverte. What can I say? It is indeed a great book. Very unusual too. I started to read it expecting a history novel, but it turned out to be much more than that. Don't get me wrong, there were duels, romance and fencing (a lot of fencing), but all that was just an entourage to a story about a man who had chosen to live by the code of honor which belonged to the past and refused to adapt to realities of a new era. Not surprisingly, he got hit hard and merciless by these realities, his friends abused his trust and he got unwillingly and unknowingly tangled into a murderous plot. But he was still able to find that inner strength which allowed him to preserve his world and his honor, while everything else around him came to ruin...

If you decide to buy the book, please, do it through this book store.
Thank you!


Ren said...

If you haven't done so yet then you should definitely check out George R. R Martin's fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, which starts with the book A Game of Thrones.

As the viewpoint changes form chapter to chapter so does who you are rooting for, as there are no "goodies" or "baddies", just different participants in an intricate plot in which everyone has a different perspective and motivation. A more mature look take of the genre, and it avoids many of the common trappings of fantasy novels.

Great story, great characters, a great setting and a great read!

Knifestorm said...

The protagonist in Arturo Perez-Reverte's books often end up with less at the end of the story than they had at the beginning - but they are wiser for the journey. I hope you found The Fencing Master to be worth your time.

I agree with Ren: the first books of the Song of Fire and Ice series are excellent. Too many fantasy books are just pale echos of Tolken, but Martin's books are different. The reader is dropped into a world with a history; an ancient history, a recent history, a political history, family histories, the works. Unfortunately I thought each book in the series was not as good as the ones that came before. Still, I'd recommend them.

Along the same lines as the Game of Thrones is The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie. It also is written from several points of view. It is not as ambitious as Martin's work but the characters are extremely well fleshed out. It is amazing how Ambercrombie makes each character a complete and interesting person. If you read this book you will find yourself sympathizing with even the most despicable characters. The fight scenes are interesting too because they are are well described and everybody leaves with wounds - in Abercrombie's world battle veterans all carry scars. (The Blade Itself is the first book of a trilogy which I have not yet finished, so I can't guarantee the other two books are as good).

Vaskor said...

Thank you for the recommendations, I'll check The Blade Itself.

I have already read George Martin's books and liked them very much. The only problem I have with these books is that the is no end. Just like Robert Jordan, he is simply writing an endless saga where people come and go. I prefer complete books where storyline is complete and has a meaning. The endless series sometime remind me of TV serials, and that's not good.

2006-2009 RuneWise, all rights reserved.
Reproducing or copying any material found on this page is not allowed.
Runescape is a trademark of Jagex 2000-2009 Andrew Gower