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Tiger and Del #3

Sword-Maker

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The third book in the Sword-Dancer saga continues the legendary adventures of Tiger and Del, magic wielders and skilled warriors

Sword-sworn to track down the hounds of hoolies, yet inescapably haunted by his memories of Del, Tiger, now master of Northern and Southron sword skills, is relentlessly following the trail that will lead him to Ysaa-den. Yet before him wait perils far deadlier than any hounds. For in Ysaa-den, he is hailed as a champion come to stop the force that has been wreaking destruction upon the villagers, a force which many claim is a dragon of unimaginable strength.

As the trail of hounds and “dragon” now seem intertwined, Tiger has no choice but to climb the mountain to the place known as Dragon’s Lair. And it is here that he comes face to face with a challenge that may prove beyond even the mastery of Northern and Southron sword magic—the challenge of Chosa Dei, a wizard out of legend with the power to unmake all that opposes him....

464 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published October 1, 1989

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About the author

Jennifer Roberson

96 books711 followers
Over a 40-year career (so far), Jennifer Roberson has published four fantasy series, including the Sword-Dancer Saga, Chronicles of the Cheysuli, the Karavans universe, and urban fantasy series Blood & Bone. Other novels include historicals LADY OF THE GLEN, plus two Robin Hood novels, LADY OF THE FOREST, and LADY OF SHERWOOD.

New novels are percolating in her always-active imagination.

Hobbies include showing dogs, and creating mosaic and resin artwork and jewelry.  She lives in Arizona with a collection of cats and Cardigan Welsh Corgis.

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5 stars
1,179 (33%)
4 stars
1,396 (39%)
3 stars
825 (23%)
2 stars
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11 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 47 reviews
Profile Image for Choko.
1,166 reviews2,568 followers
November 10, 2017
*** 4 ***

A buddy read with the group at the FBR:) Because we love us some Tiger and Del!


I know I have said this before, but this is such a great reminder of why I loved the 80's and 90's adventure-fantasy genre. The series is all about the adventures of the Southern Sward-Dancer Tiger and the Northern Sward-Singer Del. Hot and Cold. Heat waves and ice storms. Either way, two strong wills with a ton of baggage trying to find a way to stay close to each-other without destroying one another or diminishing their personalities. How can the South incorporate part of the North within and not mar or lose itself in the doing. Now can the north let heat into its life and not set-up itself for great hurt. This is the battle Tiger and Del are waging every day, determined to meet all challenges together, since it is obvious even to them that together they are stronger than when alone.

"...“I drew in a deep breath, then exhaled in satisfaction. “Smell that? That’s air, bascha … good, clean air. And warm air, too . . no more frozen lungs.” “No,” she agreed, “no more frozen lungs … now we can breathe Southron air and have our lungs scorched.”..."

Del has been on her vengeance path since book one and is dedicated to that cause with an almost maniacal obsession. Tiger is past the point of no return - he has fallen in love with her and although that might be a detriment to both of them in this situation, it is the glue that keeps him trying to understand and forgive the terrible breach of trust Del hurt him with in the previous book. His life would be so much easier if he could just say forget it and leave her company. But the heart sometime chooses despite of what our brains tell us, and he keeps chugging along. This is made worse by the fact that Del is just as stubborn as he is and refuses to look and understand how deeply she hurt him and how she could make it all better. During the first and part of the second part of the book the tension and contention between the two of them is quite nerve raking. I was very pleased when she finally opened up to him in a more vulnerable moment and said some of the right things she should have said long before... I believe the author is doing a great job in slowly and painstakingly building their relationship, moving from the seemingly shallow guy in Book One and the Ice Princes, to show us the debt of their characters and the many facets to their interactions.

"...“Plainly, Del was irritated. “Oh, Tiger, I swear—you have become an old man. What happened to the days when you would sit up all night swilling amnit or aqivi, trading lies in cantinas?” “I met you,” I retorted. “I joined up with you and got the hoolies beat out of me more times than I can count.” I stood up slowly and rewrapped pelts around my shoulders. “Is that answer enough for you?” Del, taken aback, said nothing in return. I went off to bed.” ..."

