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The Legends of Ethshar...
Lawrence Watt-Evans
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The Legends of Ethshar Volume One (Ethshar #1)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  2,254 ratings  ·  82 reviews
An omnibus of The Misenchanted Sword and With a Single Spell, the first two books in The Legends of Ethshar series.
Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by Wildside Press (first published 1985)
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Stefan Yates
Light, engaging fantasy at it's best. In the Misenchanted Sword, Lawrence Watt-Evans has created a fun story that's hard to put down. Valder is a likable character that I found it easy to identify with and found myself caring about what happens to him next. Whether it's figuring out what properties the crazy swamp wizard imbued his sword with or escaping from an adolescent dragon that chases him directly into the middle of an enemy encampment, the fun rarely ceases in this novel.

I had read this
James Steele
I’ve read reviews of Watt-Evans’ work as being “pedestrian.” Meaning that nothing truly spectacular happens. Nothing earth-shattering or even exciting. This is true about this book, definitely.

Valder gets an enchanted sword, and he doesn’t do anything with it. This is kinda refreshing, though it might have been nice for something to happen as a consequence. Instead there’s a lot of musing on things that might and could happen as a result of this enchanted sword, but we don’t get to see any of it
Jun 20, 2011 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of fantasy not looking for "epic".
I had forgotten how much I really enjoyed this book. I'm landing this one at 4 and a half stars.

Valder, the protagonist, is a character that I find difficult to comprehend at times. He strikes me as a man cut from the same cloth as a certain Mr. Baggins – and is about as successful at avoiding adventure. He is portrayed as calm and turns out to be quite the homebody by the time all is said and done.

The story coves a great deal of time and ground, but I don't know that I would term this an “epic”
Neal Kristopher
Reviews Of Unusual Size!

Re: Accidentally finding himself behind enemy lines, Valder the Scout stumbles across a crotchety old hermit in the swamp. After his bumbling brings the enemy who destroys the hermit's home, which is also his wizard's workshop, the old man enchants Valder's sword to get him back home and out of his hair. But the sword has a few quirks...

Outstanding: Everything about this story is unique. The hero doesn't want to do anything but settle down and be comfortable. He doesn't w
Popcorn novel. Pick it up and read it for entertainment: it isn't life-changing and certainly not filling and one feels vaguely guilty for having spent time reading it later.

The main character is a Gary Stu (author self insert) and never does anything until events or the plot force him to change. He's "desperately unhappy" about his lot in life and killing people ( supposedly- doesn't stop him from butchering over eighty people with his magic sword) but is a morally reprehensible character since
I had read Lawrence Watt-Evans' "The Misenchanted Sword" (along with several other of his works) way, way back near the dawn of time. I really enjoyed them, but, for some reason, entirely forgot about him over the decades. I saw this book in the library, said "oh, yeah," and picked it up to re-read it. A highly enjoyable book. The universe he's created here is interesting, the writing is very well done, and the plot is enjoyable. I've got only two fairly minor issues with it. The first is that w ...more
Sarah Cartwright
This book was all plot and with very little character development. It's humorous and sometimes scary. The only way we learn about the character's personality is when the narrator comes right out and tells the reader, rather than showing the reader through dialogue, action, and internal reflection. But it was a quick read and kept me wondering how he was going to resolve everything at the end.
A traditional piece of fantasy for any wizard or sword loving reader. The book takes us through the land of Ethshar, where wizards, dragons, demons and endless wars are waged. Long behold a petty scout stumbles upon a lonely hermit and is bestowed a gift. Or at first that's what our scout Valder thought.

The story as a whole was an entertaining piece of fiction. The book which is broken up into three "parts" tells the life of a scout who obtained an enchanted sword. His gift which has become a cu
This story read like 2 completely different novellas bridged together with a common background. The first acquaints the reader with the tedium of the millennium-long war that encompasses the lives of the people. During this part of the tale, while on scouting duty, the main character, a soldier, meets a wizard who is also a hermit, accidentally leading a raiding party of the enemy (aka ‘the other side’) to the wizard’s hut. As payment (?) the wizard enchants the soldier’s military-owned-and-issu ...more
Valder the scout is trapped behind enemy lines and is saved thanks to the intervention of an irate hermit how just happend to be a powerful wizard. To get rid of Valder the wizard enchants his sword - but neglects to inform him of the specifics of the enchantment before leaving the scout to find his way back to friendly territory. By the time Valder returns he's managed to kill several enemy troops, including a demonic shatra, thought to be unbeatable in single-combat. The corps of wizards deter ...more
This is my favorite book in the Magic of Ethshar series,closely followed by The Blood of a Dragon. I recorded most of them, including this one, in 50-55 minute installments for my local Golden Hours radio service for blind or reading-impaired listeners. I also made CD copies for myself.

Valder is an Ethsharitic Scout who has been cut off by a Northern Alliance offnsive, trapped behind enemy lines, and is pursued by an enemy patrol which includes at least one wizard and possibly a shatra, a demon
Kevin Pierce
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Somehow I felt that the last 15-20% of the book is way better than the rest of it. It is a common feeling all the way near to the end that the story is just drifting in the wind with no apparent goal in sight but I would say this is a very good ending indeed compared to many other I have seen.
Abraham Isgur
I love this book. It is one of my favorite books ever. It is a fun, generally lighthearted story about a soldier who winds up with a sorta-cursed magic sword, and how he tries to not let it control his life in a way that is completely unlike pretty much every other fantasy book out there.
Nov 03, 2008 Steven rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy readers who don't require lots of action
Recommended to Steven by: Brandon
Shelves: sciencefiction
This is not your average fantasy. It doesn’t have enough action. It seems to lose track of itself for much of the second half. I would have given it only two stars, but its ending redeemed it.

