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The Complete Book of Swords (Books of Swords, #1-3)
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The Complete Book of Swords (Books of Swords #1-3)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  2,241 ratings  ·  51 reviews
The Swords were forged on a lifeless, wind-scoured mountaintop, with fire drawn from the earth's belly, and metal that fell from the sky. They were tempered with human sweat and human blood by the hand of the god Vulcan, Master Smith.
Hardcover, 626 pages
Published 1985 by Doubleday
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jean-Paul
A good friend had recommended this collection to me a year or so ago, but had also added at the time that he had mislaid his copy of it and wished he could read it again. Recently while searching for an ugly shirt to wear to a Hawaiian themed party I was fortunate enough to find a copy of this volume on sale for a dollar at a local thrift store. When I informed my friend of my good fortune I had to promise to lend it to him to re-read as soon as I was done with it. And now having completed the t ...more
Hugo
This is a collection of the first three Swords books by Fred Saberhagen. It features the origins of a set of twelve swords forged by the god Vulcan. They are to be used in a game played by the gods using humans as pawns. However, the game does not turn out like they expect.

I found it to be ok, but it fell somewhere in between the classical pulp style of his older Berserkers short stories, and modern fantasy by more contemporary authors. This means it felt a bit flat to me - the characters were n
...more
Kathryn
This book could be classified as both a sci-fi and a fantasy book. The premise as you quickly learn is that a pantheon of gods exist with some very familiar names from our own mythology. They demand that the god Vulcan create a set of swords that they can scatter around the world and take sides as the humans duke it out for the ultimate power one would have by collecting all of the swords, all for their amusement.

Vulcan does so, using several mortals to help him forage the swords and spilling th
...more
Christopher Hernandez
On many occasions I find myself enjoying a good stroll through a the nearby "Brick & Mortar" bookstore. I came across Saberhagen's book and recalled reading one of his books when I was a kid. I did not remember which book, but remember enjoying the tales of magical swords. This book was a collection of Saberhagen's first trilogy, and so I picked it up for the sake of remembrance.

I found myself flashing back to that moment as a kid where I was fascinated by the magical swords ...forged by Vu
...more
Ана Хелс


Класиката си е класика. Какво ти и трябва - умел разказвач, интересни идеи, добре представена смесица между постапокалиптичен, отдавна забравен реалистичен сай-фай и чиста фентъзийна среда с могъщи мечове, копнеещи за власт благородници и излезли от простолюдието момци с огън в сърцето и щипка геройски късмет. Преди години Бард издаваха оригиналната трилогия в приятно томче, но освен спомена за доста недоклатен на моменти превод, друго не ми е останало. От автетичния текст обаче подозирам , че щ
...more
Jeffrey Daniels
What's fun about post-apocalyptic stories is you can make any leap from "modern" man to the future: hyper-advanced, straggling remainders, reversion to less technology. They all have a measure of fun to them as long as they don't get too "preachy" about man's self-destructive nature.

Fred Saberhagen's venture into fantasy/sword & sorcery is a grouping of tales with a large measure of fun. You won't find earth-shattering revelations or deep philosophical ponderings here; you just get a lot of
...more
Gregory
Finished the first of three books in this collection. So far another quick moving fantasy epic...there is a pantheon of gods, who out of boredom i guess, have Vulcan the Smith craft 12 powerful swords, each with their own special power, to give to mortals...chaos ensues and the gods are entertained. Four of the swords make an appearance in the first book: Townsaver, Dragonslicer, Coinspinner, and Sightblinder.

Typing that sentence just made me feel like a big dork.

Anywho, I'm taking a break from
...more
Tim Giauque
Hey, I finally managed to finish a book! In between chewing on vast chunks of Infinite Jest, I read the three books that comprise The First Swords. Yeah, it's three shorter books published in one volume. I love that.

The books tell a fairly basic fantasy story in which twelve magical swords, forged by the god Vulcan, are found and used by various and sundry human beings to various fantasy-novel things like storm castles, slay dragons, and the like. It's a fun premise, if not strikingly original.

I
...more
Glenn
Ill named omnibus of first three books of swords. Saberhagen suggests that this primitive culture is in the future, after the fall of man. Gods have shown up taking the names and persona of the classical deities. They decide to have a game in which a dozen swords are created, each with super magical powers. Beyond the fact that this is a fairly puerile idea for a story, the first novel is burdened by an boring protagonist, a young man who is running for his life. The second novel is a little bet ...more
Jessica
The First Book of Swords: It took me a while to get into the story. Saberhagen's use of mythology is unusual and there is a lot of action. The end of the book left me excited to find out what happends in book 2. I give this book 2 stars.

The Second Book of Swords: This book had action from beginning to end and was a much better read than the first book. Their quest and the magic/characters they meet along the way was interesting and suspenseful with some interesting twists. I give this book 4 sta
...more
Samuel
I just finished reading this trio of books, and sadly it was like eating a bag of popcorn. Quite alot to eat in one sitting, but even when finished your left feeling hungry.

I had high hopes going in and for part of the first book they seemed not to be dashed. But after that and on with the other two books I was disappointed.