We get a new character, the Evil wizard, who becomes a very prominent hurdle for our Tiger to overcome. We have several familiar faces show up on the path back to the South and some prophecies and meetings with self-important warlords, couple of old and very smitten flames, a kid who just would not go away or give up, more sword fights, some more cantina drinking and storytelling, and quite a bit of an internal monologue, but it suited my tastes just fine:):):) Overall, it was just what I have grown to expect of this author and the two main characters, and I am looking forward to reading everything else they get their swords into:):):)

Now I wish you all Happy Reading and may you always find what you need in the pages of a good book!!!
Profile Image for Mayim de Vries.
576 reviews777 followers
March 9, 2018
“There is power in your blade. And if you don’t learn to control it, it will control you.”

Sword-Maker takes us one step further on the journey of two warriors, Southern Tiger and Del of the North. We know they are both sword-dancers. We have already learnt about sword-singing. As their adventures progress, it becomes apparent that keying the sword, the singing is like a magical forge and so the wielder makes and remakes his weapon in order to reach true mastery of his craft and of his (or her) self. Tiger hates magic. He also hates singing (as a person turning into a biological weapon of mass destruction during every karaoke, I commiserate, I really do). Unfortunately, there is an evil sorcerer to reckon with, revenge to be had, a messiah to be revealed, and, in general, the world to be saved. Also, it is somewhat personal.

“And I sang my heart out - loudly, and very badly - until the firestorm came.”

Tiger’s coming to terms with the brand new sword is nicely written. The conflict of desire and mistrust, yearning and avoiding, that I liked very much. Also, ageing (like a fine wine, aren’t we Tiger?) with the whole assortment of associated issues like settling down, fatherhood, sustainable relationship and such like was very entertaining. My affinity with Tiger is mainly rooted in the fact that as a narrator he is able to explain himself, and doesn’t have any secrets. I feel with him and for him, whereas Del is an enigma. And an enigma that doesn’t really care what the rest of the world thinks or does as long as it suits her ends. Del is still altered by tension, obsession, and pain. She is still cold, hard, and relentless for the most part of the book. Although as they travel South she thaws a bit , I'm definitely Team Tiger.

Now that I see where the story is going I really do not understand why wasn't the first part (Sword-Maker consists of three) included into Sword-Singer. It would have made much more sense for two primary reasons:

1. This part is long, much longer than the previous ones, and sometimes I have a feeling that needlessly so when, especially when I think of the action to internal monologue ratio.

2. In terms of tale design, it would also be more coherent and sound . Now it looks like in the Sword-Singer the story was suspended midway through, like a badly cut soap opera episode. Hadn’t it been so, the Sword Maker could restart the revenge trope .

I enjoyed part II very much. It had all the best features of the series. I found myself enjoying the relationship building. I think it's one of the strongest aspects of the series. Too many fantasy books (aside from UF) end with the lovey-dovey "and they lived happily ever after". One thing Tiger and Del shows is that nothing like that exists. Every day you build your relationship and every day it grows and matures and expands with you and your spouse/partner. I like how they bicker and negotiate personal boundaries, how they mould each other, how they grow on each other at time even without realising this. How they are jealous without acknowledging why or what does it mean, and how they take each other for granted. It just shows that there is nothing casual in the daily life of every couple. You don't have to be a sword-dancer to be able to relate.

A huge improvement when compared with the predecessor, and as the main arc of the story solidifies , my curiosity to learn where it leads to only grows. Bring on the Sword-Breaker.

___
Also in the series:

1. Sword-Dancer
2. Sword-Singer
4. Sword-Breaker
5. Sword-Born
6. Sword-Sworn
7. Sword-Bound
Profile Image for Solseit.
286 reviews72 followers
November 9, 2017
This is a mixed book for me.
First two parts were less interesting for me - they had a much lower rating - while I loved the last part. Overall, this is a 3.5 stars read.

I think the best aspect of the book is the interaction between Tiger and Del and when the interaction does not work well for me, it makes it difficult to digest.
Also the action is more sparse here - when it's there is good but it is not as frequent as in book #2 for instance.

One aspect I like about Jennifer Roberson is that she puts the seeds for content in the future books; it is a great habit which I am enjoying thoroughly!
Profile Image for Laura.
989 reviews13 followers
November 10, 2017
Buddy read with the fantastic girls from FBR.

"This is the true dance, where two perfectly balanced halves come together at last and form a perfect whole. This is a dance of life, of death, of continuity; the world within seven paces. Nothing else exists. Nothing is as important."

My favourite book of the series till now. Clasic fantasy at it's best!

