Literature: His Fair Assassin
aka: Grave Mercy
"Of course, many die without our help. However, there are those who deserve to die but who have not yet encountered the means to do so. At Mortain's bidding, we help them on their way."
— The Abbess on St. Mortain's mission
A plot-heavy historical drama/romance by Robin LaFevers, revolving around the stories of three friends: Ismae, Sybella, and Annith — who are also all half-sisters, each being a Daughter of Mortain
. Growing up in a convent under the tutelage of the handmaidens of Death and raised to be assassins themselves, they find themselves drawn into the political machinations of the power struggle between Brittany and France, as Brittany fights to retain its independence while France works to seize control of the country.Grave Mercy
: The first book in the trilogy, it focuses on Ismae Rienne, daughter of the God of Death and rising assassin in the convent of St. Mortain. After two relatively easy assignments, she is sent into the high court of Brittany to find and eliminate the traitors who plot to undermine the soon-to-be duchess Anne and hand the country over to France.Dark Triumph
: The second book in the trilogy, it is told from the POV of Sybella D'Albret
Released in November 2014. The third and final book in the trilogy, it is told from the POV of Annith.
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Tropes used in His Fair Assassin:
- Broad Strokes: While LaFevers Shows Her Work, she does take liberties. Notably, she compresses two years of events into one year by cutting out times when nothing interesting was happening.
- Foregone Conclusion: Let's just say you shouldn't be planning on making any trips to the sovereign nation of Brittany.
- Four Lines, All Waiting: Each book in the series has a different narrator, with some overlap in chronology.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: While the real D'Albret was ambitious, cruel, and manipulative, it gets taken up to eleven in the series.
- The Late Middle Ages: Set in the 1488, right before the fall of Brittany to the French.
- Periphery Demographic: This series has a decent number of fans who dislike like the romance and historical genres.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: Not the book, but the series appears to be shaping up this way with the second book being about Ismae's friend Sybella.
- Big Damn Heroes: Beast and company show up at the end to pull Sybella out of harm's way.
- Blood Knight: Literally, in the case of Beast: in battle (or at the faintest sniff of danger to himself or his friends) he is taken over by unshakable blood lust, and has stated that he does, in fact, enjoy his "work".
- Driven to Suicide: Unsurprisingly given the abuse she suffered from D'Albret, Sybella tried to hang herself in the past. She's stopped, and told he isn't really her father. This cheers her up immensely.
- Gentle Giant: Subverted by Beast. He's lighthearted, caring and honorable while still huge, hideous, and driven by battle lust.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Julian jumps in front of a blade meant for Sybella.
- Les Yay. In-universe as invoked by Sybella. She lets her treacherous handmaid read more into her relationship with Tephanie in order to piss her off. Sybella also mentions casually to Ismae that Duval has much to thank her [Sybella] for, as Sybella was the one to teach Ismae how to kiss.
- Rage Against the Heavens: Sybella has no love for Mortain in the beginning, and only continues to consider herself to be his daughter because the alternative would mean considering D'Albret to be her father.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Sort of. The Beast throws a sword, and while the blade doesn't hit the target, the hilt does, which stuns the soldier long enough for Sybella to finish him off.