To much spent on the surroundings and not enough on the interaction between the characters. I enjoyed the books to a point but felt cheated at the end. So much that should ha
...more
Patricia Hamill
I really enjoyed reading the The Lost Swords again. This volume combines the first three books in the Book of Swords series.

The books follow Mark, Ben and Barbara on their adventures, which revolve around twelve powerful swords created by the gods (look for mostly Greek gods as well as a cameo by Shiva) and given to humans for the amusement of the gods. Things backfire on the gods when they discover that the swords can be turned against them.

The three books can be read in any order. Although ea
...more
Kevin Driskill
Great stuff. A creative twist on some familiar mythologies. New characters that a more believable than their classic forerunners. Fun and fresh.
Lolowe
Jun 15, 2014 Lolowe added it
I read the series as an awkward teen and I loved them. I need to re-read them now and see how I feel!
Barbara S.
Very solid story with some excellent worldbuilding. I'm not sure how I had missed this series.
Don
Totally enjoyed the entire series. Classic Fantasy!
Becca
This book has a promising set-up and a great set of main characters to play with. Then it gets distracted by subplots, ignores its characters, and fails to finish with a bang. This is a series involving swords powerful enough to kill the gods. You'd think the characters' feelings about the gods would play a major part, but no. In addition, any relationship between characters that's at all interesting gets dumped, abruptly and for no reason. The emperor had so much potential, as did many of the o ...more
Cole Simchick
One of my favorite fantasy / sci-fi books.
Mike (the Paladin)
This one is from so far back, I read it years ago. Saberhagen is pretty versatile. I'd just read the Berserker stories and moved into these fantasies. Pretty good.

These take place in the fictional universe set up in Empire of the East taking place thousands of years after that book. If you enjoy the universe this one carries on it's tale. While I like Empire better, these are still pretty good.
Matt
I remember seeing copies of the Books of the Swords in ads for the Science Fiction Book Club in Discover magaine as a kid. I always wanted to read them, mainly because I thought the swords on the covers were cool. At some point I had completely forgotten about it, but as I've been rediscovering my love of fantasy lately, I remember Fred Saberhagen. Definitely an enjoyable read, not anything that'll completely blow your mind or revolutionize anything, but much better than average schlock-fantasy ...more
Lawrence
Feb 23, 2014 Lawrence marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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Charl Niekerk
Pretty good for 80's fantasy... The story was a little bit linear and predictable though.
Safraz
A surprisingly succinct fantasy/sci fi hybrid series that starts off slow in book 1 with a lot of standard fantasy clichés but quickly gets more interesting in book 2 before bringing all the pieces together for a suitably thrilling conclusion in book 3. There are certainly better fantasy epic, but The Book of Swords was still very enjoyable, especially for its relatively (by fantasy epic standards) brief length. I particularly enjoyed book 2's heist.
Jordan
While definitely a post-Tolkien work, I quite enjoyed the way the mystic swords were played out and used. They definitely felt like more than just shiny toys, more in line with ancient tales. Though there was a nebulous Dark Lord (as required by all post-Tolkien works), I feel this somewhat distracted from what turns out to be the heart of the tale, the world’s changing view of its gods.
Robin
This is a fantasy book written for adolescent boys. My son told me it was a "must read" so I brought it to the beach. Now it is filled with sand, and scorched by the sun. Still, it is terrific. Enjoyable for an adult - well, I really liked it, too. Well written, with a fun story. There are battles, blood, magical swords, and gods toying with mortals. Fun will be had by all.
Bill Tracy
While some of the writing is a little rough and the characters are thin, the plot and worldbuilding make this book. It is a very nice interweaving of a post-apocalyptic landscape with traces of technology, smashed with a sword and sorcery. It feels like there is a lot of extra story behind what is told in the books.
J Wrin
A bizarre, mostly pointless book. I wonder why I bothered to finish it. The characters are one dimensional tottering around a sparse world infested with swords forged by the gods. The gods are a mongrel lot and strangely mortal. An ill-conceived meandering bit of tripe, can't imagine why anyone would like it
Lauren
I really loved these books! The world was an interesting one. It had some unique characteristics that made it different from the stereotypical fantasy world, which is always nice. I loved the swords. They each almost had a personality. It was fun to get to understand them and their traits.
Joe
These are some of the shittiest and most forgettable fantasy books I have ever read.

I'm not even going to describe them. What little I remember is taking up valuable space in my brain. Just find a shiny penny to amuse yourself; it will be far more amusing, I promise.
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Other Books in the Series

Books of Swords (4 books)
  • The First Book of Swords (Books of Swords, #1)
  • The Second Book of Swords (Books of Swords, #2)
  • The Third Book of Swords (Books of Swords, #3)
The First Book of Swords (Books of Swords, #1) Berserker (Berserker, #1) The Second Book of Swords (Books of Swords, #2) The Lost Swords: The First Triad (Lost Swords, #1-3) The First Book of Lost Swords: Woundhealer's Story (Lost Swords, #1)

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“Who holds Wayfinder finds good roads,
Its master's step is brisk;
The Sword of Wisdom lightens loads
But adds unto their risk.”
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