The first book of the Assassin series, King of Swords an epic assassination thriller framed against a gritty backdrop of brutal drug cartel violence in modern Mexico.
The G-20 Financial Summit is planned for San Jose Del Cabo. The world's pre-eminent finance ministers will attend, along with the presidents of the U.S. and Mexico.
Captain Romero Cruz of the Mexican Federal Police uncovers an assassination plot against the attendees. In a roller-coaster race against the clock, Cruz must track and stop El Rey, the "King of Swords" – a faceless super-assassin responsible for a string of the world's most spectacular killings, before he turns the G-20 into a slaughterhouse.
King of Swords is an intelligent, rule-breaking rush that shatters convention to create a richly-drawn story that's sure to shock and delight even the most jaded intrigue/adventure thriller fans.
A Q & A for King of Swords with bestselling author Russell Blake
Question: King of Swords is a no-holds-barred suspense thriller set in present-day Mexico. What books influenced you in creating it and how did you come up with the idea?
Russell Blake: Day of the Jackal, Shibumi, and The Ninja. I wanted to create something that would give a nod to those works, but kick it up a notch – modernize them; crank them on steroids, leave readers gasping & cringing, and revitalize the genre. I saw the G-20 taking place in Cabo San Lucas, and thought it would be an ideal event in which to frame the quintessential assassination thriller, but with a "24" style storytelling sensibility & an unflinching description of the cartel violence pervading Mexico.
Q: King of Swords blends fact & fiction. What was the inspiration for using the drug cartels as the framework for the story, & where does truth end & invention begin?
RB: Mexico is fighting a civil war; the government against the narco-trafficking cartels. Around 8,000 people die every year as a result of cartel violence, including cops, military, cartel members, family, and innocent bystanders. It's a brutal industry that throws over $50 billion a year into cartel hands – more than the GDP of many nations. I want readers to see the very real cost in human terms, so the truth/fiction line is deliberately fuzzy. Everything I write is based loosely in fact, & it's up to the reader to determine where it leaves off.
Q: King of Swords is not for the meek, & is controversial in its graphic depiction of cartel violence and government complicity. Aren't you afraid you'll offend with it?
RB: The trafficking business is a bloody, vicious industry perpetrating horrific crimes against humanity. I wanted to capture the casual savagery that typifies it, the willingness of ordinary men to engage in extraordinary brutality. I wanted to highlight the psychological making of the monster. Readers' sensibilities should be offended. I want them squirming, pulled out of their comfort zone. If they aren't, if they sleep peacefully after reading it, or can put it down, I didn't do my job.
Q: King of Swords is much faster-moving than many thrillers. How did you achieve that effect, & are your other books anything like that?
RB: It's a pacing thing. I wanted to create an experience, not a book - to hurtle the reader along and leave them shaking from the adrenaline rush. King of Swords for me is the ultimate expression of that "high-velocity read" approach to fiction.
Q: What made you want to write?
RB: I grew up on a steady diet of Ludlum, Forsyth, Cussler, and Le Carre. That evolved into an interest in telling those sorts of stories. When I decided to try my hand at fiction, it never occurred to me to write anything else. My entertainment reading has always been action thrillers, so it was a natural when I sat down to write.
**NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
As Seen in The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, and The Times!*
"A sadistically good writer." *- The Kindle Book Review
"Russell Blake writes with a brisk intensity and pulse-pounding power. Jump in and hang on for a nonstop thrill ride." - Scott Nicholson, Liquid Fear
- "Russell Blake is no stranger to the thriller genre. His previous thrillers have turned the headlines inside-out, with gritty,no-holds-barred, edge-of-your-seat plots. With King of Swords, RussellBlake has clearly taken the best of his previous novels and combinedthem into an honest, often brutal, heart-stopping thriller that left megasping for air and squirming on my couch. I know this sounds overlydramatic, but in reader-speak...this book kept me glued to the Kindlescreen.*
In King of Swords, the reader is taken on ajourney through drug cartel-ruled Mexico, where violence often trumpshard cash as the dominant cultural currency. Blake clearly draws on his own knowledge of the political and cultural climate in Mexico topresent a realistic and stark backdrop to a thriller in the fast-paced,intelligent tradition of Frederick Forsyth's, "Day of the Jackal." - Steven Konkoly, Amazon bestselling author of the Jakarta Pandemic and Black FlaggedFrom the Author
I'm often asked about the right sequence to read the Assassin series.It's not as obvious as it sounds, so perhaps a little explanation isdue.
The series runs as follows:
Night of the Assassin - Series prequel
King of Swords - Book 1
Revenge of the Assassin - Book 2
Return of the Assassin - Book 3
Blood of the Assassin - Book 4
Requiem for the Assassin - Book 5
Rage of the Assassin - Book 6
I plan at least one more installment before the series is finished,possibly two. Depends on how much more of El Rey's exploits requiretelling.
I should also warn readers that this series is gritty,and is an unflinching portrayal of the realities of the drug cartelviolence in modern Mexico. As such, it's not for the faint of heart, soif you're looking for cozy mysteries wherein a spunky grandma puts clues together with her quilting club's help, this ain't it.
Hope you enjoy the read.
- Words: NA
- Read Time: NA
- Difficulty: NA