He came to stop it, she came to win it. The tournament will change their lives forever. If they survive.
If you readily frighten, you should never learn fencing.
- Liechtenauer's Verses, Von Danzig Fechtbuch - 1452
As a champion longsword fencer, Jack Fischer receives many invitations to tournaments, but none like this: few details, no return address and thousands of dollars in cash that is his to keep whether he accepts or not. He wants nothing to do with it until a multi-national task force recruits him to help bring down the organizers, a society of modern duelists who fight to the death for the gratification of wealthy patrons.
Surrounded by opulence, glamour, and the respect of powerful benefactors, Jack finds himself fighting the desire to prove himself in combat and vindicate his life's work. His loyalties are further strained when he meets Frederica, a woman whose skill with a sword rivals his own. Struggling with a disease that is ravaging her body, she has come to the tournament to win the means to pay for her treatment or to die trying.
But underneath the pomp, the lofty ideals, and promised wealth, neither the tournament nor its organizers are what they seem, and Jack is forced to face an impossible choice between love, self-preservation, and honor in a place where the only truth worth finding may lie in a pool of his own blood.
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If you are a fan of the first Die Hard movie you will really like this book.
Solid quality and great performance by the narrator. His voice was steady and had some life and expression but not too much to get on your nerves.
The Talhoffer Society boasts a very unique topic - it pits european martial arts and culture vs asian martial arts and culture. It is very intriguing to listen to because it provides an insight into a mind of a modern day martial artist. He seeks validation of his fighting techniques and abilities, an unusual concept in modern day and age where people are not as involved in martial arts. Naturally, the main character becomes an unwanted participant in a hurricane of events. He is forced into making choices that would have unforeseen permanent consequences on his life. The book both educates the reader and guides him on an action adventure. The author has rich knowledge of the subject as is shown by excerpts from historical fencing manuals, combat and training description.
My favourite character is Boris. He gets the most character development in the course of the story. He gets to deal with difficult moral issues and resolve them on his own through a lot of inner struggle.
Fight scene of Jack and Marone. It is very psychologically intense part of the book for many reasons. Also it is main character's first encounter with mortality.
This book is brutally honest towards european martial arts. Since the whole branch of it is so young and so much has been lost in ages compared to kendo and other martial arts, the practitioners are faced with ridicule or misunderstanding. What really moved me was the fact how difficult it is to get a recognition and be taken seriously in a growing art like that.
Also, very graphic description of MS symptoms. The author makes a lot of philosophical points along the way of showing the progression of the disease in an afflicted person. It certainly raises awareness to the issue.
I would definitely recommend this book.
Great Story kept me listening.
- Logan Ferromann