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J.K. Swift
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ALTDORF - a novel of The Forest Knights (The Forest Knights #1)

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  1,003 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
ALTDORF, a novel of The Forest Knights

A wild land too mountainous to be tamed by plows…
A Duke of the Holy Roman Empire, his cunning overshadowed only by his ambition…
A young Priestess of the Old Religion, together with a charismatic outlaw, sparking a rebellion from deep within the forests…
And an ex-Hospitaller caught between them all.

“Re-imagining the William Tell legend—
Published by UE Publishing Co. (first published October 6th 2011)
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Interesting story with a good sense of place, marred by amateurish storytelling and many anachronisms. Think of it as historical fantasy. Set in medieval Switzerland Altdorf proposes to tell the—or a—story behind the legend of William Tell. So far as it goes, the story itself is plausible.

Apparently meant to be historical fiction, it’s more historical fantasy. While bashing Christianity and praising all other religions is de rigueur for modern novels, this version of druidism exists only in epic
Mar 13, 2015 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once I got into this I did enjoy it. I found the first several chapters completely disorienting, however. I think a simple thing like noting the date or month/year and location at the beginning of each chapter would have gone an enormous way in helping keep things straight while you're trying to sort out all of the characters. I honestly thought there was major time jumping going on for a little while.

Once I figured all that out I found the characters interesting and engaging. I'm not at all fam
Cheryl M-M
Jun 13, 2012 Cheryl M-M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, well, well what a little gem. It is a mixture of Templars meets vigilante with a strong sense of justice. The author has interwoven many details from the Holy Crusade and the exodus of the Swyzer children draws parallels from those crusades.
The author has managed to capture the essence of fear that hovered in that era, when strips of land were ruled by minor despots. It is also hints at the creation of the country of Switzerland. People lived in terror of being accused of heresy or witchcr
Jul 31, 2014 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
An OK read, but difficult to get into, then the cool, planning, crafty protagonist does something incredibly stupid, at which point I considered giving up on it. But stuck with it because I had so much time invested in it.
Feb 16, 2012 AH marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Kindle free download 2/16/12.
This book took a little to get into. Once I stayed with it the book read well. While I enjoyed it, I don't know if I care enough to read the second book in the series. I feel like this isn't a series for me.
Jerry Mercer
Jan 04, 2017 Jerry Mercer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Story

This is a very clever tale with good characters, good dialogue, and a fine plot. It has all the earmarks of a worthy addition to other books of the same genre and perhaps a movie.

ery clever
Dec 08, 2016 Bizzle90 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very good read ! Really enjoyable

As it says above and I didn't realize that I could write a review here ! Good effort a eally good read.
Chuck Metzger
Feb 11, 2017 Chuck Metzger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story

Did not have any knowledge of this time period. Found it interesting and fun to read. I've always wondered about what happened post crusades
Review to follow.
Jan 06, 2017 Shane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Normally I'm not a fan of alt-history type fantasy, but I'm very glad I gave this one a chance.

Excellent story telling and likeable characters make this a fun and easy read. I've already started book 2 and can't wait to read more of Swift's work.

Got this on for free and I really enjoyed it and plan to read the second and final book in this series.

First I want to warn my romance friends that although this comes up on GR in the category of romance, it is not really a romance. It is more historical/fantasy with a light touch of romance that only really just starts to bloom towards the end.

The story itself is very good. Original. There are themes with violence, torture and rape, so if these topics are disturbing to you you may wish to avoid
Lorie Douglas
Sep 24, 2016 Lorie Douglas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Traditional medieval fantasy fiction

I think this writer has embraced all that is LOTR type fantasy lore and rolled it into one enjoyable book! The language is direct without being in-your-face graphic. I'm ready for the next story.
Dec 12, 2016 Marcy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is so not my typical genre/read, but I truly enjoyed the tale that Swift wove. We follow a number of characters (told in a third person pov), and each one has it's important role to play in a world ruled by the elite, who already have everything, but want even what the poor have.

