Sky of Swords
A Tale of the King's BladesBook - 2000
A Sky of Swords hangs in Ironhall -- a testament to the courage, breathtaking skill, and enduring faithfulness of the Blades of Chivial, mighty swordsmen bound by magic to defend their noble wards to the death.
The Princess Malinda was a lonely and unloved child growing into young womanhood in the cold, intrigue-ridden court of King Ambrose. At an early age she learned to fight for what was rightfully hers. But even her great courage and matchless wits could not withstand her father's treacheries.
A female -- and therefore a useless ornament in Ambrose's eyes -- Malinda can do nothing but submit when her father offers her to the most notorious pirate ever to sail the seas, in order to end an inconvenient war. But then the King dies abruptly. And suddenly the crown sits uncertainly on the head of his sickly infant son, Amby, with Malinda standing bravely at the babe-liege's side as heir and protector in the face of the insidious plottings, of traitorous would-be usurpers.
Civil war is Chivial's grim destiny, as Malinda -- now Queen -- desperately searches for a way to preserve her rule and her realm. In this bloody labyrinth of schemes and betrayals, the few stalwarts whom she can be sure of are the Blades of the Royal Guard-each one bound to absolute loyalty by the magical ritual of a sword stroke through the heart. These are men-the only men-she can trust to the death.
But the Blades themselves are in grave peril, as the people rise up against them. And with a rebel army marching on Ironhall -- the fabled school that turns unwanted rebellious boys into the finest swordsmen in the known worldQueen Malinda. must make the most crucial decision of her life: a choice that will either redeem her kingdom from chaos...or bring ultimate destruction down upon it, her Blades, and herself.