Why I read this book: Dave Duncan is my favorite author.
Did I enjoy it: Yes. A fun story, enjoyable characters, and great pacing.
What I learned from it: In a similar vein to “The Name of the Wind,” this book features a main narrator telling stories, making it like a compilation of short stories. But like the Usual Suspects, through the whole thing, our narrator is dropping hints that we should be getting, and when past and present collide by the end, we realize what’s been set up. That presents an interesting idea.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Gilded Chain is part of a 3-part series where each book is essentially a “stand-alone” with overlapping characters. However, depending on the order you read them, you’ll have a different take on them. A character that seems like an awesome nice guy in one book may come across as cold and heartless in another.
To focus specifically on this book: Each chapter is essentially a separate short story following the varied exploits of Sir Durandel, a master swordsman and servant of the realm. Each story is only partially related to the one before it, but together they weave the picture of Durandel’s life. The beginning of each chapter follows a separate POV (Lord Roland) in the future up to the point when the short stories catch up to present.
The magic (and indeed the world itself) isn’t terribly original or groundbreaking, but they still set the stage for a lot of great adventure. This story really comes to life with the deep and fun characterization painted on even the bit players in the ongoing tale of our hero. Throughout the story, the author drops hints that connect story of the chapter with the ongoing meta-story that takes place in the present… And the finale ties together all of these pieces for an exciting climax.