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Reviews for The Knight Marshal - Book 5 of the Silk & Steel Saga

5 stars - Loved This Book
December 7, 2013 - Posted on by Homer
I highly recommend this book to fantasy lovers who want great writing, great characters and great strategy, mixed with unexpected twists and turns in a plot that keeps on growing wider and wider.

I was planning to read The Knight Marshall over a week, but as I could not put it down, I finished it in one day. What a fantastic addition to the series. There are so many levels on which to discuss the book. On one level, Karen Azinger depicts the conflict between good and evil in a way that shows humans as insignificant, confronting overwhelming odds, and living in a universe that is callously indifferent. She somehow conveys this while presenting characters who refuse to accept that they do not count and should not try to do the impossible. The struggles of the warriors of Erdhe, both male and female, who continue fighting, no matter how desperate the odds, stand against the plots of the agents of the Dark Lord' especially the arrogance and insatiable power-hunger of the most powerful dark agent of all, the unstoppable Mordant, as he plans his ultimate domination of all the kingdoms of Erdhe.

Against this background, there are the brilliantly portrayed characters - each one so heartbreakingly real, so present on the page, that I was drawn into their lives as individuals, and the struggles and despairs that each confronts. The agonies of love, betrayal, and loss, alongside the courage of those who will not give up, is compelling. The complexity continues to increase ! The battle strategies are intricate, and the presence of the black sword is especially intriguing. The struggle the Knight Marshall faces, having to choose between defeat of the Octagon knights, or using a weapon he knows is corrupt, is brilliant, twisted, and ominous.

I continue to find the women characters in this series unique. I cannot remember another fantasy writer who has created such complex and amazing female characters - and they keep on evolving in ways that are so unexpected. I even find myself rooting for the Priestess, and she is as wicked as they come.

Kudos to this author!! I can't wait till the next book.

5 stars - Marshall yourself for some GREAT fantasy
Dec 23, 2013 - Posted on by The Gnome 
Azinger has done it again. Such a fully realized world were not only do BATTLES count but so does cunning and riches. As Kath and her allies up North try to figure out what to do after a win that feels so bitterly won. The south must cope with a LOSS that must be overcome. And the forces of evil not only plot against good but also against each other. The only thing that truly concerns this Gnome is HOW Ms. Azinger is possibly going to wrap this all up in one final book. But we will eagerly await it also. :)

4 stars - The best book yet in the Silk and Steel Saga
February 24, 2014 - Posted on by Robert Williams
In my opinion The Knight Marshal is the best book yet of Karen Azinger's Silk and Steel Saga. Kath, the Steel Queen of the first book, features prominently. Azinger explores the tensions present when female warriors come to the fore in a male-dominated world. The powers of ancient magics and the struggle between good and evil preface the coming Battle Immortal. I am rating this book four stars rather than five because the editing, though better than in the previous books of the series, is still lacking, numerous typos detract from the otherwise excellent story. Whether its Kath experiencing life at sea, the Mordant practicing dark magic, or the Knight Marshal trying to decide whether its worth using the cursed sword as a last resort, Azinger's well developed characters and detailed descriptions draw you in to the story and make it feel as if you are there.

5 stars - 2 thumbs up
November 19, 2013 - Posted on by KindleQueen
Every book in the Silk & Steel series has been excellent but this may well be my favorite. The action never stops and this novel is as well written as all the previous books.Karen Azinger is becoming one of my favorite authors and I look forward to another installment in the series

5 stars - Excellent fantasy entertainment and perfect escapism!
December 5, 2013 - Posted on by "Seregil of Rhiminee"
The Knight Marshal is the fifth book of The Silk & Steel Saga. It gloriously continues the story that started in The Steel Queen and then continued in The Flame Priest, The Skeleton King and The Poison Priestess.

The Silk & Steel Saga was originally supposed to have ended with the fifth book, but the author decided to make sure that her readers get the whole story, so she decided to write six books. In my opinion this is an excellent decision, because now the readers and fans of this series have a chance to read what happens to all of the characters without leaving anything out of the story.

In my opinion The Silk & Steel Saga is an amazing fantasy series, because it's a shamelessly entertaining series (the author knows how to entertain her readers with the epic story and intriguing plot twists). In my opinion the story just keeps on getting better and better with each new book. The Knight Marshal is Karen Azinger's best book so far, because it surpasses all the previous books. There's much more at stake in this book than there was before, because the war and the Mordant's plots threaten to drown the whole world into darkness and chaos.

