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The Broken Sword (Fantasy Masterworks 32) [Paperback]

Poul Anderson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 April 2008 Fantasy Masterworks 32

The sword Tyrfing has been broken to prevent it striking at the roots of Yggdrasil, the great tree that binds earth, heaven and hell together . . . but now the mighty sword is needed again to save the elves, who are heavily involved in their war against the trolls, and only Scafloc, a human child kidnapped and raised by the elves, can hope to persuade the mighty ice-giant, Bolverk, to make the sword Thor broke whole again. But things are never easy, and along the way Scafloc must also confront his shadow self, Valgard the changeling, who took his place in the world of men.

A superb dark fantasy of the highest, and most Norse, order The Broken Sword is a fantasy masterpiece.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (3 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575082720
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575082724
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 127,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Book Description

'The first great modern American fantasy' Baird Searles

About the Author

Poul Anderson (1926-2001) was born in Pennsylvania of Scandinavian stock. He started publishing science fiction in 1947 and became one the great figures in the genre, serving as President of the Science Fiction Writers of America, winning many Hugo and Nebula awards, and also winning the Gandalf (Grand Master) Award.

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There was a man called Orm the Strong, a son of Ketil Asmundsson who was a great landsman in the north of Jutland. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars founding father 27 Feb 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have to admit that though I have read more fantasy novels than can possibly be good for a grown man, this was my first read of this classic written at the same time of LOTR's.

It has made me re-evaluate some of my beliefs such as GRR Martin, Erikson and a few others invented the 'darker' and gorier branch of fantasy! They didn't Anderson did.

Having now read it I see why so many authors credit Anderson as an inspiration to them. Back in the 1950's this book must both have been groundbreaking and quite shocking. If Tolkien is the Beatles then Anderson is the Rolling Stones! more raw, edgy and dangerous but perhaps not as widely celebrated.

Anyway the book! First off it is relatively short (275 pages) and yet soo much is crammed in. Anderson tells you the story as though he is an ancient nordic story teller with his audience sat round the fire with a horn of meade. True saga style. The quicker the reader grasps this the better as there will be no riding behind the eyes of the heroes or pages of motives and feelings. In fact you could even argue there are no heroes just competeing factions.

Anderson sets the action in our world as man and the 'White Christ' is starting to sweep the land of faerie from the world. Despite this the war which makes for the bulk of the story is between the Trolls and the Elves. Into this war is dragged a human hero who must contend with the meddling of the God's, the fate weaving of the norn's, frost giants, falling in love and discovering who he is and where he came from!

Anderson manages to weave together actual history, faerie legend, nordic culture, the Gods and a sweeping story of envy, lust, violence, vengeance and love and I repeat all in about 275 pages!
Given the historical importance and clear conduit to modern fantasy status as well as the fact it is a mini masterpiece it had to be a 5 star rating.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most highly, highly recommended 16 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I highly recommend all of Poul Anderson's books, especially Three Hearts & Three Lions (Fantasy Masterworks), this is the second of his books I've read and I'm currently reading Midsummer Tempest (Orbit Books) and I have Twilight World (science fiction) in my to be read pile. Anderson can not disappoint.

This book has especially strong character development, hero or villain you really do become engrossed by each and there is a very strong plot, the pace is excellent and the book never dips. As a tribute to norse and anglo-celtic mythology and storytelling its absolutely wonderful. I also think that Anderson is among a precious few who has been able to really convey the cruel and threatening nature of faerie beings such as elves and trolls or the existence of a faerie realm in tandem with our own.

The story is that of an epic, featuring both the faerie realm and human realm, it is in some ways a tragedy with the curse of a witch working itself out on the protagonists, it is also the tale of a changling and an epic struggle between elves and trolls with implications for the human realm. All the elements of very good fantasy are here, magic, heroes, villains, magical weapons, mythical beasts and creatures.

