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Publisher's Summary

In the distant future, society has crumbled. Dark forces now rule the land, keeping all humans under their oppressive thumbs.

In the darkness of the shadows and whispered on the winds, there is talk of rebellion. In the swamps, a small band has formed. Determined to regain their freedom, the rebels, heavily outnumbered, plan to overthrow an army of thousands, with the help of one incredible weapon.

It is only a legend, a story left over from the Old World before magic and the wizards came to the land. A weapon of technology. It is the mystical Elephant, and whoever masters it holds the key to freedom...or defeat.

One young man, determined to avenge the death of his family, sets out to join the rebellion and find Elephant. What he discovers will change everything.

©1979 Fred Saberhagen; (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Distracting Reader

Overall I did like this book and would recommend it but you have to be patient. It gets off to kind of a slow start and to make things worse the reader is well.. kind of annoying. I could ignore the long pauses but the constant loud inhaling is VERY distracting. Could they not edit that out.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good book, bad narrator.

First, I'm a Saberhagen fan, so I lived the book when I read it and as I listened to it. Todd's narration is, as always, barely tolerable. The frequent mispronunciation is very distracting. I won't buy anything he narrates again.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I looked forward to listening to this book. I had known about Fred Saberhagen for sometime as I have been "into" SF for many years, but just hadn't gotten around to any of his material. Well... I just couldn't get into this story. I quit in the middle of part 3. I did not care about characters, the plot was not unique. It was like he told himself he needed to write a book that had some typical sci fi/fantasy riffs, complete with the usual suspects. . I just can't recommend this book. I did not care for the plot or characters. It did not have any heart. There are too many good ones out there don’t waste your time.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • L.
  • Travelers Rest, SC, United States
  • 04-07-06


I have to admit, I quit listening to this book several times in the beginning, listened to other books, and then came back to it. Honestly I didn't think I was going to ever finish listening to it based on the beginning...

BUT, then I started over while I had no other books to listen to, and THEN got hooked... couldn't put down the MP3 player after that until it was done.

Don't let the first part put you off, the plot thickens and the characters get fleshed out... I'll probably go ahead with the other books in the series now...

I ALMOST quit, glad I didn't!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lainee
  • Boca Raton, FL, USA
  • 06-19-05

A subtle crescendo.

This book is the psuedo prequel to "The Swords" and "Lost Swords" novels by Saberhagen. Stand alone this is a very good novel and closer to what many expect from him. Taken as the prequel to the Swords novels, this is a must read and great set up for one of the best fantasy series ever written.

35 of 40 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I don't know if the story is good or not - the narrator ruins the story. I think I would actually have to read it myself to truly know.
The story seems discordant, but the narrator reads it in such a choppy manner that I can't be sure. It's hard to listen and it easy to be distracted by other things going on around me so that I miss key points in the story and have to go back and listen again - argggggg.
The narrator also seems to lack the basic ability to follow the writers grammar clues, completely skipping over intentional pauses marked by commas and then completely distorting the sentences. He does this through the entire book.
So don't waste your credit or $ on this one, check it out from you local library if you are truly interested.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Matthew
  • Leander, TX, USA
  • 04-19-06

Best so far

This is the best book I have listened to yet from It was like 3 books in one. The plot elements were interesting, the tension was sincere, the characters were likable and the world was fascinating. I highly recommend this book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • David
  • Marysville, WA, USA
  • 06-22-06

stay away

An awful book! It was painful to listen to, although other reviews said that it got better towards the end. Weak character development. Characters had no personality. This book was like a trilogy crammed into one abridged book. A descent plot that goes nowhere. Its just bad

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas
  • Auberry, CA, United States
  • 04-01-15

Can't recommend

I read this as a child and loved it then. Fast forward 35 years and I realize it's not very good. However, the most annoying part is the lousy narration. It just moves it from a bad book to a terrible audio book. There is a funny forward written by the narrator that is almost a love letter to Fred Saberhagen. It is a little over the top in praise.

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  • Andrew
  • FAIR OAKS, CA, United States
  • 10-17-14

Too Old for This One

Any additional comments?

This is one of those books I would have loved 10 years ago, but alas it just couldn't hold my interest with my more mature tastes. However it is not a Tolkien clone, but since it was written in the late 60's and early 70's it has been copied many times, including in the masters of the universe cartoons from the 80's to some degree.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • nasir hyder
  • 05-31-15

Fantastic book. Revisited!!!!!!

Re-read this book after many years. Better than the first time. Loved it. Narrator was expressive and enjoyable. However accenting all the speech was maybe not a good idea.

Excellent nevertheless!

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  • Si
  • 01-28-14

Somewhat bizarre delivery

An average fantasy tale spoiled by an unaccountably poor narrator. If you like all your characters to sound like a drunken Swedish speak-and-spell then this is the audiobook for you. If not, maybe consider the hard copy.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful