Curtiss's Reviews > The Misenchanted Sword

The Misenchanted Sword by Lawrence Watt-Evans
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's review
Aug 08, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: science-fiction, all-time-favorites

** spoiler alert ** Valder the scout is trapped behind enemy lines and is saved thanks to the intervention of an irate hermit who just happens 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 (barely) managed to kill several enemy troops, including a demonic shatra - thought to be unbeatable in single-combat. The corps of wizards determines that his sword has been given an array of powerful enchantments which make it virtually unbeatable one-on-one, but also that the enchantment will only last until Valder has used it to kill 99-100 men, at which point the sword will only be usable by somebody else and will turn on him as its next victim - and will then go on to kill the next 98-99 men - and so on.

In fact until the sword has a new owner Valder will be effectively immortal and unkillable, since he cannot die until his allotment of victims is used up. Valder is therefor assigned duties as an assassin - least until he loses track of the number of victims the sword has killed at around 80 or so, and retires to private life as an inkeeper at The Crossroads Inn. Unfortunately while the sword's perverse enchantment won't let Valder die, it doesn't prevent him from aging and becoming more and more decrepit and infirm.

Valder has to find some way around the magic of "The Misenchanted Sword," and by the story's end he does; in fact as a consequence of Valder's solution, he and his Crossroads Inn are visited or at least given a passing mention in virtually all the books in Lawrence Watt-Evans's "Magic of Ethshar" series, which covers a span of centuries. By the end of the book Valder learns just 'why' the sword's enchantment turned to be so perverse from the wizard who "misenchanted" it himself.
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12/17/2016 marked as: read

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