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Oath of Swords (War God #1)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  3,800 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Whom the gods would recruit, they first tick off...

Our Hero: The unlikely Paladin, Bahzell Bahnakson of the Horse Stealer Hradani. He's no knight in shining armor. He's a hradani, a race known for their uncontrollable rages, bloodthirsty tendencies, and inability to maintain civilized conduct. None of the other Five Races of man like the hradani. Besides his ethnic burden,...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published December 26th 2006 by Baen (first published January 1st 1995)
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A Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussThe Complete Chronicles of Conan by Robert E. HowardThe Blade Itself by Joe AbercrombieElric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock
Sword and Sorcery
76th out of 473 books — 200 voters
Sheepfarmer's Daughter by Elizabeth MoonOn Basilisk Station by David WeberMarch Upcountry by David WeberThe Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold1632 by Eric Flint
(Former catalog) Baen Free Library
10th out of 39 books — 22 voters

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Community Reviews

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Sharon Michael
Excellent beginning to a swords and sorcery series I somehow missed reading before, by one of my favorite authors. Not necessarily a bad thing, as I'm making the assumption with four books written, it is a completed series now and they were written 4, 6 and 7 years apart respectively. I suspect that much of a gap between books in a series would have irritated me a lot.
The world of Orfressa is a fascinating place. Our main character is Bahzell Bahnakson, a hridani, which is the most despised races of men. He is not who you would think a god would choose as their champion--he would tell you this himself.

That is one reason why this story is so compelling. Bahzell fights against what the god wants, and it really sets everything up for great character growth, and his companion is a good foil to him. The adventure is interesting and unpredictable, but not in an "ok...more
Snarktastic Sonja
I unabashedly love this book *and* our hero, Bahzell Bahnakson. I suppose it has standard fantasy tropes – good gods/bad gods good guys/bad guys – but they are tropes for a reason. They work.

It is fascinating to go back and read the description after having finished the book – Bahzell doesn’t want to mess with the problems of others as he has enough of his own . . . Yet, the book begins as he gets himself into deep doodoo because he jumped in to help a young lady who was being ravaged by the roy...more
As heroic fantasy's go, Oath of Swords just might be my favorite. I love it in a way that's a little sad, to be honest. It's fun, it's got lots of action, and it takes on moral questions in a way that adds to the story. It probably has flaws but I'm way to far gone to see them.
Quite a lovely fantasy title. I've been a fan of David Weber's Honor Harrington science fiction titles, and was rather curious to see how he'd show his hand at high fantasy.

Fortunately, I'm happy to say that the "Oath of Swords" series is very, very, good, and was even more enjoyable than 'Honor Harrington' titles. One thing I found interesting is that the "Oath of Swords" series is remarkably similar to the "Honor Harrington" series -- both have a central protagonist that must deal with xenoph...more
Kelly Flanagan
Most books I find i haven't alot to say about once their said and done. I read them they ere either above or below my original opinion, and that's that.
Once every, 10 books or so, which is about once every 1-2 months, so it's far less rare than I expected, but I find myself actually wanting to say something about the book.
This book, and therefore the series in general I believe- since starting the second in the series and finding it to be of similar writing style.
Anyways, to the point... The th...more
Theophania Elliott
David Weber is famous for his Honor Harrington science fiction/space opera series, and not every author can do fantasy and sci fi successfully.

David Weber, however, most certainly can.

If you are expecting something like Honor Harrington, but with more swords (OK, not that many more swords) but fewer spaceships, forget it. Oath of Swords is something else entirely. This is a funny, observant romp of a traditional swords-and-sorcery fantasy novel.

In Weber's fantasy world, there are five 'races of...more
From Booklist

The creator of sf series heroine Honor Harrington turns successfully to fantasy. Bahzell is a prince of the Hradni, an outsize humanoid race prone to berserk rages. Due to a variety of circumstances, he becomes obliged to flee into regular humans' lands where Hradni are understandably unpopular. He and his companion survive a series of briskly paced adventures in a world Weber builds with a nice eye for detail, above-average knowledge of history, and a pleasing amount of wit. More

Made it about 150 pages in. It's pretty standard cliche' fantasy fiction that rambles on with long descriptions, but the author has no great skill at either the descriptions, dialog, or characters. I can't recommend it particularly. I can't say it's the worst thing ever either, just standard fantasy tropes stacked on more tropes with very little spice.
A welcome fantasy change from Weber's science fiction, this fun novel has a likable antihero, a Horse Stealer Hradani known for uncontrollable rages, who ends up trying to thwart an evil plot by being chosen by the War God.
Doc Opp
Nothing new here - its classic epic fantasy. The main character's relationships with deities is interesting, and would give it a one star bonus, but the dialogue is strained and awkward, and the dialect both poorly done and inconsistently applied, so I docked a star for that.

