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ALTDORF: The Forest Knights: Book 1 [Kindle Edition]

J. K. Swift
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)

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Book Description

ALTDORF, a novel of The Forest Knights

A wild land too mountainous to be tamed by plows…
A Duke of the Holy Roman Empire, his cunning overshadowed only by his ambition…
A young Priestess of the Old Religion, together with a charismatic outlaw, sparking a rebellion from deep within the forests…
And an ex-Hospitaller caught between them all.

“Re-imagining the William Tell legend—without William Tell.”

At the end of the thirteenth century, five hundred orphans and second sons are rounded up from villages in the Alpine countryside and sold to the Hospitaller Knights of St John. Trained to serve as Soldiers of Christ, they fight in eastern lands they know nothing about, for a cause they do not understand.

Thomas Schwyzer, released from his vows by the Grandmaster of the Hospitallers, returns to the land of his birth a stranger. Once a leader of men, and captain of the Order’s most famous war galley, he now settles into the simple life of a ferryman. He believes this new role to be God’s reward for years of faithful service fighting the Infidel in Outremer.

Seraina, considered a witch by most, a healer by some, is a young woman with a purpose. A Priestess of the Old Religion, and the last Druid disciple of the Helvetii Celts, she has been gifted by the Great Weave to see what others cannot. Her people need her guidance and protection now more than ever. For Duke Leopold of Habsburg, in his efforts to control the St. Gotthard Pass, builds a great Austrian fortress in Altdorf. Once finished, the Habsburg occupation will be complete, but the atrocities visited upon her people will have just begun.

Set in medieval Switzerland, ALTDORF, a novel of The Forest Knights, is the first book in a two-book series.

76,000 words

Editorial Reviews


What readers are saying at

"I absolutely loved Altdorf..."
"...Fantastic story!"
"...when it ended, I felt a void."
"Can't wait to read more."
"I couldn't put it down!"

From the Back Cover

A wild land too mountainous to be tamed by plows...

A Duke of the Holy Roman Empire, his cunning overshadowed only by his ambition...

A young Priestess of the Old Religion, together with a charismatic outlaw, sparking a rebellion from deep within the forests...

And an ex-Hospitaller caught between them all.

"Re-imagining the William Tell legend--without William Tell."

Product Details

  • File Size: 427 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1468012908
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: UE Publishing Co. (November 21, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005TU1GKE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,803 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Forest Knights: Altdorf October 30, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
This was a terrific book! It has got knights, sword fights, druids, damsels, and heros who stand up for justice for their people. I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish it. When I first started to read, I was afraid that the story would be cheesy and that there would be glaring historical innacuracies. However, I found it to be a complex story line and, after looking up some of the actual historical characters I found that the book portrayed historical characters and settings accurately within the framework of the fictional story. I did feel that the book ended a little too abruptly. I know there is a second book that continues the story, but I think that books in a series should still be able to stand alone. The suddenness of the ending, while making me want to read the second book, left me feeling like this book was actually "Part 1" and not able to stand on its own. I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to review it.
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88 of 97 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Frustrated with ending December 30, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book until I got to the nonexistent ending. I understand the desire to get the reader into the next book in a series, but to trick the reader into it by waiting to the stopping of the story to do it is very frustrating. Just tell me up front that I have to get two books, or more - that is just being honest. This is the second time I have been fooled by this trick and I don't appreciate it. So, reader beware. Again, I enjoyed the story, but know that you will need to get a second book to have a satisfying conclusion.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CAT May 10, 2013
By Jen
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When I started reading this book, I wasn't overly impressed because it seemed like way too much time was spent creating the characters. My wife felt the same way later when she read the book. However, once we got past the introductions, and into the heart of the book, the reason for spending the extra time getting to know the characters became apparent.

This book ended up being one of the best I've read in the past year. I ended up buying the sequal so I could find out how it ended.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars are there no Good Editors left in the world? October 29, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Once again a story that a decent editor would have fixed or trashed and saved me two hours muddling through bad dialogue and tired old tales retold badly filled with far too much gore and mutilation, to the point I think it is clear the author is a sicko.

the story is of Hospitaller Knights AFTER their Crusade in the holy land, 7 are left after 10? 20? or 30? years of fighting, the author cites at least three different lengths of time.

the remaining 7 travel back to Switzerland where they were taken? as children by the Knights and pressed into service to eventually be used to fight wars for the Holy Church in Rome....take that for what it is worth. The backstory is clumsily told and is flashbacked far too many times.

