I really wish I had read these books in order. As I'd already read Privilege of the Sword (which takes place almost twenty years later) most of the suspense and mystery in Swordspoint was, well, ruined for me. I knew what Alec's secret background was, I knew for sure who the villain was, I knew what ultimately happened to the villain... all that stuff.
That isn't to say didn't like it. It just means that I missed out on experiencing much surprise as the plot twists unfolded. Which is sad. But regardless of that, I loved spending more time with Alec and Richard, I really loved getting to know the Duchess Tremontaine, and I continue to love Ellen Kushner's writing. I want to re-read both books (in order this time) because, based on a few things I noticed, I suspect that there are quite a lot of references back and forth that I missed on my first read-through.
This was my favorite, favorite bit -- it should stand as a warning to all Big Bads who insist on creating Ridiculously Convoluted Schemes:
Now he was caught on the gilded curlicues of his own plots.
It's just so satisfying. Take that! Ha!
I really do need to buy personal copies of these books. They could become super-duper comfort reads for me.
PS. Not a fan of this cover art. It makes the book look like a run-of-the-mill fantasy novel, which it is not.