The Swordman’s Intent (The Royal Champion #0.5), by G.M. White
The last competition Belasko won was the catch a slippery pig contest at his village fair.
Now he has to beat the best warriors in the kingdom.
Belasko, a farm boy who ran away to war, is a decorated soldier and war hero with a good military career ahead of him. When Markus, champion to the king of Villan, summons Belasko to take part in the competition to choose his successor, a world of possibility opens up to him. Possibility that Belasko cannot resist. In order to take the mantle of champion, and rise to one of the highest positions in the Villanese court, Belasko must prove himself yet further against the finest blades in the kingdom. Against warriors from all walks of life. From those who have had access to the best fencing instructors money can buy, to fellow career soldiers, he must best them all. Including a young noble named Ervan with whom his fate will be intertwined. Only by working hard alongside newfound friends and foes, pushing himself to the limit, and putting everything on the line, can Belasko fulfil his potential and become the first commoner to claim the title of Royal Champion.
Set fifteen years before The Swordsman’s Lament, this novella sets in motion both the events of that novel and Belasko’s destiny.
My Review (4.25 out of 5 )
This is a little novella, which acts as the prequel for The Swordman’s Lament, and which can be described as a really good introduction to the characters and to the background.
During this book, we follow the process of how Belasko becomes the Royal Champion, while also being presented with some of the characters that will appear in further books. Despite being short, it does a great job introducing the world in a sort of microcosmos, focusing on this small training – contest that will crown the successor of Markus, the old Royal Champion.
The swordsmanship scenes are really well written, taking also a nice progression from the basics to most complex fights, helping the reader to introduce itself in how the swordfight works and adding small tips that later will be relevant. The relationships between Belasko and his mates will also take a fundamental spotlight there, and even being short, it also foreshadows the rift between noblesse and commoners.
A nice introduction to this low fantasy world, very well written, and which left us with a ton of desire to go into The Swordman’s Lament.
G.M. White has always been an avid reader, a love of the written word instilled in him by his parents at an early age. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that he was a very talkative child and the only time he was quiet was when he had his head in a book. Anyway, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on that one.
A lifelong daydreamer he finally decided to put his imagination to good use and set pen to paper (well, fingers to keyboard) and started to write down the worlds that he carried with him in his head. The Swordsman’s Lament is his first novel.
He has also had the typical author’s chequered job history. He has been at various times an actor, a performer at The London Dungeons, a theatre usher and box office clerk, a ticketing systems specialist working at the Ambassador Theatre Group, National Theatre, and Royal Albert Hall, and played drums in a variety of rock bands.
After thirteen years living and working in London he and his wife gave up the rat race, and moved to St. Martin’s in the Isles of Scilly, where they continue to live.