|“||You shall ride through the streets of Talins and my people will shower you with flower petals in honour of your many victories. They will cheer far louder for you, I think, than they ever will for my own sons. They will cheer far louder even than they do for me, their rightful lord, to whom they owe so much. They will cheer, in fact, a little too loudly for my taste.||”|
Chapter Summary Edit
Monza Murcatto, the Captain General of The Thousand Swords mercenary company, rides towards the fortress of Fontezarmo in Talins with her brother Benna. After her latest victory at the High Bank against Duke Salier of Visserine, and the death of Duke Cantain of Borletta, their employer Grand Duke Orso is on the verge of defeating his rivals The League of Eight. As they ride, Monza and Benna make teasing and playful smalltalk all the way.
At the mighty gates of Duke Orso's fortress, they are greeted by Count Foscar, Orso’s youngest son, and General Ganmark. They are led to the Duke’s opulent private study, where Grand Duke Orso himself is finishing up some paperwork with Mauthis, a representative of the banking house Valint & Balk. Also there are Orso's elder son Prince Ario, his bodyguard Gobba, and Monza's second-in-command Faithful Carpi.
Monza fills in Grand Duke Orso on her latest victory. The Years of Blood that have divided Styria are almost at an end; with just one more season of campaigning, Orso will finally be King of all Styria.1 The Duke seems pleased and leads Monza and Benna onto his balcony. However, as they emerge into the sunlight, his expression changes; Monza has become hugely popular amongst the people of Talins, maybe popular enough to usurp his Duchy. As he steps away, Monza catches a glint of metal from the corner of her eye.
Benna is stabbed in the neck by Ario and then run through by Ganmark2, as a garrotte is slipped around Monza's throat by Gobba. However, Monza catches her hand under the wire. As she struggles, Orso and Mauthis watch on impassively, while Foscar flees in horror. When Monza begins to lose consciousness, Carpi moves to finish her off. With the last of her strength, Monza stomps down on Gobba’s foot, throwing Carpi’s blade off-mark into her lower ribs. The struggle ends with Monza being bungled over the balcony, following her brother, to the ground far below. She lands on Benna’s corpse which saves her life for now, and lay there at the bottom of the hill, mangled and broken until she finally loses consciousness.3
|Monza Murcatto||Grand Duke Orso||Grand Duke Salier|
|Benna Murcatto||Mauthis||Grand Duke Cantain|
Locations and Terms Edit
|Talins||The Thousand Swords||Borletta||Fontezarmo||Visserine||Styria|
|Valint & Balk||The League of Eight|
- In The First Law trilogy, Abercrombie introduced us very gradually to his backdrop of mounting political tension. Here we get straight into it with a huge dump of information about the background conflict right from the get go. Abercrombie is clearly aiming at a faster, more fluid and flowingly pace.
- Although Benna Murcatto dies in chapter 1, his influence and impact on the story lingers throughout the book.
- Spoiler alert! Monza isn't dead.