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The Broken Sword (Fantasy Masterworks) Paperback – September 12, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

Review

''Poul Anderson's classic fantasy, The Broken Sword, knocks The Fellowship of the Ring into a cocked hat.'' --Guardian (UK) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Poul Anderson (1926-2001) was born in Pennsylvania of Scandinavian stock. He started publishing science fiction in 1947 and became one the great figures in the genre, serving as President of the Science Fiction Writers of America, winning many Hugo and Nebula awards, and also winning the Gandalf (Grand Master) Award.
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Product Details

  • Series: Fantasy Masterworks (Book 32)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (September 12, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575074256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575074255
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,063,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Darren O'Connor on March 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
Poul Anderson really was one of the greatest authors of speculative fiction. Many great authors can write swashbuckling heroic fantasy, or hard science fiction, but not many can write both with equal facility. Anderson was one of the few who could, possessing a degree in physics and a great depth of knowledge of Nordic mythology and ancient languages. "The Broken Sword" is one of his pure fantasy stories (and also one of his earlier novels), and draws heavily from northern and western European myth and legend. Anderson takes an interesting approach, postulating that the mythical creatures and deities of all cultures really existed, and sometimes interacted with each other. Thus, in this story, you see elves, trolls, dwarves, and other creatures from Nordic mythology, including some of the Norse gods, the Sidhe from Irish mythology, and even a lonely satyr from Graeco/Roman mythology -- a survivor of the supernatural creatures that followed Roman colonists into Britain centuries earlier. Even Christianity is present, acknowledged as a new and growing faith that is slowly, but inexorably driving out the others (the book is set in the era when Danish Viking armies were settling large parts of northern England during Anglo-Saxon times).

What's fantastic about the book is how well Anderson evokes the myths of that era.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brian Martin on March 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
Poul Anderson's "The Broken Sword," which was originally published in the 1950's, is a gritty novel that reads like an actual nordic saga or medieval myth. It is one part Beowulf and one part Tristan & Iseult and packs a lot of action, adventure, love and tragedy into a very tight 200 pages. I was very impressed by how human and flawed Anderson's heros and villians are in this novel. Most of them definately jumped off the page for me. This is a great novel and it is a shame at how obscure it has become. If you are a big fan of Fantasy Fiction and/or nordic mythology, then I would definately give this novel a look if you can find it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Addington on January 5, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
I found out that this book was published at the same time as J.R.R. Tolkien'n books. It took about 10 pages for me to become thoroughly enthralled. Notice I said enthralled and not enchanted. A curious word "enthralled". There were "thralls" in the book. Its funny how words change over time and if you don't catch yourself you may not fully understand what the meaning was at the time. But I digress. In this time of Marvel comics its nice to get a proper refresher on the whole Norse God tradition and the world of elves, trolls and the like and their respected "thralls". It is a harsh story, full of humans going viking, babies kidnapped, troll women raped, its a harsh world. But as we readers know, in the midst of the harshness there are glimpses of something more; beauty, kindness and Love. Yes folks, at the end of the day this a love story. But before your mind can protest "I don't want to read some silly romance", you are sucked in. And therein lies the twist. As it tends to be with Gods, elves and vikings the story gets all twisted up.And as the reader your are properly "enthralled" and cannot stop reading until the end. And you are left...bereft...wanting more
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By silver elves on September 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
This novel...
dear lovers of fantasy,
... of a human child exchanged at birth and taken and raised by the elves, is a solid bit of writing and a masterful story. We won't go into the details of the tale, since that can be read in the product description, but only wish to say that this is a yarn worth unraveling for those who love sword and sorcery type tales, as well as those of us who love nearly anything about elves and Faerie. This is not modern urban fantasy, ala Charles DeLint or Holly Black, but an adventure set in the days when the Norse gods still walked the earth and elves ruled a part of it. Enjoy!
kyela,
the silver elves
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cornhusker on June 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved reading this short novel. It is a dense, beautifully written novel that moves along at breakneck speed. I doubt it is hyperbole to say more happens in this novel than in the first two books of the LOTR combined. It is a very violent novel and has all the machinations of a Greek tragedy. It is, at its core, a love story, but far from conventional. To reveal too much would ruin the surprises throughout. But be warned. This is not your typical fantasy novel. It is not written where it takes whole chapters to describe a single event. When I say it moves fast, I mean it moves FAST.

There are epic battles throughout, love gained and lost, great quests and, of course, great tragedy. It has everything.

I think it is the finest fantasy novel I have ever read. I had no idea Poul Anderson could write so beautifully. I have read some of his other novels and while I enjoyed them, it was never because of his writing. In fact, I had thought him a very average writer but who had some fascinating ideas. Now I know better.

My only criticism is that it ended.

Highest recommendation!
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