Assassini Reviews To Date

'Gritty, grimy, decadent and compelling, the Venice of Grimwood’s imagination is teeming with scheming nobles and assassins... He might be beautiful, pale-skinned and an object of lust for Venice’s young women, but Grimwood’s Tycho, amnesiac and ancient, dog-toothed and deadly, is far removed from the rank-and-file vampires that have flooded fiction in the wake of Stephenie Meyer’s insipid, beige-clad vegetarians. More, please.' Sunday Times 

'Fans need not be alarmed: JCG brings to fantasy the attributes that made his SF so riveting. His Venice is a dangerous place of dank, cut-throat malevolence, peopled by leap-off-the-page characters – his vampire, Tycho, is well-drawn, subverting the cliches of the genre – and the political intrigue is handled with dexterity, springing surprises and plot twists fuelled by the Machiavellian cast. Grimwood delivers a page-turning read and offers a neat twist on the Vampire theme, creating a fascinating ur-myth centuries before the arrival of Dracula.' Guardian

'Brilliant, haunting, dark, gothic historical fantasy… This is the best vampire novel written since The Vampire Lestat, while simultaneously being very different and original.' Civilian Reader

'This is dark majestic stuff...' Financial Times

'Grimwood plays brilliantly with an audience's tendency to guess and look for plot spoilers. He reminds us that the author, and not the reader, is in control...This is a book full of mysteries that remain unsolved and outcomes that remain cloudy. Grimwood creates a fascinating world and involving characters – most importantly, he makes us want to read the next two volumes of the trilogy.' Roz Kaveney, The Independent 

'The Fallen Blade, by Jon Courtenay Grimwood (@JonCG_novelist). Vampire assassins in Venice. Seriously, what more do you need to know? Utterly brilliant.' Dakegra minireview

March 22, 2011 books of 2011: mini-reviews(nicked from my Twitterings, because I'm too knackered to do it properly)'Known for his near-future SF, such as the suberb Arabesk trilogy, Grimwood's new novel still features his trademark alternate timelines. His attention to detail and skillful weaving of fact with fiction make this a fine beginning to his new series.' Books Quarterly

'A singular production of a singular mind, working just outside the boundaries of various genres. And, because of its singularity, or perhaps its idiosyncrasies, this novel is either going to be criticized or fetishisized. Ultimately, it reminds me of one of my favorite novels: Patrick Süskind's Das Parfum. There is the same attention to historical detail, richness of colors and smells, and vibrant violence that induces dizzying madness and vertigo. I will definitely be attending the second act.' Keith Harvey, Red Rook Review

'The undead are a dime a dozen, but books that can actually dramatise 15th century Mediterranean politics in an intriguing way are much rarer finds.... Probably the closest comparison for me would be John Ford's award-winning The Dragon Waiting - which also combined genre and period politics in a way that emphasized the latter. That's a book I've read over and over again without finding a literary heir - Mr. Grimwood may have just provided it... This is a unique and stylish book that belongs wholly to Mr. Grimwood.' Jared, Pornokitch

'A story that has not only been wonderfully researched but one that will thrill and enthral the reader with its use of clever prose, artfully disguised misdirection and tied up with a landscape that defies belief. Add to this a masters touch for spinning a tale, a great understanding of pace and the reader really will have something new and evolving to keep on their shelves which makes this first title in the series a real treat and one that will be reread from time to time with as much passion as the first expedition.' Falcata Times

‘This really had everything I like in Fantasy. A detailed clever plot with a very real setting, vivid characters, a hint of romance and the feeling of being fully immersed in a story where it’s a pleasure to experience.
After so many books domesticating Vamps and Weres, they are back where they belong in a hugely enjoyable gritty, violent and dark Fantasy.
9/10 - Excellent, this will remain on my bookshelf forever.’

'The Fallen Blade is two books occupying the same page space. The first is a fantastic evocation of Renaissance Venice, both the atmosphere and architecture of the city, the beauty of the culture it gave birth to and the merciless, brutally violent and Machiavellian politics that ran alongside it. The second is an adventure fantasy with a smidgeon of romance, great hordes of vampires and werewolves and, of course, plenty of swordplay. Grimwood has made this fusion of genre energy and literary depth his calling card...' Damien G Walter, Guardian

'Too early to start dealing in hyperbole about fantasy books of the year, so let’s just say this one is a very good start. It’s a novel you can gorge yourself on; a fast-paced, swashbuckling adventure of the old school, full of fire and brimstone thrills and rich flavours. Yet, unlike many such page-turners, it doesn’t leave a bad aftertaste...' Sam Jordison, Salon Futura

'Grimwood’s prose sparkles with the flash of fangs and the slash of daggers in the night.... It is beautifully written, the characters are well-drawn, the plot twisty and layered…a tantalizing tale that culminated in some truly fantastic revelations and, above all else, a deeply haunting, deeply lovely vision of Venice.''

'Conjures up Venice so vividly you can almost smell it... Impressive, but not nearly so impressive as the way Grimwood draws Tycho, essentially a vampire teenager subject to fierce emotion because he doesn’t even realise yet that he craves blood. He’s a figure both frightening and yet also, at different moments, pitiable and even downright noble... Reinventing the Vampire myth. Never let it be said that Jon Courtenay Grimwood lacks for ambition.' Jonathan Wright, SFX 4stars

'A first volume of an ambitious trilogy featuring an alternate renaissance Venice populated by corrupt monarchs, a secret army of assassins, and a bewitching side cast of werewolves and vampires... Grimwood’s well seasoned skills with storytelling and dialogue makes this opening instalment of the series both delightfully colourful and compellingly readable.' Booklist

'Sick to death of vampires? Take heed, because Grimwood’s take on the subject is leagues away from your average fangbanger... The writing is elegant, the dialogue is sharp, the characters economically but well drawn, the action unrelenting, and the story move - to pardon a phrase - like shit off a shovel.... Hits all the right notes.' Alastair Reynolds, SciFi Now 4 stars

'Jon Courtenay Grimwood’s world-building is convincing and immersive, and I was impressed by the author’s ability to manage the novel’s many different characters and subplots without losing control….The Fallen Blade is a well-written novel that features a fully realized setting, engaging characters, and a gripping story rife with complex politics and heartbreaking drama…' Fantasybookcritic

'Alternate-world fantasy from the talented and versatile author of End of the World Blues (2007), wherein Marco Polo's family founded the dynasty that rules Venice... Grimwood adroitly combines a satisfying complexity with visceral detail and bouts of astounding violence, knit together by suitably Machiavellian intrigue. Pounce on this one.' Kirkus starred review

'Fascinating action-packed alternate historical fantasy. Even with paranormal elements, Jon Courtenay Grimwood captures the intrigue that was so prevalent in early fifteenth century Venice especially at the top levels of leadership, which in turn makes the otherworldly segues seem genuine. With a delightful twist tying the strong subplots together, fans will appreciate this tense thriller...' Alternative Worlds

'Will appeal to fans of political and historical fantasy as well as those who appreciate more traditional interpretations of vampires and werewolves.' PW

'Sharp as a stiletto, dark and dazzling as a masquerade. Grimwood's Venice is totally compelling.'
Mike Carey

'A truly captivating book... full of complex people and ever-changing allegiances. The author manages to weave an accomplished tale of unfulfilled desires, unrequited love and uncertain humanity. The climax is quick moving and vivid -- this is a real page-turner.' Romantic Times 4.5 stars. Top Pick.

© joncg