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Sword and Serpent
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Sword and Serpent > 4. Plot

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message 1: by John (new)

John Seymour | 1968 comments Mod
4. Discuss the plot:
• Is it engaging—do you find the story interesting?
• Is this a plot-driven book—a fast-paced page-turner?
• Does the plot unfold slowly with a focus on character?
• Were you surprised by complications, twists & turns?
• Did you find the plot predictable, even formulaic?


message 2: by John (new)

John Seymour | 1968 comments Mod
I found the story engaging, more the Jurian story arc than the sacrificial preparations in Cyrene. I read almost the entire book on the flights on my return from France. I started to take a break to watch a movie on the flight, but shut it off and picked up my ipad to continue reading the book instead.


Mariangel | 584 comments I read the book in 2 days, during a train trip and a night I couldn't sleep because of jet lag.

I also find Jurian's plot more interesting than the Cyrene one. It's been a long time since I read the Earthsea books and I don't remember details as much as the general atmosphere, but the part about the priestess brought to mind the second Earthsea book, which is the one I liked the least.


Fonch | 1443 comments Mariangel wrote: "I read the book in 2 days, during a train trip and a night I couldn't sleep because of jet lag.

I also find Jurian's plot more interesting than the Cyrene one. It's been a long time since I read t..."


The Atuan Grave i would like to read it. Well really the book "The Sword and Serpents" likes to me very much. For this reason i recomended enthusiastically. The atmosphere of persecution is well done. Jurian, or George it is not a almigthy warrior with wonderful weapons it is a por children, who suffers during his journey a lot of losses, between them his beloved being. Sabra looks me a mature. She reminded to me a carácter in a Rol Playing Game that i loved very much. Her story reminded to me very much to the first part of the biblical movie Ruth was directed by Koster. At the beggining Ruth is a Priestess of the God Kemos, and she must sacrifice innocent childrens. But she knows a Jews husband, and she gets marry with him, and she helped to escape of Moabian land, after she goes with her mother in Law Noemi. The rest following the biblical book.
The plot of the Draw reminbde to me very much to the movie/novel Dragonslayer (i spoke with the writer Manuel Alfonseca), where two wizards must face a dragon, but one of them the old wizard is murdered at the beggining of the movie. The realm had to offer the dragons Young virgins, between them was the princess, but the King cheeted to the name of her children was not chosen in the draw. But the princess cheted and she put in all tablets her name. I do not tell more in case that you want to watch surprisingly is a Disney movie. It was played by Ralph Richardson, and actor that i loved it Peter McNicholls (Little biscuit in the laws tv serie Ally McBeal).


Manuel Alfonseca | 1630 comments Mod
In the Acknowledgements of Sword & Serpent, the author tells that his first version of the novel was rejected by publishers because it lacked "a strong female presence." Obviously his first Princess was a typical young lady, who just awaited to be rescued by the valiant knight. He then rewrote the book turning Sabra into "a strong female presence" who acted as the priestess of a clandestine religion that offered sacrifices of children to Moloch. This part may be unpleasant (it is supposed to be!) but I think the author did well to change the character of Sabra. Could he have done it better? Perhaps, but that thought experiment would be alternative history :-)


message 6: by John (new)

John Seymour | 1968 comments Mod
Manuel wrote: "In the Acknowledgements of Sword & Serpent, the author tells that his first version of the novel was rejected by publishers because it lacked "a strong female presence." Obviously his first Princes..."

I agree it was well done. It starts with the end of a sacrifice of a girl we've never met. Then we meet the next child and walk with her through the process and her death. This brings us to the crisis. I just enjoyed the other story arc a lot more. :-)


message 7: by Fonch (last edited Jun 12, 2018 04:23AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fonch | 1443 comments John wrote: "Manuel wrote: "In the Acknowledgements of Sword & Serpent, the author tells that his first version of the novel was rejected by publishers because it lacked "a strong female presence." Obviously hi..."

