Kirsten Reviews: Swords and Scoundrels by Julia Knight
Swords and Scoundrels by Julia Knight
The Duellists Trilogy #1
Two siblings. Outcasts for life.... together. What could possibly go wrong?
Vocho and Kacha are champion duelists: a brother and sister known for the finest swordplay in the city of Reyes. Or at least they used to be-until they were thrown out of the Duelist's Guild.
As a last resort, they turn reluctant highwaymen. But when they pick the wrong carriage to rob, their simple plans to win back fame and fortune go south fast.
After barely besting three armed men and a powerful magician, Vocho and Kacha make off with an immense locked chest. But the contents will bring them much more than they've bargained for when they find themselves embroiled in a dangerous plot to return an angry king to power....
Swords and Scoundrels is the first book in The Duelist's Trilogy -- a tale of death, magic, and family loyalty.
Swords and Scoundrels by Julia Knight (aka Francis Knight) begins the Duelists Trilogy and is the sort of fantasy book that will appeal to anyone who feels the lack of brother-sister teams in the genre.
Vocho and Kacha are champion duelists, a brother and sister who were once known throughout the city of Reyes for their exceptional swordplay. At least, they were, before they were tossed out of the Duelist’s Guild. Left without any other option, they decided, reluctantly, to become highwaymen, but all this changes when they decide to rob the wrong carriage and their plans to easily find their fame and fortune take an unexpected turn.
They are able to overcome several heavily-armed men and a powerful magician, escaping with a large locked chest, but as is often the case, the contents of the chest will bring them more trouble than they ever wanted, and involve them in the plot to return a king to the throne.
This plot drives the story and so does the relationship between the siblings, both of whom want to be the best duelist, and there is a bit of friction between Kacha, the older sister, and Vocho, who often feels that he’s overshadowed by his disciplined sister. But, no matter how much they might quarrel with each other, the siblings stick together, and anyone who tries to hurt one of them will have to watch out for the other.
This loyalty has been already tested as they rose through the ranks of the Duelist’s Guild and the events of this book and the others in the trilogy promise to create further challenges for Kacha and Vocho.
For the most part the worldbuilding is solid with accessible dialogue , although in some places it could be expanded upon, and the next books offer that opportunity. Of note, the siblings’ perspectives are the most interesting, and although showing the other side of the story is necessary at times, it can’t quite hold the attention as that of Kacha and Vocho. Readers looking for a fantasy world with a pair of siblings who don’t hesitate to draw their swords or throw a punch will enjoy the first installment in this trilogy.