Joel Rosenberg's last novels before his death, the Paladins series consists of two books: Paladins, published in 2004, and Knight Moves, published in 2006.
The setting is an alternate Earth with fantasy elements; after defeating Arthur the Tyrant at the Battle of Camlann, Mordred the Great goes on to found a powerful, expansionist British Empire. Fast-forward several centuries, and England is one of three superpowers, alongside the Muslim Caliphate and the remnants of the Byzantine Empire.
Add to this mix mention of a Zone where dark powers dwell, some magic, and some extremely powerful 'live' swords, both Red and White, borne (at least in England) by specially-trained Knights of the Order of the Crown, Shield, and Dragon.
Into all this comes a Hellenic fisherman who drags up a hitherto unknown Red sword in a fishing net and is promptly struck dead when he touches it, two Knights of the Order sent from England to investigate, a third retired Knight wandering the taverns of Pironesia, and the fisherman's teenaged son, who then go off and have adventures seeking the source of the Red swords and their connection to demonic horrors appearing hundreds of miles south of the Zone.
This series contains examples of:
- Action Girl: In the background, at least, there is apparently at least one female Knight of the Order.
- Badass Normal: Cully doesn't have Jenn anymore, but he's still got all the training.
- Cool Sword: All of the live swords.
- Doomed Hometown: Niko's family
- Evil Sword: Some Red swords, particularly the Khan and the Sandoval
- Farm Boy: Niko. Well, fisher-boy.
- Five-Man Band:
- Infinity +1 Sword: Live swords give their users incredible speed and strength, as well as allowing them to cause fires and explosions and such in the case of Red swords.
- Retired Badass: Cully