Certianly the story of Sabra and Elisha is tender and touching. I watched something similar, when i watched Ruth, where Ruth was a Kemmos Priestess, she had to sacrifice childs, and she suffered the same conscience crisis as Sabra. Curiously Sabra saves, because she is loyalty to the God, and for acepting her Destiny. She has a christic character. Jurian is her savior.


message 8: by Jill (new)

Jill A. | 719 comments A plot twist I liked was Sabra's father sending her away and her dilemma of what to do from there. I wish she hadn't told so many lies about who she was, but perhaps the truth would have been incomprehensible to her companions.

In at least two instances, the evil actors provide illumination: the soldiers torching Jurian and Mariam's house, and the "dragon" holding a candle


message 9: by Jill (new)

Jill A. | 719 comments I didn't like Jurian's prophetic dreams/visions, especially the way the author launched into them without warning in the course of ordinary narrative.
I couldn't help thinking of Aslan when he "saw" the lion.


Fonch | 1443 comments Jill wrote: "I didn't like Jurian's prophetic dreams/visions, especially the way the author launched into them without warning in the course of ordinary narrative.
I couldn't help thinking of Aslan when he "saw..."


Well really the dreams can be discussed i have not concluded to believe in it. But if we are unbelievers part of the magics of books as Byzantium, or Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity by Nabeel Qureshi would lose his enchanting. The Holy Bible defends the dreams i am thinking in the Jacob`s Ladder, or the Prophet Daniel, even Saint Joseph was warned by the angel when he is dreaming. In Quo Vadis in my opinión the best Sword and Sandal novel Petronius said that he did not believe in Gods but he believed in the dreams.

You speak about Aslan, curiously Aslan was created, because in his imagination Lewis saw a lion running.


message 11: by John (new)

John Seymour | 1968 comments Mod
Jill wrote: "A plot twist I liked was Sabra's father sending her away and her dilemma of what to do from there. I wish she hadn't told so many lies about who she was, but perhaps the truth would have been incom..."

I had the same thought, Jill. The author didn't help us understand the necessity of Sabra hiding her identity and the lies seemed to come easy to her, which didn't really feel in character.

Interesting point about illumination - I missed that.


Fonch | 1443 comments John wrote: "Jill wrote: "A plot twist I liked was Sabra's father sending her away and her dilemma of what to do from there. I wish she hadn't told so many lies about who she was, but perhaps the truth would ha..."

Perhaps she lied Jurian, because if she said her authentic name Jurian could give back to her slave Hanon. She did not know Jurian yet. He could report her disapraition. She wanted to have an anonymous condition.


message 13: by Jill (new)

Jill A. | 719 comments Hanno was unknown to Jurian till they arrived back in Cyrene.


Fonch | 1443 comments Jill wrote: "Hanno was unknown to Jurian till they arrived back in Cyrene."

Yes he is unknown, but if appear an slave asking for Sabra, and he explained the authentic reason, for which he is looking for Sabra. The most believable thing is that Jurian gives back Sabra for avoiding that the Dragon eats Sabra. The problem it is not that Jurian knows Hanon. The problem is that Sabra does not trust in Jurian for this reason she lies.


Madeleine Myers | 268 comments Mariangel wrote: "I read the book in 2 days, during a train trip and a night I couldn't sleep because of jet lag.

I also find Jurian's plot more interesting than the Cyrene one. It's been a long time since I read t..."


I read the Earthsea books years ago along with my son, then in middle school. When my grandson came on a visit, I gave him his dad's books--I don't remember that much about the books now either, but you have poked my curiosity. May have to give them another look. I recommended S & S to my grandson, who is now in his 20's!


message 16: by John (new)

John Seymour | 1968 comments Mod
Madeleine wrote: "I recommended S & S to my grandson, who is now in his 20's! "

Every year at Christmas, I give a book to each of my children. I've already decided to give this to my youngest (in his 20s). He vey much likes to read books in the fantasy genre.


Fonch | 1443 comments John wrote: "Madeleine wrote: "I recommended S & S to my grandson, who is now in his 20's! "

Every year at Christmas, I give a book to each of my children. I've already decided to give this to my youngest (in ..."


It is an excellent decisión John. I also want to give to one person.


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