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Sword of the Lamb

(The Phoenix Legacy #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  363 ratings  ·  37 reviews
In the 33rd Century, a vast empire teeters on the brink of collapse.

At the heart of the Concord, unrest is festering. Unrecognized by the Elite, the ruling class, an undercurrent of rebellion is surging through the enslaved Bond class. It’s a threat that could bring down all of civilization, creating a third Dark Age.

Lord Alexand, first born of the House of DeKoven Woolf,
Paperback, 486 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Diversion Books (first published 1981)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  363 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Jul 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
My copy of this book was published in 1981, when I was in high school. I haven't read it in decades (probably not since the early 90's), but my memory of the story was so strongly positive it's remained on my shelves all these years, along with the rest of the "Phoenix Legacy" trilogy. Yesterday, needing something to read, I picked it up with a bit of trepidation. It was hard to believe the story would stand the test of time.

It has.

There are plenty of science fiction tales about dynastic
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book originally as a young teen over 25 years ago. The Phoenix Legacy series had a lasting impression and helped lead me into a love of science fiction. I happened upon these books as I was going through an old box of Hardy Boys books from my youth and decided to give it another read. The story is still as rich as I remember it with excellent characters and interesting plots to go along with a detailed future of mankind.

I couldn't find book 2, but thankfully there are still some out
Mar 09, 2015 rated it liked it
The Sword of the Lamb
by M.K. Wren

This vision of the future takes place around the year 3200 and depicts humankind as star faring, but only so far. Set in the Centauri system the Elite Houses of a future feudal system determine how to keep the system going in their favor while keeping the Bonds and Feshs working productively. I’m not sure entirely why this could go this way but I embraced the story.
Rich and Alexand Woolf are the only two heirs of the Woolf House. Rich is diseased and will not
Sep 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book 1 of the Pheonix (Society of the Pheonix) trilogy. Sci-fi. Society is divided into three classes. The Elite is the ruling class based on family business franchises. Fesh - educated, professionals, middle class. Bond - uneducated, poor, serf/slave-type class, very religious whose religion is based on a mixture of Christianity and superstition. The story is basically about the struggle for power between two ruling houses and the implications on society. Drama, intrigue, romance (but, not ...more
May 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first installment of The Phoenix Legacy Trilogy, The Sword of the Lamb sets the stage for the epic space opera set in Earth's 33rd Century. For a long time, I searched far and wide for a good quality epic sci-fi adventure, and I must admit, Wren far exceeded my expectations--yet it is out of print. This is truly the best science fiction series that I have ever read. It is well worth the extra money to have it reprinted from the Author's Guild at
Julie Davis
Kaye is excellent at interpersonal relationships and interesting "epic" story lines, however her frequent use of info-dumps slows the pace unnecessarily. My complete review:
I really enjoyed this whole series, read it at least three times.
Future society hovering on the brink of revolution.
Highly recommend!
Carl Barlow
Oct 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Comparisons with Dune are obvious and quite deserved, but Sword's scope is much narrower. It's tempting to call it Dune Lite, but that would be flippant. The book is sporadically enthralling, with many beautiful and moving passages... but the overall structure teeters alarmingly. The reader learns of interesting and probably exciting occurrences in retrospect. Lesser characters are chosen to supply viewpoints that actually detract from lead dramatis personae and their lives - and more than once ...more
A somewhat slow read, especially in parts. I didn't hate this book, but I definitely didn't love it. It feels like a first book by and author who doesn't have quite a grasp on how to write a sf book. Way too much info dumping and not particularly disguised. The interstellar intrigue has been done, but this one does feel a little different. The characters are a little bit predictable, but the world building itself is not bad. I am curious to see where this goes next. I did kind of buy the ...more
Howard Brazee
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I wasn't familiar with this series when it came out, but some people like it a lot. It's set in a future with humans on a few planets after several disasters, including a nuclear war. There are 3 classes of people. They aren't quite royals, gentry, and slaves, and have different names. A pair of "royal" boys recognize deep problems with this society and in 3? books work at insurrection?

The book is kind of slow, but it has well-developed characters.
Scot Eaton
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David H.
Sep 08, 2019 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Why I didn't finish this: I was hoping for a fun space opera, but this didn't have the tone that I was looking for.
Luke Van Santen
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Turned out better than I thought it would, based on how it started. Still dated and somewhat predictable, but enjoyable.
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book. This trilogy should be up there with the sci-fi classics like Dune and the Foundation trilogy.
Noah Easterly
Mar 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Lovely worldbuilding; but I had issues with the dialogue/characters - conversations felt like more like the characters were giving monologues to each other about their innermost thoughts.

The blurb on the back of my copy was rather spoilery - describing an event that takes place 3/4 through the novel. Though it might have helped more than hurt, as I'm not sure where my sense of suspense would have come from otherwise.

