The Boy with the Porcelain Blade by Den Patrick. Photo taken by Selina Shapland, 2015
The Boy with the Porcelain Blade is a story filled with sword fights, political intrigue and action that places the reader in a gothic setting.
Den Patrick weaves together two time lines of the same character, Lucien de Fontein to create an intriguing fantasy that will have you turning the pages to figure out the mysteries his uncovering.
Lucien de Fontein is an Orfano, which means that he is one of the King's chosen. He has a deformity that sets him apart, as do all Orfano. As a student he can only fight with a porcelain blade until the time of successfully passing his testing.
Lucien must overcome the torment of the Superiore as he faces his final testing. Tested from the age of 8 through to 18. If he were to fail any one of these tests he could face expulsion and life as an exile. This is something that Lucien is keen to avoid.
The story takes you through alternating chapters from Lucien de Fontein's first testing at 8 years old up to the age of 18. One stream of the story follows 8 year old Lucien and his adventures of learning the ways of the castle of Demesne, his classes in sword play, history, biology etc and his development into the man we meet at the start of the story.
The other stream of the story follows Lucien de Fontein (age 18) after he is exiled as he discovers a terrible truth about the Majordomo who rules the four houses on behalf of the reclusive king and how the Orfani are birthed.
Lucien de Fontein is a reluctant hero who faces impossible odds to save the woman that he loves and defeat all manner of evil, while dodging marriage advances from the aristocracy at the same time. He is attacked from many sides and has to fight for his life and to reveal the terrible truth hidden in plain sight.
Deep in the castle of Demesne, the reclusive king keeps a terrible secret and that is exactly where Lucien must go to set things right.
Den Patrick has created a fascinating reluctant hero with complex layers of emotion and a world filled with political intrigue. The detail of his description of dress sets a mood of gothic historical romance and helps to paint a picture in your mind of this period-like fantasy world.
The Boy with the Porcelain Blade is an excellent story and worth reading if you love action, adventure, a sense of wonder in this fantasy realm, a dash of mystery and romance.