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    Review of THE JAGUAR KNIGHTS by Dave Duncan


    EOS, October 2004

    Wolf was the ugliest of the King's Blades. If that wasn't bad enough, he was also the King's least favorite. Which meant he got the very worst of the jobs the King had to offer. Because of the magic of the 'binding' he couldn't refuse. When a strange and impossible invasion of a remote castle results in the kidnapping of the King's former mistress, Wolf is sent to investigate--along with the beautiful but dangerous Dolores Hogwood, a professional spy and informer.

    The invaders corpses (since there were King's Blades defending the ex-mistress, there were corpses left behind) matched vague descriptions of a distant land--similar to Aztec Mexico of the 16th century. But no ship had carried them to Chivial--if appearances are to be believed, they came by magic. And that scale of magic could make the difference in their nation's survival. Wolf, along with Hogwood and a small band are sent to the new world to investigate.

    The story bogs down a bit in the part of Mexico occupied by Distlain (Spanish) who were making war on the native Yazotlan. With the traditional emnity between Chivial and Distlain, an alliance might benefit both nations--especially if Wolf and Hogwood can discover the secret to the Yazotlan magic.

    Author Dave Duncan (see more reviews of novels by Dave Duncan) tells an engaging alternate history story. If their magic had worked, would the Aztec (Yazotlan) have survived Cortez's invasion--and formed an alliance with Spain's European enemies? If so, would that magic have been spread to Europe? The character Wolf is sympathetic and interesting--but Hogwood is really the more interesting character in this story--I would have liked to see more of her, learned more of her background and discovered what made her tick.

    Fans of the KING'S BLADES series and of alternate history will definitely want to add THE JAGUAR KNIGHTS to their collection.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 2/16/05

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