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 The gods have withdrawn from the human world and the 12 Swords of Power they had forged are now scattered, lost and hidden.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.
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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.