Dave Duncan’s Impossible Odds is the latest in his King’s Blades series, and while I haven’t liked that series as well as Duncan’s other work, I very much liked this installment.

Impossible Odds, like the previous novel in the series, Paragon Lost , is a stand-alone novel. The protagonists haven’t appeared in previous books in the series, their story isn’t connected to previous goings-on, and they quickly travel out of Chivial to parts foreign — in this case, a small quasi-Germanic state with the unfortunate name of Krupina.

The politics of Krupina motivate much of the book’s complex and twisty plot. Power there is shared between a Grand Duke and the Provost of the sorcerous military brotherhood of Vamky — until suddenly it’s not so much shared any more, and the Grand Duke flees to Chivial to beg for help. From there, the plot takes twist after twist, as double-crossers engage in triple-crosses, dueling factions thwart each other’s plans, and (if I might sound for a moment like I’m writing cover copy) nothing is quite what it appears.

After Paragon Lost, I’d hoped that Duncan would move on to writing a fresher series; but with Impossible Odds, he managed to freshen things up without leaving his Blades behind. This is top-notch fantasy adventure of the sort Duncan excels at, and highly recommended.


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