Books by Dave Duncan

Originally from Scotland, Dave Duncan has lived all his adult life in Western Canada, having enjoyed a long career as a petroleum geologist before taking up writing. Since discovering that imaginary worlds are more satisfying than the real one, he has pu


WHEN THE SAINTS by Dave Duncan
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Nov. 1, 2011

"An authoritative reworking of history, combining a splendid welter of religious and political intrigues with Duncan's typically inventive, deft handling of magic and character-driven action. After some rather inattentive efforts in the past few years, the author is back in top form."
Second installment of the versatile, talented Duncan's latest historical fantasy, following Speak to the Devil (2010), set in Jorgary, a fictional country in late 15th-century Central Europe. Read full book review >
ILL MET IN THE ARENA by Dave Duncan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 2008

"Not the author's most visionary scenario, but one with agile plots springing in unexpected directions: Duncan in good—but not top—form."
Another well thought-out fantasy from the reliable Duncan (Mother of Lies, 2007, etc.). Read full book review >
MOTHER OF LIES by Dave Duncan
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: May 1, 2007

"Unfortunately, Duncan left most of the magic and excitement behind in volume one; this tepid, soporific and well-padded follow-up works hard only at setting up yet more sequels—not a thrilling prospect."
Sequel to Children of Chaos (2006), a fantasy set on a non-spherical planet—a physical impossibility, as Duncan cheerfully admits. Read full book review >
THE ALCHEMIST’S APPRENTICE by Dave Duncan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 6, 2007

"Not as outrageously original as some of this author's best, but brimming with wit and low-key charms; neither aficionados nor newcomers will be disappointed."
Murder mystery, apparently the first of a series, set in an alternate-world Renaissance Venice, from the excellent Duncan (Children of Chaos, 2006, etc.). Read full book review >
CHILDREN OF CHAOS by Dave Duncan
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: June 13, 2006

"Duncan's mad plots, dark intrigues, vivid cast and lashings of magic leave many engrossing mysteries to be elucidated in volume two."
New fantasy, the first of a duology, from the estimable Duncan (The Jaguar Knights, 2004, etc.). Read full book review >
THE JAGUAR KNIGHTS by Dave Duncan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

"Lackluster: Duncan simply grafts on some magic to an obvious real-world historical backdrop. A series that's run out of steam."
Another of Duncan's fantasies about the King's Blades (Impossible Odds, 2003, etc.), superhumanly skillful swordsmen/bodyguards magically bound to defend their ward to the death. Read full book review >
IMPOSSIBLE ODDS by Dave Duncan
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Nov. 11, 2003

"Something like a fantasy whodunit—agreeably knotty and misleading, though not the best of this reliable series."
Fifth in the series of fantasy yarns about the King's Blades, those bodyguards magically bound to defend their ward to the death (Paragon Lost, 2002, etc.). Read full book review >
PARAGON LOST by Dave Duncan
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

"Inventive, labyrinthine, witty, and thoroughly engaging: Duncan rarely disappoints, and here he outswashbuckles himself."
A rousing addition (the fourth) to the series, of which the first three, concluded with Sky of Swords (2000), formed a logical but not sequential trilogy; this independent and self-contained entry takes place a dozen years hence. Read full book review >
SKY OF SWORDS by Dave Duncan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

"An enormously clever and impressive reshuffle, whether you regard the final twist as a brilliantly contrived sleight or an outrageous swindle: for panache, style, and sheer storytelling audacity, Duncan has few peers."
Third of Duncan's tales—or, rather, the third variation on the same theme—of the King's Blades (Lord of the Fire Lands, 1999, etc). Read full book review >
LORD OF THE FIRE LANDS by Dave Duncan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 5, 1999

"Again, quite orthodox compared to Duncan's hitherto wacky scenarios, but, even so, distinctive and markedly superior to most of the competition."
A companion volume to Duncan's sword-and-sorcery yarn, The Gilded Chain (1998), the action more or less contemporaneous to the previous tale's. Read full book review >
THE GILDED CHAIN by Dave Duncan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 7, 1998

"Something of a disappointment, then, if only because of the author's own lofty standards."
First installment of a new fantasy series from Duncan (Future Indefinite, 1997, etc.) set in the land of Chivial, where King Ambrose IV is defended by his many Blades, expert swordsmen bound in a brutal magic ritual to defend him to the death. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 1997

"The estimable Duncan manages, somehow, to be in tremendous form every time out; his fans certainly won't be disappointed with this one."
Sadly arriving too late for a full review, here's the final installment (Past Imperative showed the author's ``wonderful knack of conjuring up wacky scenarios and making them believable and fascinating,'' declared the Sept. 1, 1995, Kirkus review; and Present Tense, not seen) of Duncan's trilogy set on Earth in 1914 and in Nextdoor, an adjacent reality whose oppressive, capricious gods—immortal and charged with magic ``mana''—were once mortals who have crossed over from Earth and elsewhere. Read full book review >
PAST IMPERATIVE by Dave Duncan
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

"Another winnerkeep all eyestalks extended for Round Two."
First installment of a projected fantasy trilogy from the author of the splendid The Cursed (p. 350), etc. In 1914, just as WW I breaks out in Europe, young English gentleman Edward Exeter awakens in a hospital ward with a smashed leg and only scattered memories, and under police guard as a murder suspect. Read full book review >
THE CURSED by Dave Duncan
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: May 1, 1995

"A truly ingenious scenario, with excellent characters and a reliable plot: continually surprising, charming, and engrossing despite the rather flat ending—Duncan in top form."
In Duncan's new fantasy (The Living God, 1994, etc.), few who contract ``star sickness'' survive; those who do are Cursed, afflicted with wild, uncontrollable magic talents that may be destructive or beneficial, or both. Read full book review >
THE LIVING GOD by Dave Duncan
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: April 1, 1994

"Still, Duncan is an agreeable narrator: His plots add up and his characters have personalities."
Final installment of Duncan's tetralogy (most recently The Stricken Field, 1993) set in Pandemia, land of gods, sorcerers, and numerous human varieties, where the insane dwarf sorcerer Zinixo has enslaved many of the world's magicians and now threatens to make the arrangement permanent. Read full book review >
THE STRICKEN FIELD by Dave Duncan
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

"So: refreshingly lighthearted in the telling, and above-average overall."
Part three of Duncan's projected tetralogy (most recently Upland Outlaw, p. 338), set in Pandemia, land of sorcerers, gods, and numerous human varieties. Read full book review >
UPLAND OUTLAWS by Dave Duncan
MYSTERY & CRIME
Released: May 1, 1993

"A mediocre continuation, free of major flaws but oxidized and discouragingly slapdash."
Second installment (after the admirable The Cutting Edge) of Duncan's projected four-book fantasy. Read full book review >
THE CUTTING EDGE by Dave Duncan
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Sept. 1, 1992

"Grab this one in the fervent hope that Duncan will maintain the same high standard throughout."
Book one of a projected four-part series, A Handful of Men, which itself follows Duncan's previous paperback series, A Man of His Word: lively, ingenious, disarming fantasy set in a well- realized land of sorcerers, gods, and numerous contending human varieties (``imps,'' ``fauns,'' ``elves,'' etc.). Read full book review >