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Sword of Fire and Sea (The Chaos Knight) Paperback – June 21, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"A fantastic debut novel.... Vividly descriptive, [Hoffman] quickly pulls the reader into her world and it is an interesting one full of gryphons, magic and good old-fashioned pirates. Her characters are well written, engaging, and realistic. …Fans of fantasy series should definitely read this book."
-Portland Book Review

"A swashbuckling fantasy adventure reminiscent of the golden age of high fantasy dominated by the likes of Terry Brooks and Tad Williams. For those of you pining for return of high fantasy adventure, this is it."
-New Myths

"This series debut by video game designer Hoffman features well-drawn characters, both human and mythical… Introducing a world of elemental magic, intelligent gryphons, and warring forces, this fantasy adventure is suitable for both YA and adult readers."
-Library Journal

"Both a modern and old-school high fantasy novel that only scratches the surface of a diverse and interesting world.... [With] Fire priestesses, gryphons, mind magic using mages, Goddesses, magic weapons, Air knights.... I was entertained and thoroughly amazed by the imagination that Hoffman brings to her writing…. Hoffman is a talent, there is no denying it. I would definitely like to see much more of the world of Andovar."

About the Author

Erin Hoffman is the author of Sword of Fire and Sea and Lance of Earth and Sky. She was born in San Diego, California, and now lives with her husband, two parrots, and a dog in the San Francisco bay area. Her college degree was eclectic and landed her in the strange waters of video game design, where she tells stories using a diabolical combination of character, controller, and math. Her games have been played by over four million kids and adults worldwide, and she is a graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writers Workshop.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Chaos Knight
  • Paperback: 277 pages
  • Publisher: Pyr; 1st edition (June 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616143738
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616143732
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,406,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Author and video game designer Erin Hoffman was born in San Diego and now lives in northern California, where she works as Game Design Lead at the GlassLab, a nonprofit video game studio building big-data-powered educational games that digitally adapt to the learner. She is the author of the Chaos Knight series from Pyr books, beginning with Sword of Fire and Sea, followed by Lance of Earth and Sky and concluding with Shield of Sea and Space. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, Electric Velocipede,, and more. For more information, visit and twitter @gryphoness.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mitch Thunderhoofs on June 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you had to use one word to describe traditional fantasy novels it would probably be... long. Sword of Fire and Sea is definitely not. Now most fans of the genre would probably be deterred by this, I mean how much story can you really pack into 277 pages, right? Well it turns out that you can pack in more than enough, enough to make the book FEEL like one of those books that can double as a step ladder (this is a good thing).

As for a quick plot summary: Captain Vidarian Rulorat is the last surviving member of a family afflicted with the Blood plague, a genetic disease that torments families who cross elemental boundaries. Vidarian's great-grandfather married a fire priestess and had to pay for it. He condemned his family to bear the Blood plague, and was also forced to enter into an alliance with the the fire priestesses: the Breakwater Agreement. Now the time has come for Vidarian to fulfill his family's obligation. He is tasked with escorting a fire priestess, Ariadel Windhammer, to a water temple for safe keeping. Just to make things interesting, she's being pursued by a group of ruthless telepaths who are bent on silencing her after she witnessed their forbidden rites.

That's a good start. Now, the reasons you should read this book.

First, like I mentioned above, it's a page turner! The book never gets bogged down in the lengthy descriptions that so many authors seem to favor, and despite the short page length there's ample character development and plot advancement. Speaking of which, the plot is solid. Engaging and unpredictable, every time you guess something correctly you'll probably get blindsided twice. As for character development, I was pleasantly surprised.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Liviu C. Suciu on July 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
Sword of Fire and Sea by Erin Hoffman is a high magic adventure with relentless action, exuberance and occasional over the top scenes that work well here. The blurb below represents well enough the main storyline of the novel at least to start with.

"Three generations ago Captain Vidarian Rulorat's great-grandfather gave up an imperial commission to commit social catastrophe by marrying a fire priestess. For love, he unwittingly doomed his family to generations of a rare genetic disease that follows families who cross elemental boundaries. Now Vidarian, the last surviving member of the Rulorat family, struggles to uphold his family legacy, and finds himself chained to a task as a result of the bride price his great-grandfather paid: the Breakwater Agreement, a seventy-year-old alliance between his family and the High Temple of Kara'zul, domain of the fire priestesses.

The priestess Endera has called upon Vidarian to fulfill his family's obligation by transporting a young fire priestess named Ariadel to a water temple far to the south, through dangerous pirate-controlled territory. A journey perilous in the best of conditions is made more so by their pursuers: rogue telepathic magic-users called the Vkortha who will stop at nothing to recover Ariadel, who has witnessed their forbidden rites."

Sword of Fire and Sea flows very well despite that it changes its balance and focus at least twice; the transitions are done so well, you really do not notice until you think a little and say "but the book was supposed (and started) to be about *** and look now it's actually ***"

The novel is packed with stuff; in its short under 300 pages length, it has more goings on than quite a few recent books double its size or more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
A good book can transport you to a new world; a great book makes you care about that new world. In Sword of Fire and Sea, the debut fantasy novel by the talented Erin Hoffman, does just that. Hoffman succeeds in creating a new realm with characters that are both likable and real. The story focuses on Captain Vidarian Rulorat as he deals both his family's heritage and his future. Vidarian takes on a series of tasks that open new worlds of magic and emotions that will forever change him. I found that Hoffman's writing style was a perfect fit for the fantasy genre.
The shinning achievement of this book is the cast. The character's in this book are very deep and wonderfully explored. Everyone, from the humans to the gryphons, have those little imperfections that make them feel more real. I especially loved the different social ranks in the world itself. This is book one of the storyline called The Chaos Knight, and it is surprisingly not dense with narratives that clog the story. This is a gem of a book. I guarantee that after reading it, you will be a fan and will be looking forward to the next book.

*Originally published for San Francisco/Sacramento Book Review*
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michal T. on August 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My plan was to read Sword on the plane during take off and landing on a recent trip, and use my computer for the rest of flight. Apparently Hoffman had different plans for me as four hours later I was still reading Sword as the plane came in for a landing. The plot that Hoffman has weaved together is engaging, her story telling is fluid and intelligent, and the characters are strong and believable. While its clear that this is the first book in a series, it stood on its own and had a pay off in the end. A good sign with a novel is that I became attached enough to the characters that I was actually angry at what happened to one in particular during the story (trying to be vague so I don't spoil the plot for anyone reading this).

I'm not much of a fantasy reader, but the story and characters really held this book together for me. I can't recommend it enough.
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