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Publisher's Summary

Ethshar and the Northern Empire have been at war for hundreds of years. Hardly anyone alive remembers why, or over what. The tempest, turmoil, and war are endless, and the killing more endless still. The war has become not just a way of life, but an institution; no one dares to dream that it could end. Not even Valder of Kardoret, Ethsharitic Scout, trapped behind enemy lines.

But now everything has changed: at a moment of great need, a hermit wizard crafted Valder a magic sword called Wirikidor - a blade at once cursed and enchanted, a misenchanted blade that makes him unbeatable.

Soon the tides of battle will turn, and once they've turned they'll turn forever.

©1985, 2008 Lawrence Watt-Evans (P)2017 Wildside Press LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Just as good as the first time i read it.

As this was my first "big" novel I ever read, this book holds a very special place in my heart as does the author. I have read this book about 5 times over the years. I still love it and recommend it or any other by Watt-Evans. the reader was pretty decent (sounds a bit like Martin Sheen) although his pronunciation of Wirikidor confused me. Loved every minute of it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

One of the best Fantasy stories ever told

Welcome to Ethshar, one of the most detailed, original, and amazing lands you will ever see. This is a world in which the setting plays as much a role as the characters. This is a brilliant series that LWE has slowly woven into a tapestry of tales over the years, and this is the first one, the introduction. The story centers on Valder, an army scout on the run from deadly northern forces. He stumbles upon an old wizard and convinces him to power up his standard issue sword so that he stood a chance to survive, the good news is he gets his magic sword. The bad news is the sword is cursed and will eventually kill him. The sword also made him immortal, so he'll only die if he's killed, but he continues to age. He's really paying for his request.

The story isn't what you expect. Yes, there is some awesome sword fighting, and Val goes through a series of jobs and identities. What is really good is the journey through life that Valder goes through, he is clever and lives by his wits more than his blade. And that is the special thing about Ethshar and LWE's writing. You never get what you expect, and the endings are often positive and upbeat. This is an incredibly fun book, and my son asked me about it just the other day (I used to read to them when they were kids) and the book still stuck with him.

The narration isn't bad, and suits the story.

I wish that LWE released all of his Ethshar books on audible.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Eric
  • Eaton Rapids, MI, United States
  • 11-23-17

Good Book, bad narrator.

Pretty awful. He sounds like he does voice overs for overdramatic true crime shows on Investigation Discovery.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Looooove this story!

This is the first story by Lawrence Watt-Evans I ever read, and it's why I buy every book of his I see today.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

a great story

a great story from my past great to see it in audible hope others of Lawrence Watt-Evans past Works come out in Audible also

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Ethshar Great Book, Poor reading. Need the Sequels

Any additional comments?

I first devoured the Ethshar novels back in High School, and have re-read them all multiple times in the decades since. Great escapism, with a consistent set of rules for the universe. I was thrilled to se this, the first I read now available on audiobook, and downloaded it immediately. It was great to hear this old friend. Great as the story was, the narration is so poor it detracted from my enjoyment. the narrator uses the same speech pattern for every sentence and it quickly becomes distracting. Still. Download a listen to a great story, and then do one even better and read it and its sequels

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My first Ethshar

This was the first Ethshar book I ever read. I've read the others in the decades since, but this still holds a special place. I really appreciated the way the characters think through situations instead of just acting rashly. Similarly, Watt-Evans really thought through the way the various systems of magic in Ethshar would work and stayed consistent throughout the series.
More than a decade ago, I contacted this author and asked him if there were any audio versions of his books. He said he'd never really thought about it. I was thrilled when his books started appearing at Audible. I sincerely hope they produce the rest of the series.

“Audible 20 Review Sweepstakes Entry”

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book.... Very poor narration

I love this book, was very excited to find it on Audible... but the narrator puts pauses and emphasis in the wrong places. It makes the entire pace of the book feel way off.

I still enjoyed it but after being spoiled on really great narrators it was a little painful, be warned.