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The Man with the Knives (The World of Riverside #2.5)

4.33 of 5 stars 4.33  ·  rating details  ·  100 ratings  ·  17 reviews
A tale of loss and healing, set in Kushner's Riverside series.
Paperback, Trade issue, 32 pages
Published May 3rd 2010 by Temporary Culture (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Ellen Kushner's much-loved 1998 story, "The Death of the Duke", tells how Sophia, a lonely village physician, well past the age for being wed, met and married a stranger, "half-crazed with grief over the loss of his lover." Her new story, "The Man with the Knives" (available as a chapbook from Temporary Culture) fills in the details of that courtship.

The story is told in a lyrical, almost poetical style, rather than a straightforward narrative, with Sophia's and Alec's alternating points of vie
I was first introduced to Ellen Kushner’s work through her novel Swordspoint which became a quick and lasting favorite of mine. Kushner has a way of writing that carries both descriptive and emotional power without tipping into the realm of wordy or sappy. Her characters are neither too strong nor too weak, but that wonderful middle ground at which a fictional figure becomes a believable human.

Read my full review here.
Grace Yeo
With illustration from here:
Kei Blackthorne
Sad and gorgeous, and sweet-bitter and lingering as the ghost of poisoned honey. I was so glad to lay eyes upon this last piece of the missing years between The Privilege of the Sword and The Fall of the Kings, and revisit one of my most beloved characters. I'm a sucker for a good, tragic tale, and Kushner's works always have that quality for me, that echo of underlying sadness, though witty and saucy and finely crafted they may be. And the illustrations are lovely. Brilliant. Swordspoint has ev ...more
Catherine Evans
As wonderful a read as ever, but far, far too short... and as unfair as it is, I have yet to conquer the sensation that this is not 'my' Alec - or come to that 'my' Sophia, from whose character there seems to be some piece missing that would explain the transition from the woman Alec meets on his island to the Sophia of Fall of the Kings.

Partly, I must admit, the problem is that what I wanted was more Alec & Richard, and while I respect Ellen Kushner's right to write for herself or even (ga
Scott Frank
I finished this short book (a pamphlet, really - it maybe took fifteen minutes to read), and just said "holy sh*t" as an expression of wonder, of the way this story is a small little jewel you did not expect to find.

That said, if you haven't read Kusher's previous novel "Swordspoint" it will have much less of an effect; probably a three-star rating in that case.

The illustrations by Thomas Canty are, as with all his work, haunting and beautiful.
A love story pared down to essentials, raw and distant at the same time; lyrical. You can read it as an after-thread to other "Swordspoint" stories (one of the people involved is named Campion), but to take the shorter wordcount as a slighter story would be to miss the point.
Carol March
Beautiful, moving story. I am a huge fan of this world and these characters, and despite the fact that I cried over this, it was very satisfying. The way Kushner uses language in this story is just exquisite. Also, I'm a sucker for eternal love.
Set in the Swordspoint universe, heartbreaking and beautiful. Not only is every word perfect, but Tom Canty's spot illustrations in black and white and lyrical line and form, are simply gorgeous.
Kushner can definitely write. This story is very well told and the use of language is excellent. However, it never really clicked for me. It seemed somehow uninteresting in the end.
I've wanted the "end" of Swordspoint for so long. Now I wish I didn't have it. This was beautiful. It was also loss and pain and loneliness.
Kate O'Hanlon
Finally, I have hunted down the sad but satisfying answer to the one question I had lingering after finishing the Riverside trilogy.
Beautiful and sad. Even had I not known the story behind this one, I think I would've been enraptured by the language.
Such a simple story, and it ends well, but it broke my heart in the best of ways.
Beautifully written short story in a handsome little package.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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American writer of fantasy novels, and the host of the radio program Sound & Spirit, distributed by Public Radio International.

She lives in New York City with her wife and sometime collaborator, Delia Sherman. Her first novel, Swordspoint (1987), and its sequel (co-authored by Sherman) The Fall of the Kings (2002), are mannerpunk novels set in a nameless imaginary capital city, and its raffish
More about Ellen Kushner...

Other Books in the Series

The World of Riverside (3 books)
  • Swordspoint (Riverside, #1)
  • The Privilege of the Sword (Riverside, #2)
  • The Fall of the Kings (Riverside, #3)
Swordspoint (Riverside, #1) The Privilege of the Sword (Riverside, #2) Thomas the Rhymer The Fall of the Kings (Riverside, #3) Outlaws of Sherwood Forest (Choose Your Own Adventure, #47)

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