The Talhoffer Society (Unabridged)
by Michael Edelson
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He came to stop it, she came to win it. The tournament will change their lives forever. If they survive. If you readily frighten, you should never learn fencing. - Liechtenauer's Verses, Von Danzig Fechtbuch - 1452 As a champion longsword fencer, Jack Fischer receives many invitations to tournaments, but none like this: few details, no return address and thousands of dollars in cash that is his to keep whether he accepts or not. He wants nothing to do with it until a multi-national task force recruits him to help bring down the organizers, a society of modern duelists who fight to the death for the gratification of wealthy patrons. Surrounded by opulence, glamour, and the respect of powerful benefactors, Jack finds himself fighting the desire to prove himself in combat and vindicate his life's work. His loyalties are further strained when he meets Frederica, a woman whose skill with a sword rivals his own. Struggling with a disease that is ravaging her body, she has come to the tournament to win the means to pay for her treatment or to die trying. But underneath the pomp, the lofty ideals, and promised wealth, neither the tournament nor its organizers are what they seem, and Jack is forced to face an impossible choice between love, self-preservation, and honor in a place where the only truth worth finding may lie in a pool of his own blood.