Worth mentioning is some really excellent poetic dialogue, worth reading for alone and which really comes into its own when featured in a ritual in which the spirits of perished ancestors are called back from the grave atop a burial mound. Highly recommended to fans of the fantasy genre, this is as good as Lord of The Rings, easily, highly recommended to fans of Poul Anderson (in my opinion his second best book after three hearts, three lions).
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent treatment of Norse and English myth 13 Nov 2001
By A Customer
If it wasn't for the fact that this book was published the same year as The Lord of the Rings, Anderson could be called one of the more succesful and original of myth-inspired fantasy authors in Tolkien's line. But though Anderson draws on some of the same sources, mainly Norse, Celtic, English and Scots mythology, he treats his subject matter quite diferrently from what Tolkien does. Anderson's England on the borderline between historical and mythological time is much more colourful, raw, unpolished, violent -- and more true to the tone and spirit of the Norse sagas, than Tolkien's more civil (and consciously Christian -- or at the very least profoundly moral) Middle-earth.
While many other authors in this line imports (more or less digested) elements of myths into their plot, Anderson seems to import his plot into the mythology. He uses the saga style very dextrously to present his complex and fascinating story of a human kidnapped by the elf-lord and his changeling replacement.
This book has many strong points to make it stand out: the very style-conscious and succesfully saga-terse language; its original depiction of the amoral elfs contrasted with heathen and Christian humans; its almost supernaturally powerful love story. But which are appreciated most will depend on the eye of the reader.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantasy Masterwork worthy of the name 18 Feb 2003
By S. Flaherty VINE VOICE
And there haven't been too many of them recently, the standards been slipping. This one, as has been said by others, was written in 1954 and then revised in the 70s by Poul Anderson. I first picked up a (revised) copy around 10 years ago after I'd been looking for a copy, on and off, for around 10 years (and then just happened to see it in a second hand book shop - isn't that typical)
A word on the revision. This is the original and it's the first time I've read this version and, comparing it to the version I read 10 years ago, I have to say there's not too much difference. In the revision, Anderson changed one plot element (he has a witch calling up Odin instead of Satan) but otherwise left the plot intact, changing only the style to be less frantic. Whilst it's true that the original reads better, Anderson had the best of motives in the revision - he, like a lot of authors, was dissatisfied with his earlier work and admitted in the introduction that his current style (as of 1970) was more 'Three Hearts and Three Lions' (an excellent book by the same author, due for re-release in the Masterworks series and worth getting, I'd give it 4 stars.) The point I'm trying to make here is that the revision a) wasn't too bad or very extensive and b) was done for the best of reasons, because the author (wrongly) felt his early work was bad and could be improved - i.e. aesthethic reasons.
So it's an exaggeration to say that the revision 'ruined' the book, it didn't. I've only just read the original and whilst I can say it's better, there's not an enormous difference. A lot of people quote Moorcock here, who hated the revision - but I'm amazed he dares talk, considering the revision he did of 'Gloriana' for POLITICAL reasons.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A classic of the fantasy genre
Published 2 months ago by CH
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch!
The Broken Sword has the honour of being the first Poul Anderson book I have ever read and I am now thankful to the person who recommended it to me. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Markie
4.0 out of 5 stars Elves and Trolls and Changelings, Oh My!
Poul Anderson's fantasy has the stark, fatalistic tone of Norse mythology. Its monsters are terrifying and seemingly undefeatable. Read more
Published 6 months ago by John M. Ford
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Age Fantasy
This is the original version of a story the author later re-wrote. Many including me think that this older version was better. Read more
Published 7 months ago by GwydionM
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh those elfish, eldritch eyes
This, The Saga of Skafloc Elf's-Foster - a changeling - is absolutely captivating and well worth reading again. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Billy Tim Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars CLASSIC FANTASY
With many a 'quoth' and a 'thusly' Poul Anderson retells the pre-Christian stories of faerie in Europe. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Anna Stephens
4.0 out of 5 stars Anderson was first!
You can see where the ideas came from for later books of this genre.
Poul Andersons beautifully crafted tale was the first of them.
Published 11 months ago by gumdrop
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like LOTR then this is for you
First read this when I was 15 and was blown away by it, Recently re-read to see if I would still enjoy it even though 30 years have passed :( - It is still amazing and I could... Read more
Published 21 months ago by allyt
3.0 out of 5 stars A True Classic of Fantasy Literature
Prior to signing up for a Year of the Fantasy Classic Challenge I had never actually heard about "The Broken Sword" by Poul Anderson. Read more
Published on 1 Aug 2012 by Killie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This book, which was obscured by the recent release ad succcess of The Lord of the Rings, deserves some attention. Anyone who enjoyed Tolkien's saga would like Anderson's book.
Published on 25 Oct 2010 by Alvaro
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