We hav heroes who don't want to be heroes, those who take up the mantle easily and willingly, and weak/scumbags who use others to get their deeds done and run at the first sight of trouble.

I wasn't going to read t
Bob Clarkson
Jul 12, 2014 Bob Clarkson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A 4.5 rating. Reduced from a 5 star rating by the common errors that afflict most Indie books. Mispelled words, missing words in a sentence, etc. If they are using Word to write with, simply turning on spellcheck AND Grammar check would eliminate 99% of the silly errors.

I am writiing this review on an old tablet that has neither Spell Check or Grammar Check. I'm not really a hypocrite, it just sometimes appears that way.

WARNING ! All of my reviews contain some spoilers to give an example of what
Jul 05, 2016 Beverly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Swiss Freedom Fighters & Medieval Overlords.

I enjoy historical novels. They provide an enjoyable way to revisit or learn about different cultures.

This tale takes place when Christianity had a firm hold over all the kingdoms of Europe, & only a few of those who practice the old Druid religion; reverence of Mother Earth, remain.

A chokehold on all of the advanced knowledge in Math & Science, from Asia & the Middle East, has been stifled for almost 200 years. Those who have studied t
Mar 31, 2013 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good action novel set in Switzerland in the middle ages. I have read a lot of books set in this time period, but mostly they feature Templars. This novel tells the story of a group of children who were sold to the Hospitalers and have returned to Switzerland after 20 plus years of serving in Outreamer.

The story mostly focuses on Thomas, the captain of the group. He decides to lay down his life as a soldier and live simply. Two of his comrades, Pimrin and Gessler choose different paths
Jun 02, 2016 Lanie marked it as so-bad-i-couldn-t-finish  ·  review of another edition
Ok.... Um... Well, I got 21% in before putting this one aside. That's only about 5 chapters. And I felt that to much information was being dumbed out at once. I barely know who any of these characters are. Or care. & there aren't really any dates or placed given, so I can't even go look it up to try and make sense of any of it.

& you know what? I picked it up for free off Amazon because it kept popping up everytime I searched for Robin Hood novels. :/ there were a couple of outlaw dudes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jelios Ataliakrouso
A rebellion is conspiring, friends return from the holy land, brothers wage war for the throne, The weave is changing. The character development definitely lacks in the first book but pick up vastly in the second up, however their still is some very define characters whom seem to be well developed above all else. The romance is rather childish and a almost made me want to skip a few pages to continue the plot(unfortunately you can miss a few details that would make sense for later plot developme ...more
Kim Laxa
Apr 09, 2016 Kim Laxa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After 30 years of being with the Hospitaller Knights of St. John, Thomas came back in Schwyz and settled as a ferryman. He was living the peaceful life he thought he deserved until he transported an injured boy together with Noll Melchthal, the famous outlaw. They were trying to cross the river to go to the healer, a druid priestess, Seraina, whom other people believed to be a witch.

