The Fallen Blade: Act One of the Assassini (The Vampire Assassin Trilogy)
Jon Courtenay Grimwood
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Venice in the early fifteenth century 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, Venice's fate still lies in other hands . . .
Lady Giulietta is the Duke'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 Venice's will - both at home and abroad.
Prince Leopold zum Bas Friedland is the bastard son of the German emperor and leader of the krieghund - the only force in Venice more feared than Atilo's assassins.
And then there is Atilo'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.
Award-winning author Jon Courtenay Grimwood seamlessly blends history, politics and dark fantasy in a compelling vision of a Venice that might have been.
hers before stepping back. “I’m going to the palace for a few hours. Nothing important.” “You’re Ten, now…” Atilo regarded his victory over the German fleet as far more important than anything that might come from talking with nine other men. But this was Venice. Although Duke Marco IV owned the Istrian coast from Austria to Byzantium, his court looked inwards instinctively, being interested in their own reflection. The briefest glimpse of lovers, seen through the window of a candlelit room
I should try,” said Theodore. “Or leave it for someone else?” “Someone else.” He nodded sadly. “You don’t mind if I say something?” “No,” Atilo said. “You should ask yourself why the chalice was left. If her abductors took the ring and took her why did they leave this?” “The Mamluks?” “If it was them.” “What have you heard?” Atilo’s voice was sharp. “I’ve heard nothing,” said Patriarch Theodore gently. “And what I suspect cannot be revealed without breaking the seal of confession. You
manners. Italian. All that Desdaio teaches him. He’s even starting to learn to write.” “You don’t like him.” Captain Roderigo said this as a fact. “I don’t trust him, my lord. And Desdaio watches him,” he said carefully. “I used to think she was afraid of him. Now I’m not sure. They spend a lot of time together.” “Desdaio and the slave?” “Lady Desdaio, the slave, sometimes Amelia,” said Iacopo, forcing a worried smile. “Hours alone in the piano nobile while Atilo is away. And the slave
Desdaio, with the fervour of a rich woman who believes she is now poor. “Moonlight hurts me,” Tycho said. “That’s the sun.” “A different kind of pain.” Desdaio looked at him doubtfully. Moving closer, she seemed surprised he kept the candle between them. “I have things to tell you. And I want to sit.” “On my mattress?” “Do you see a chair?” She smelt of roses and sweet wine, an undertaste of sweat, and a musk Tycho loved, loathed and found addictive. Every woman in the city between fifteen
would. There must be a mistake. What can he have done that is so bad?” The nobles began looking at their wives. Everyone knew patrician women sometimes had affairs with servants. Young wives with old husbands had to find comfort somewhere. As did women married to men more interested in men. Sometimes the wives were simply bored, or married to weak men who accepted it. A few women ended poisoned, returned to their fathers or locked in their rooms. Mostly, the servants were found floating with