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


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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: 7.6 x 5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,057,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 24 customer reviews
Fast paced, imaginative and well plotted.
Asmodeous
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.
Amazon Customer
I read this book about 20 years ago, and at the time it quickly became one of my favorite books in the whole "sword & sorcery" fantasy genre.
Darby

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Stuart W. Mirsky on December 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
Not the best of the saga-like fantasies, this one's nevertheless quite unique in its odd melding of fantasy and the scientific justification presented to make the tale seem real. The elves, a cold and clever race, not truly malevolent but quite indifferent to men, are a race apart (along with their enemies the trolls and the goblins & other faerie folk). They are unable to withstand sunlight or the touch of iron and are yet rich in alternative, albeit medieval technologies. They use unheard of alloys of silver for their tools & weaponry and "frictionless" ships to ply the seas. Here is the story of a mortal taken into this world as a babe, replaced in his cradle by a changeling infant, half troll, half elf, but conjured into the image of the child he has replaced, and of how these two grow to manhood in their respective worlds -- the human to serve the needs of the elves by handling the iron they cannot touch themselves and the changeling to come to revile and betray the mortal family he was raised to believe were his kin. Both are betrayed by the worlds in which they are raised and lost for that -- the human for the inhuman heritage he has been raised with; the changeling for his longing for humanness and his hatred for those who have what he cannot attain. The plot is set in motion by the curse of a witch, herself the victim of the harshly brutal behavior of the stolen babe's father, and pivots on the interplay of the magical beings of faerie and the gods who toy with them. All are players and yet pieces, too, on a great chessboard which none knows the extent of -- and the stakes are the very existence of the magical beings and the gods themselves.Read more ›
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer 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.
Read 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lauren B. Davis on October 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anderson deserves his reputation as a master in the fantasy genre. His knowledge of Norse myth is impressive, as are his talents as a writer. A rollicking good tale, written in the epic style.
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3 of 3 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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. Von Ray 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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