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In The Broken Sword, Poul Anderson mines the same Nordic/British myths and folklore that Tolkien did, and tells a rousing, tragic adventure. An infant is born to a Viking warrior and his Christianized family, but a proud and haughty elf lord takes the child and leaves a changeling in his place. Thus, Skafloc grows up among the elves and learns their ways, while the half-troll-half-elf Valgard is raised as human, but becomes a savage, unruly warrior.
The plot isn’t too complex: the two warriors, who have a close physical resemblance, take opposite sides in a troll-elf war, and battle each other using magic, trickery, and might. However, a tragic twist comes into play, thanks to Skafloc’s ignorance of his origins and some intervention by Norse gods.
This isn't up with The Lord of the Rings in terms of depth of world-building, but it’s got a fiercer, darker spirit. Look for homage to all the traditional elements of Northern European myth: old gods who do not allow mortals to renege on a promise; aloof, immortal, fleet-footed elves, who dwell in ethereal castles and “know friendship but not love”; seductive maidens who aren’t what they appear; and big, ferocious trolls (who call to mind the roided-out orcs in Peter Jackson’s LOTR films). Though the description never gets too explicit (this novel was written in the 1950s), there’s plenty of larger-than-life action, treachery, black magic, ale-quaffing, bawdiness, and skull splitting. The Hobbit, this isn’t.
Fans of epic warrior sagas or the kind of blood-soaked faerie tales that are no longer considered suitable fare for children will eat this one up. Anderson's writing is faithful to the lusty descriptions of old epics like Beowulf, but not as dusty-sounding. You can practically hear the war horns blowing and the swords ringing. Audiobook narrator Bronson Pinchot might overact a bit here and there, but that's in keeping with the tale’s energy.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
I got this book because it was narrated by Bronson Pinchot and the plot sounded interesting. However, I had no Idea how great this book was going to be. It was originally released in the 1950's. However, there is no way you could tell, because the story and the setting are timeless. The narration was first rate Mr.Pinchot never disappoints and the story had me enthralled. If you like lord of the rings or fantasy in general you should pick this one up.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
Use a British English speaker rather then an American one.
Would you be willing to try another book from Poul Anderson? Why or why not?
I like Poul Anderson and have read very many of his books, so I was looking forward to this.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
This is supposed to be an English faery tale. I could overlook the American accent of the narrator - just - but the moment he tried to imitate an English accent was like being hit with a bucket of icewater. Very, very poor.
You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?
Don't know - I had to give up after just one chapter.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
I don't know what say about this story.it caught my imagination like no other...
I hate it has finished
Loved the main characters
And the battle and woe story victory ,doom , hate and love