Sword Dance (Sword Dance, #1)
by A.J. Demas
Interesting world. Names sound Greek, the architecture sounds a little more Roman. And the far away land of Zash reminds me a bit of Persia, maybe the hanging gardens of Babylon made an indirect appearance?
Damiskos, the main character, is a likeable fellow. Former soldier, not a terribly exciting job, gets sent to the countryside to make a deal about buying fish sauce for the troops. Fishy things start to happen, not just sauce-related.
“Terza’s head, what a lot of ghastly people Nione seemed to have gathered around herself. Did he really have to stay out the week?“
Apparently he did. If Agatha Christie had ever written Fantasy, this is probably what it would have looked like. The requisite body might or might not have turned up. Damiskos gets support from unexpected quarters and has to pretend to be romantically inclined to towards the sword-dancing eunuch. Things do not go as planned. Do they ever?
Thrown in were some rather odd philosophers, some violence, a little not too graphic sex and various shenanigans. I liked the underhanded humour. Oh yes, and there were some serious topics woven into the narrative, about gender identity, equal rights, racism, power over and perception of others—nicely done.
This is not quick, the pace is rather sedate. Damiskos and the story take their time. It is well plotted though.
The world has potential for some more sweeping stories and there are two more books in this series. Recommended, if you are looking for a relaxed mystery with some action, light humour and a little m/m romance.
„… a dizzying week of intrigue, assassinations, and a fake love affair that—maybe—turned real.“