Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Reluctant Swordsman (Seventh Sword, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Reluctant Swordsman (Seventh Sword, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Reluctant Swordsman (Seventh Sword #1)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  2,461 ratings  ·  96 reviews
Wallie Smith can feel the pain. He goes to the hospital, remembers the doctors and the commotion, but when he wakes up it all seems like a dream. However, if that was a dream how do you explain waking up in another body and in another world? Little Wallie finds himself in the physique of a barbarian swordsman, accompanied by both an eccentric priest babbling about the Godd ...more
ebook
Published September 15th 2004 by eReads.com (first published 1988)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Reluctant Swordsman, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Reluctant Swordsman

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Mike (the Paladin)
Yes, I'm giving this the rare 5 star rating. I'm a bit surprised I decided to go that high...but it's a good read. No deep emotional depths here, no great philosophical insights just a good adventurous read.

Wally is dying, well actually he seems to be dead. But instead of heading off to the after life he gets a bit...side tracked. See Wally is inside the body of a large, skilled swordsman in a completely different world.

Not a new plot device. As a matter of actual fact if you're a fantasy fan (o
...more
Algernon

Portal fantasy appears to be quite popular for the 1980's. The ones I'm familiar with (debuts or ongoing series) include : The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny (1985 for the second series), Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donaldson (starts in 1977 but continue), Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay (1984), Videssos by Haryy Turtledove (1987). I'm adding now my first Dave Duncan from 1988, and I must say I'm impressed by the narrative drive and by the nuanced characterization of this latest additi
...more
Leon Aldrich
Wallie Smith can feel the pain. He goes to the hospital, remembers the doctors and the commotion, but when he wakes up it all seems like a dream. However, if that was a dream how do you explain waking up in another body and in another world? Little Wallie finds himself in the physique of a barbarian swordsman, accompanied by both an eccentric priest babbling about the Goddess and a voluptuous slave girl. Is this a rude awakening or a dream come true? What in the world will Wallie do now that he' ...more
Sbuchler
Aug 16, 2008 Sbuchler rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sbuchler by: Sabrina
Genre: High Fantasy

A very fast-paced tale of a modern fellow (Wallie Smith) who's brain/mind/soul is transplanted into a sword-swinging hero's body due to a meddlesome Goddess. The world he's cast into is lush, succeeding in being both foriegn and envoking the "Age of Legends" - a bronze age culture from before writing is discovered/invented.

There are some wonderful bits both of his trying to grapple with the idea that gods are real and miracules exist and realizing that many emotions are gener
...more
Monica
I read this book about a year ago, and I enjoyed it, but not enough to want read the rest of the books in this series. I think it may be one of those novels that I will have to give another try, or at the very least try another one of Duncan's series.
Brett
Few authors in the fantasy genre are capable of coming up with as many unique magic concepts as Dave Duncan and his very best work is the Seventh Sword Trilogy. Book 1 is The Reluctant Swordsman and I remain as blown away today as I was when I first read it 10 years ago.

The Reluctant Swordsman is, at its heart, a tale of faith, miracles, and duty. It is much deeper than most fantasy novels yet Duncan keeps his tale crisp and avoids getting too metaphysical or theological. Although much of the st
...more
Metaphorosis

reviews.metaphorosis.com

3 stars

Wallie Smith has died. Much to the surprise of all concerned, however, he's turned up in the body of Shunso, Seventh-level swordsman in a world of temples, slaves, and duels. Wallie tries to do good, but then a god steps in, and Wallie has to re-evaluate his choices.

I'm not generally a fan of sidewise type - where an ordinary guy suddenly finds himself in another time or dimension. There have been good ones - Narnia, "Sidewise in Time", Barsoom, "A Connecticut Yank
...more
Allyson
This one starts a bit slow, and I remember at one point, when I realized what the goal of the action was, I was like, really? We're going to spend the whole book doing *that*? But I think he uses this slow action successfully to pack in a lot of information about the world, which our hero is discovering along with us, the readers. Stick with it, there is a definite pay off at the end of all three books, with lots of swashbuckling action and interesting characters to enjoy along the way.
Sean Randall
As I consumed the opening pages of this fine story, my miserable excuse for a brain could not but help attempt linking this work to The Reluctant Sorcerer by Simon Hawke. Hawke also wrote a trilogy featuring someone from our world forced to adapt in an alternate, medieval one; and its no coincidence that both this trilogy and that have an opening novel with the word reluctant in the title. You must forgive the parallel - I was rather heavily entoxicated at the time. 'tis the little things that a ...more
Marko
Review written for the last book in the series:
This is the third and final book in the Seventh Sword trilogy. I read the entire trilogy over the past couple of weeks and I take that as proof that it had gripping power and was well enough written to keep me hooked until I had finished all the books. While trying not to spoil anything, the story is about a swordsman who is given a task in the form of a riddle and who then ventures to explore the world and finds love, power and sadness on the way.

