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The First Book of Swords (Saberhagen's Swords Series 1) [Kindle Edition]

Fred Saberhagen
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $4.99

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Book Description

The Books of Swords

The gods decide to devise a Game of great fun: their colleague Vulcan forges 12 magic Swords, each with a different power, and scatters them across the world. Play begins in grand and gloriously violent fashion as Swords are gathered and used to control chance, enhance fortune, and change destiny. The holder of a Sword wields power undreamed — power to change the world and the holder.

To add to the enjoyment, foolish mortals are invited to join, risking their puny lives. Demons and elementals need no invitation. But something had gone wrong in the forging, and the Game —

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Fred Saberhagen (1930-2007) is the author of the popular Berserker (tm) Series, the Dracula series and the bestselling Lost Swords and Book of Lost Swords. Fred Saberhagen lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Product Details

  • File Size: 377 KB
  • Print Length: 219 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: JSS Literary Productions (March 18, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004SRC70W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,554 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharp and to the point ... June 10, 2000
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.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short, Fun, Old Style Fantasy, But Not Much To It May 10, 2012
By Art
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deceptively simple January 23, 2010
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a great read! I'll definately be re-reading the rest of them!
I read this book a long time ago and picked it up again from a goodwill. Love this story! It primarily only focuses on townsaver and dragonslicer, with a bit of sightblinder and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by J. Henning
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Not a huge Saberhagen fan. Fair story line. I read the entire book but didn't continue the series.
Published 2 months ago by T.A. Gideon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I am reading it again
Published 3 months ago by Hyrum
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Beginning!
I enjoyed the story! Grabbed my interest immediately. Looking forward to the next book.
Can't decide if I want to read Empire of the East 1st or proceed to the next book
Published 4 months ago by luvbooks
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My moms fave series
Published 8 months ago by Bjmw
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak Soup
The genre of this book should be Juvenile Fiction - Light. The characters are shallow, stereotypical fantasy types. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Wyckoff
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely loved this series
Can't say enough. Absolutely loved this series.
Published 10 months ago by Paul Rezas
5.0 out of 5 stars Re-Purchase on Kindle
Have ready this series five or six times - decided to buy for my kindle! Well written, engaging characters, and a great premise! Read more
Published 16 months ago by John P
5.0 out of 5 stars The old world is gone
The story of the Twelve Swords is so potent that this series will never leave my bookshelf. I remember reading this when it came out and being unable to put it down. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Steven M Latour
4.0 out of 5 stars More world building and character intro than real fantasy. The stage...
The First Book of Swords by Fred Saberhagen published 2012.
Narrated by Derek Perkins.
8 Hrs 52 Min 9 Sec

The narrator Derek Perkins did a very good job in... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Wanda
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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:

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