A Dark Historical Fantasy: THE FALLEN BLADE by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

Cover for The Fallen Blade, a hooded figure on a bridgeJon Courtenay Grimwood is a familiar name to SF fans; the author of ten previous novels, he’s been nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke award twice and the British Science Fiction Association award no less than seven times, winning twice.

For his eleventh novel, Jon decided to strike out in a fresh direction and write a historical fantasy novel. And where better to set the story than in the endlessly fascinating city of Venice?

As Jon himself explains: ‘It’s a cliché to say Venice is the city of sex and death but it is. Venice is dying and has been dying for over a thousand years. It’s layered with history, one era on top of another. And it’s made with pillars and windows and statues stolen from other cities the Venetians looted. To write Venice I just had to open my eyes and carry a notebook.’

The result of Jon’s three trips to Venice, hours spent pouring over dusty old maps and many months of writing, is THE FALLEN BLADE (UK | US | ANZ): a dark, gritty tale of passion and politics in 15th-century Venice – a powerful city with powerful enemies.

Duke Marco has the throne, but his ruthless aunt and uncle rule in his stead, scheming against their enemies and each other. The pawn at the heart of their struggle is the duke’s young cousin, Lady Giulietta. When she is abducted by Mamluk pirates, it is an outrage that will trigger war.

As the German emperor and Mamluk sultan gather their forces against the city, Venice is heading for a battle it will surely lose. Its only hope lies in a mysterious boy possessed of inhuman strength and speed – and a past wrapped in mystery.


Gritty, grimy, decadent and compelling” – SUNDAY TIMES

“His Venice is a dangerous place of dank, cut-throat malevolence, peopled by leap-off-the-page characters . . . a page-turning read” – GUARDIAN

“Dark and majestic” – FINANCIAL TIMES

“Grimwood creates a fascinating world and involving characters – most importantly, he makes us want to read the next two volumes of the trilogy” – INDEPENDENT

“The writing is elegant, the dialogue is sharp, the characters economically but well drawn, the action unrelenting” – SCI-FI NOW

THE FALLEN BLADE is out now in mass market paperback in the UK and ANZ, and in trade format in the US. The second novel in the Assassini trilogy, THE OUTCAST BLADE, will be published in May.

Jon Courtenay Grimwood can be found online at his website, as well as on Twitter.