If it isn’t average, what is it? It is a pleasantly written tale about a peaceful fellow who finds himself in situations that aren’t conducive to his peaceful nature. Much of the book is absorbed in his maintaining that nature. A peaceful guy as the main character in a fantasy novel usually just doesn’t wo
Douglas Cootey
I ended up enjoying this book more than I thought I would, but I employed a lot of skimming to get through it. The mystery of the sword and how Valder coped with it was interesting. However, I'm an impatient reader and the two Lawrences love for concrete details buried me in information. I care little for what type of cloak somebody is wearing or what tools hang from their belt if they aren't relevant to the plot. If you are the type who does love this type of hyper fantasy realism, though, then ...more
Valder lost his sword. This was bad news in the middle of enemy territory. All he wanted from the wizard was a replacement blade. He received a magic sword instead, one with a host of problems!

This is the first book in the Legends of Ethshar series. Each book features a somewhat common person who finds themself in an unusual situation. Each book also features some type of hook that draws the protagonist into this situation. In this case, a common soldier acquiring a magic sword.

The Ethshar books
A neat little story, all spawning from what happens when a bumbling scout stumbles over a recluse wizard and bugs him for help with the upcoming war. The resulting magical sword will allow him to slay anyone he meets in battle ... provided the sword is drawn under certain conditions. And, oh yes, his fate is to die by the same sword.

The story is beautifully and realistically laid out in a no-nonsense style as the protagonist gets swept away by the politics of the land, and some may get frustrate
Fun but unremarkable story about a man who almost entirely fails to use his magic sword for anything exciting. The protagonist's commitment to living the simple life in preference to adventuring is unique.
A feel-good fantasy with a quirky (but happy) ending. - Jessica, Adult Services

Reserve a library copy.
It's well written and should be an interesting premiss, but it didn't really engage me. I got to page 84 before giving up on it. I think it's a better read then I'm giving it credit for currently, but I'm not really in the mood for this right now. I have to admit, the young woman being sliced on the face by the protagonist put a bad taste in my mouth. Yes, he's in enemy territory and been through a lot. It's understandable he thinks the person behind him is a fellow solider on the enemy side and ...more
It's been many years since I read this book, but I still think of this as the PERFECT adventure-fantasy story, aside the related tale in With A Single Spell
Vincent Tan
A light and amusing take on magic and fantasy. A pleasure to find it again after a couple of decades.
A feel-good fantasy with a quirky (but happy) ending. Reads like Patricia Wrede.
Michael Miller
I'm planning on rereading all sorts of books I first read long, long ago, partially to decide if I want to keep my physical version but also to see how much I like them today.

I still love The Misenchanted Sword. It's fun, laid-back, and purely entertaining. Instead of an epic quest, it explores how a powerful magic item affects the life of an otherwise ordinary person. It's also the introduction to the entire Ethshar series, which has been a favorite for a long time.

And as a bonus, it isn't hund
In many books, the hero/heroine wishes to be normal. It's rare that they actually accomplish this, or if they do, it's accomplished so close to the end of the book that you don't get to enjoy it.

What I liked about this book was that I got to see not only his reluctant participation in the war, but also the life he built for himself after the war was over. While that might make the book rather action-free in some people's eyes, I found it a refreshing change from books that are nothing but action
An entertaining read that does not follow the fantasy formula. Valder, the hero, does not want trouble. In fact he would rather run an inn than be a scout in the army. On one botched mission, he stumbles onto a wizard who promises him a wonderful magical sword that will help him survive. Unfortunately, the wizard screws up the spell and the sword becomes a liability and not an asset. For when it is drawn, the sword must be used to kill and if Valder kills 100 men the sword will turn on him and k ...more
Nov 15, 2011 Maria rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Maria by: Wyatt
Unfortunately this book did not engage my interest until nearly the end, but what an end! It was worth the entire read. Mainly my problem was that I did not trust the sword or Valder's superiors in the army or the author, so I was expecting the book to end badly. In fact I couldn't see any other way for it to end, which caused me to prolong the reading so that I wouldn't get to the end. The author surprised me, however. I loved the way it ended, and then wished I hadn't stretched out the read tr ...more
The Misenchanted Sword is the first entry in Lawrence Watt-Evans' Ethshar series. The main protagonist is a completely ordinary soldier who ends up with a magical sword of a twisted kind. While a bit simplistic at times, I found this book to be a refreshing change from the more traditional fantasy offerings as the plot centers on the bond between man and sword throughout the soldier's lifetime. A nice little self-contained book.
Paul Harvey
Simply put, this is one of my favorite books of all time. I'd recommend this book to anyone. There's wizardry, but that's not what the story is about. There's fighting, but that's not what the story about. The story is about a simple man trying to be just that, only circumstances keep him from being able to achieve that. The journey is at once enjoyable, and sad. A book I've read repeatedly, and the first ebook I downloaded.
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Other Books in the Series

Ethshar (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • With a Single Spell
  • The Unwilling Warlord
  • The Blood of a Dragon
  • Taking Flight
  • The Spell of the Black Dagger (Legends of Ethshar)
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