I read this book about 6-Jan-2003. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 2003. This note was last modified Monday, 28-Oct-2013 20:20:00 PDT.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
Sorry, this is another unpublished manuscript. I've been reading pieces as completed, and now hear Joel hinting that the end is in sight, so I'm going to go back and start from the beginning, and officially log this. Hence the reread of an unpublished work. And while there are some spoilers, I try to keep them to a fairly low level when I talk about unpublished work, since it will be quite a while before most people can read it. (Although a few chapters are currently up as excerpts on Slovotsky's Laws.)
This is the first work I've seen set in what Joel is calling the "Mordred's Heirs" universe. Where Mordred defeated the usurper Arthur. It's set considerably later, maybe something like 18th century chronologically. But that world's history is rather different. As is its physics -- there's magic, and there seem to be gods as well.
The main characters are some Knights of the Order, which serves the Crown of England. It seems to have been started by Morgaine, who is still running it. They seem to specialize in "live swords", swords with a soul trapped in them. "White" swords have an innocent soul voluntarily resident, "red" swords have...other things. One of them appears to have the soul of Genghis Khan in it. These are...very powerful, apparently. We see an island sink, for example. One of the things that's nicely done is there's very little infodump. Information accumulates slowly, it isn't delivered wholesale.
And somebody, apparently somebody in the Islamic empire they're at war with, seems to be making new red swords. That's a Really Big Deal. And now I'd better go actually read the thing, and see what's happening now.
It remains fun. Some fine minor characters, some big action, a reasonably satisfactory conclusion. Clearly the start of a series (but Joel knew that). And there's a new epilogue I haven't read yet.