A skilled Southron Warrior, a fierce Northern Bascha, love, hate, obsession and revenge, this story has it all. Add a vile sorcerer who wants to unmake the world, a magic sword that may get very angry and a charming Stud who thinks he's the boss and there you go:..... The perfect recipe for a great read!!!
Profile Image for Michelle.
393 reviews15 followers
March 17, 2022
Probably 3.5 stars rounded up.

This book starts out around six weeks after the fallout of the last. We are still in the North. Tiger is not only suffering physically but mentally as well. His guilt and anguish are very painful to read about. Poor guy! Del, on the other hand, steps into the picture just as cold, obsessed, selfish and manipulative as before. I felt like slugging her! It takes a fair bit of the story for her to become enlightened as to how low she has sunk in the humanity department. But thank goodness she saw the light, because holy crap she was unlikable!

So now that the characters have more or less settled matters, a slew of events happened. And I really mean a slew! They go back to the South. The main thread deals with Tiger's possessed sword, which is getting to be a Significant Problem. (Possessed sword. *snickers*). The sword has developed a mind of its own so to speak, and it's not a nice mind at all. As Tiger is a sword dancer, (swordsman to us), it puts a serious cramp in his style.

This is by no means fine literature but it's entertaining nonetheless! The author has a knack for writing excellent dialogue. With some books the dialogue is stiff, stilted, unrealistic or just plain silly. But not hers. Her characters' words are a perfect reflection of their personalities. I think her dialogue is what draws me the most to this series.

I'm going to re-read the rest of the series. Some books are a great escape, and this light fare works wonders in that regard.

Profile Image for Kara.
Author 24 books69 followers
November 1, 2014

It’s like Conan the Barbarian meets Waiting for Godot.

There’s evil wizards, megalomaniac warlords, princes, harems, magic swords, sword fights, and a for-me-that-was-Tuesday ending to the main villain – but there is also a lot of sitting around talking about the nature of religion, Good and Evil, and godhood as every single character waits around for a prophesized messiah.

A surprisingly good mesh, with a an awesome build up to a real and fake messiah show down that also only sets the stage for the rest of the series.
Profile Image for Cassie White.
65 reviews
June 5, 2014
Originally read in 1993.

Unfortunately there is no way I can rate the first four novels of the Tiger and Del saga individually. They are too deeply steeped in memory and woven together in my mind for me to separate and break them down objectively even after rereading them for the first time in about a decade. I simply must give them five stars. I think the Sandtiger and Delilah deserve at least that much.
Profile Image for Eskana.
374 reviews
August 20, 2019
Halfway through this series, I gotta say, WHY HAVEN'T I HEARD OF THESE BOOKS BEFORE??? SO GOOD!
Also, caveat: Don't read the plot overview until you read the book. GO NOW.

Plot: Continuing where the last book left off, we're with Tiger on the road again. He's heading north instead of returning home, deciding that he wants to take care of the whole hellhound ("Hoolie hounds") problem to avoid thinking about Del and what he did. Spoiler alert, Del's not dead. She was just almost dead, wounded more than he was. But he left before seeing if she'd survive because he couldn't stand seeing her like that. Also, that means his magical jivtama blade isn't blooded. Anyway, they meet up, still pretty frosty. They go north to find out where these hounds are from and why they are stealing jivtamas.
The plot of the back of the book is only the first third of the book. After they deal with the hounds problem, they have another. Tiger gets a evil ancient wizard's soul in his sword, and they head south to deal with the problem. And, of course, to get Del's revenge.
When they arrive, there are other problems. Firstly, someone is parading around claiming to be Tiger's son. Secondly, all the tribes and tanzeers are in an uproar, heading to an ancient city to await a prophesied Messiah who will "turn the sand to grass." Tiger, of course, doesn't believe in religion any more than he believes in magic, but when they realize the whole thing may be a cover to start a war, Tiger and Del can't help but get involved.

Review: Again, a great book. Maybe not as good as the last two, but still good. With all the different plot threads (and the lack of description on the back,) you kinda almost feel like this is a filler episode. A lot of smaller characters return, and what seems to be a major plot point (that will continue into other books) is dealt with in the first third of the book. We get a lot of the same bickering and relationship growth, but since Del hasn't gotten her revenge yet, not too much change. We learn more about her and her personality, though, and about Tiger (though maybe not as much.) It's still a really satisfying read, and a good continuation of the series.



