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on 27 February 2009
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 March 2010
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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VINE VOICEon 28 June 2014
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.
At the the outset I did initially think I wouldn't be able to get into it due to some old fashioned word usage here and there. However, once I had managed to get over that the story fair flew by. The best way I could describe it is an epic tragedy on a small scale. And by that I mean for the amount of pages written, Anderson packs in a fantastic tale. Elves, trolls, goblins, Christians, pagans, gods, men, it's got the lot.
The biggest disappointment for me is, how on earth have I not come to read this twenty odd years sooner!! Got a lot of catching up to do now.
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on 28 December 2013
With many a 'quoth' and a 'thusly' Poul Anderson retells the pre-Christian stories of faerie in Europe. Odin and the Wild Hunt, the elf-troll wars, goblins, brownies and the Sidhe all feature alongside Valkyrie and Loki in this tale of war and the decline of the old gods in the face of the White Christ.
If you can handle the poetic prose and you don't need to empathise with your characters, this is an intriguing tale.
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on 1 March 2018
But a brilliant, rollicking tale of love, hate, duty, gods, faerie and mortals. I loved it and would recommend it...was the sword the precursor of Elric's black blade?
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on 8 March 2014
This is the original version of a story the author later re-wrote. Many including me think that this older version was better.

It treats a diversity of gods as real, co-existing with the human world. Rather like the later Dungeons & Dragons, and not the only one. But it catches the grim spirit of the Dark Ages, its mix of cruelty and beauty.
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on 8 January 2013
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 hardly put my kindle down. I cant understand why this book is not well known - Peter Jackson take note - this would make a great movie!
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on 3 November 2014
A classic, but really hasn't aged well.
The language, and story have dated badly over the last 50+ years.
However, it's an important book containing many of the fantasy tropes/cliches that make up the entire genre.
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on 8 November 2013
You can see where the ideas came from for later books of this genre.
Poul Andersons beautifully crafted tale was the first of them.
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on 24 August 2014
A classic of the fantasy genre
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