Dragon Debt (Book of Swords by Fred Saberhagen)

The First Book of Swords

Mindsword's Story , 7th Book of Lost Swords: Shieldbreaker's Story , The Gods decide to have a game. The playing pieces are humans, armed with twelve nigh-indestructible swords forged by Vulcan, imbued with unique powers. Each sword is surgically sharp, perfectly crafted, and, as mentioned, nigh-invulnerable. Each also possesses a special ability unique to the sword.

They may be identified by a symbol engraved in white upon their otherwise black hilt, or in the case of Soulcutter, a lack thereof. Coinspinner , the Sword of Chance. A pair of dice. Provides unnaturally good luck to its bearer, and bad luck to his or her foes. Can also be used as a less-powerful version of Wayfinder presumably by steering its bearer away from "unlucky" routes.

If the bearer takes his eyes off Coinspinner, even for one second, it can disappear and reappear anywhere in the world, even into a rival's hands. It often inflicts bad luck on the former bearer before it goes, especially if the bearer tried to keep the sword from leaving. Doomgiver , the Sword of Justice. Turns any attack upon its bearer back onto the attacker, including attacks that do not necessarily damage the bearer.

Doesn't protect against self-inflicted wounds. Dragonslicer , the Sword of Heroes. When used against a dragon it automatically guides its bearer to the most fatal spot, cutting though scales and limbs like butter. Provides no protection to the bearer. When used against anything non-dragon, it's just a very well-crafted sword. Farslayer , the Sword of Vengeance.

Concentric circles, similar to a bull's-eye. Swing the blade in a circle and wish to kill someone and the sword will shriek through the air, sending a rainbow trail behind, on a direct and unstoppable journey straight into its target's heart or its equivalent. Which means that anyone nearby, say a distraught loved one, can use it. Against the person who used it last. The blade itself is impossibly beautiful. Unsheathed, it emits the sound of a cheering crowd, and compels fanatical devotion toward its bearer upon all who can see or hear it.

Even sheathed, it works on some level. Wounds caused by its edge also fester horribly. This devotion can go to the user's head, and the effects start wearing off after three days away from its influence. Also, the Sword makes its victims fanatically devoted to the wielder but not obedient, which means they may choose to do something other than what the wielder wants if they think it's in their "lord's" best interest. And said fanaticism does not yield the clearest judgments. Shieldbreaker , the Sword of Force also, "The Widowmaker". Confers immunity to all weapons, claws, teeth, and other Swords.

Substitutes its own abilities for the bearer's skill, blocking attacks and striking with superhuman strength and speed. Anything blocked or struck by Shieldbreaker will explode , generally severely harming or killing the opponent. This is the only way to destroy another Sword. Any opposing magic is negated harmlessly. Once drawn, Shieldbreaker can't be dropped when enemies are nearby, whom it will kill even if the user wants to show mercy.

It also drains its wielder's stamina, eventually causing death by exhaustion, and making unarmed attacks even harder to stop. On a number of occasions, this has resulted in clever wielders and opponents essentially playing a game of "Musical Swords" where the opponent of Shieldbreaker's wielder will drop their Sword, forcing Shieldbreaker's wielder to drop it to avoid this weakness, and both try to get the non-Shieldbreaker sword in hand when the other isn't close enough to Shieldbreaker to pick it up.

Sightblinder , the Sword of Stealth or Deception. A stylized human eye. People perceive the bearer as the person or entity they love and trust the most, or as the one they fear the most. The bearer's senses are sharpened, and they gain the ability to see through illusions providing some protection from the Mindsword and Soulcutter.

The bearer has no control over how he appears, and since he often appears to be something fearsome or wonderful , the Sword is not particularly stealthy ; its wielder is better off trying to brazen it out. The blade lacks any luster. When unsheathed, the sword projects a field of total despair and apathy so pervasive that anything caught in its range can do nothing except lie down and wait to die Therefore, drawing the sword is generally the last decision anyone makes, and the mere threat of someone possessing it is often a big deal.

Also causes Rapid Aging in its wielder, likely because they're at the focal point of its effect. Stonecutter , the Sword of Siege. A wedge driving into a block. Stonecutter cuts through stone and earth like it was soft cheese. Useful for toppling castles, making tunnels and cutting statues and gemstones. Against anything not made of stone or earth, it's just a very well-crafted sword. Townsaver , the Sword of Fury. A sword raised a stylized segment of castle wall. When defending unarmed people in a fixed position, Townsaver turns its bearer into a One-Man Army , striking with inhuman strength and speed, and keeps him from succumbing to his wounds until the end of battle.

