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The Complete Book of Swords (Omnibus, Volumes 1, 2, 3) Hardcover – January 1, 1985

ISBN-13: 978-1568650098 ISBN-10: 1568650094

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 626 pages
  • Publisher: Nelson Doubleday / SFBC (January 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568650094
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568650098
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.8 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #509,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Fred Saberhagen (1930-2007) is widely published in many areas of speculative fiction. He is best known for his Berserker, Swords, and Dracula series. Less known are the myth-based fantasies Books of the Gods. Fred also authored a number of non-series fantasy and science fiction novels and a great number of short stories. For more information on Fred, visit his website: www.fredsaberhagen.com.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
If you are a fantasy fan it is a must read.
James S. Diblasi Jr.
I can't stop reading, and I dread having to deal with this book having to end sometime soon for me.
Jonathan Cawley
A fanciful read, great for reading on a rainy day.
Katrina

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. Sozaeva VINE VOICE on January 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
On the surface, and especially in the first book, this appears to be just another fantasy novel - young boy given a magical sword, sets out to seek his fate, blah blah bibbity blah. However, we see depths here, hints of a mysterious past in the world (technology was banished 2000 years ago for a length of time of 49,949 years - what a strange number - does it mean something?), tales of other magical swords - which are apparently true, as evil-doers start coming out of the woodwork left and right seeking the boy to steal his magical sword in order to gain its power for their own.

While I would like to see deeper character development, or more details on the mysterious past, at the same time it would likely ruin Saberhagen's forward momentum to slow it down and do so.

Usually the second book in a trilogy - the book to "bridge the gap" - tends to be ... shall we say, not quite up to the par of the first and third books. This is not the case in this instance. In "The Second Book of Swords," five years have passed, and while Barbara has been traveling with a carnival, Ben has chosen to sign up with the Blue Temple for service and Mark has wandered off who-knows-where in his quest to find ways to help fight against the Dark King. Early in the book they all reunite and, with Ben's urging, they decide to try to rob the Blue Temple's treasure hoard, which Ben guarantees has at least one Sword. Along the way they run across another treasure hunter - the Baron Doon, guided by the Sword Wayfinder - with whom Ben and Mark continue their quest, while Barbara goes her own way.

While
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By the_smoking_quill on November 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I'd really give this 2-1/2 stars, mostly because of the very good premise with the Swords and the setup in the first few chapters of Book One (in which the writing is markedly better than in later chapters--deadline rush?). In essence, the god Vulcan forges 12 magical swords, each with distinctive powers, and lets them loose in the world, in the hands of mortals. From then on, though, the story's a rapid, sometimes confusing yarn where things just don't seem to add up. And, perhaps most glaringly in the light of modern fantasy standards, there is _no_ distinctive characterization. The characters are just shells who ride the whirlwind of the narrative: Mark is a bland hero with a mysterious father; Ben is big and strong and not as dumb as he looks; Barbara is a woman who can use a sling; Baron Doon has a Machiavellian, treasure-hunting streak. That's about it. (I think Nestor simply disappears after Book One. What the heck happened?)
In sum, it's fun to watch the introduction of each Sword, its power and weakness, but the Swords are much more interesting than the characters. If you're in the mood for fantasical adventure, read something by Fritz Leiber or Robin Hobb instead (or, for a true change, Guy Gavriel Kay).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 10, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book was simply excellent. Fred's mix of mythology, "Old World" technology, medieval-type weapons, demons, and magic creates a fantasy world which is impossible to leave. The nature of the gods, the Swords and their incredible power, Sir Andrew, Yambu, and Vilkata, the Emperor, Mark, Ben are people that will keep you turning the pages. One of the truly excellent things about this book is the mystery concerning The Emperor, Ardneh, and the Old World. There are many things to ponder and think about, while at the same time it is written with simplicity. All in all, this book is written with extreme talent. No other fantasy book I've read surpasses this one. (After you've read it, look at the first sentence in the prologue and the last sentence in the epilogue and you'll see another example of how Saberhagen made this book great.)
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. Limbrick Jr. on July 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
... but I did read the entire Book of Swords and the entire follow up The Book of Lost swords.

This review is more in response to a few of the other reviews. The Book of Swords is a fast paced fantasy that plays out a game started by "the gods" for their amusement. There are magicians everywhere good and evil, guilds, kingdoms, battles, and at least one character growing into himself. What more could you want... Oh yes you could want to go around in circles and get a whole lot more in depth so each book would take a couple of weeks instead of a couple of days.

Saberhagen did not need to go anymore in depth for a book at this reading level!

If that isn't enough for you than you probably don't want this series. If you wander what your getting yourself into when you start a series of books than...

This is an excelent choice for someone who is not used to reading very long books but does not like a (good) story to end. This is one story that is broken up into smaller self sufficient stories. If you usually just read one book and your done you will be pleased with this book and may even expand your horizons. You can keep going if you want to but you don't have to if you want to be finished. However, if you are looking for your reading for the next year you would be sourly disappointed. It goes comparativly quickly for a series.

I don't believe this series was ever intended for a college level reader, except perhaps in discusing symolizm (in fact it is full of it my english 102 professor would have a field day).

This is a great book for some one who might be intimidated by a large book with large words. Someone on the 6th or 8th grade level should get through it but anyone who enjoys magic would be able to enjoy as well. I read strictly sci. fi. before I read this series but now I love the longer fantasy stuff. I haven't gone back to short Sci. fi. novels.
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