Customer Reviews


15 Reviews
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel novel
Rather than the usual format of man who wants to be a hero and a champion this guy doesn't. He has to be forced by the God of the new world hes in to be the second best swordsman alive. He is torn between doing what he is told to do and holding onto his own moral values in a barbaric world. Its a new and interesting twist on an old theme. I really enjoyed this book. I've...
Published on 22 April 2006 by J. C. E.

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun fantasy body swap quest
This is a shallow but fun swordsman fantasy quest started with the body swap of an earth human into a swordsman from another world. Easily the best in the series (it got a bit annoying later). Recommended.
Published 14 months ago by Fayley


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel novel, 22 April 2006
By 
J. C. E. (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Reluctant Swordsman (Hardcover)
Rather than the usual format of man who wants to be a hero and a champion this guy doesn't. He has to be forced by the God of the new world hes in to be the second best swordsman alive. He is torn between doing what he is told to do and holding onto his own moral values in a barbaric world. Its a new and interesting twist on an old theme. I really enjoyed this book. I've read it around five times now and I still enjoy it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of My All Time Favourites, 19 Jun. 2009
By 
Sir Furboy (Aberystwyth, UK) - See all my reviews
I really loved these books - they worked on so many levels.

Here is a fantasy that does not fit into the stereotypical faux medieval fold. Instead, Duncan creates a convincing alternate universe that is filled with a geography, flora and fauna that are convincingly "other". He creates a whole culture within this world that is not just ripped off from european or japanese cultures, as so many writers do. Instead he invents a world that works on its own merits, and has a culture that makes you want to explore it.

And then he drops into this rich and diverse world a hero character that is - as the title suggests - reluctant. Ripped from a dull life on our world he finds himself put into this other world by a god calling himself just "Shorty". He has a task to do that only he can fulfill - but his journey of discovery to fulfill the task is long, arduous and very very interesting.

Yet despite the apparent flippancy of the god, Shorty, there is something deep going on in this story too. The book repays reflection, as it allows you to think of issues such as free will, miracles, science and magic, love and friendship, slavery, and the power of information.

I have no idea whether the author intended it to be a theological work, but one can certainly find many of the themes that C S Lewis would put into his works in this book and the sequels.

I would love to see a role playing game adapted from this book too. It would be a welcome changed from the Dungeons and Dragons games, but already has a concept of set professions.

But whatever angle you take, my recommendation is the same. read this book. It is worth it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars More than a "Gor" rip-off, read it for the plotting, not the swordplay., 29 July 2014
This review is from: The Reluctant Swordsman: The Seventh Sword Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed this book a lot, even though the "contemporary man transported into a fantasy warrior's body" premise is as old as the hills. I was expecting it to be a Barsoom or even a Gor rip off but it soon became obvious that the World in this book stands up well as an original creation, albeit one that owes a debt to Japanese culture.

We barely scrape at the varied peoples that must inhabit it, as this story is focused heavily on the elite priests and swordsmen, and it is here that we see the most nuanced politics and social manoeuvrings, which are highly immersive.

Worthy of note is the way the society is strictly organised by rank, with every profession starting at first (apprentice) and progressing to the lofty heights of seventh (a grand master).

There are more spiritual elements in the tale than I expected, and what I found even more surprising were that the deity parts worked well, even when our own modern world was discussed by them. This could easily have been a jarring change to the narrative, but it is handled well. Other reviewers have compared the religious elements to works by CS Lewis but I found them less didactic and more interesting than that.

Where the story did hit the wrong note for me was, ironically, in the swordplay - something of a shame as these obviously form the basis of most of the "action" scenes. Unfortunately, the author chose to shoehorn in modern foil fencing as the core martial discipline, which will seem rather implausible to anyone that has made a study of historical swordplay. So, we have an elite cadre of warriors who all train using foil, that is weighted to match their proper battle swords. These swords are clearly not foil - they have enough width on the blade for fantastically detailed engraved scenes and are capable of slicing off hands and heads, whereas a foil is a slender piece of metal with no edge, that is so whippy you can hit someone in the small of their back even if they are facing you. So, the actual battle swords have little in common with foil, epee or even rapier. In my mind's eye they have become sabres not dissimilar to those used in the American civil war, as at least that means some of the fencing terms still apply.

This may seem picky, but I would imagine that most readers of this genre will have at least a passing interest in the realities of swordfighting, so I can't be alone in finding that the constant references to foil spoil the immersion of this otherwise well-crafted fantasy world.

