Toby Frost

Science fiction, fantasy, adventure


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City of Knives

Renaissance Noir

City of Knives Chapter 1 City of Knives Chapter 2 City of Knives Chapter 2

Julia Degarno returns to the city-state of Paglia with one intention - to kill the criminal who scarred her and left her to drown. But things have changed since she escaped. The street brawler who maimed her has become a powerful statesman, and is locked in a vicious feud for the throne of Prince Leonine himself. Julia's revenge will mean more than the death of a single man: as alliances are formed and broken, and the body count rises, it becomes clear that her blade could save or ruin the City of Knives.

Back in 2000, I wrote a fantasy novel. It was set in a sort of caricatured Renaissance city-state, and told the story of one woman's mission to take revenge on the man who tried to murder her. At the time, it seemed unusually sinister and character-driven for a fantasy novel. It didn't get published, perhaps because it was not enough like anything else. In 2008, feeling ill and miserable, I decided to give it another look. I went through it, editing and cutting with a level of ruthlessness that its heroine herself would have envied, and produced a much better version. Since then, fashion in fantasy has changed, and sinister and character-driven is in. City of Knives (very much a working title) remains unpublished, probably because it is now too much like everything else.

So, here it is, or at least selected chapters. Click the thumbnails on the right.

Please note that none of this is intended to be historically accurate. Nor are there any outright jokes. Any emails demanding to know where the gags are or pointing out that I've got the trousers wrong will be cast into a lake of fire. Assuming that nobody actually pays me for it in the meantime, I'll post some more chapters over the coming months, as well as a couple of related short pieces. Feel free to tell anyone else you know to come and have a look. Any comments are welcome: please click the link on the left.