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Jon Courtenay Grimwood

Assassini, book 2

Orbit (2012)

ISBN: 9780316074421

Reviewed by Ben Julien

Spoiler alert!

The Outcast Blade is the second of a trilogy (Fallen Blade being the first book), an alternate history set in late medieval Venice. A fantasy novel, its focus is the city itself, the imagined politics of the ruling Millioni family (scions of Marco the Polo) and its Council of Ten and the Assassini, a secretive brotherhood of agents run by the Duke’s Blade – his spymaster, master assassin and bloody go-to guy.

The lead character is Tycho, described as a fallen angel, of the first race who shun the sunlight and drink blood from their victims to satisfy their hunger and enhance their considerable abilities. Yes, this is a vampire story, though not overtly and Tycho’s genetic heritage isn’t the only focus of the narrative, though the inclusion of other fantasy tropes (werewolves (krieghund) and witches (stregoi)) did jar a bit at first.

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