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The Devil's Sword    by Douglas E. Richards Amazon.com order for
Devil's Sword
by Douglas E. Richards
Order:  USA  Can
Paragon, 2010 (2010)
Paperback, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Many sports novels exist, aimed at pre-teen boys, but The Devil's Sword by Douglas E. Richards is the first I have come across that deals with fencing. This unique aspect adds a dash of excitement to what otherwise could be a standard tale well, that and the military twist.

Kevin Taylor is the youngest son of a family of athletes. As much as his dad encourages him, Kevin simply does not enjoy any sport he tries, even though he's a natural at all of them. It is not until the summer he is twelve that he discovers fencing and is immediately hooked. Now, two years later, Kevin is the top fencer in his age group in his area, and his coach thinks he is ready to compete at a new level. Pumped for a larger tournament, Kevin and his two fencing friends, Rachel and Ben (along with their coach and Kevin's dad) head to Nellis Air Force Base, just outside Las Vegas.

Kevin knows this tournament is going to be exciting, but he never bargained for getting caught up in a matter of national security, as an international group of arms dealers goes after the military's deadliest weapon The Devil's Sword.

Kevin is a wonderful protagonist for a book aimed at pre-teen boys. He may not have his whole life planned out, but he has the confidence to go after what he wants and train hard to get it. He is also incredibly loyal to his family and friends, even those he has just met. Although competitive like most boys his age, he always exhibits excellent sportsmanship. Despite all this, he is approachable and many younger readers will see a lot of themselves in Kevin and gain valuable lessons from his attributes.

Not only does Richards show skill in creating a likable protagonist in Kevin, he also crafts a very exciting plot. Not once does the pace lag as Kevin races to save his friends and the world. And as the stakes get higher, so does the speed of the story. What is really amazing is how Ricards knows how to dole out just the right amount of information to keep the pages turning at breakneck speed while not letting the reader guess the outcome. This made The Devil's Sword feel like an action movie, which is something that the target audience will love.

The Devil's Sword combines the right amount of action, suspense, and fencing to create a superb thriller for preteen boys. Douglas E. Richards has a winner on his hands with this book.

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