The Cardinal’s Blades by Pierre Pevel

The Cardinal’s Blades book cover
Rating 7.4/10
A rollicking good read: part fantasy, part travel guide.

Enter into the world of 1633 Paris, where dragons live and want to rule the world. Honestly, it seems to me that this would have been how the real 1633 Paris should have been like, but sadly wishes are not horses.

The Cardinal’s Blades, written by Pierre Pevel, is the English translation of the book Les Lames du Cardinal, and is a rollicking good read, as long as you don’t mind a book that is one part fantasy book one part Lonely Planet travel guide to 1633 Paris.

That is, sadly, the one takeaway from this book. If you happen to live in Paris or have been there several times, then this book is no doubt full of little signposts which tell you exactly where you are. For the remaining 99 percent of us who haven’t, the entire book leaves you skipping large sections of description and detail as Pevel takes you wandering through the streets and neighbouring countryside of Paris. 

This is a disappointment, because I am very anxious to read the second book in the series, ‘The Alchemist in the Shadows’.

The Cardinal’s Blades starts out slowly, showing you into the lives of half a dozen or more perspectives before you finally get the story underway. When it does though, minus the scenery, the story is spellbinding and captivating. Good old fashioned swordplay and early gun fights makes for action scenes which have you hanging on to the edge of your seat, and the intrigue which is going on behind the scenes leaves you constantly trying to work out who is who, who did what and why did they do that?

Pevel writes well, there is no doubt about that. I only picked up all the threads within a few dozen pages of the end of the book, and was impressed with the last cliffhanger that made me even more desirous for the second book in the series. The use of historical Paris with fantasy elements like dragons, and the creative way which he has bred the dragons into his universe is magical, and I would recommend this book to anyone.

But with that one caveat; hope to heavens you want to know a bit about Paris, because you don’t have a choice in the matter.

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I honestly loved this book but in Paris, he never seemed to describe enough about where you were and what was happening.

7.2/10 from 2 reviews

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