The Isle Of Battle: Book Two in the Swans' War Trilogy Paperback – 3 Apr 2003
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A perfectly plotted, beautifully written fantasy (- Publisher's Weekly)
A master of intelligent fantasy - subtle, well-crafted and gripping. (STEPHEN Donaldson)
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 perver)
Roz Kaveney, AMAZON.CO.UK
Top Customer Reviews
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!!
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!
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!
Isle Of Battle is not on the scale of the epics mentioned above but has an interesting storyline, good characters and enough unpredictability to keep you guessing and waiting for the next installment. Whilst there is not the level of action or magic as in many others in the genre, there is certainly enough to keep the pages turning and the plot and writing are of a high enough quality not to need constant battles to captivate you.
This is an entertaining, solid book that looks like it will develop into a very worthwhile series and keep readers guessing throughout. I would rate it on a similar level with the Robin Hobb novels and certainly recommend a purchase.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the second book in the Swans' War trilogy (after The One Kingdom and before The Shadow Road). Read morePublished on 30 Mar. 2011 by Stephanie Noverraz
I really struggled to finidh this book, despite quite enjoying the one kingdom. It felt a labour to read it rather than a pleasure. Read morePublished on 11 April 2008 by genejoke
The Isle of Battle starts off directly after the hectic events of The One Kingdom (9/10) , and it starts off fast! Read morePublished on 8 Oct. 2007 by Christopher Halo
You're driving down the road, heading into some of the most beautiful scenery you've ever seen. It's fall, and the trees are gloriously orange, brown, and gold, the colours... Read morePublished on 8 Jan. 2004 by David Roy
The Isle of Battle has some good episodes. The Stillwater is one of the best magical locations in any fantasy I have read. Read morePublished on 14 Oct. 2003 by Cr Gibbs