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Sword-Dancer (Tiger and Del #1)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  5,105 ratings  ·  123 reviews
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ebook, 288 pages
Published September 1st 1986 by Daw Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dana
Continuing on with my project of re-reading all my Roberson, I started in on the Tiger & Del series. I really loved the series back when I first discovered it, especially since I had read several of the short stories about them in various of the Sword & Sorceress collections. This first novel stands up well upon re-reading. According to the S&S volume where they first appeared, MZB nearly threw Roberson's short story across the room at the beginning, responding to Tiger's apparent st ...more
Anne Osterlund
He is Tiger. A sexist Southron sword-dancer. Paid to step in the ring and fight whoever he is paid to fight.

She is Del. A woman from the North. Naïve. Ferocious. Determined to save her younger brother even if it means traversing the desert and hiring Tiger as her guide.

He assumes she will fail. She assumes he cannot understand.

And neither of them will survive.

If they continue to underestimate one another.

One of my all time favorite fantasy novels! Sword-Dancer is the first of six books in the Ti
...more
Angie
I read Jennifer Roberson's historicals long before I discovered her fantasy books. But after downing her two Robin Hood retellings and one Scottish massacre novel, I discovered she was actually much better known for her earlier Sword-Dancer saga. I loved her historicals for being so character-driven. I loved them for their strong women. And I loved them for their chunkiness. So I went into SWORD-DANCER--the first book of six in the Sword-Dancer saga--with a sense of happy anticipation but with n ...more
Phoenixfalls
I knew going into this that the Sword-Dancer books were light sword-and-sorcery reading. I was prepared for minimal world-building, cursory character building, and purple prose. But what totally threw me at the start of the first book (Sword Dancer) was that Roberson seems to know absolutely nothing about how to survive in the desert. The entire novel is a trek through the desert, and yet the two main characters set off with a little dried meat in their bags and a couple of waterskins on a momen ...more
April
Relatively few reviewers hold such sway that their recommendations cause me to drop my current book commitments in lieu of reading their latest reviewed book. Ya’ll Angie has that power. Combine this with a glowing review from See Michelle Read and I am done for – hook, line, and sinker.

The book in question is Sword-Dancer by Jennifer Roberson is currently out of print I think. However, lucky me, I date someone who comes from a literate family. You see, my boyfriend’s grandmother left behind a t
...more
Jacob Proffitt
I must be suffering from a heavy case of nostalgia as this is yet another favorite from my youth reread. I haven't read this one as an adult, so I really didn't remember any of the plot or characters very well—just that I loved it. Unfortunately, those memories are now replaced by knowing that it is pretty much a waste of paper.

I'm not sure if it's an artifact of the 80s or just the desert culture Roberson described, but the unrelenting sexism really grated on me. Both culturally and individuall
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Michelle
Known throughout the Southron for his courage and deadly skill with a sword, the Sandtiger has survived his fair share of dangerous and unusual scrapes as a sword-dancer. But from the minute the strange woman with the pale hair and a sword strapped to her back stepped into the cantina, Tiger knows he's out of his league with Del. Tiger is even more stunned to discover that Del wants hire him to lead her through the Punja desert in search of her brother who was stolen by slavers years before. Kno ...more
Brownbetty
I grabbed this book because everywhere I go, there is book two, three, and four of this series, but never book one. I take that as a personal insult. When I am queen of the world, libraries will be required to have the first book in every series the stock; in fact, twice as many of the first as of the rest.

I'm glancingly familiar with Roberson from her Cheysuli books, but they're not my sort of thing; any series where I have to consult the genealogical graph in the frontmatter is operating at a
...more
V
Dec 22, 2014 V rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to V by: Dad
Shelves: read-2009-2013
I've seen this novel criticized for several things - and the critics have good points, sometimes - but this is a very entertaining series. While true that it's not Shakespearean prose, something about the way Roberson tells the story is captivating. I read this first book many times as a child, but re-reading it as an adult hasn't changed my opinion much.

It's a very fast-paced and action-driven novel, but I could argue that it is character-driven as well; the characters are interesting, well tol
...more
Kara

Big Sister has to rescue Baby Brother after he’s been kidnapped by the Goblin King.

It’s an oft-repeated plot line. Examples: Labyrinth, The Wee Free Men, Outside Over There, and any version of the Snow Queen.

