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The One Kingdom: Book One of the Swans' War Trilogy Hardcover – 18 Jan 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (18 Jan. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841490202
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841490205
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.8 x 4.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 606,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The One Kingdom, the first volume of the "Swans' War" sequence, takes us to a land cut into a myriad of small valleys by an endlessly curving and treacherous river which sometimes wanders out of reality. Selfish nobles have reduced the land to barbarism and poverty with their feuding over what is no longer even credibly a throne--even the honourable Arden and Dease are plotting to kill their much-loved kinsman for trying to make a peace with enemies they will not trust. And into this mess of arranged marriages and evil henchmen and blind minstrel lords wander three young men from the further reaches of the valleys looking for the man who pilfered the minor treasures they had gleaned from old battlefields, a man who is more than he seems and whose enemies are not people to whose attention one wishes to come. Russell is setting things up for the long haul here, and yet this is a book full of set pieces and a sense of the bloody past haunting the present like a nightmare. We find ourselves caring passionately about minor characters: a disfigured noblewoman who attends a ball behind a mask and the minstrels casually butchered by a dark magician's hired thugs. --Roz Kaveney

Review

The One Kingdom, the first volume of the "Swans (War" sequence, takes us to a land cut into a myriad of small valleys by an endlessly curving and treacherous river which sometimes wanders out of reality. Selfish nobles have reduced the land to barbarism and poverty with their feuding over what is no lon)

#NAME? ('A master of intelligent fantasy subtle, wellcrafted and gripping.')

STEPHEN Donaldson ('This book is the beginning of something big, something very big')

DIVERSEBOOKS.COM

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this series partly due to the recommendation of Stephen Donaldson, who apparently described it as "subtle, well-crafted and gripping". Well, 'subtle' - yes, 'Ill give him that; 'well-crafted' - certainly; but gripping - hmm... really?

There are aspects of this book that are really good - the quality of the writing, the unfolding history that underpins the story, the sense of various Celtic myths being interwoven and retold in a very different way. But whilst some of the characters are reasonably intriguing, some are, well, a bit flat - particularly, I have to say, the lead character, Tam. The biggest problem, though, was that long chunks of the story are positively tedious - essentially, they consist of: they travel a bit, then some baddies attack them, but against the odds our guys beat them or manage to escape, then they travel a bit more, then some more baddies attack them but, guess what, against the odds ...

I persevered with all three books, and was reasonably happy with how all the various characters' threads in the storyline were resolved at the end, but to be honest, it became a bit of a chore getting there. So, it was OK, but not something I will be going back to re-read.
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By A Customer on 5 Jun. 2002
Format: Paperback
Like the previous reviewers I was finding much fantasy writing stale (I was reading Stone of Tears at the same time as The One Kingdom which proved a useful contrast). The One Kingdom is a marvellous, leisurely paced book without many of the usual fantasy cliches. You get a real sense that the main characters are being slowly but irresistably drawn into a greater story with its origins in the distant past. The magic is low key evoking mystery rather than wizz bang pyrotechnics. I can't wait for the second part! Knights of the Vow = Knights Templar?
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Format: Paperback
Fantasy in the last couple of years has become a little jaded, with very little written that comes as close to perfection as "The one Kingdon" (with the possible exception of a "Fools Errand" by Robin Hobb).
A fabulously deep story, with some very good charachter development, one is left gasping for more.
I wont give too much more away - If you like fantasy - buy this book. If you don't like fantasy - buy this book it will change your perception of fantasy.
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Format: Hardcover
When it comes right down to it, life is a series of interlocking stories, one of your stories interacting with that of someone else, or maybe those of a few other people. Every one of them means something to you at the time, though if it's not a very interesting story, it may fade into the mists of time. If it's particularly interesting, and affects a lot of people, it may be recorded and become part of society's memory, which will allow it to live past the end of your life.
The One Kingdom, by Sean Russell, is a book that is about, ultimately, stories. Neil Gaiman writes about stories and how they affect us, but Russell is writing about how we write stories with our very actions. He wraps this in a story of his own, an epic yet strangely personal story about a group of young men from a remote village, out for a little adventure, who find a lot more than they bargain for. Also included is a story about a young girl who is a pawn in an evil scheme, and a mysterious man who is trying desperately to avert a war. Russell does a marvelous job of tying all these disparate stories together into a tight narrative, engaging the reader's interest as we wonder just how they are all going to come together.
Russell uses the ultimate story of two warring families to bring this unity. The Renné and the Wills have been divided for over a hundred years, with the land never having a true ruler. Instead, it's just been two factions in an unsteady peace that's been rife with conflict and tension. As the book begins, a murder is being plotted, as the cousins of Toren, head of the Renné family, try to avert what they feel is a fatal mistake. Toren is about to give back the legendary Isle of Battle to the Wills, who they took it from all those years ago.
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By A Customer on 28 May 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a beautiful book. The plot is intricately woven,layers building one on another, and the characters are believable, flawed, and human. The atmosphere is tense at times, and yet there is something dreamlike and at times idyllic in a relaxed kind of way. A book that will drop images into your mind and induce a variety of moods. I was impressed. And then horrified that I'll have to wait almost a year for the sequel. How can they do that?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
And how anybody can call The Swans war a clone of Jordan's The Wheel of time, is a wonder to me. I can only think of one explanation for the previous acid review - It must be a bad case of sour grapes - or the man should have his head examined.
Jordans Wheel of time is very good fantasy, but The Swan's war is brilliant. Brilliant in its own right. I have been a fantasy reader for 30 years, and Russell is right up there with the best of them.
The plot is cunninly spun, the caracters are more than interesting - and a clone of nothing but Russells own magnificant imagination.
For those who do not have to meet an ork at any corner, and magic as a help out of any situation you can ever dream up in a nightmare - For those who wants more and an intelligent story to massage the small grey ones. Go for it.
This is a subtle, and very far from boring series. I hung out there with those books till morning and ruined my nights sleep with every one of them.
I found it gratifying that this was not yet another grand scale bloody murder, war and torture series, but that the threath of it moves the players to act. What and who they meet on their way, and how every thing is upside down and around is simply delightfull.
My only complaint is and was - that I could not get the whole series at once - that I have to wait for the rest of the series and the complete tale. I hope for a grand finale - I am sure I will not be disappointed.
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