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After a long and brutal war, a truce has been called between two neighboring kingdoms. There is finally a chance for peace as diplomatic talks begin. To help facilitate this new peace, there is going to be a fencing tour with the shared love of a sport bringing two previously warring kingdoms together. The ragtag group of Scherian fencers making up the tour will have to learn to work together if they want to make it home from Permia in one piece and not begin another war.
First and foremost, the main reason I picked this book up was for the fencing. While the entire novel is great, the fencing is the best part. It's what the entire story revolves around. The title refers to fencing with sharp weapons - very real and dangerous weapons that can do serious damage.
Our team realizes pretty quickly that in Permia, people don't use foils and the like in fencing - they use actual swords and knives - only small children use foils while practicing. As you can imagine, that changes the game real quick since that means our champions have to think about the sport in an entirely new way. I also appreciated the story's political intrigue and sabotage almost as much as I found myself interested in the fencing. Our main characters, this ragtag team is quite intriguing. Each member of the team gets plenty of screen time and we get to know them a good deal from their background to their motivations. None of them are exactly "good guys" or "heroes", but they are certainly engaging.
If you want a great epic fantasy novel with lots of fencing and action, Sharps by K.J. Parker is definitely for you. If you also can't get enough of political intrigue and sabotage in a well developed world populated by fascinating characters, you're in for a real treat.
I read this novel from November 15 - 22, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.