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Sword of the Bright Lady

(World of Prime #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  683 ratings  ·  85 reviews
Christopher Sinclair goes out for a walk on a mild Arizona evening and never comes back. He stumbles into a freezing winter under an impossible night sky, where magic is real -- but bought at a terrible price. 

A misplaced act of decency lands him in a brawl with an arrogant nobleman and puts him under a death sentence. In desperation he agrees to be drafted into an eternal
Paperback, 429 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Pyr (first published January 1st 2014)
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M.C. Planck Artistic license? :D

First, props for noticing that. Second, minor spoiler alert...the Colt actually shows up in the next book. But we wanted the cover…more
Artistic license? :D

First, props for noticing that. Second, minor spoiler alert...the Colt actually shows up in the next book. But we wanted the cover to not be a classic fantasy while also not confusing anyone looking for a Western (hence the funky combination of helmet and armor). And as far as I know, no one else has used that gun on a cover. So it was a way to stand out without deviating too far from the story. I believe the cover of each book will show a different character, so Christopher won't actually get another chance to show off that wild weapon. (I am rooting for Lalania on the 2nd; anybody with me?)

I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to work out why there is no katana on the cover. :)(less)
M.C. Planck Sadly, I don't think so. Audible bought the rights to my SF novel The Kassa Gambit, and they took such a bath on it I don't think anyone will touch this series.

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Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Many will probably read Sword of the Bright Lady and think what a peculiar world our protagonist Christopher Sinclair has landed in, with all these funny magical rules and strange way of doing things. On the other hand, if you’re a gamer, then you just might see things a bit differently, and a lot of the elements will have that persistent, familiar ring.

As already pointed out by many reviewers, the world of this book feels
Fantasy Review Barn

Ten copper is equal to one silver, ten silver is equal to one gold. After a battle the victors go around the field and harvest a glowing ball of energy from each of the dead; collect enough of it and a person can level up one rank. Die and a person can be revived, but will lose a level of rank. More rank means better magical abilities; higher ranked men can shrug off sword blows with ease and heal even the deepest wounds in seconds. After a duel the victor gets all the lootz f
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Full Review at TenaciousReader:

I have to admit; I found the concept of someone from our world landing in the middle of a medieval style fantasy story quite intriguing. I mean, really, we spend our free time reading about such things, but what would it really be like to wake up in one? Dirty, smelly and full of hard work. Probably not near as much fun as reading. So, curiosity grabbed me pretty quick, I couldn’t help but want to see how our protagonist, Ch
What I was hoping for:


What I was expecting:

What I got:

Now, I do feel a bit bad about having such a negative reaction, because I consider the author, or at least the author's online persona, to be a generally awesome guy.

But there really isn't much nice that I can say about this book. I like the concept of tael, although it does seem very, very videogamey. And overall, this story might have worked better if it had just gone all the way and made itself a WoW fanfic. It would have been a very credi
Aug 30, 2014 added it
Christopher Sinclair wakes from an interesting dream into a more interesting dilemma. He is in an alternate reality, a world eerily similar and yet markedly different to ours. The sleepy village he finds himself in appears to be stuck in the medieval age, but for certain marvels. This ‘magic’, apportioned by a substance known as ‘tael’, affects the very way society operates, marking the most startling differences. The higher the rank, the more magic a practitioner commands.

On his first day in th
Scott Bell
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good start to a Displaced Person fantasy. The series suffers from bloat and the never-finishing syndrome of modern fantasy epics. (Just one more novel and we'll reach the, really, just one more, I promise.) ...more
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is what happens when you put science-fiction, fantasy, moral development, and political-science into a blender. Sword of the Bright Lady is the story I’ve been waiting years to find; I’m glad someone has finally written it. Fans of S.M. Stirling and Eric Flint will feel right at home with Christopher as he struggles to reconcile his gentle nature and modern sensibilities with a world filled with goblins, magic, and medieval privilege. World building is often one of the more difficult aspect ...more
“Sometimes peoples would rather cling to a pretty lie than face an ugly truth, especially if the lie is one they’ve told themselves about themselves.”

Kept from being your typical A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by the strong internal voice of our displaced protagonist and his strong sense of right and wrong. Better than average story of a stranger in a strange land.

“… with hope came fear. The mixture was indistinguishable from anger.”

Both magic and faith work, the latter healing an
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have grown weary with teenagers saving the world and magic being unlimited. The main character in this novel is not a teenager, the magic system Planck has built is neither free nor unlimited, and the complexity of the world and story thrive because of both. This book was a breath of fresh air.
Denver Public Library
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: emily
This book is awesome, SciFi hiding as fantasy or Fantasy pretending to be SciFi I couldn't tell but it really didn't matter! There were certainly some instances of suspension of disbelief but excellent payoff. Good characterization, decent pacing, good world building...
Christopher Sinclair, a gentle souled mechanical engineer wakes up in a strange bed with a strange woman, in a strange land where no one speaks English. It must be a dream but even for a dream this is too weird. Turns out Christop
Aug 27, 2014 rated it liked it
When Christopher Sinclair takes a walk one night in Arizona he suddenly finds himself waking up in a strange land gripped by a freezing winter. Sinclair is quickly quickly finds himself embroiled in the affairs of the titular Bright Lady as her consort, the God of War Marcius, offers an exchange: Christopher’s help in dealing with the the threat of war for Marcius’ help in returning to his wife and home. From its initial layout Sword of the Bright Lady there is a sense of familiarity to the tale ...more
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I'm rating this book based on how much I enjoyed it (5/5 stars). The writing style was very simple, but the story was very effectively told and I could not put down the last third of the book until after 2am when I read the last page. This is one for fans of fantasy, gaming, time travel, and anyone who is intrigued by the thought of sending MacGyver back to medieval times and seeing what he comes up with. (Also recommended for fans of Andy Weir's The Martian, which is basically MacGyver on Mars) ...more
Joel Tone
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is the story of a modern man dumped into a self-consistent Dungeons and Dragons world. The part I enjoyed most about it is that he is moral without being preachy and the world makes sense. I'm very much looking forward to the next book in this series.

If you liked this book, the closest analog is Joel Rosenberg's Guardians of the Flame series. There are also some elements of Leo Frankowski's Cross Time Engineer.
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads, arc
***Won in a GoodReads First Reads giveaway***
Great way to kick off a series, and yet at the same time not create a large gulf for someone to cross if wanting to pick up and start at book 2. This was one of those books i was eager to continue reading, which hasnt happent too often this past year.

What we have is a standard sword and sorcery fantasy novel starring a middleaged man who actually comes from our own normal world and somehow goes through a portal into this new fantasy realm. Technologi
Jul 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Originally posted on Powder & Page


The Sword of the Bright Lady (TSOTBL) is the first book in the World of Prime series by M.C. Planck. I discovered it whilst browsing the SciFi/ Fantasy section in the bookstore and decided that it might actually be worth my time. As I deduced from reading the back cover, the premise of The Sword of the Bright Lady was fascinating and unique, making use of the familiar idea of parallel universes while adding an original perspective.
Carrie Mansfield
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
This review will be available on my website: Fantasy Findings

eARC provided by the publisher in exchange for fair review.

September is turning out to be a rather good month for fantasy. Between The Mirror Empire, City of Stairs and now Sword of the Bright Lady, fans looking for something that feels free have plenty of options to choose from - and certainly at least one (it not more) will satisfy that itch.

At the core of it, Sword of the Bright Lady is a tale of a modern man stuck in an decidedly u
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi, arc
Easily 4.5! This book is fantastic and i can't wait to see more from M.C. Planck! woot!

This book is awesome, SciFi hiding as fantasy or Fantasy pretending to be SciFi I couldn't tell but it really didn't matter! There were certainly some instances of suspension of disbelief but excellent payoff. Good characterization, decent pacing, good world building...

Christopher Sinclair, a gentle souled mechanical engineer wakes up in a strange bed with a strange woman, in a strange land where no one speak
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, gods
4.5 out of 5.

I really liked this book. In reading the reviews I can understand why so many others feel as if it borrows heavily from D&D and its true nothing in this story is uniquely novel on its own. The magic is how it all ties together. As long as you suspend your disbelief that a man can cross into a fantasy world where "magic" can happen in many respects the world-building is superior to nearly all of these tales.

We are dropped in to the "World of Prime" with the protagonist and just like
Jun 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you loved Bruce Campbell in the scifi noir film, Army of Darkness, this has that same flavor and atmosphere. Mechanical engineer Christopher Sinclair gets sucked into an alternate universe stuck at a medieval level of technology and engaged in a war they can’t hope to win against dark magic, goblins, trolls, and a corrupt ruling class. I loved the magic system as it is well-developed and makes sense. The religious system is more hands-on than you expect and the cost for priests to bring peopl ...more
Aug 13, 2016 rated it liked it
3½ stars

I was surprised at how much I liked this story.

