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The First Book of Swords Paperback – June, 1995


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Paperback, June, 1995
$83.70 $0.01
--This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Assoc Llc (June 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812523563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812523560
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,684,517 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

Well written, engaging characters, and a great premise!
John P
If you enjoy the mix of high fantasy with sword and sorcery, you will definitely enjoy these books.
Juan Pastorelli
Over the years I've re-read them countless times, and loved them each time I did.
Thrasher X

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Paul J. Moade on June 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
Seriously, this is a well-written and absorbing book. It's one of those volumes you might buy because the cover looks interesting or the synopsis on the jacket is intriguing -- but once you begin reading, you realise what a gem it is.
The story, in brief, centers around 12 swords forged by the olympian god Vulcan to give to mankind for the amusement of the gods. He enlists the aid of a local townsperson (Jord) during their creation and in return gives one of the weapons to him. Jord is killed but his son, Mark, carries on thru a series of adventures revolving around one sword or another.
The fascinating part of the book is the swords themselves. Each has a special power, and a special weakness. Each is totally different than any other. This first book touches on only a couple of the artifacts in any detail. Subsequent books tell the stories of the remaining swords.
For a good read with a decent amount of adventure and a plot that twists and turns, this book is hard to beat.
~P~
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Art on May 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If your here, its likely because you read the series many years ago and are pondering a re-read. So far, I have only re-read this first book, and my verdict is "go for it". If you are contemplating a first read, I might steer you to Empire of the East (the 3 book collection) as a better value and first foray into Saberhagen's work. Similar writing style and pacing, but has more action than this introductory book.

The first book is very short -- 200 and something pages. Characterizations are very light compared to more modern works and the plotting, at least in this first book, isnt necessarily overly impressive either. Some "gods" -- whatever they may be -- want to have a "game" and some humans get swept along by events. No one is going to confuse the First Book of Swords with modern epic fantasy. But the book is a tremendously easy read, has plenty of action, and is just likeable. Sometimes you dont need a 1000 page tome filled with a dozen POVs and details of all the characters inner thoughts and motivations.

The basic premise, 12 swords, of incredible but highly varied and unique powers, drives and make the series. For example, if you read the series, you might remember Far Slayer, which can slay any enemy from a distance, but ultimately brings no satisfaction to the party launching Far Slayer; Coinspinner, the sword of luck...which manages to abandon its holder at inopportune times, and Sightblinder, which causes others to see the wielder as someone they love of fear. From the varied powers of the swords, coupled with Saberhagen's simple but fun writing style, the Book of Swords series tells fun and memorable tales, as various factions scramble to grab the swords and their power.
Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a fine fantasy novel with a whole lot of intriguing ideas dancing around in a small space. I wasn't prepared for the abrupt, cliffhanger ending -- I didn't realize it wasn't a stand-alone novel in a series, but rather Part 1 of a three-part story -- but I don't hold that against the novel. I enjoyed it while it lasted, and I'll definitely read the second and third parts.

I liked it enough, in fact, that I'd have given it four stars if not for the fact that this Kindle edition was obviously scanned from an existing print edition, then never edited for errors. The Kindle edition is rife with missing punctuation, commas where they don't belong, words that are almost right but not quite -- all the types of errors you expect to see when OCR software is used to convert a printed document into a digital one. I'm really disappointed that no one cared enough about the source material -- or about the reader -- to proofread the digital text before releasing it as an eBook. It wouldn't have taken an expert editor to clean up the eBook; just someone with a basic understanding of grammar, spelling, and punctuation and a willingness to put a little more into the final product than simply scanning it and kicking it out the door.

I hope the publisher will consider editing these novels (and any future Kindle editions of Saberhagen's books) to bring them in line with the print editions. I think Mr. Saberhagen's legacy deserves at least the small effort this would require -- and I'd like to be able to read the rest of the many Swords novels without being annoyed by the publisher's carelessness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Sozaeva VINE VOICE on January 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
On the surface, 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 (although, now I see while browsing through other available texts that the past is described in other books - what a pity, I'll have to buy more books, oh, woe is me ... *grins*), at the same time it would likely ruin Saberhagen's forward momentum to slow it down and do so.

I think I've discovered a new author to add to my list of "favorites" and a new list of books (what a HUGE list it is, too!) to add to my "want to get these" list. I would recommend to those who haven't yet discovered this classic gem of a book to run out and see if you can find a copy. I purchased mine in the omnibus The Complete Book of Swords, which might be easier to find nowadays.
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