In The Poison Priestess the author told what happened in the southern part of the world and in The Skeleton King she told what happened in the northern part of the world. Now, in this book, she writes about what happens in both places and how all the pieces are moving towards the Battle Immortal.

In case somebody has forgotten what happened in the two previous books, here's a bit of information about them:

In The Skeleton King war threatened the kingdoms of Erdhe. The Mordant continued to do evil things in Bryce's body and the monk's soul suffered in a horrifying way. He entered into his own domain and faced the Trials of Return, which made him the ruler of the Dark Citadel and gave him the right to sit on the Ebony Throne. The Knight Marshal and the king went to investigate what happened at Cragnoth Keep, and the king still refused to believe her daughter. The king started to prepare for the forthcoming war. Kath and her companions continued their journey beyond the Dragon Spine Mountains and faced problems on the steppes. This book ended in a heart-breaking way.

In The Poison Priestess the events took place in the southern part of Erdhe. Liandra fought a desperate fight to save her kingdom from the dangerous army of The Flame God. She also had to deal with things that were happening inside her own kingdom. She received visitors from a distant place and suffered a personal loss. Steffan waged a brutal holy war against Lanverness, because he wanted to take the throne away from Liandra. Stewart fought against Steffan's army. Jordan left the monastery and saw horrible visions. The Priestess did several horrifying things and met her relatives...

Here's a bit of information about this book (I'll try to avoid spoilers):

At the beginning Lord Askal witnesses horrifying happenings aboard his ship, because the Mordant is on his ship. Bryce has to witness the Mordant's deeds. The Mordant creates horrifying abominations with his dark magic. Kath has lost somebody she loved very much. The Citadel feels like a trap for Kath and her companions, because winter has arrived to north. Zith begins to explore the Mordan't treasure, because he intends to find magical items. The knight marshal leads kingless men and decides not to let the Octagon fail. Blaine experiences unexpected pleasures and also fear in the Citadel. He also begins to hunt priests and acolytes. Juliana gets a message from her sister, Jordan, while she's on a ship. The Priestess delights herself with the knowledge that she has left death in her wake, and she has new plans. Megan, Queen of Navarre, suffers from bad nightmares caused by the poisoned feast and her wicked relative. Liandra is shocked by her son's secret. She wants to find the murderer of her baby. Jordan sees the shocking death of one of her relatives. Steffan meets the Priestess...

That's all I'll write about the story, because I don't want to spoil anybody's reading pleasure by writing too many revelations about the plot twists.

The Silk & Steel Saga is full of different plot threads. Karen Azinger manages to hold all the plot threads expertly in her hands and moves the story powerfully forward and shows how darkness tries to conquer the world. This book is an excellent example of how fascinatingly she writes about the plot threads.

Although The Silk & Steel Saga is traditional epic fantasy, it's more complex than several other traditional epic fantasy series. Karen Azinger belongs to a small group of fantasy authors who have restored my faith in traditional fantasy books. Her fantasy books are so good and entertaining that you can't help but praise them - they're fantastic books!

What amazes me most is the epic scope of this fantasy series. Since the beginning Karen Azinger has gradually managed to add more depth to the world of Erdhe and has also deepened the characters in each new book. She has created a vast fantasy world that's full of wonders, horrors and fascinating characters. There's an amazing amount of richness in this series and the author brings the world to life by writing about the different places and what the characters do. I have to mention that I'm impressed by the author's skillful worldbuilding and effortless character development.

The fast-paced action scenes in this book are perfect and the author never ceases to impress me with her fluent descriptions about them. She has an ability to write convincingly about them and all things related to them. She shows how bad the losses can be and how bitter the small victories may be, because losing knights isn't easy.

Karen Azinger writes wonderfully about the characters. Each character has a history of his/her own, and what they've done and what's happened to them affects their lives and decisions. This kind of character development is genuinely interesting, because the characters feel realistic. She doesn't lose sight of what's important to the readers and keeps all her characters - both the evil and the good characers - interesting.

I love the way Karen Azinger writes about the female characters. They're strong women, but they're also vulnerable, because they have feelings and sometimes it's difficult for them to be both women and fighters at the same time. They have to survive and they also have to be prepared to fight and defend others.