You can play with the genders and relationship and the nature of what, exactly, happened, to the one in danger, but at its core, it’s a story of someone who will go to the Ends of the Earth, to Hell and Back, for Forever and Day, to rescue the one they love – and that kind of love and dedica
...more
Arminion
I never heard of Jennifer Roberson before this book. All I knew about the series is that's a fantasy saga of 6 books, and since I love fantasy and long series, I decided to give it a try.
And hoolies, what a book. I was really impressed, both by the characters and the writing.
I noticed that authors often have problems writing a point of view from a character of the opposing sex, but Roberson manages it perfectly, since the story is told from the male protagonist, Tiger. I often had to check the
...more
Gwyn
I read this many years ago, and just decided to re-read it. Not only was is still good, it was actually better than a remembered. Sword-Dancer is not a polished book; it's full of flaws and rough spots. But, at its foundation, it's a good story, and it remains an excellent read.

The pace is frenetic, with new obstacles thrown into Tiger and Del's path every page or two. Sometimes this reaches the point of absurdity, as when Tiger is jumped by some thieves for no apparent reason and must waste a w
...more
Paul Williams
I was very sad to be so disappointed in this book. I'd heard that this was a great work of fantasy with lots of swashbuckling and a strong female character. While those elements are there, the execution wasn't as strong as I'd hoped, and I can see why this series was out of print for so long.

Frankly, the real problem this book has run into is age. Some books endure well, even in genre fiction (Lord of the Rings, Earthsea, Foundations, etc). In contrast, this one has not. We've had so many strong
...more
Thomas
I somehow acquired this years ago and it has been taking up space in my apartment. I never got around to reading it because every time I read a mainstream heroic fantasy novel written after 1975 written by someone I don't personally know, I feel like I get burned. Robert Jordan, I'm looking at you.

I meant to sell it, but the science fiction bookstore wasn't buying it. It somehow spilled out of the bag I took to Goodwill and got stuck under the seat of my car. I had just finished Roger Zelazny's
...more
Emily
Yet another novel that hooked me from Page one. I instantly disliked Tiger's attitude, but his internal monologue had me laughing out loud. I actually made some of my friends sit so I could read them the first couple pages. Being a woman I don't know how well Ms. Roberson captured the essence of a man, but if I guessed I would say brilliantly. Tiger is at once chauvanistic and yet caring. He thinks ahead but still manages to act recklessly. And who couldn't love Del? She put Tiger in his place s ...more
Sarah
OH MY. I don't know where to start, but basically, I loved this book and these compelling characters! Now, ignore this weird cover for a second and let me explain!

So, I decided to give this fantasy a try even though I wasn't sure I'd like it... looked too "arabian nights" for my taste and I wasn't sure if it would be easy to follow, etc. However, the main attraction for me was the relationship between Del and Tiger, it seemed like it would be an interesting story of "opposites attract" or what
...more
Brendan Lupo
Audiobook Narrator 4/5

Tiger's language is reminiscent of Crocodile Dundee.

The story starts out in a desert land with a man named Tiger sitting in a bar. A woman walks into the bar in search of him. Long story short, he goes with her and the story begins.

The book has strong sexism themes, which I found curious since the author is a female, which makes me sexist, I guess. The story is told from the perspective of Tiger, whom only sees an attractive woman and nothing else. Del is a warrior and unde
...more
Jennifer
About 3/4 of the way through, I was thinking about giving it 3.5 stars. But I really loved the end and where I think it's going. It came together, and you really care about the characters, even though it took me a while to actually LIKE them.
Mark Cameron
This series was one of the best I read in junior high. I recently re-read this book for the first time and once again I really enjoyed it.

Sword Dancer is not your average heroic fantasy novel. It includes sword fighting, good characters, and even gender equality issues. It follows two sword-dancers, people paid to engage in ritual combat with swords. One is Tiger who is famous within the South. The other is Del, who is the only woman sword dancer in the South.

I haven't read too many fantasy nove
...more
Madhellena
Well, that was very unusual for me.
The story about a desert swordsman who ends up accompanying a woman in a quest to find her brother who was kidnapped by slavers.
He is a typical man, who doesn't believe in her skills with the sword and she is a stubborn woman with a mission. They go through several adventures and end up almost dying several times.
It was an unusual story because there is only a hint of romance and both of them end up in uncomfortable (for me) situations involving other partners.
...more
Matt Kelland
I enjoyed this more than I was expecting, largely because although it's just typical swords and sorcery fare in many ways, Del is a refreshingly different character. She's not like Raven or other fantasy heroines, all boobs and chain mail bikini, she's just a badass on a mission. The pseudo-Arabian setting is one which appeals to me as well - it's a harsh, unforgiving world, yet also exotic and exciting.