Overall, I still REALLY recommend this series. Go back to book one!
818 reviews1 follower
December 4, 2022
I love Tiger and Dell, and it seems like these books just keep getting better as the series goes on. Tiger believes that he killed Delilah in their last sword dance. He finally got off of the island, but he is still healing from the nasty wound that Dell gave him. Then, as the story goes on, he finds that he did not kill Del and she ends up joining him to follow the hounds to where they are coming from.. when they do find where the hounds are coming from the get a lot more than they expect. One of the things I like about these stories is they seem to have more than one story within each book. After Tiger and Del
dispatched with the hounds, then they ended up going south. The track to the south was an adventure in itself. Del was looking for the person she wanted to kill but yet they learn some other interesting things about why all the tribes were gathering together in one place in the desert. I am excited to read the next book of the series. I did listen to this book on audible, and it is nice to have the same narrator as the past books.
Profile Image for Lundos.
268 reviews8 followers
September 24, 2017
Once more Tiger rushes headlong into trouble by not listening, and this time it could end up with more than he (and Del) can handle. The interactions and dynamic between the two main characters continue in same thread it was in the first two books and still worth a read if you like that sort of thing (which I do once in a while). The world is still (very) dangerous, but this time a bit too much was explained to the reader.
689 reviews3 followers
October 6, 2020
Just as book 2 ends annoyingly, this one starts annoyingly. Once that kind of resolves, and then stiffness continues through the first chunk of the book, at some point it starts to flow better and the characters stop berating themselves as much and it improves.

It's like being in the middle of a cold-shoulder fight.

This book relies on the others in the series. Best to read on to at least book 4.
April 4, 2018
The best one yet!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
73 reviews
December 14, 2019
Wonderful book, though a bit drawn-out. Spectacular finale. The feminism here is finally not too overbearing, and having come to love the characters, I quite enjoyed the interplay.
Profile Image for Elisa Kay.
305 reviews1 follower
December 13, 2022
This book was divided into 3 parts. In the first part I was angry at the author. In the second part I was smiling again. The third part had my adrenaline racing.
Profile Image for Juniper Allen.
35 reviews1 follower
December 19, 2022
I absolutely loved the way the author navigated these two emotionally stunted people that love each other handling conflict resolution. So often conflict resolution in stores is reduced to ‘they fucked and it was fine’. I love that Roberson gave them time, space and boundaries with each other on the road to reconnection
Profile Image for Arminion.
233 reviews11 followers
May 12, 2014
Once again, Jennifer Roberson doesn't disappoint. As in the first two installments of this series, we have our familiar Tiger and Del but now with new powers, new foes, new locations and some old faces. Actually, a lot of old faces.
Tiger and Del finally head back South, but not before dealing with the magical hounds from the previous book, which gives Tiger's sword a magical power he can barely control.
I will be honest and say I didn't like all the parts of the story. The beginning was pretty boring with Del and Tiger bickering back and forth (again, Del acts as a spoiled b*tch and I was glad that Tiger called her like that in one moment), also the amount of old characters that appear in this one is just staggering. I mean, pretty much EVERY character that appeared in the first two books, appears in this one too. I found that annoying as it gave me the sense that Roberson's world is pretty damn small.
I also wasn't a fan of the last few pages, where everything happens in a very rushed way ().
Despite all this, I was still entertained, and Roberson introduced some really cool ideas in this one, and I can't wait to see what she will do with our heroes next.
221 reviews17 followers
October 6, 2021
So, I've been re-reading this series, that I read the first 5-6 books of some 20+ years ago both because I had forgotten the stories (with the exception of the first) and to see if they had improved with age (or if as I age (and presumably mature) my views have changed).

The first book was when I first read it was a fun sword and sorcery novel with a fairly blunt feminist angle. I enjoyed it for what it was then and I enjoyed it just as much now... although a little subtlety would have been nice.

The subsequent books declined in enjoyment when I first read them, as the author attempted to transform a fun sword and sorcery series into a more serious high fantasy series (still with a baseball bat across the skull feminist commentary), with mixed success. In this more recent reading, I would say that I liked books 2-4 better now than I did then... although I'm still ambivalent about the transformation from sword and sorcery to high fantasy.

It's in this book that the author attempts to accelerate the transformation... and although there are some interesting ideas with respect to religion, gender politics in a fantasy world, and myth, she just doesn't stick the landing.


