Review: Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner


“Let the fairy tale begin on a winter’s morning, then, with one drop of blood new-fallen on the ivory snow: a drop as bright as a clear-cut ruby, red as the single spot of claret on the lace cuff. And it therefore follows that evil lurks behind each broken window, scheming malice and enchantment; while behind the latched shutters the good are sleeping their just sleeps at this early hour in Riverside. Soon they will arise to go about their business; and one, maybe, will be as lovely as the day, armed, as are the good, for a predestined triumph…”

So opens Swordspoint, subtitled A Melodrama of Manners, the first novel set in the fictional world containing the City with its neighborhood Riverside, long ago abandoned by the nobility and now the home of the city’s more disreputable citizens—such as swordsmen.

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