O
...more
Alexis
Almost done with this and while I like Wallie's story, I can't help but be distracted by the way women are portrayed. If an author can't write women in a unique and non-offensive way, then it is really better to just leave them out, IMO. I fully understand that the book is purposefully set in a place quite different from this world, and with a different culture. But there doesn't seem to be any redeeming purpose to the way the women are portrayed, and there is the implicit difference in how men ...more
Doc Opp
I find myself with little to say about this book. It was perfectly adequate, and I didn't feel I was wasting my time by reading it. But it didn't move me, make me think all that much, or otherwise strike me as all that memorable.

The series spends a lot of time on the topic of faith - particularly willingness to blindly place one's deity's will before his/her own. Throughout the book, the protagonist routinely was asked to do things that violated his own ethical/moral code at the bequest of a dei
...more
Alan
I enjoyed this one very much,it was kind of a change of pace for me as I've been reading mainly drama/action books, and this one made me a laugh a little.

This book follows a guy who has died in our world and get transported into the body of the greatest swordsman in an alternate world where your skill with a sword determines your rank in society. The good swordsmen take what they want without any repercussions or remorse. Now comes Wallie from a different world with different ideals and morals.
...more
Justus
Felt like a Robert E. Howard (Conan) take on the "modern American transplanted to fantasy world" theme. Had some potential but in the end everything is motivated by deus ex machinas. It almost felt like a Christian polemic with the constant refrain of "God(dess) moves in mysterious ways" and "have faith". What started out as an interesting moral struggle about the contrast between the two worlds simply gets thrown away when the protagonist gets tortured enough.

Not keen enough to bother reading t
...more
Alexandra
This is not the sort of book I would have picked up of my own accord. But a friend loaned me the entire series, and I felt obligated to give it a go, since we usually have similar tastes.

This is a fairly standard portal fantasy, overall. The main character is dying in our world and then wakes up in the body of a remarkable swordsman in another. Intriguingly, we get very little of Wallie's life in the 'real' world. We know he's an engineer, has no family, and... that's about it. The focus is ent
...more
Diana
Another good series from Duncan. Sometimes I find it hard to get started on his books. He takes awhile to set the scene, and numerous characters are usually involved. But once I'm in, it's always a good time. This series has a man from Earth finding himself transferred into the body of a Swordsman from another world and expected to complete a quest for that world's Goddess.
Kristy (Book Frivolity)
Have you ever thought I wish I lived in that books world? Well, The Reluctant Swordsman tackles the issue of being thrown in to an alternative universe and trying to assimilate modern ideas and values in a world that is not your own.

It's a very interesting concept actually, how do you fit in? What do you hold on to of yourself and what are you willing to change so that you can successfully live in a world that doesn't see or believe in the things you take for granted? It's not just that people
...more
morbidflight
A) I need an "Orientalist" shelf although this is slightly less Orientalist and slightly more pre-literate fetishist à la Ong.
B) Duncan does not, as another reviewer pointed out, know how to write women as people. They're effectively blow-up dolls mixed with body pillows, so perfect waifus with no real personality.
C) I'm still a fan of hack-and-slash and this is hack-and-slash with style. It's a fast (or normal - took about a few hours of reading on a plane + bus) read and engaging throughout.
...more
Genevieve's Human
Definitely a book for boys. This had my husband giggling. My husband does not giggle.

Listened to this via audiobook, which was relatively well done. The reader wasn't brilliant, but with the exception of a few (e.g. Jim Dale), I find that after the first five minutes or so I can get used to most readers.

The book itself lent itself well to being read aloud. The plot flows smoothly and the imagery is vivid. I may or may not read more of the series. The cosmology of the universe is interesting, an
...more
Peterwilliam
Review located HERE . ...more
Sarah
Wallie Smith was just a boringly ordinary engineer. Shonsu was the greatest swordsman in the World. The two had nothing in common, until they both died and the Goddess stuck the mind of the former in the body of the latter in order to complete a vital quest. Wallie spends a long time grappling with the reality of his situation, and makes very little progress toward completing (or even finding out the details of) his odyssey, but book one does a fantastic job of setting up the world and the chara ...more
Dorian D-W
Well, I had mixed feelings about this book.

On the one hand, I liked the fish-out-of-water, crossing-cultures, interacting-with-deities in the book. The world was interesting and the plot was solid, I followed what was going on well but there were still plenty of surprises.

On the other hand I felt that the book didn't flow well. There was more telling than showing. All the characters seemed to be always grinning.

