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The Isle of Battle (Swans' War) Hardcover – 5 Sep 2002

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 484 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; First Edition edition (5 Sept. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841490865
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841490861
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,062,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Sean Russell adds interesting ideas to the Medievalising fantasy. The Isle of Battle, second volume of his Swan's War trilogy, has a handy amount of night-time treachery, feats of archery, sorcery and pitched cavalry battles. It has interesting thoughts about the nature of identity--to save her life, noblewoman Elise has allowed herself to be possessed by the long-dead sorceress Sianon and it is not clear, in either direction, who got the better of the deal. Similarly, Russell plays games with honour--is Dease, who has changed his loyalties, more, or less, honourable than his cousin Samul, who pursues them into dishonour and treachery?

These books take place in debatable land--centuries earlier a sorcerer twisted the relationship in time and space between locations along a river valley and its tributaries--and the moral landscape in which the characters get bogged down is equally perverse and disjointed. He brings a compassion to relationships--that between the blind minstrel King Carral, for example, and the hideously scarred Llyn--that never becomes quite saccharine. As its predecessor, The One Kingdom,The Isle of Battlekeeps us caring about the destinies of a large cast of characters and weighs courage against wisdom, loyalty against righteousness in an intelligent and morally complex narrative. --Roz Kaveney


** 'A master of intelligent fantasy - subtle, well-crafted and gripping.' STEPHEN DONALDSON ** 'Magic and mystery blend in abundance with an intricate cast of characters. An engrossing read.' ROBIN HOBB ** 'A perfectly plotted, beautifully written fantasy' PUBLISHERS WEEKLY "Fresh, exciting and thoroughly compelling" ENIGMA

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First Sentence
IT WAS SAID THAT THE WYNND WAS A HAUNTED RIVER-A RIVER of many mysteries and many branches that took men places none had seen before. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S I J Wallace on 23 Sept. 2002
Format: Hardcover
Having finished Sean Russell's first book I couldn't wait for The Isle of Battle to arrive on the shelf, and despite having to buy the hardback it was well worth every penny! This writer is creating a fantasy land which is destined to be a classic. The landscape through which the reader travels is becoming richer and more rounded, with numerous characters and plot lines threaded together in this engrossing story. His narrative style is easy to read and not over blown like many fantasy writers, and using a simple and clear style he has created a world firmly planted in a believable reality, whose's characters are surprised to find is emmeshed in a magic and tortured history that draws them, and you the reader, irressitably on.
New characters serve to enrich and deepen the plot which is totally absorbing. As the plot lines and characters lives develop, Russell doesn't keep you waiting through inumerable chapters to find out how they are all developing,but interweaves them together keeping you in constant touch with all the threads of the story as it twists and turns. He also keeps you on your toes as he is not precious about despatching well established characters, and you are never quite sure what is going to happen next. Only one problem- it's at least a year for the next book!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Oct. 2002
Format: Hardcover
Sean Russell writes very very well. The story flows like the great river at the heart of the book and the characters, plot and pace are controlled with a light yet firm grip that makes all of his books a pleasure to read. It has been nearly a year since I read the one kingdom but the gap seems irrelevant as within a dozen pages I was again hooked!
Sean Russell is set apart from a lot of other writers in the genre is that he is, at heart, a storyteller. This ability to carry the reader along the current of the narrative makes his books throughly enjoyable reads.
I heartedly recommend his other books, particularly the Darwinian duologies for those seeking another fix until the final installment of this engaging story.
A first rate read!
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Format: Hardcover
The Isle of Battle starts off directly after the hectic events of The One Kingdom (9/10) , and it starts off fast! Sean Russell provides a kind of synopsis to the previous events -- very useful, as throughout the book, no reprieve is given to the reader, with Russell constantly moving from scene to scene with an almost fierce abandon.

The story in The Isle of Battle is more developed, as is to be expected, and a sense of pettiness, almost, is established at the lesser events -- it becomes very clear that much more is at stake that the honour or ancient enmity of two Houses, as mighty powers rage for control of their land.

As for characterisation, I really liked the importance Lord Carral was given in this book, and I felt he developed well, particularly after suffering the news of what he thought was his daughter's death. Unknown -- at least, for a little while -- to everyone, is that his daughter still lives and has struck a bargain with one of the children of Wyrr ...

...And that's not good.

The Stillwater is one of my favourite locations for a show-down in any book I've read. On one of the "hidden roads" is where it lurks, and a lot of care has gone into making the Stillwater a vivid and memorable landscape. Alaan didn't spend much time traveling this time -- trapped as he was in marsh-type locale with the most powerful sorcerers trying to track him down and kill him. Also not good, especially after the injuries he received at the end of The One Kingdom...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sam Bloomfield on 23 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback
The Isle of Battle is book two of Sean Russells' 'Swans War' Saga. It is a continuation to 'The One Kingdom' and so obviously isn't a book to read 'stand-alone'.
This book takes the characters from the first book and weaves them even more deeply into the world in which they inhabit. After their initial journey from book one, the heroes find themselves travelling through a hidden swamp called 'The Stillwater', (for reasons I won't spoil here) and that is where the majority of the book takes place, while the other chapters of the book are spent going deeper into the political issues regarding the eternally fueding Renné and Wills families, but both stories begin to intertwine slowly.
Russells' style is wonderful at slowly revealing more about the characters and story bit by bit throughout the book, while constantly leaving the reader with more questions about them and more reasons to keep reading. You really can't put it down.
New characters are also introduced, leaving the book with an impressive cast, but still the author succeeds in developing each character fully as an individual with their own thougts, feelings, and personalities, all of which integrate seamlessly with the storyline.
The setting itself isn't your typical fantasy setting either, it's much more subtle. Dragons and other such clichéd fantasy concepts don't exist in this world, the sorcerers in the Swans War books have to take time over their spells, and they are legendary beings rather than something every village has at hand. This makes the book a very refreshing read, the plot being subtly and intelligently crafted, though all the political intrigues going on can get slightly confusing at times.
Overall though, this is a great book just like its predecessor, and those who liked the first would be doing themselves an injustice to miss this one. Be warned though, as the story doesn't end here, and you will definately be left wanting more!
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