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Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781787471474

Price: £20

ON SALE: 28th March 2024

Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Fantasy

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Swordplay, magic, intrigue and friendships stronger than iron: the first volume in the new swashbuckling fantasy series set in the universe of THE GREATCOATS.

Damelas Chademantaigne picked a poor night to flee a judicial duel.

He has precious little hope of escaping the wrath of the Vixen, the most feared duellist in the entire city, until he stumbles through the stage doors of the magnificent Operato Belleza and tricks his way into the company of actors. An archaic law provides a temporary respite from his troubles – until one night a ghostly voice in his head causes Damelas to fumble his lines, inadvertently blurting out a dreadful truth: the city’s most legendary hero may actually be a traitor and a brutal murderer.

With only the help of his boisterous and lusty friend Bereto, a beautiful assassin whose target may well be Damelas himself, and a company of misfit actors who’d just as soon see him dead, this failed grandson of two Greatcoats must somehow find within himself the courage to dig up long-buried truths before a ruthless band of bravos known as the Iron Orchids come for his head.

Oh, and there’s still that matter of the Vixen waiting to duel him . . .

Readers love Play of Shadows!

‘De Castell’s masterful writing weaves an impressive tale with a fantastic plot, intriguing characters, and wondrous storybuilding. Another masterpiece’ – 5* reader review

‘If you are looking for a swashbuckling adventure with a dash of romance and a leaven of humour, then go out and get a copy of this book’ – 5* reader review

‘Everything that you come to expect from a Greatcoats world book – swashbuckling, emotional rollercoaster, a hero to root for and a great cast of characters some you will love and some you will hate’ – 5* reader review


If you love underdog characters, strong women, plenty of humour, wit and action, I can't recommend this enough. Fans of the Greatcoats will love it, and I think people coming to this world for the first time will find it a great introduction
Becky's Book Blog
A fast-paced joy-ride from start to finish, filled to the brim with swashbuckling action
Eleni A.E. at FanFiAddict
The twists and turns of a story where theater genuinely is magic had me turning pages perhaps a little faster than I should have - but it was such a thrill to encounter sophisticated world-building mingled with nerve-wracking adventure and truly satisfying swordplay. De Castell's women are genuinely witty and intelligent, as well as hot as blazes . . . and I'm a sucker for any story with truth and friendship at its heart. Bravo, maestro! I eagerly await the next one
Ellen Kushner, author of SWORDSPOINT
A complex and enthralling 500 pages of fantasy novel . . . expansive and full of verve . . . I can't wait to find out what will happen next
Geek Dad
Integrate[s] unusual locations and memorable characters into an exciting and engaging plot
SF2 Concatenation
A fantastic romp revolving around the power of stories and how history is written by the victors
Fantasy Book Nerd
Thrilling, complex, and absolutely addictive . . . It's not often a book leaves me speechless. This one pulled it off. Repeatedly . . . true to the spirit of the original Greatcoats in every way, and yet is utterly fresh and unique. From its humble beginning to its epic end, it stands among the author's finest works
Andy Peloquin at FanFiAddict
I'm still in awe. Play of Shadows is mysterious, enthralling, and just flat-out fantastic . . . the pacing was superb, and the climax had me gasping out loud . . . Play of Shadows is phenomenal and deserves a standing ovation
Witty and Sarcastic Book Club
Sebastien de Castell is, to me, unmatched in this kind of worldbuilding, the sort that feels based on swashbuckling books like Dumas's, those kinds of romantic adventures
Fast paced, very dynamic and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader engaged from beginning to end . . . fantastic from the first page to the last
Offer[s] characters in starring roles that have the power to capture a reader's heart. With humor, wit, and impeccable pacing, Play of Shadows proves to be an immersive read with a fascinating story to tell
The Lily Café
Brilliant and vivid world-building . . . riveting
Chad Stahelski, director of JOHN WICK, on THE MALEVOLENT SEVEN