The soldiers then disband and we follow the life of the Captain as evil Kings and Dukes and what not all work against him , many characters are introduced to us, none of them likeable or memorable, the hero has his life long friend killed and his love of his life stolen from him by an evil Duke...yadda yadda where have we seen this tired chesnut before....and so on and so on,

the story could be a good one but the TELLING of it is simply horrible but you can't tell that until you are well through it, characters are described in detail over and over and they play no part in the tale,.you find yourself skimming then simply skipping ahead, skipping ahead skipping ahead....

perhaps there are too many characters introduced and being over done because they are in future books....heres the mark of a good writer...tell the story clearly. and to be clear you need to be brief. stop introducing characters that we never see again !
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Historical Fiction! March 30, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I picked up this book on a whim, and let me just say that i was very impressed and i loved it, i cannot wait for another to be released. I enjoyed Swifts novel as much as i did the works of Lawhead, Lamours "The Walking Drum" or "Eaters of the Dead" by Crichton. Swift has yet to make a huge footprint upon the genre but if fate allows i can see it happening, a must read!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Altdorf - Book 1 of The Forest Knights April 16, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Altdorf is the first book of the Forest Knights duology and is set during Middle Ages in Europe. J.K. Swift has done a fantastic jobs creating an interesting world with compelling characters and a fascinating story. Perhaps more fantasy than history compared to other historical fiction novels, I still found it a fantastic read. If your a fan of Angus Donald's Robin Hood series or Conn Iggulden's Emperor and Conqueror series than you'll be a fan of Swift's Forest Knights novels. Note: both books of the series (Altdorf & Morgarten) should be read together, i.e. one right after the other.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hopeless July 9, 2013
By runruby
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was good for me, but not great.

It was a little violent for my taste. Even as I type that though...the scenes were not terribly violent, I think what got to me was the undercurrent of hopelessness woven throughout this book. The thinking of the men, the violet tendencies (rape/torture), and the lack of a "good guy" all contributed to the hopelessness. I can see how many people would feel it is very romantic, but I just felt sad.

I do not think it is "inappropriate", just not to my taste.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Altdorf
An excellent book, I truly enjoyed it immensely. I couldn't wait to read the second book "Mortgarten". Whispersync is FREE in this book, and only $2.99 in Book 2. Read more
Published 2 days ago by SGT ABN RECON
3.0 out of 5 stars Nopw ending
Book was good until good until the end! The last chapter was left off. Hod can you judge a book without the ending?
Published 5 days ago by Edward Glatt
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good book. I enjoyed reading the book
Really good book. I enjoyed reading the book. It was well plotted and the story was very interesting. The ending was a very nice lead in to book number 2.
Published 5 days ago by Theodore S. Hudson
4.0 out of 5 stars I would definitely recommend it.
I don't normally review books, but perhaps it's about time I 'gave back' a little. This book kept me
interested, and I thought it was very well-written. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Dave M
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great book had to purchase the sequel just as good
Published 18 days ago by terence caston
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good
Published 25 days ago by helga stucker
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Done!
I like this story. I like the details and how the characters can remember past times. Well written indeed! Thank you JK!
Published 1 month ago by PoppyBlossom
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Liked the characters much that guy they seemed feral life. Enough history to get you looking things up to read more about the time and the people. Loved it
Published 1 month ago by Linda
3.0 out of 5 stars I was disappointed that there was not much action
Sorry to say that I found this first book in the series not very entertaining or absorbing. I was disappointed that there was not much action. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Fantasy Lover
5.0 out of 5 stars Middle Ages and Knights
This book is a little dark, but it gives the reader an insight into some of the atrocities committed by so called Christians of the Middle Ages. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Auntie Bobo
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More About the Author

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J. K. Swift lives in a log house well off the beaten path in central B.C., Canada. He is the author of "The Forest Knights" novels (, which are set in medieval Switzerland. He has worked as a school teacher, jailhouse guard, Japanese translator, log peeler, accountant, martial arts instructor, massage therapist, technical editor, and has called a few Bingo games. He gets his story ideas while traveling in Europe, feeding his chickens, and cutting wood.

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