Reading about Liandra is wonderful, because she's one of the strongest female characters ever created in traditional fantasy books. In this book the author writes more about Liandra's secret relationship with her lover and she does it well. This adds a nice and interesting touch of romance to the epic storyline.

I also have to mention that I enjoyed reading about Kath, Jordan and the Priestess, because they're all well created female characters. The author writes fantastically about their lives and deeds, because all of them are three-dimensional and have feelings, desires and needs (and also ambition).

It was fascinating to read how Jordan got to witness the old family curse in action, because the result was shocking for everybody. It was also nice to read about Kath and her decisions, because she had to deal with the death of a loved one and it affected her actions. I can say that the scene in which Kath delivers justice is quite unforgettable and may come as a surprise for several readers.

I also have to mention that Karen Azinger writes fluently about the male characters and their problems, because the have to deal with feelings of honour and duty. The knight marshal is an especially interesting character, because he must fight a desperate war against the forces of evil.

The introduction is excellent, because the readers get to see how the Mordant creates evil beings with dark magic. I'm sure that all reader will be delighted with this dark scene, because the gorelabe is an unforgettable abomination. (Because I'm a big fan of dark fantasy, I enjoyed reading about the Mordant's evil deeds.)

The nature and mechanics of evil are explored fascinatingly in this book. The author already wrote fantastically about these things in the previous books, but now she writes about them in an even stronger and more addictive way than before. One of the best things about this series is that the author shows that the Mordant is able to turn Weapons of Light to Darkness and uses them against the forces of Light.

Some fantasy authors tend to focus mostly on the action and forget what's happening to the souls of the characters that fight against evil. Karen Azinger hasn't forgotten this and shows that even good men are easily tempted by evil and may become victims to evil. As an example I'll mention that it was fascinating to read how Baldwin was given the task of taking the corrupted blue steel sword to Eye Lake. The sword was a bad temptation to him, because he noticed that it has power and it can help him win battles. In my opinion the author writes exceptionally well about the temptation and its effects on a human mind, because Baldwin feels the power of the sword and can't resist it.

Karen Azinger writes boldly and sensually about sex, sexuality and erotic scenes. For example, the scene in which Blaine has sex with the servants is a sensual and surprisingly erotic scene. The sex scenes featuring the Priestess are also well and fluently written erotic scenes, because she's a woman who enjoys sex and uses it to her advantage.

Karen Azinger is also able to write brutal and shocking scenes that will surprise and also terrify the readers. These scenes demonstrate that she knows how to write good stories and doesn't shy away from difficult material. The chapters about Queen Megan are simply amazing, because they show what kind of a hold evil can have on a person and how horrible the consequences can be when nothing can be done to prevent the evil from taking control of your life.

Karen Azinger's vision of the battle between the forces of good and evil is amazingly vivid and unforgettable, because she shows what happens on both sides. There are several authors who only write about the happenings from one side, so it's nice that Karen Azinger has more ambition than other authors. She goes all the way and explores what happens to the good and the evil characters.

In my opinion Karen Azinger loves storytelling and wants to offer her readers an unforgettable story (I'm sure that everybody who reads her books will notice how much she loves storytelling). She has clearly spent lots of time creating the world of Erdhe and the characters, because her books and descriptions are full of details. She wants to give her readers a story that entertains, shocks, intrigues and hooks them and makes them want to find out what happens next.

This series is moving fast towards the final battle between the forces of light and darkness. The Knight Marshal sets the stage for the Battle Immortal. Based on this book I can say that the final confrontation will be worth waiting for, because the author has made sure that everybody who reads this book will want to get their hands on the final book as soon as possible. (To be honest, I can hardly wait to hold the final book in my hands.)

The Silk & Steel Saga is one of the most enjoyable fantasy series ever written and this book, The Knight Marshal, is an amazingly entertaining fantasy book. The Knight Marshal is definitely ENTERTAINMENT with capital letters, because it's splendid escapism for fantasy readers who enjoy reading exciting and well told stories. It has almost everything from magic and battles to love and fear, so it contains plenty of intriguing elements that will be of interest to several fantasy readers.

The Knight Marshal is an excellent fantasy book and I can highly recommend it to all readers who like Karen Azinger's books and entertaining fantasy books. I'm sure that everybody who has read the previous books will love this book, because it's a perfect fantasy book (it's an exciting, magical, dark, gritty and - above all else - highly entertaining book). I give this book full five stars for its entertainment values!

Excellent fantasy entertainment and perfect escapism!