Cover image for Paragon lost : a chronicle of the King's Blades
Paragon lost : a chronicle of the King's Blades
Duncan, Dave, 1933-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Eos, 2002.
Physical Description:
348 pages ; 24 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.0 19.0 87304.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Science Fiction/Fantasy

On Order



Over time, many legends have emerged from the shadows of Ironhall. Now one new Blade towers above his brother in arms: Sir Beaumont. His heart is the strongest and most pure and his mind is as keen, swift, and accurate as his sword. A glorious future seems predestined for young Beau on the day he sets out in the service and company of the elderly Lord Wassail, on a mission to escort King Athelgar's chosen bride to her new home and royal wedding.

But the road is not to be an easy one, for it winds through the harsh and frozen domain of the evil Czar Igor, who cows his subjects with a steady diet of terror, brutality, and the blackest of magics. And when polite diplomacy gives way to horror and blood, Sir Beaumont becomes one of the tragedy's prime victims -- though he lives still.

Stripped of his sword and banished from the Blades in disgrace, he faces a grim future as a homeless pariah, a creature to be shunned and despised. But redemption can come from unexpected directions and in unrecognizable guises. Approached in secret by the legendary Durendal, now Grand Master of the Order, the dishonored paragon is offered one last chance to win back his weapon and his place among his brother Blades. But to do so, he must ride back through the icy gates of Hell ... to battle the Devil himself.

Author Notes

Dave Duncan was born in Scotland in 1933. He graduated from the University of St. Andrews in 1955 and moved to Canada. He worked for 31 years as a geologist in the petroleum industry. He started writing novels in 1984 and became a full-time author in 1986. He has written over 40 novels including the series The Seventh Sword, A Man of His Word, A Handful of Men, The King's Blades, The Great Game, Years of Longdirk, King's Daggers, and Seventh Sword. He has also written under the names Sarah B. Franklin and Ken Hood.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The King's Blades swing on in the fourth chronicle of their adventures. Principal adventurer this time is Sir Beaumont, a paragon indeed until he is sent to escort Princess Isabelle out of Czar Igor's clutches. Unfortunately, Igor has designs on the secrets of the King's Blades as well as on Isabelle, but, of course, honor, love, and good sense dictate that Sir Beaumont defend both secrets and lady to the end. By the end, we have enjoyed a tightly written, rather Dumas-like story, lighthearted at times but never frivolous or dumb, adequately filled out by the lay, not to mention the layings, of the campaign against Igor. If Duncan hasn't already got a serious reputation for humorous fantasy and strong female characters, this book ought to cement it for him. Followers of the King's Blades will be well pleased and perhaps grow in numbers. --Roland Green