Profile Image for Hil.
4 reviews
June 14, 2012
I remember really enjoying this book and the series it belongs to once upon a time. I couldn't even make it past the first chapter this time around though. The prose was painful and the frequency with which Tiger swore with the phrase "Hoolies!" grated on my nerves after only three pages. I remember the word being over used, but I did not remember it being three or four times a page like it was here. I had the next book Sword-Beaker sitting in the wings for after I finished this, but now they are both heading straight back to the used bookstore. I do not mind reading mediocre fantasy novels. Sometimes that is just what a body needs. This, however, was simply torture to plow through.
Profile Image for Sarah.
585 reviews
January 15, 2015
Another great installment although I found it a bit slower than the first 2. But man, the end of this one is action packed and I can't wait to read on! Tiger and Del got themselves into a mess but I love that they are facing the future together.

Del definitely annoyed me more in this book but Tiger set her to rights and said everything she needed to hear. I hope she can start to heal and open up to Tiger a little more each book... I think she's getting there though so I was happy with her by the end. Always love to see the character growth on both sides!

Excited to see what mischief they get into next :)
Profile Image for Cait.
380 reviews11 followers
August 10, 2022
But WHY did Tiger decide to go after the hounds? Trauma processing both physical (realistic description of sword wound recovery) and mental (broken trust sucks, needing a new purpose sucks). Magic magic magic. Tiger doesn't believe in magic; even though it is hitting him in the face all the time.
I think this book was very frustrating because it's a deep dive into a part of this worldbuilding I don't care about (mythical magic!); both the characters are jerks (justified or not, not fun to read). Also WHY did Chosa Dei need the swords? UGH.
Profile Image for h.
1,105 reviews59 followers
September 24, 2013
i've reread the later books in this series fewer times, few enough that much of this felt both familiar and new. roberson doesn't pull out any crazy inventive plot twists in this book, but the characters absolutely blossom. she expertly keeps the stakes high without going overboard, layering obstacles but not milking them. this is what it looks like to play with the tropes and conventions of the genre and to skew it just the right amount to make it one's own. it may not be flashy, but it's an impressive feat.
Profile Image for Jeff Gruters.
40 reviews2 followers
October 21, 2013
I cant really say this book was bad, but I also cant say it was good. About halfway through this book I realized there really was no new plot to this book all it included was Tiger and Del complaining about each other. There isn't much to keep the reader engaged and giving them something to look forward to, no suspense. Most of the time I kept thinking about what book was I going to read next. But I did finish it, so like I said, I cant say it was bad.
Profile Image for Zann.
Author 4 books7 followers
March 31, 2015
Sometimes the dialogue is repetitive, but I love the action, both magical as well as sword-play. My only complaint is that the first part of the book dragged at bit, but I'm glad I hung in there because by the time I'd reached the final chapters of the story I was on the edge of my seat!
Looking forward to book #4.
Profile Image for Norma.
200 reviews
May 26, 2015
I'm annoyed by the author's need to recap everything. Tiger was a slave. Got it! Don't need to be reminded every 3rd page. There are a lot of misspellings and typos in the book. I predicted the out come about halfway through the book but the way it was achieved was fantastic and so I'm now reading book 4. I also really like the characters.
Profile Image for Éric Kasprak.
432 reviews1 follower
November 2, 2015
After 3 books of the adventures of Tiger and Del, I am ready to call it quit. The characters are still amazing and their relation is still interesting and very well writing (see my review of the previous 2 books), but the lack of action is killing my enjoyment of the series. So if you don't mind an adventure base on relation and dialogue alone you will love Tiger and Del.
Profile Image for Richard Houchin.
400 reviews27 followers
June 8, 2008
The Sword-Dancer series never impressed me as much as the Chronicles of the Cheysuli. It just doesn't seem to have the same depth or social relevance. But the Sword-Dancer books are solid fantasy with talking, uppity swords, so it's all good!
Profile Image for Kristin.
269 reviews9 followers
January 30, 2013
I literally just finished and am in no state to write a proper review. However, I must say, Sword-Maker is the best so far and I tried to savor every word of it. Can't wait to get my hands on the next book.
20 reviews
June 9, 2014
Just as a note, this is one of the first series I've read as a child, and they hold a special place in my heart, so I can't objectively rate them. I've reread the series as an adult and still enjoy them, however.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 47 reviews

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