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The Sword-Edged Blonde    by Alex Bledsoe order for
Sword-Edged Blonde
by Alex Bledsoe
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2009 (2007)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD
*   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Alex Bledsoe's The Sword-Edged Blonde is a fantastic romp starring aging sword jockey/PI Eddie LaCrosse, whose life has been blighted since he failed to save the princess who was his first love and the sister of his best friend, now King Philip of Arentia.

After an amusing misadventure (a princess who vehemently does not want to be rescued) sets the scene, Phil calls on Eddie's help after his lovely wife Rhiannon apparently murders and (horrors!) cannibalizes their only child and heir. It's a classic locked door mystery in a fantasy world setting.

After recognizing Rhiannon (who has amnesia) as someone from his own checkered past - and ascertaining that the so-called baby bones found at the scene of the murder are those of a monkey - Eddie follows a trail straight to a children's rhyme about a goddess (Epona Gray) and the man she punishes for eternity for his lack of manners. Now it seems that Andrew Reese, who was 'broken to pieces', is seeking revenge.

While the plot is clever and imaginative, The Sword-Edged Blonde is rough around the edges. In particular, I found the use of modern names and the addressing of men as Mr. jarring in a medieval fantasy world. That being said, Bledsoe's combination of magic and mystery has much to recommend it, and I'm curious to see where he takes the series next.

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