That said, the most enjoyable parts of the book are definitely the story and plotting against the corrupt Lords - so the weak combat is not as big a problem as it might have been.

There are some good characters in this book, such as the green apprentice awed by his sudden rise in fortune, or the amused demi-god who shows he isn't to be trifled with. This is yet another book review of mine that mentions a lack of female characters though. True, this story is focused on the Swordsmen, but the World itself worships the Goddess, so you'd think there would be scope for more females. The only women featured in the story are sex slaves and only one of them is elevated to a main character (again, don't think this has much in common with the Gor series, despite them being slaves the sex scenes are not in any way gratuitous or titillating). I really don't understand why it's so common in fantasy and sci-fi to keep coming across books whose authors are seemingly averse to writing female characters?

In summary then, this story didn't move me, but it was still a good read and I enjoyed the pseudo-Japanese honour-bound swordsmen, even if they were using silly foils!

[A final note about the Kindle formatting : it was mostly fine, although there is a missing word in one of the sutras that had to be mentally inserted in order for the meaning to become clear!]
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A World of Wonder, 30 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Reluctant Swordsman: The Seventh Sword Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
I not an avid reader of fantasy fiction, a revelation that has surprised and lead to my chastisement by various friends of a certain fraternity, however I was once loaned this trilogy, something just over two decades ago, and recall greatly enjoying it. I remember being impressed by the beautifully drawn world but other than a half remembered plot twist that concludes the trilogy and a plot point (that probably ends the second book) I could not remember any of the story.

I am pleased to say that my recollection of this being a good book was not a rose tinted one and combined with my lack of recollection of the story has made this a great re-read especially by being able to re-experience its wonder rather than simply remember its retelling.

I believe that this falls towards the low fantasy spectrum category of the genre, in that magic exists, or rather miracles are worked, in the World but the nature of their performance by the gods is one of such careful and subtle precision that they can, with little difficulty, be explained away with some rationality. In fact some of the impious characters, and even our hero, choose not to acknowledge them or are simply blind to them by either a lack of faith or baser human nature. As a result the god's careful crafting of miracles (or the author's use of them if you prefer) mean that they rarely truly impinge on the lives of the characters and thus the story can proceed within relatively normal parameters, with the real oddities being cultural in the seemingly barbaric yet strangely somewhat ordered world that our hero finds himself in.

Having begun at an ending the story ends at a beginning, which I can only presume was planned that way as with the intention of forming a trilogy, which, in my opinion, is the only way to write such things, whether by book, film or other media, rather than to simply produce a sequel for a sequel's sake.

Anyway I shall most definitely dip once more into Mr Duncan's colourful and vivid world with the second book and if fantasy fiction is something to which you are drawn then I can recommend this as an enjoyable light read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun fantasy body swap quest, 18 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Reluctant Swordsman: The Seventh Sword Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
This is a shallow but fun swordsman fantasy quest started with the body swap of an earth human into a swordsman from another world. Easily the best in the series (it got a bit annoying later). Recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked it, 2 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Reluctant Swordsman: The Seventh Sword Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
A thoroughly enjoyable tale. Well worth reading, gods, swords and lovely trickles of humour. Possibly more a teenage book than afor the adult reader.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A great read again and again, 12 Jun. 2013
By 
CP Sennett (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Reluctant Swordsman: The Seventh Sword Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
I read these books some time ago and I loved them, so much so that the books have been enjoyed by most people I know. The set has a great twist on the fantasy ideal and it stands the test of time very well.

Really nice characters - great to see a priest who has no spells and the ever so slightly Samurai like mentality of the Swordsmen.

It is without a doubt a set of books I wish I had written myself. Credit to the author, top work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining light fantasy, 14 Oct. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The simple, well-worn premise of a stranger in a fantasy world is rendered afresh in this enjoyable, witty, amusing and fast-paced adventure. The trilogy is early-era Duncan and, while his later work (King's Blades etc) paints more credible worlds, this is written so simply and entertainingly that it's hard to dislike. The place to start, if you're new to this Scottish author.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable had to get the next two, 10 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Reluctant Swordsman: The Seventh Sword Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
I read different things on my kindle than I would hard copy as I like to listen to them while driving. This book breached the span and is complex enough to hold my attention while reading or listening.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Greater than the sum..., 12 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Reluctant Swordsman: The Seventh Sword Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
This book stays with you. Haunts with its ideas and the very humanness of the people in the World of this fantasy. It is also a super adventure that rips along leaving you wanting more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews