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By the Sword

(Valdemar (Publication order) #9)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  19,065 ratings  ·  266 reviews
Granddaughter of the sorceress Kethry, daughter of a noble house, Kerowyn had been forced to run the family keep since her mother’s untimely death. Yet now at last her brother was preparing to wed, and when his bride became the lady of the keep, Kerowyn could return to her true enjoyments—training horses and hunting.

But all Kerowyn’s hopes and plans were shattered when her
Mass Market Paperback, 492 pages
Published February 5th 1991 by DAW (first published February 1991)
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Olaf This is an adult fantasy novel, but experienced YA readers should be fine. This is a direct sequel to both THE HERALDS OF VALDEMAR trilogy and the…moreThis is an adult fantasy novel, but experienced YA readers should be fine. This is a direct sequel to both THE HERALDS OF VALDEMAR trilogy and the TARMY & KETHRY stories. I suppose it could be read as a stand-alone, but it makes more sense to tread this in sequence. The first trilogy is available in a nice omnibus edition (3 in 1). The TARMA & KETHRY stories are not strictly necessary since they deal with characters two generations before.(less)

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4.25  · 
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 ·  19,065 ratings  ·  266 reviews

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MrsJoseph *grouchy*

4.5 stars rounded down to 4 stars!

*Please Note: By the Sword is a stand alone book that can be read out of the Valdemar Universe publication order. By the Sword IS #9 in the Valdemar universe, however, so there is a great deal of history and definitions that are from previous works in series universe.

How do you analyze old friends? Honestly, I think it's impossible.

I first met Mercedes Lackey while browsing the stacks at the public library in my home tow
Jeremy Preacher
Dec 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
There's no question in my mind that this is the best Valdemar book by far. (It might partly be because Kerowyn is so very much the fantasy heroine I would want to be - tough, practical, supremely competent, and principled, although regrettably straight.) The three sections are very nearly complete stories in themselves, but flow nicely together, keeping the overall pace up by skipping the long boring stretches involved in getting from 15 years old to 35 without losing the feeling of steady chara ...more
Linda ~ chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny ~
Well, I had to go back to this one because it carried on the plot from the first three Heralds of Valdemar books. Unfortunately, that plot didn't turn up until around 70%.

Book 1 - Pretty much covered that in my original review when I DNF'd this one. Thankfully, shortly after I picked this up again, the ladies went off to the tower and I didn't have to read anymore about their misogynistic tendencies.

Book 2 - The Skybolts! Who instantly start getting annihilated before I know or care about any
Feb 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Kind of Tarma and Keth ride again, for fans of those series. More accurately, Tarma and Keth: The Next Generation.

Kerowyn, is the daughter of Keth, one of the two main characters in the "Vows and Honor" trilogy. Her mother was the odd one out in the family, uninterested in weapons or magic, and left as soon as she was able to have a more conventional life. She died when Kerowyn was young, and she grows up in her father's house, feeling out of place, unaware of her heritage or birthright.

Her fat
Jan 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read this book so many times I actually need to get a new copy because my copy is falling apart. I love Kerowyn and you see her in many of the other Valdemar books so if you have read those and wonder how she became who she is, this book tells her story. Readers see Kerowyn turn from this sheltered young girl into one of the top mercenary in the mercenary guild.

The book is basically broken up into two parts. The first part follows Kerowyn as she is taken in by her grandmother, Kethry, and r
Rhy Moore
Aug 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fan, sff
I loved the Heralds of Valdemar in middle school. I read everything by Mercedes Lackey I could get my hands on, which was a considerable lot.

Eventually I "outgrew" them, sort of. I had reread the old ones so much and the new ones didn't have the same allure. It was time for new favorites.

Still, eventually nostalgia called, and I looked up my old friends to find you really can't go "home" again. Books that had made me alternately joyous and heartbroken were distressingly flat and transparently cl
This is one of my most favorite of the Valdemar books; it's really a stand-alone adventure, and yet it fits so smoothly into the other stories. Highly recommended.
Oct 02, 2011 rated it liked it
I have a friend who refused to read GRR Martin because it's "boy fantasy."
When I asked her for an example of non-boy fantasy, she pointed out, among others, this book.

I was expecting a strong female in distinctly female situations, perhaps with more intrigue or relationship focus, but this book out boys the boys. It is probably the most manly fantasy I've ever read--battles, camping, training, military life. The only thing that's really female about it is that the main character is a woman.

Jan 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Lackey is one of my favorite authors ever and Kero is probably my all-time favorite chracter. I started reading her in 8th grade but I will still pull out her books to reread them. Her character building is really her main strength – you want to meet her characters – which is probably why I always reach for her books as a pick-me-up, it’s like talking to old friends.
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Kerowyn never expected a betrothal feast to launch her on a lifelong adventure that would be plagued with annoying bards,demons, feminist magic swords, blood mages and a mercenary life but least it wasn't her betrothal...Another Valdemar hit!
ms bookjunkie
Quite a satisfying story in the fantasy adventure category. Not a quest, but training, life, and adventure as a female mercenary—a really good one.

It's official: I'm hooked on Valdemar.
Pam Baddeley
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I approached this wondering if I was going to enjoy it as I was rather put off the sagas of Valdemar by the Last Herald Mage trilogy which I remember as being rather maudlin and a bit sadomasochistic in places. Anyway, this is a completely different no nonsense sort of book and not a wallow in angst despite some sad things that happen along the way.

Kerowyn is the put upon sister of a young lord who is having his wedding feast as the story opens. Her mother died and her father has expected her to
Jackie B. - Death by Tsundoku
Two things immediately struck me about By the Sword and hooked me. First, this book is not set in Valdemar. Set in Rethwellan, a country to the south, we finally get to experience how the rest of the world views Valdemar. To them, Valdemar is reclusive, quiet, and has silly ideals about honor and nobility. Their Heralds are constantly wearing stupid uniforms into battle which basically scream, "HIT ME!" And, for some reason no one in Valdemar uses magic? I really enjoyed hearing everyone talk ab ...more
Apr 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018, fiction
This is the first time I've read a Valdemar book, and it was a fairly easy read. It traces the arc of Kerowyn's life - she starts off managing the house as her brother has his wedding feast. When her family is attacked by bandits at the feast, she sets off on a rescue mission. On the way, she goes to her grandmother for help and discovers that there's a wider world out there. (This is all at the start of the book - the rest is her growing to experience the world.)

I like Mercedes Lackey's writing
Rachel Teferet
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, ya-fantasy
One of my favorite YA books of all time, and my absolute favorite in the Valdemar series. Kero is such a fantastic character, and her development throughout the novel is rich, well paced, and exciting. I've read this book at least a dozen times, both as an adult and adolescent, and I still had a hard time putting the book down reading it again! Everything is just so on point in this book! One of my all-time favorites :-)
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Damn that was good. Really really good
Aug 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Like most of Lackey's Valdemar novels, By the Sword draws rather heavily on traditional high fantasy tropes in order to advance its plot. Main character who is a fish out of water? Check. Murdered family? Check. Mysterious, ancient mentor? Check. Mercenary companies with uncommon morals? Check. Unlikely love interest? Check. I can't hold this against the book though since the use of traditional fantasy plot devices is one thing I love about this author's work. Kerowyn as a main character is soli ...more
Melanie Page
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
At the beginning, Kerowyn is a fifteen-year-old daughter of an unimportant nobleman in the country Rethewellan, caring for his keep after her mother died. At the wedding of her brother and his new bride, the keep is attacked and nearly everyone is killed, including her father. The bride is kidnapped, and there’s only one person left to rescue her: Kerowyn. The teen knows nothing about fighting, so she rides off to her reclusive granny’s house — reclusive because Kero’s father doesn’t want his mo ...more
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Re-read this today as I was hanging around the hospital and none of the books really fitted or could be found. This is a good book insofar as brain free entertainment goes, particularly as I've read it before. Its the usual Valdemar fare - incredibly noble people having adventures in a slightly grubby land, with a mostly intelligent if complicated romance and a few fights. Kerowyn's one of the better of Lackey's leads, thanks to less angst and more cynicism, which helps smooth over a not-stellar ...more
Sep 18, 2010 rated it liked it
Kerowyn is an attractive heroine to me almost in spite of her physical prowess and mercenary attitude. Her driving desire is freedom, and her motto is that she "can live without________." She doesn't dislike comfort, she simply needs to be self sufficient. So I like her. And since this is a novel of Valdemar, after she fights in several wars and endures many hardships she gets to have a magical mind reading horse that loves her and will be her best friend forever.
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I started reading Lackey with Children of the Night and the Diana Tregarde books, but this was the first Valdemar book I ever read.

I liked it so much I next hunted down the Tarma & Kethry novels, then the short stories (was thrilled when Oathblood collected their short stories!) then continued on to the actual Valdemar books.

Kero is my fav character from these books.

RE-read 12/7/2003
re-read 10/7/2014
Morgan Dhu
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Rereading Mercedes Lackey books because I'm in great need of comfort reading, and Lackey is one authour I can always turn to for that. By the Sword is actually one of my favourite Lackey novels. I love the lead character, Kerowyn, and I like the exploration of the life of a mercenary fighter in Lackey's world of Velgarth.
Dec 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mercedes-lackey
This is one of my favorite books written by Mercedes Lackey. The main character is a wonderful, free spirited, strong willed young girl who is thrown into greatness by unfortunate circumstances and finds her calling in life.

This is one of the books by Mrs. Lackey that I can read over and over again.
♆ BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme
Can we say, Xena, warrior princess? This is what Kerowyn's Tale reminded me of ...a warrior princess. Even the slight undertones of f/f made me feel like I'm reading about Xena. Since this came before Xena, I'm thinking someone is a fan of Ms. Lackey when they created the Xena series.

Kerowyn kick's butt and she's good at overcoming obstacles. I like it.
Joanna Chaplin
Nov 21, 2015 rated it liked it
This falls solidly into the category of "tough as nails female fighter who doesn't need no man to tie her down". But on the whole it is still enjoyable, and all the difficulties are neatly tied up by the end. There are still a few mysteries, though.
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
I don't even know why I read this. Oh well.
Elizabeth Hamre
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of the best out of the Herald's of Valdemar series!
Jul 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Gah, I had to return the kindle version of this. It was irritating to read, so full of type errors!
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Faaaaaave. Stands up to a reread.
Dec 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Still an excellent epic, many times read, years later
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Mercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70's she worked as an artist's model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts &am ...more

Other books in the series

Valdemar (Publication order) (1 - 10 of 43 books)
  • Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar, #1)
  • Arrow's Flight (Heralds of Valdemar, #2)
  • Arrow's Fall (Heralds of Valdemar, #3)
  • The Oathbound (Valdemar: Vows and Honor, #1)
  • Oathbreakers (Valdemar: Vows and Honor, #2)
  • Magic's Pawn (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #1)
  • Magic's Promise (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #2)
  • Magic's Price (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #3)
  • Winds of Fate (Valdemar: Mage Winds #1)
  • Winds of Change (Valdemar: Mage Winds, #2)
“Three things never anger or you'll not live for long;
A wolf with cubs,
A man with power, And a woman's sense of wrong.”
“Three things trust and cherish well-
The horse on which you ride,
The beast that guards and watches,
And your shield-mate at your side.”
More quotes…