Weber has other books that are much better than this one. And there are many better epic fantasy books that are much better than this one. It wasn't painful to read, but I didn't get much enjoyment from it either, so I reco...more
Hey, I didn't know Weber wrote D&D Novels! ;)

OK, not Quite D&D, but it may as well be. A traditional castles and swords tale, populated with all the usual suspects: humans, dwarves, elves, and halflings; an ancient and inscrutable wizard, a small population of "magi," and whole pantheon of gods both dark and light. The only unique bit are the "hradani," a race of near giants (our hero is 7 1/2 ft tall) with big fox-like ears, super-strength and endurance, and a tendency to go into a hom...more
I guess my real complaint about this book is that it works simply as a setup for the next book and the setup doesn't manage to leave me wanting more.

That doesn't mean that the book did not have its moments. The hero, is a Hradini, (OVERSIZED human with fox-like ears, and known for their rage in battle that makes them terrible foes) who begins his story as a royal hostage, one who lives in an enemy kingdom in order to ensure peace. He bursts into the prince of that kingdom raping a woman, goes i...more
I first read this as a young teen, and I really enjoyed it. Enough that I 'stole' it from my parents when I moved out. I still enjoyed it upon rereading, BUT my goodness this book is LONG! And it felt long. It is a semi hefty book >500 pages, which really isn't that bad compared to some other books. But I have read longer books that seemed shorter.
Now, it is a pretty good book. I love Bahzell and his reluctant heroism. You can't help but like a guy who knows that helping some poor girl out o...more
Nov 08, 2013 Ben rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: pulp, kindle
This is a generous two stars, based at least partially on the fact that it was free, and secondly in that I was curious to see how Weber's writing fared in a fantasy setting.

If I am being brutally honest, this is a two-dimensional fantasy book (the first in a series which I have no particular interest in following up) in a world which holds no real originality for anyone who has read a fair amount of fantasy. Elves, dwarves, evil wizards, cruel overlords, warring gods and a particularly random r...more
Scott Rose
Dave proves he can write fantasy as well as Sci-Fi...this time in a world all his own...with the same depth and attention to detail of his other books. This one is about the wars of the gods...with the main character being one Bazhell Banackson...a Hadrani...a humanoid race standing over 2 meters tall..and notoriously thought of as Thieves and Barbaric raiders. Bazhell...with his best friend Brandark...a self proclaimed Bard...who is really only good at annoying Bazhell with renderings of his "B...more
John Olsen
I picked this up as a free e-book, which is being used as a lure to buy the rest of the series.

The story was a bit rambling, wandering about without any obvious purpose until finally, about a third of the way in it picked up a solid plot. Unfortunately this stand-in plot wasn't really tied to the way the story started, where the main character Bahzell created an enemy and fled. Eventually, the original antagonist reappears and is conquered, followed by en epilog-like few chapters where the mid-s...more
Rena McGee
The world-building of this fantasy novel has the feel of a table top roleplaying campaign. (A really good roleplaying campaign though, by a game master who is not reading out loud from the module.) This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is also not a good thing either. It is not a bad thing because the writer plays around with a lot of fantasy genre tropes, and the characters are fun and engaging, even if you find yourself trying to estimate their statistics. It is not a good thing because...more
This may have been the only "pure" fantasy (vs urban fantasy) books I have read in a long while. I have read Weber's Reef series but that has a serious SF element. Not that I haven't read fantasy ever (100's of books disagree with that estimate) but it's not my primary genre.

I gotta say that I liked this book. The story kept me interested the whole way through and I turned around and bought the next book in the series right after finishing this one.

As to the story? It helps that it is an intere...more
Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime)

If you enjoyed Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion series, you'll probably find this a rather blatant ripoff. We have Gods who appear in person, reluctant heroes who act as their champions, bardish sidekicks, and soul-drinking swords. If Weber adds travel across the planes, I'll be really ticked.

Of course, if you didn't enjoyThe Eternal Champion, you'll probably hate this series...

Ultimately, I did enjoy the story, but it's far more derivative than I expect from Weber.

My first thought for this brief review is Hey, did you know the protagonist is big? I mean it. He's big. You know he's big because the first 100 pages are spent repeatedly telling us how he's really big.