Basically, I love the characters in this book. The quiet and hardworking Thomas who is also an accomplished heale
Jun 16, 2016 Debbi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a hard book to review. It's well written, and the characters are interesting, but some of them are just so nasty! It's a tale set in Austria, when the Knights Hospitallers have been disbanded, and a group of them return to their homes in the countryside. Duke Leopold, a Hapsburg and a really not nice guy, essentially kidnaps locals and forces them to build a mighty fortress so he can command the trade route that the fortress sits on. Commit a very small crime? Next thing you know, you a ...more
Scott Toney
Mar 14, 2013 Scott Toney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a wonderfully crafted Religious Historical Fantasy read! I am also an author of Historical Fantasy Fiction and when I decided to search out something in my same genre to read, I came across Altdorf. I'll be honest with you and say that I had never heard of the Hospitallers before opening Altdorf's pages, but as I read I learned more about their order and greatly found the historical fiction about what may have heppened to them after their disbanding to be both insightful and wonderf ...more
Emmeline (The Book Herald)
I did not imagine to find this little gem for free on amazon! This is a great book, full of battles and historical intrigue. It took me a bit of time to warm up to it, but the author's descriptive writing style was truly amazing and engaging. This story is awesome, a lot of fighting with an understated tone of romance, it is very minor. The author portrayed the atrocities of the time period very vividly, I found myself wincing and cringing a lot and also thanking God that I wasn't born in that c ...more
Bryan Zepp
Jun 21, 2015 Bryan Zepp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have never read a historical fiction novel before. I truly enjoyed the story from beginning to end. It contained all the elements I like to read, action, adventure, a little mysticism, and believable characters. The love that springs between Thomas and Serlaina was clearly something that was expected, but the death of Pimgrin wasn't. I am not ashamed to say that it brought a tear to my eye and I could honestly feel the grief and betrayal Thomas felt as he heard Pimgrin's confession. Knowing th ...more
Brian Turner
Sep 23, 2014 Brian Turner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A group of Knights Hospitallers return from the Crusades and go home.
Things aren't as they remembered, many having left as children.
As the Habsburgs try to retain their crown, other nobles are taking the land from people who lived there and treating the peasants like...peasants.

Living alongside the oppressed masses is Seraina, following the Druids way, living quietly after being chased out of town before they called her a witch. Also there is Noll, a Robin Hood type figure trying to rouse the pe
(Full review here:

Over all, this reimagining of the William Tell legend is pretty decent, though, unfortunately, one that won’t be passed on to the second round of the SPFBO due to the lack of identifiable fantasy. But for those who enjoy decent historical fiction, then I urge you to give Altdorf a try. It’s currently free for Kindle and Nook, so it’s a no-risk venture if you do want to read it, and the writing is impressive enough to stand out in the se
Maria Huttrch
Feb 13, 2016 Maria Huttrch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a lovely surprise! I downloaded the e-book for free, somewhat reluctantly, hoping for an at least bearable read. Well, what I got was a spellbinding story set in a very believable medieval context. I found the writing style fluent (and free of vexing typos and misapplied words), the characters well developed, the action lively and fast-paced. Well-researched historical facts (Hospitallers and Templars, the feudal system, medieval weapons, and much more) merged with fantasy and druidic lore. ...more
Jodi Woody
I really liked this book. It is set right after the Crusades, when the Holy Roman Church was a political organization and there were still people who practiced pagan religions, and anyone who was different was labeled a witch. As a Christian it is always hard for me to read about the past mistakes and flaws of so called Christians, however, I always enjoy stories about this time era, Robin Hood, etc. This one is a good one. Story number one in a two part series. I did put number two on my list. ...more
Aug 29, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
The first thing you need to know about "Altdorf" is that it ends on a cliff-hanger and will frustrate you if you want to know the rest of the story in Book 2. Author J.K. Swift weaves several themes--the Children's Crusades, the Hospitallers, Catholicism, old-age (or new age depending on your point of view) religion, and a very different take on the William Tell story. The book has an interesting story-line. The Prologue almost made me not read the book, but the rest of the book is written bette ...more
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J. K. Swift lives in a log house well off the beaten path in central B.C., Canada. He is the author of "The Forest Knights" novels, which are set in medieval Switzerland. He has worked as a school teacher, jailhouse guard, Japanese translator, log peeler, accountant, martial arts instructor,
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Other Books in the Series

The Forest Knights (2 books)
  • Morgarten (The Forest Knights, #2)

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“The physical healed quickly, but those of the spirit ran deep, and in most cases, could only be concealed. Wounds of the spirit may scab over, but they never fully heal.” 0 likes
“she seethed at the uselessness of worshipping a god who would subject his faithful subjects to such torture.” 0 likes
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