I suppose that I had low expectations, because these types of books (man travels to another world) usually follows a certain path. For example, the MC will quickly become a super bad-ass warrior or overpowered mage. He will also usually acquire a harem of beautiful willing women... Those things get tiresome. I am more interested in seeing how a modern-day person with modern-day values would reacts in a medieval type society.

And that is actu
Blodeuedd Finland
Aug 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
How to explain this book...I mean. Ok I will try. The first part is easy.

There is our world, but there are other worlds too. As Christopher finds out when he suddenly finds himself in one. And like he should, it is totally alien to him, everything. He has questions about everything (and yes they speak another language, Norwegian to my eye). There are Gods? What about this religion? What is magic? Why are people ranked? Why are farmboys used as canon fodder? Who are they fighting? What is the Dar
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I won’t lie, this book starts off a little slow, but the payoff is worth it. Planck has created an oddly intriguing take on a genre that sometimes feels as old as time itself.

As with many sword and sorcery stories, Sword of the Bright lady begins with a hero thrust into an unknown world with strange rules and stranger people. In this incarnation we find that the world is both a fascinating and ominous place where death has become it’s own sort of currency.

The Tael was an interesting concept wi
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Connecticut Yankee/Lest Darkness Fall meets Barsoom when a modern day engineer finds himself adrift in a medieval world featuring magic of various sorts. A fun yarn, but it lost its fifth star for me by suddenly darkening at the end with pages of explicit torture--and also, as at least one GoodReads reviewer has already pointed out, by failing the Bechdel test.

Some good lines, though:

"You lie less convincingly than a two-copper whore. I like that in a man, shows he's got a conscience."

"It's jus
Clay Kallam
Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
“Sword of the Bright Lady” (Pyr, $18, 426 pages) is a classic setup: A modern American finds himself in a strange world, with no friends and only a background in katana (Japanese swordsmanship) and engineering to help him navigate a very strange world. How strange? Anyone can be revived from the dead by a sufficiently powerful wizard, and obviously the rich and powerful are much more likely to be rejuvenated.

The hero manages to alienate some key folks but still stumbles along, learning his way i
Henry Lazarus
Oct 16, 2014 rated it liked it
One of my favorite tropes is that of someone from our world dropping into a fantasy one. Christopher Sinclair is a forty-year-old mechanical engineer with sword fighting hobby. The world he finds himself in gets its magic from dead people, with ranks coming from the amount of magic owned. Once his is magically taught the language, and told he can’t go home, he has to become a priest of one of the very real gods and carry the Sword of the Bright Lady (trade from Pyr) Every year all the villages h ...more
Christopher Taylor
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a refreshing read, it was full of what could happen if your life was interrupted by suddenly finding yourself in a different time and place where magic is real and the things you know are gone, especially your wife. Christopher Sinclair finds himself in a medieval place, thinking he's in a dream. He uses his own knowledge to make something of his circumstances. This comes at a huge cost, as his personal values come to a head with those circumstances. I liked this book. The writing is go ...more
May 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
This is a strange book. It is the tale of a guy from our world who strands in a fantasy world and tries to survive there. That is something we have heard before. The real special thing in this book is that the world the main character finds himself in, is based on the rationalization of the old school D&D rules.

So this is a world where levels do exist, although they are called ranks in here. And to gain Ranks you need to harvest Tael (experience points :-)). The way you harvest tael is defeating
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Through his character Christopher Sinclaire, Planck shows off a fairly gritty but fun world. Classic Tolkien races live here, but there is a grittiness and a focus on the common man that brings a sense of realism that other novels in the genre lack.

I really enjoyed the fact that Christopher has weaknesses and occasionally falls to physical ones, but he has yet to compromise his morals.

The magic system that Planck has created is fairly original, internally consistent, and helps drive the plot fo
Janet Martin
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I obviously had an advance copy, and found it totally compelling. The imposition of a contemporary engineer plopped into a medieval world filled with magic totally worked for me. I loved the characters, but about 2/3 of the way in, I realized that I was so wound up in the world building that I missed the weak plotting that was going on. Still, the book tidied up some loose threads with a pair of spectacular conclusions and set up more questions. Overall, I did love it, but not 5 stars worth--loo ...more
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've read a lot of stories that dealt with the same premise and I was pleasantly surprised that Mr. Planck had avoided almost all the things I am tired of. No harems, the main character is married and older than usual, he's 40, no super magical powers. Plenty of characters that has depth, their not just cardboard cut outs. They in fact act like real people. One of the things I admire about the book is how it made sense, the author was able to create a world that has it's own thing, populated wit ...more
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World of Prime (5 books)
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