I'm undecided as to whether or not to pick up a sequel. Perhaps if I can find a cop
...more
Ozy Ali
A nice short book, whereby the fact that it's short means that it cannot spend its time on irrelevant fluff. It gets straight to the point and introduces the main characters, the level of intrigue is high with me feeling like I didn't really know what was going on till it was done, which is a good thing as it kept me guessing.

The characters are interesting to me in that there's more to them than meets the eye, as is evident in the main character Shonsu/Wallie. The mechanic by which Wallie is int
...more
Ian Armstrong
I not an avid reader of fantasy fiction, a revelation that has surprised and lead to my chastisement by various friends of a certain fraternity, however I was once loaned this trilogy, something just over two decades ago, and recall greatly enjoying it. I remember being impressed by the beautifully drawn world but other than a half remembered plot twist that concludes the trilogy and a plot point (that probably ends the second book) I could not remember any of the story.

I am pleased to say that
...more
Kirstie
My best friend introduced me to Dave Duncan way back in middle school, and he's been one of my favorite authors ever since. Dave Duncan is one of the reasons why I'm extremely glad to have a Kindle--many of his books had been out of print for a while, so tracking down copies of the Seventh Swordsman series was near impossible. Not any longer, though, and for that I'm grateful!

The Reluctant Swordsman starts with the death of Wallie Smith, an intelligent chemist in our world--so imagine his surpri
...more
Alexey
A regular person from our world ending up in a fantasy world? Rings a bell? I think it should, this has been done to death already but a good book is not always about a novel premise. So what’s special about this one?

The protagonist is changing over the course of the book and the main change is psychological, in his approach to other people and their values. While this book is laudable in the regard of trying to portray the doubts and restrictions of a modern human some of it felt contrived and
...more
Gaping_maw
The book is an odd mix of humour, action and social commentary in a fantasy setting with tenuous links to our own world.

I really enjoyed the setting, although it certainly isn't what I expected on commencement of the novel. Even though I wasn't entirely comfortable with some aspects of the setting or the sentiments/morals expressed, I had a great time reading the book!

To me it's a man's man's book :) . Certainly the female characters don't get much er.. love.
Sarah
As a review for the series, I liked it but omg detail detail detail detail - SO MUCH DETAIL. If you like Robert Jordan, or Raymond E Feist, you'll probably like this series. The story flows and the characters are likeable, it's not hard to read and I read 3 books in a few days (haven't got my hands on #4 yet). I found myself skipping paragraphs and getting annoyed simply because everyone was so hung up on How.Things.Are. Even saying Hello to someone is ridiculously formal. The series centres aro ...more
Corneliu Dascalu
A surprisingly good read. I got the book in a bundle, and I was expecting a run-of-the-mill ordinary fantasy story. But the writing style is exquisite, and the story and characters are very well thought, with surprising depth.

The author has the rare talent of being concise and yet deliver high-density information about the world. Unloading pages-long infodumps a common defect of fantasy authors, but not this one.

I warmly recommend it.
Lewis
This book follows a fairly standard formula: a character finds himself (or, occasionally, herself) in a different world or situation, acquires a quest, and takes off in pursuit of whatever the errand may be. My interest in these books depends on quality of writing, character development including secondary characters, and the alternate universe in which the action happens. If the author is creative, more stars fall upon his brow.

In Book one of The Seventh Sword the character and situation are p
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Freehold
  • Wingman  (Wingman, #1)
  • The Healer's War
  • The Blackcollar (Blackcollar, #1)
  • Justice and Her Brothers
  • Budayeen Nights
  • Encounter with Tiber
  • The Sword & Sorcery Anthology
  • The Time of the Dark (Darwath, #1)
  • Arcanum 101
  • Shambling Towards Hiroshima
  • Mythology 101
  • Second Paradigm
  • Nobody's Home: An Anubis Gates Story
  • The Jack Vance Treasury
  • The Ape's Wife and Other Stories
  • Spellsinger (Spellsinger, #1)
  • Talion: Revenant

Other Books in the Series

Seventh Sword (4 books)
  • The Coming of Wisdom (Seventh Sword, #2)
  • The Destiny of the Sword (Seventh Sword, #3)
  • The Death of Nnanji (Seventh Sword, #4)
The Gilded Chain (King's Blades, #1) Magic Casement (A Man of His Word, #1) The Destiny of the Sword (Seventh Sword, #3) The Coming of Wisdom (Seventh Sword, #2) Lord of the Fire Lands (King's Blades, #2)

Share This Book

“A sheep in wolf’s clothing should not bleat within the pack.” 1 likes
“No reason. Because it’s always been done that way. That’s the standard explanation for anything.” 0 likes
More quotes…