Next SFF Author: John DeChancie
Previous SFF Author: L. Sprague De-Camp

SFF Author: Sebastien De-Castell

Sebastien DeCastellSebastien de Castell had just finished a degree in Archaeology when he started work on his first job. Four hours later he realized how much he hated archaeology and left to pursue a very focused career as a musician, ombudsman, interaction designer, fight choreographer, teacher, project manager, actor, and product strategist. These interests and experiences provided fodder for his burgeoning writing career. He lives in Vancouver, Canada, with his wife. He now lives in Vancouver, where he is director of strategic program development at the Vancouver Film School.


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Traitor’s Blade: Full of adventure and derring-do

Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell

Traitor’s Blade is the first installment in Sebastien de Castell’s GREATCOATS series and is an interesting blend of genres — like The Three Musketeers with classic fantasy. At the core it is about a young man whose heart is broken and who has found meaning in defending ideals that are greater than himself.

An oft-used, but nonetheless compelling storyline in fantasy is the abuse of power by the nobility. Whether it’s something as simple as overtaxing and overworking the lower classes or some of the more heinous examples where the Nobles rape,


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Knight’s Shadow: Great characters enrich this second installment

Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell

I absolutely loved Sebastien de Castell‘s Traitor’s Blade, first in his GREATCOATS series, having been immediately charmed by the utterly winning voice of its first-person narrator Falcio val Mond and its flamboyant Three Musketeers-like tone and narrative. So I was greatly looking forward to its sequel, Knight’s Shadow. I’m pleased to say that while I had a few issues, for the most part I was wholly satisfied despite such high expectations.


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Saint’s Blood: Another great romp mixing humor and grief

Saint’s Blood by Sebastien de Castell

Saint’s Blood (2016) is the third in Sebastien de Castell’s GREATCOATS series, and as with the previous two (Traitor’s Blade and Knight’s Shadow), it’s both a lot of fun (really, a lot of fun) and deeply emotionally affecting. The series isn’t perfect, but it’s just so enjoyable and engaging that you just don’t mind the few flaws, and that continues with Saint’s Blood,


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Tyrant’s Throne: A near-perfect close to a great series

Tyrant’s Throne by Sebastien de Castell

De Castell turned to Kest. “How would you rate our chances?”

Kest rifled through the manuscript. “We’ll get four and five-star reviews and show up on a dozen Best of the Year lists, after which you’ll get one, no two, major nominations. People will be very sad it’s over and will repeatedly beg you for more. Falcio will appear on five or six ‘Best Characters in a Series’ lists, which won’t do much for his humility, I hate to say.”

“I’ll have you know I have the best humility of anyone.”

“My point exactly.


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Tales of the Greatcoats Vol. 1: A fond return to a warmly remembered world

Tales of the Greatcoats Volume 1 by Sebastian De Castell

“So I’m only in one of these nine Greatcoats stories?” Brasti asked, pausing his work.

“Yes,” De Castell replied. “Though to—”

“But Kest gets two?”

“The man knows talent when he sees it,” Kest said, skimming through the pages of Tales of the Greatcoats. “I especially like how you have me win a duel without actually fighting the duel. And … Hold on, I’m in only two?”

Brasti snorted.


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Spellslinger: A YA novel full of magic, cons, and card tricks

Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell

Spellslinger sounded right up my street — a young adult novel full of magic, cons, card tricks and a plucky underdog. If it didn’t live up to my high hopes I blame the misleading words emblazoned on the back cover that read “Magic Is A Con” — an enticing promise that isn’t delivered because, well, magic turns out not to be a con. Nevertheless, while it wasn’t the story I expected, Spellslinger is an enjoyable romp in its own way.


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Shadowblack: A solid, entertaining second book in the SPELLSLINGER series

Shadowblack by Sebastien de Castell

“You think you’ve had it bad? I’ve been on the run for ten years. Bounty hunters, hextrackers war mages…” He shook his head. “You steal one too many sacred books and all of sudden you’re an outcast.”

Shadowblack (2018), by Sebastien de Castell, picks up shortly after Book One, Spellslinger. Kellen, the exiled son of a Jan’Tep prince, is traveling with an Argosi named Ferius Parfax and a squirrel cat named Reichis,


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Charmcaster: Politics and family get more complicated in this one

Charmcaster by Sebastien de Castell 

“But when an Argosi encounters something new — something that should not exist and yet could alter the course of history — we are compelled to paint a new card: a discordance.” 

Charmcaster (2018) is the third book in Sebastien de Castell’s SPELLSLINGER series. In it, we see another nation in Kellen’s world, a different form of magic adopts Kellen, and the political situation convolutes in even more dangerous ways.


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Soulbinder: This time, Kellen must go it alone

Soulbinder by Sebastien de Castell

In the first three books of Sebastien deCastell’s SPELLSLINGER series, Kellen, son of a powerful Jan’Tep sorcerous family and follower of the Argosi way, has been able to count on a loyal and powerful support network. Reichis, a squirrel-cat, is thieving and verbally abusive, but fierce and faithful. Ferrius, an Argosy traveler, has taught Kellen much about the power of magic and of life. In Soulbinder (2018), the fourth book of six planned, Kellen finds himself alone,


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Crownbreaker: God-killing is never easy

Crownbreaker by Sebastien de Castell

In 2019’s Crownbreaker, the final book of the SPELLSLINGER series, Kellen Argos, once Ke’Helios of the House of Ke, is expected to kill a god.

This isn’t the weirdest thing the protagonist of Sebastien De Castell’s fantasy saga has been asked to do, but it’s probably in the top two. Strangely, nearly everyone Kellen knows—his father, his Argosi mentor Ferius, even the queen he is pledged to protect, all want him to do it. I don’t think those folks have ever agreed on anything before.


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Crucible of Chaos: With apologies, as always, to the author

Crucible of Chaos by Sebastien de Castell

Estevar hauled up on his mule as Castle Aramor came into view through the dampening fog. The mule turned back with a baleful look.

“I know, I know. Do you think I’m enjoying this foul weather any more than you are?”

The mule dipped its head and turned it slightly aslant, looking upward at Estevar, as if to note that while they both shared the same weather, only one of them had the other’s weight as additional burden. A substantial weight at that Estevar had to acknowledge.


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The Malevolent Seven: Bitterness needs nuance

The Malevolent Seven by Sebastien de Castell

Sebastien de Castell’s 2023 antihero novel The Malevolent Seven has good magical action and lots of sarcastic banter. It has an emotionally tortured male main character in a world that is filled with suffering, death, betrayal and a sense of hopelessness that swamps every action. Generally, I enjoy de Castell’s work, but while this book had enough to keep me reading, ultimately, it doesn’t rank among my favorite works of his.

I say, “enough to keep me reading,” because I very nearly put this book down during the first 50 pages.


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Next SFF Author: John DeChancie
Previous SFF Author: L. Sprague De-Camp

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