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Assassini #01: The Fallen Bladeby Jon Courtenay Grimwood
Synopses & Reviews
Venice is at the height of its power. In theory Duke Marco commands. But Marco is a simpleton, so his aunt and uncle rule in his stead. Within the Serene Republic, their word is law, but for all their influence, Venicea (TM)s fate still lies in other hands . . .
Lady Giulietta is the Dukea (TM)s cousin. She enjoys greater privilege than many can even dream of, but her status will demand a terrible price.
Atilo Il Mauros is head of the Assassini, the shadow army that enforces Venicea (TM)s will a both at home and abroad.
Prince Leopold is the bastard son of the German emperor and leader of the krieghund a the only force in Venice more feared than Atiloa (TM)s assassins.
And then there is Atiloa (TM)s angel-faced apprentice. Only a boy, Tycho is already stronger and faster than any man has a right to be. He can see in the dark, but sunlight burns him. It is said that he drinks blood.
Customs officers board a galley in a harbor and overpower its guards. In the hold they find oil and silver, and a naked boy chained to the bulkhead. The officers break the boy's chains to rescue him, but he escapesa ] Duke Alonzo commands the seas, taxes his colonies, and, like every duke before him, fears assassins better than his own. In a side chapel, Alonzo's thirteen-year old cousin prays for deliverance from her forced marriage. When Moorish pirates break in to steal a chalice, they kidnap her and demand ransom from the Duke. As day dawns, Marco, the Duke's chief assassin, prepares to kill the man who let in the pirates. Having cut the traitor's throat, he turns back, and finds a stranger crouched over the man, drinking blood from the wound. The speed with which the boy dodges a dagger and scales a pillar stuns Marco, and the assassin knows he has to find the boy a " he's finally found what he thought he would never find. Someone fit to be his apprentice.
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