I'm coming across harsher than I mean to. I did enjoy it. There's a quote on the
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
A very pleasant surprise. I decided to read this because of the reviews (I usually never read reviews before I read the book) which has lead to some terrible books but this was a winner. The writing is unremarkable by which I mean it is straightforward grammatical English. I find that a pleasure to read and increasingly rare to find. The fact that it was written quite some time ago did not impact at all on the story in my view. If anything, the role assigned to corporations was prophetic. Had ...more
Colin Yeung
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I first got these books on the recommendation of my Librarian in Year 8 (some 17 years ago) and now they are a critical read for me every 2-3 years. They have the depth and scope of Frank Herberts Dune (1st, 2nd & 4th – 3rd’s rubbish) and flashes of brilliance ala Asimov’s I-Robot series, without the sparseness.

An engaging read, they are emotive, intelligent and definitely succeed in painting a picture of a world that is entirely plausible and feasible in our near future. What is also
Teresa Hehir
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book, and the other 2 in the trilogy a very long time ago. I remember the first time I read them, I was working night shifts, when I got home after a long night the parcel was waiting for me, I opened it and started flicking through as you do with all new books (well I do anyway). I thought I'd just read a little - well 12 hours later I was half way through the second book and furious I would have to put it down to go to work. I fell in love with Richard and Alexand and their ...more
Tales Untangled
Aug 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars!

This fantastic series has been out of print and my old books are falling apart and when I saw it available on Kindle for $9.99 I had to snap it up. When I want to read a saga, this is one of my favorites.

There are several layers to why this series works so well.

Characters (there are tons, but here are a couple of examples):

Alexand DeKoven Woolf, is the arch-type leading man. His pride is his achilles heel. He is very much a Byronic hero who could become moody and self-centered if he
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
*This book was given to me free of charge courtesy of GoodReads First Reads Giveaways*

I had no idea that this book was previously published so many years ago. I'm not sure how I didn't know loving the fantasy genre, but somehow I hadn't heard of it before!

After reading this I can definitely see why it has lasted for so many years. The writing is complete, plot fully developed, and the characters in the story belonged there. Nothing seemed out of place. This book is definitely going in my
Oct 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
An epic set with elements of feudal politics in the future. Two brothers, Alexand the heir apparent to the families industrial complex is learning the intrigues to maneuver at the highest levels in the Concord's Thousand Loyal Houses. Meanwhile the younger bookish Rich who has studied the Concord's history, understands the implications of revolutionary thought and how an alternate future might be chosen. Rich is capable of plotting out the results of actions that will irrevocably set events onto ...more
This is an interesting trilogy based in the future with a strict caste system in danger of coming apart at the seams. This book focuses on Alexand and his brother Richard, members of the Elite. Richard, who is terminally ill, becomes involved with the plight of the Bonds and joins the secret Society of the Phoenix. While parts of it were a little slow, there is a lot of background material to cover. Things definitely pick up near the end of this volume and I am going to start the second one ...more
Jan 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, favorites
This trilogy is one of the unknown greats in science fantasy.

How will a government that has spanned centuries react when faced with political and social unrest. How does this affect the people born to a world that has never changed.

I found it politically insightful with full bodied characters and more than enough action to keep things going. Anyone who enjoyed Asimov's foundation series will probably find the world different but the scope and depth the same.
David Anthony Beard
Oct 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
I'm on page 190 of 486 of Sword of the Lamb: I received this book through Goodreads First-Read giveaways. I have finally made it Chapter three. It has been very slow going. I am hoping it really picks up because it is so slow. I am finding it a struggle to read. I am moving on for now. One Day I might pick the book back up and finish. All I know is I have tons of books to read and I cannot waste my time on a book I apparently do not like.
Edward Becerra
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wren created a world that was believable and engrossing. I bought this years ago while on temporary duty in Denver, read through it in a weekend, and immediately ordered the other two books in the series from the Tattered cover bookstore.

This book pulled me in, and I simply could not stop reading it.
Ruth Kevghas
Sep 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have very few books on my shelves that are worthy of re-reads and this Trilogy- The Phoenix Legacy is the best! I have re-read it every few years and seem to still glean gems from it-- its the type of book htat is fast paced, but also has some real gems of wisdom thrown into it. I highly recommend it!
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
It was okay at best. Honestly, the book read as if the author wanted to write a fictionalized formal history more than write a novel with characters and stories.

Relationships and why the characters behave the way they do is just a mystery.

That being said, its got great background and politics and interesting alternate history.
Jan 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First I read "A Gift from the Shore" by M.K. Wren--not "Sword of Lamb," but "A Gift from the Shore" is not listed in Good reads.

Perhaps it's just another end of the world story, but it's more: it is a Reason vs. Blind Faith argument.
Tobias Wonderland
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Epic science fiction in the flavour of Dune with lashings of Foundation.
billy burley
Oct 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A true classic and a must read for sci fi saga fans.
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Martha Kay Renfroe was an Oregon writer, author of mystery and science fiction under the penname M.K. Wren. Her work included the "Conan Flagg" mystery series and the post-apocalyptic novel A Gift Upon the Shore, set along the Oregon coast.

Other books in the series

The Phoenix Legacy (3 books)
  • Shadow of the Swan  (The Phoenix Legacy, #2)
  • House of the Wolf (The Phoenix Legacy, #3)