The Sword and the Dagger
By Robert Cochran
Published April 2019 by Tor Teen
When empires clash,
a Princess, a Knight, and an Assassin
embark on the quest of a lifetime
During the time of the Crusades, an unlikely trio—a Christian princess, her affianced prince, and a Muslim assassin—embarks on a quest to the court of the most fearsome warrior the world has ever known, Genghis Khan.
A rousing tale of adventure and romance about three young people who must grapple with fundamental issues of loyalty, friendship, faith, honor, and courage against the backdrop of conflicts that still resonate today.
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The Sword and the Dagger features an empire, a princess, an assassin and deadly court politics. So obviously it’s right up my alley being that it’s one of my favorite genres.
Elaine (the princess) is betrothed to Conrad (a prince) and she is not thrilled about it. But she is sworn to do her duty and marry him to unite their kingdoms.
Conrad starts out as my least favorite character. Can we say frail male ego? Seriously, he has a lot of hang ups about being undermined (and I do realize it’s the time period as well that contributes to his attitude), but he really bothered me for the first part of the book.
Elaine is headstrong and speaks her mind, which isn’t favored by many (particularly the men) as she’s a woman. But the idea of being submissive to a man forever and doing his bidding just seems terrible and she definitely has no problem speaking up to voice her opinion on the matter. In fact, she tends to be the brains behind a lot of decisions in this story.
Rashid is our assassin. He is fairly steadfast all the way around, in that he does make some changes in his thinking and behavior in this book but not too much. I thought his friendship with Elaine was sweet.
So, I fully admit that I do not know much of this historical time period we are swept into. The trio of characters go on a journey and end up meeting Genghis Kahn. The descriptions in this story were lush and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the descriptions of the places they traveled and the variety of people they met. After reading this story, I did do some searching on this time period and plan to do more as I found it entirely fascinating.
As far as the plot goes, there is a lot of events that happen. It’s a quick paced book that seemed to quick for me. I wish that we could have slowed down and spent more time places. It felt as though we had a lot of ground to cover and there just wasn’t time to get to it all without going quickly, if that makes sense.
I also felt that the main characters could have been fleshed out more. They went from being enemies to being friends in basically the blink of an eye, and the same thing happened with the romance. I just didn’t feel the feelings often that the characters were and I’m disappointed that I missed out on that.
I absolutely loved the author’s note at the end going into detail on the time period that he pulled his story elements from. It was probably one of my most favorite parts, which means I’m starting to realize I love and need more historical fiction books in my life.
Definitely give The Sword and the Dagger a read if you love historical fiction!