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The Seer and the Sword Mass Market Paperback – April 8, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Healer and Seer Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

British author Hanley pens a romantic royal tale of intrigue in the tradition of King Arthur. Princess Torina, "eyes sparkling, hair wild," is the only child of hard-hearted warrior King Kareed. After the king defeats the peaceful monarch of Bellandra, he brings home the country's famous sword and gives to his daughter a magic crystal and Landen, the prince of Bellandra, to be Torina's slave. What begins as an uneasy friendship between Landen and Torina grows into a bond of trust when the girl saves his life due to her ability to see the future in the magic crystal. Years later the two become estranged when Landen informs Torina that her lover, Vesputo, is deceiving her and has only ambitions to the throne. Vesputo turns vicious, and both she and Landen are forced to leave the country. They separate, travel far and wide, and eventually find themselves major players in a complicated political plot with Vesputo at its center. This is a lengthy novel, and the narrative's vacillation between different locations and points of view becomes disorienting; the pacing also suffers from fits and starts. However, Hanley's characters are heroic and vulnerable, smart and hot-blooded. The romance rings true and the action sings with excitement: the climax literally comes down to the executioner's scaffold in the penultimate chapter. Fans of romance and the Round Table genre will be swept up in the plot. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From School Library Journal

Gr 6-10-Princess Torina is delighted when her father, the King of Archeld, returns from his conquest of the neighboring kingdom. He has brought home the magical Sword of Bellandra; a crystal globe that he gives to his child; and, to Torina's horror, he presents her with the defeated country's now-enslaved Prince Landen. She immediately frees the boy, but the orphan remains in the king's household and trains as a warrior. Over the next decade, Torina becomes a seer (the crystal stone allows her to divine the future), while Landen sets aside his pacifist upbringing and becomes a skillful soldier. Both assist the high king in his efforts to unite several small, rival countries and repel the attack of brutal invaders. This political setting sounds much like Arthurian England, but Archeld's royal court has a more Elizabethan tone, being rife with poison, intrigue, and hidden alliances. Hanley competently establishes a large cast of secondary characters and neatly weaves together the far-reaching threads of consequence spun out from the cruelty of the king and the mercy of the princess. Fans of Tamora Pierce's books should enjoy this long, sprawling novel, which is less wryly humorous than Pierce's work but is often more thoughtful about the outcomes of peace and warfare, aggression and compassion.-Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf (April 8, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440229774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440229773
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,289,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Most stories can be classified as one kind of story, but "Seer and the Sword" can count as four: fantasy, coming-of-age, political adventure and romance. Fans of Tamora Pierce may find something very much to their liking here.
The story opens with the spirited young princess Torina of Archeld, a beautiful and strong kingdom -- of which she is the only heir, when she marries. Her father has just conquered the peaceful kingdom of Bellandra and brings her back two gifts: a tiny crystal globe and the captured Bellandran prince. Torina frees the prince, Landen, who is allowed to learn how to fight along with the young soldiers-in-training, who see him as a weakling.
Torina soon discovers that she can see glimpses of the future in the little ball, and befriends Landen after she saves his life. A few years pass, and Torina is betrothed to Vesputo, a cold and ruthless soldier who pretends to be kind and loving around her. But Landen knows that Vesputo only want to marry Torina for her crown, that he really cares nothing for her. But Landen has to leave when he is suspected of rebelling against the king -- and then the king is murdered. Landen changes his name and becomes a respected soldier -- and waits to move against Vesputo.
Torina, the only witness to her father's murder, is blackmailed into agreeing to a marriage with Vesputo, and to using her crystal to show him the future. Using her wits and skill, she escapes and hides away in the countryside of a neighboring land. But when a King-Arthur-like high king gives her the chance to defeat Vesputo, she takes it. And in Archeld, Landen and a friend move in to find the famed Sword that supposedly will allow him to defeat any enemy...
This is, despite the terrible plot description on the jacket flap, a very intense and multilayered novel.
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By A Customer on July 30, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I couldn't love this book any more!!!! I love many characters and will hold a place in my heart for the seer and the sword for EVER!!!! This book had everything...romance(a wonderful one, even more than one if you can spot them), action and plenty of it, adventure, morals, and magic!!! I really truly want everyone who loves any of these things to read this book... especially if you liked Prydain Chronicles, Chronicles of Narnia, and the arkadians!This book is so great, i read it in one day. I really, truly could not put it down! I was so caught up in it all i did was read. And so will you. You'll be swept up in the plot and you'll love every minute of it... from the romances, to the adventures landen and torina have, seeing every point of view of almost every important character. It was a powerfully written book that is destined for fame and will be your favorite on the shelf for years to come. Don't hesitate to buy my favorite book and what will be yours too!!!
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Format: Hardcover
This is the kind of book that you read over and over, no matter your age. I read it first from the library, and the next time I went to the bookstore I bought it. (Well . . . I ordered it and picked it up when it came in, but same diff.) It starts when the young Princess Torina is given a stone and a slave when her father comes back from a triumphant war. The slave is the only son of the former king of the conquered country, and a few years older then Torina. Landen, the boy is called, is set free by the impulsive princess, and sent to live in the barracks. And when Torina looks into the crystal, she sees the baby her mother is carring being born a boy, and stillborn.
That is what happens.
Torina is a seer, a great one, who are very rare. She uses her crystal to see the future - though she can not see her own. As you can guess, she and Landen fall in love - but not before an evil falls upon the kingdom. Thhis is a book of love, betrayal, war, and despair - and hope. Read it.
You'll love it.
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By Dinah on November 24, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm over 30 and I love this book. In fact, my two favorite books are this one and its companion book, The Healer's Keep. For one thing, the love story in this book is written with such feeling, between two amazing characters, so that as a reader you feel what they feel. Also, I've never seen the subject of war and peace treated with so much insight and sensitivity. The main character, Landen, is a great warrior who despises killing. The book doesn't advocate being a complete pacifist--and in fact Landen's father loses his kingdom because not only does he not believe in war but he also doesn't prepare for it just because he doesn't believe in it. Landen, on the other hand, learns from his father's mistakes and helps to rescue the kingdoms from invaders because he is such a smart fighter.
If you like great storytelling written with deep feeling, this book is for you, whatever your age. The first time I read it, I stayed up half the night. I have since read it again and again, and each time I love the characters more.
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Format: Hardcover
Whatever I was expecting when I cracked this book open, it wasn't this! I keep wanting to compare it to The Princess Bride, except it is not a book with tongue in cheek humor and satire. It is a book about kingdoms, the price of power and leadership and those who struggle to bring about good in a dangerous world. Victoria Hanley does an impressive job of showing readers the tactics and political maneuvers of warfare and diplomacy, but doesn't bog this book down in extraneous detail or explanation. The characters are strong and capable, with interesting reflections on male/female roles in the struggle. Hanley gives power to both roles--and creates characters that act outside the roles they were given. There is a sense of completness in this story--no teasers leading into a miniseries which allows the reader to enjoy this book all on its own.
Readers interested by Tamora Peirce's Lionness series and Robin McKinley's Damar Duology should definately give this new author a try!
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