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

3.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Chaos Knight Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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."
-SFSignal

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: #931,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sword of Fire and Sea, by Erin Hoffman, TPB in print now. This one is pretty good--since it's billed as "The Chaos Knight: Book One", I'll definitely pick up future volumes, though whether I'll keep the series when it's finished is still undetermined. Hoffman is a videogame designer, and the book has some of the virtues and faults that you might expect from that. The logic of the magic is both more elaborate and more coherent than usual, and the plot is full of action and well-paced. The characters, on the other hand, are fairly thin, although the main ones are generally likeable. The entire book is from the POV of Vidarian Rulorat, member of a prosperous but not wealthy merchant family who is the current captain of their ship, the Empress Quest. Much power in this world is held by the priestesses of the four elements, and the high priestess of Fire hires him to transport a young fire priestess, Ariadel Windhammer, to a water temple in the south. But they're attacked, first by pirates and then by Vkortha telepathic mages; the latter attack captures Ariadel and Vidarian has to go to the main fire temple to get help in going for her. This comes in the form of gryphons, and he does succeed in rescuing her, but other complications almost immediately ensue, including a mysterious voice speaking in his mind. I don't want to go into more details, but as I said I did enjoy the book enough to want to know about their further adventures.
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