My second thought is Hrmmm, is this _supposed_ to be a joke or parody? If so, it's not a very good one. Plus, the hero is really big and strong. If it's not supposed to be a joke/parody starring a really big guy, then it also isn't a very good fantasy novel. Even though the hero is huge.

I'm not...more
Evan Scangas
Good Fantasy.
Likable characters and races which are well written and thought out. Weber slowly explains the history and rules of the world as the series progresses and inserting a character that has lived for the majority of the pertinent history allows him to easily story tell within the novels about something that he cares to explain under the guise of informing the other characters.

The action is not consistent, but overabundance of action can hurt a story when it's just trying to make a book...more
This was somehow hard to rate now. On the one hand I started to like Bahzell, although i never really felt deeply connected to any of the characters throughout the book. The pace of the book is quick. There is a lot of storyline, a lot of fights and pursuits. It is well enough thrilling and I did want to know what happens next. I must say the whole idea with the gods that speak to and argue with the people was somehow strange. I love ancient mythology, where gods are very human. But here it was...more
Jeremy Preacher
I am irrationally fond of this book, and this series. Irrationally, because it's about the pulpiest pulp I have on my shelves - it reads like an extended D&D campaign, where every new sequence happens because that's what the dungeonmaster happened to think up that week, the characters are charming but not particularly original, the theology is trying to be profound and utterly failing, and the running "gag" where the main character keeps "having" to rescue women from rape against his better...more
Scott Templeman
slow start, highly complex world built, was strongly hooked from 1/3 into the book. There are plenty of elements that make this book work, the character development and interaction of a Greek-esque cast of Gods really shined for me. My first by the author, will check out his other works
Apr 08, 2009 Veiltender rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people looking for a light fantasy read.
Shelves: fantasy
This is a fun little fantasy book. I have read some of Weber's science fiction (my father loves Honor Harrington), but I like this more. I tend to appreciate fantasy more than science fiction, in general, but this is a fun little with meddling gods and a mighty hero. Actually, it would be a lot of fun to role-play in this world.

This is light fantasy fair which is a lot of fun to read. It does begin a series, but the rest series is not as good as the first book, in my opinion. I also believe thi...more
One of my all time favorites! I read this book at least once every other year. The hero is Bazell, a great sword willding good guy, who kicks butt and takes names and gets the job done. Ask question later. No worry about politices and whoi will be angry if he dose something. its a grat read for anyone looking for a hero. Heads up for those first time reader, the most recient publication of this book has a novella at the back. Its great but dont read it unill you have read the other two books in...more
Elisa Bookaholic
I read this years ago and still remember it fondly. I think it may be time for a reread.
Lorraine Weis
Entertaining, but straight forward and only the barest hint of worldbuilding.
A good Read overall-
The story on the whole was a good one but I found that there were so many characters that at times I got confused as to who was who in the story and had to go back sometimes pages sometimes chapters back to figure it out.
The action in this book is great, it grabs your attention and squeezes until you feel that you are inside the story before it releases you. I didn't want to stop reading through the action until it was over and woe be to anyone who disturbed me at that time....more
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David Mark Weber is an American science fiction and fantasy author. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1952.

Many of his stories have military, particularly naval, themes, and fit into the military science fiction genre. He frequently places female leading characters in what have been traditionally male roles.

One of his most popular and enduring characters is Honor Harrington whose alliterated name...more
More about David Weber...
On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington, #1) The Honor of the Queen (Honor Harrington, #2) The Short Victorious War (Honor Harrington, #3) Field of Dishonor (Honor Harrington, #4) Honor Among Enemies (Honor Harrington, #6)

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“Shergahn and friend lay like poleaxed steers, and the Daranfelian's greasy hair was thick with potatoes, carrots, gravy, and chunks of beef. His companion had less stew in his hair, but an equally large lump was rising fast, and Brandark flipped his improvised club into the air, caught it in proper dipping position, and filled it once more from the pot without even glancing at them. He raised the ladle to his nose, inhaled deeply, and glanced at the cook with an impudent twitch of his ears.
"Smells delicious," he said while the laughter started up all around the fire. "I imagine a bellyful of this should help a hungry man sleep. Why, just look what a single ladle of it did for Shergahn!”
“Well, thank the gods,' he sighed.
'Oh? And what would it be you're thanking them for?' Bahzell inquired, and Brandark grinned.
'For making roads and letting us find one. Not that I'm complaining, you understand, but this business of following you cross-country without the faintest idea where I am can worry a man.”
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