Returning to the milieu of his Swords trilogy, Saberhagen offers a new scenario. The gods have withdrawn from the human world and the 12 Swords of Power they had forged are now scattered, lost and hidden. The weapons are still coveted, though, by men like Baron Amintor, who has lost one kingdom and now sees them as the means to another. No scruples stop him from stealing the sword Woundhealer from the White Temple, where its powers were offered to cure all pilgrims. His bad luck, however, is to have crossed Prince Mark, who is desperate for Woundhealer's help in treating his blind, troubled son. The running battle between Mark and Amintor, their allies, their wizards, and their swords, is spun out in a light, pleasant adventure that benefits greatly from Saberhagen's narrative gifts as the various strands leapfrog forward, keeping the reader off balance but constantly intrigued.
©1986 Fred Saberhagen (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
Hmmm. Checking the calendar...Okay, Audible. This is quite unexpected. I've been so excited that we'd scored Saberhagen's Swords series, and I was convinced that we'd not see the Lost Swords series until after the first was completed.
But no complaining here!
This may be hard for those of you enjoying the first sword series, but this is the STRONGER of the two, as each of these book's focuses on a single sword and it's journey! Each tome is rife with high fantasy drama, rich magic, dark plot lines, nightmarish beasts, great characters and well...simply great writing.
Now, if you haven't started with Saberhagen's first swords series here at Audible, stop here and now, and go to my review of THAT series, and start there. The initial premise, concepts and details are there, and you want to start with that incredible series of audiobooks.
Okay, on to this series!
This series came about due to the sheer demand of the public, who had devoured the first series of the sword's journeys, and demanded more. A LOT more. Saberhagen gave his listeners what they wanted, and beyond.
What's so fantastic about this second series? Simple:
Audible listener, if you've read my reviews, you know that I'm extremely judicial. I demand good listens from fantasy authors. Otherwise, I am merciless when it comes to poorly-written fluff, spotted with clumsy characterizations, and weak, everyday plots.
Saberhagen delivers rich fantasy that's well worth listening.
First, Saberhagen crafts a unique fantastic literary sandbox for each sword, as he ties them all together, thus the reader will inevitably choose his or her favorite sword(s), and favorite story line(s). Rarely are they the same from reader to reader, yet each and every book is a VERY good read. When I first read the second series, I and other readers often discussed our favorites, and argued hotly why our chosen sword was better. It made for great discussions and enjoyable arguments.
Pay attention, Audible listener, THAT's the mark of a great series of books, and worthy of your reading/listening. Only when you've engaged with the author will this happen, and in this series, you'll experience that in abundance!
So, this, Woundhealer's story, is the first, and it doesn't disappoint. It lays the groundwork for the subsequent novels, and is a fantasy reader's literal trifecta: Deep magical plots that surprise, wonderful characters grafted into those plots, and rewarding action through a quality storyline. As usual, I don't dare discuss the story's details here, because it's such a good listen, that I will NOT ruin the experience with spoilers.
So, what WILL I tell you? I'll tell you this:
This book was so well conceived, so well written, so well-received by readers around the world, and Woundhealer's story so riveting and richly woven, that it spawned SEVEN other fantastic books in the series, each a phenomenal read/listen in their own unique way.
SEVEN. Yeah. I said seven.
Can you tell that I LOVE this series? I'm thinking yes.
So, now it's YOUR choice to enter a wonderful literary journey into high fantasy.
It begins. Choose your sword, and step forward into destiny!
I read SH original series, and thought this would be at least on the same level, perhaps a 3 out of 5. But no. It's a pretty poor effort and, for me, a waste of time. Plot is thin and predictable, characters are weak, and the story has so many holes it just gets annoying after a while.
The narration performance of Cynthia Barrett is horrible, to say the least. More often than not I head to wince at the narration rather than to enjoy the story itself. Her reading is so sloooooooow, artificial and monotonous that I sometimes had to check if it isn't an automated speech program instead. Either Cynthia Barrett is the name of an automated reading programm, or it is a real human who has managed to stomp the audiobook into the ground.
Darek Perkins (Cynthia Barrett can not even begin to compare)
the story is good. The narration is awful
Buy the book and read it yourself.
Cynthia Barrett ruined any hope of listening to the series within the first 30min of the book. Her narration is much like she is reading a picture book to a small child.
Ken Magerman Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Historical Fiction fan. Teacher, rockstar, medival gourmet, dungeon master, expert on secret Targaryens.
It was alright, yet definitely lacked the magic of the first series. I think part of the was a huge drop off in talent of the narrator.
I did not enjoy it as much. The familiar characters were back and that was interesting as well as some new characters mainly the progeny of the originals. The focus on an individual sword was interesting, i suppose i was expecting more the history of the sword which i thought could have been more intriguing.
The original narrator from the trilogy was FAR superior.
It was alright...although it did make me question rather i will buy any of the others in the series. Probably not if they feature the female narrator.
Its too bad. I really loved the originals but felt this was a step back in both performance and story.
"Great story, really poor narration"
Cracking book, really fast paced with a nice story which doesn't involve mighty apocalyptic events. Unfortunately it was let down by the narration which is quite poor compared to the earlier books in this series (The Empire of the East Trilogy and The Swords Trilogy). The narration seems to be pitched at younger readers and her constant mispronunciations were particularly irritating. I still managed to enjoy the book.
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