What makes this story work really well is that despite having a female lead character and a f
...more
Lesley
3.5 Stars

A fun, light, popcorn fantasy, Sword-Dancer is almost entirely character-driven, revolving around the relationship between the two main characters. Tiger is extremely annoying in the beginning - he’s completely dismissive of Del and women in general. But I started to warm up to Tiger towards the end as circumstances force him to grow up. Overall, Sword-Dancer is an entertaining, lightning-fast read. It won’t satisfy those who read fantasy for the worldbuilding or intricate plots, but it
...more
dameolga
Wow, another book I can't believe I forgot about. My sister read the entire series and said good things about it, so I read this first book to the Tiger and Del series maybe in middle school maybe in the beginning of high school--can't remember. Overall, interesting world-building and characters with potential, though I never continued the rest of the series. Tiger is easily likeable, but Del is more distant and not as easy to sympathize with.

I remember being disappointed that Roberson didn't de
...more
Joy
This is another reread of mine from long ago, sometime back in college, and it was as enjoyable as I remember it being the first time around. The book is relatively short, and follows a single journey of Tiger and Del, both sword dancers, as they meet and form the partnership that will define them for the rest of their lives. Del is a lovely young woman from the North with a magic sword, and Tiger is a famous ex-slave sword dancer from the South, and they have a lot to learn about each other and ...more
branewurms
This was a fun, light read, and I liked the flavor of the narration - it was touched with a little bit of western, a little bit of noir detective, and it made for a different feel than your typical sword-and-sorcery epic fantasy. I also liked that the setting was Middle-Eastern-ish, rather than your typical McMedieval-Europe filled with nothing but white folks (even if some aspects of the depiction were face-palm worthy). The world-building is not exactly stellar, and the plot is pretty leaky, b ...more
Zann
I read this series, written in the 1980's, way back in the early 90's. I decided to reread it, since I've forgotten everything about it except the main character's names...Tiger and Del. I really liked this first book in the series. Swords and sword-fighting! What's not to love? Plus there was good character development; an absolute necessity, since Tiger is such a chauvinist in the early parts of the book. But he learns different. Also Del thaws out a bit by the end of the book, which is also a ...more
Brienna
This review and more available at cometgrrl.com.

This book was recommended by my SIL. Actually, she recommended the entire series. I enjoyed this, but it’s not the best fantasy book I’ve ever read. I love fantasy novels, and I admit this genre is not for everyone. However, most of this series is not available for Kindle, which is almost a deal-breaker for me. If I had to pick a fantasy series to start reading (or continue reading), I would certainly pick up where I left off in the Xanth Series b
...more
Lindsay Scott
This is a cute book. It's an easy read, and you don't have to think about it much. Del comes from the North, Tiger comes from the South, and they clash throughout the story with their cultural differences and beliefs. The book is narrated by Tiger, who actually ended up being somewhat likeable despite his grating sexist comments and thoughts. It was clearly established in the book that that's the kind of culture he comes from, but as time went on and he was constantly saying something like "She ...more
Yoly
Hoolies! What a great book!

I really liked this story. At first I was a little disappointed that it's narrated from the guy's point of view instead of the girl's, but then it started to make sense. Tiger (the male main character) is a traditional sexist barbarian who gets hired by Del (female main character) to lead her through the desert to try to find her younger brother. We get to see Del who is a strong independent woman through the eyes of this macho barbarian.

It's fast paced, funny and cle
...more
Welwyn Katz
Jennifer Roberson has moved forward in her writing a great deal since she began her career. Basically I bought the Cheysuli books (her first) because I enjoyed the Tiger and Del books so much. (That was a mistake). I read all the "Sword" books of Tiger and Del. I can't remember much about their plots, which is sad, because I read them only a couple of years ago. It may be my memory which at the time was a bit faulty from a car accident, or it may be that the actual plots had little to set them a ...more
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Jennifer Mitchell Roberson O'Green is an author of fantasy and historical literature. Roberson has lived in Arizona since 1957. She grew up in Phoenix, but in 1999 relocated to Flagstaff. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Northern Arizona University. Roberson had spent her final semester in England at the University of London. This enabled her to do indepth research at castles ...more
More about Jennifer Roberson...

Other Books in the Series

Tiger and Del (7 books)
  • Sword-Singer (Tiger and Del, #2)
  • Sword-Maker (Tiger and Del, #3)
  • Sword-Breaker (Tiger and Del, #4)
  • Sword-Born (Tiger and Del, #5)
  • Sword-Sworn (Tiger & Del, #6)
  • Sword-Bound (Tiger & Del, #7)
Sword-Singer (Tiger and Del, #2) Shapechangers (Chronicles of the Cheysuli #1) Sword-Breaker (Tiger and Del, #4) Sword-Maker (Tiger and Del, #3) Out of Avalon

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