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Reviews of Broken Sword, the (1954)

Review by clong (2005-09-15)
I read this on Brad's recommendation, although I was a bit skeptical going in (Viking tales are not really my thing). I found the introductory back story to be slow going, but by the time we get to the stories of Skafloc and Valgard the pace picks up and the narrative flows very quickly. Anderson's language is at times deliberately archaic, which took me a while to adjust to, but it clearly fits the storyline. This is a world where both the good guys and the bad guys (most not really guys at all, but rather elves, trolls, gods and the like) are violent and amoral, and where the good guys are likely create their own doom through hubris and overconfidence.

The Broken Sword is one of those books that is easy to read, but challenging to think about. It's definitely worth your time, not only for its own merits but also for some perspective on how fantasy has evolved in the last fifty years. I read the 1971 revision.

Review by brad (2005-07-18)
This is a Viking-themed fantasy yarn, told by a master storyteller.

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. I re-read it at least two more times before finally loaning it to a "friend" who never returned it.

Without giving away any spoilers (that aren't already on the dustcover), it's the tale of two twins who were swapped at birth ... one a mortal, and one a half-elven/half-troll changeling ... one raised in the faerie realm, and one raised among mortals. One born to violence, and the other raised ... well ... a bit less so.

Anyway, one eventually becomes bent on the other's destruction, and as happens in so many yarns the Viking genre, various immortal beings can't help but meddle here and there along the way ... until fate has it's inevitable say.




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