Publisher's Weekly Review

Canadian author Duncan offers plenty of swashbuckling fantasy adventure in this outstanding stand-alone novel, a follow-up to the three books in his loosely connected Tales of the King's Blades series (The Gilded Chain; Lord of the Fire Lands; Sky of Swords). Set during the reign of King Athelgar about a dozen years after the action of the previous volumes, the present story follows the binding of Sir Beaumont, one of the best of the King's Blades (swordsmen) in the land of Chivial, to the aged Lord Wassail, who must escort a royal princess from the court of the treacherous and insane Czar Igor and deliver a bride to the king. Along with fellow blades Arkell and Oak, Beaumont travels a narrow path in order to keep Wassail safe. Meanwhile, Igor desires his own blade and seeks the secrets of the rituals needed to gain one, aided by vicious ensorcelled dogs and the murderous strelsy. It's up to Beaumont, now disgraced and out of favor, to retrieve and stop a missing blade, Swithin, who's bound to the czar's brother-in-law, from reaching the czar's court. Rich, evocative language and superior narrative skills lift this mix of quest, swordplay, politics, love and honor high above the usual run of genre fiction. This book can only enhance Duncan's reputation as one of the leading masters of epic fantasy. (Oct. 8) FYI: Duncan is also the author of Sir Stalwart and other titles in the King's Daggers series. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Bound by magic to serve the King or one of his chosen nobles, the King's Blades represent the epitome of loyalty and swordsmanship. Only Beaumont, once the finest Blade, brings disgrace to his calling. Duncan's latest installment in his popular "Tales of the King's Blades" series (The Gilded Chain; Lord of the Fire Lands; Sky of Swords) relates the truth behind the life and career of Ned Cookson, formerly Sir Beaumont of the King's Blades. Swashbuckling action and fantasy adventure add spice to a story of one man's struggle to find his own meaning of loyalty and courage. Recommended for most collections, particularly where the series is in demand. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Paragon Lost A Chronicle of the King's Blades Chapter One At Gossips' Corner "Isabelle!" Mistress Snider screeched. "Are you deaf?" Isabelle was not deaf, but she would have had good cause to be, working in this kitchen. On one side of her Nel was chopping up salt pork with a hatchet, on the other Ed pounded dried fish with a mallet--it took hours of pounding and soaking to make it even close to edible. At her back, Lackwit was powdering salt just as loudly. Lids danced and clattered on boiling pots, the pump handle squeaked, drudges were rattling sea coal into the great brick ovens and raking out ashes. The door, left open to admit cool air and flies, led to the stable yard where the farrier was shoeing a horse. Deaf? Not at all. "And what're you doing with all that cinnamon?" The old harpy waxed louder and shriller. Mistress Snider was tall and stooped, tapering from grotesquely wide hips up to a small, mean face shriveled around a beak nose. "I am making a dipping sauce as you told me to!" Isabelle shouted back. "Cameline sauce, with ginger and raisins and nuts, with cinnamon and pepper, but how you expect me to do it with no cloves, no cardamon--" "Not so much cinnamon! You think we're made of money here? Stale bread and vinegar, that's what makes a sauce, girl. Use up some of those herbs before they rot completely. A man wants you! A gentleman is asking for your husband." The old horror canted her head to peer at Isabelle with one glittery eye, oozing dislike. "And be quick back. I need that sauce done right. And soon!" With difficulty, Isabelle held back some truths as unpalatable as Mistress Snider's food. The woman skimped ridiculously, but all Chivians tried to get by with inferior ingredients smothered in peppery sauces. In Isilond, one began with a good piece of meat and used only enough seasoning to bring out its natural flavor. She wiped her hands on her apron. "Yes, mistress." "He's waiting in the King's Room. You hurry back. Don't expect me to pay you when you're not working." No, Isabelle would be paying her for the privilege of speaking with a potential client. She set off on the perilous trek to the door, watching out for scavenging dogs and people hurrying with hot pans, for her balance was not as certain as it used to be. Fortunately, the baby never made her nauseated, although she lived in that horrible kitchen from before dawn until after nightfall. She had nightmares of giving birth there. But a gentleman looking for Beau might mean a client and real wages, instead of the pittance he earned in the yard by day and serving beer at night. Leaving the reek of boiling cabbage, she went into the big taproom with its smoky fog of yeast, people, and cheap candles. Gossips' Corner was, first and last, a tavern, where beer flowed like water--"and for good reason," Beau said. Located in the heart of Grandon, not far from Greymere Palace, Gossips' Corner was a universally recognized address for people to rendezvous or leave messages or even dine, although Isabelle could never understand why anyone who had any choice should choose to do that. It offered rooms by the night or the week or the hour--she and Beau lived there, in a garret five floors up. It provided music and singing and gambling. Those who sought to buy a horse, hire a servant, pick pockets, or contract odd jobs could usually be accommodated. The City Watch, bought off by Master Snider, turned blind eyes to shadier services: girl or boy companions in the rooms, sinister conjurations not offered by honest elementaries, recovery of recently stolen goods, collection of debts, or other forms of assault. Today the taproom was as noisy as the kitchen, with a dozen carpenters competing in hammering. Riots were commonplace in Gossips' Corner, but last week's had been unusually vigorous, climaxing in a party of public-spirited Baelish sailors attempting to burn the place down. The King's Room was a cubicle for private conversation. Furnished with a timber table and two benches, it was just as cramped and pungent as the taproom outside, but the pebbly glass in its diamond-pane windows let in a fair light. The solitary occupant rose as she entered, an unexpected courtesy. A gentleman, certainly. His hose, doublet, and skirted jerkin were of fine stuff and beautifully tailored--not quite in the latest mode sported by court dandies, but quite acceptable on an older man--and his knee-length cloak was a magnificent gold brocade, trimmed with a collar of soft brown fur that tapered all the way down the edges. Yet he was clean-shaven, in defiance of current fashion, and the silver hair visible below his halo bonnet seemed clumsily cut. He bore his years well, standing straight and tall. He bowed. "Lady Beaumont? Good chance to you, my lady." Isabelle shut the door. "I am Mistress Cookson, may it please your lordship." People who claimed a rank above their station could land in the stocks. Was he one of the King's spies? He pursed his lips in disapproval. "Then pray be seated, mistress. I do believe we have business to discuss. And if you are to be Mistress Cookson, then I shall remain Master Harvest for the nonce. May I offer you some wine, or order some other refreshment?" He would have paid dearly for the bottle of Snider's best that stood on the table with four goblets. Isabelle declined the wine, but she did sit down, determined to get her money's worth. The Sniders would dock half her day's pay for allowing her a few minutes to meet with this man under their roof, despite having charged him for the use of the room. The man not-named-Harvest returned to his bench and studied her with coal-dark eyes . . . Paragon Lost A Chronicle of the King's Blades . Copyright © by Dave Duncan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Paragon Lost by Dave Duncan All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

I At Bossips' Cornerp. 1
II The Jronhall Roadp. 17
III The Sport of Kingsp. 45
IV The Sport of Czarsp. 94
V The Road to Morkutap. 172
VI Journey's Endp. 219
VII The Stolen Bladep. 271
VIII Paragon Regainedp. 310