Besides that last bit, Townsaver does nothing to protect its bearer. It will even place its bearer between an attack and the people he's protecting. As with Shieldbreaker, the user is also compelled to finish a battle once entered, and will ignore any wound other than a killing blow. With all of this, it's not uncommon for the wielder to draw it, fight off an army single-handedly, and then instantly die of exhaustion or their wounds once the battle is over.

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Wayfinder , the Sword of Wisdom. Wayfinder may guide its bearer to any goal they want, and takes into account anything they need to reach it. It may also be used for divinatory purposes e. Wayfinder picks the swiftest path In fact, it seems to deliberately choose the worst and riskiest way possible to get there. An open human hand. Will cure any living thing whose flesh it pierces of any malady or injury short of death, including mental or genetic disorders.

Berserker by Fred Saberhagen

It's also the only weapon that can stand up to and destroy Shieldbreaker. It heals anything it cuts, so it's nigh-useless as a weapon. On the upside, when not used against living flesh, it behaves like an extremely well-crafted sword. Vulcan enlists a few humans to help with his creating, and when he's done, he uses the bodies of all his helpers, save one, to quench the blades. The one he spares, he cuts off his arm and leaves him with Townsaver.

Life proceeds as normal, until the local lord decides he wants to have a look at this commoner's God-Forged sword. At this point, the War for the Swords begins in earnest. All the high and mighty, rich and powerful people seek the various swords for themselves. A commonly-known song describes the Swords, providing hints as to their powers and weaknesses, and goes thus:. Who holds Coinspinner knows good odds Whichever move he make But the Sword of Chance, to please the gods Slips from him like a snake. The Sword of Justice balances the pans Of right and wrong, and foul and fair.

Eye for an eye, Doomgiver scans The fate of all folk everywhere. Dragonslicer, Dragonslicer, how d'you slay? Reaching for the heart in behind the scales. Dragonslicer, Dragonslicer, where do you stay? In the belly of the giant that my blade impales.

Farslayer howls across the world For thy heart, for thy heart, who hast wronged me! Vengeance is his who casts the blade Yet he will in the end no triumph see. Whose flesh the Sword of Mercy hurts has drawn no breath; Whose soul it heals has wandered in the night, Has paid the summing of all debts in death Has turned to see returning light. The Mindsword spun in the dawn's gray light And men and demons knelt down before. The Mindsword flashed in the midday bright Gods joined the dance, and the march to war.

It spun in the twilight dim as well And gods and men marched off to hell. I shatter Swords and splinter spears; None stands to Shieldbreaker. My point's the fount of orphans' tears My edge the widowmaker. The Sword of Stealth is given to One lonely and despised. The Sword of Justice balances the pans Of right and wrong, and foul and fair. Eye for an eye, Doomgiver scans The fate of all folk everywhere. Reaching for the heart in behind the scales. Dragonslicer, Dragonslicer, where do you stay?

In the belly of the giant that my blade impales. Farslayer howls across the world For thy heart, for thy heart, who hast wronged me! Vengeance is his who casts the blade Yet he will in the end no triumph see.

Dragon Debt Quotes

Whose flesh the Sword of Mercy hurts has drawn no breath; Whose soul it heals has wandered in the night, Has paid the summing of all debts in death Has turned to see returning light. The Mindsword flashed in the midday bright Gods joined the dance, and the march to war. It spun in the twilight dim as well And gods and men marched off to hell. I shatter Swords and splinter spears; None stands to Shieldbreaker. The Sword of Stealth is given to One lonely and despised.

Long roads the Sword of Fury makes Hard walls it builds around the soft The fighter who Townsaver takes Can bid farewell to home and croft. The Sword of Wisdom lightens loads But adds unto their risk. It is to be noted that pretty much every sword comes with a downside or price to be paid. For example, Wayfinder will point the way to any desired goal, but will take the most perilous path available.

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Unfortunately the execution was lacking in the imagination that the idea promised. But something had gone wrong in the forging, and the Game We'll just say that being turned inside out and forced into your own stomach is not comfortable. The Emperor also has a mysterious romance with Queen Yambu. Only after he's magically paralyzed by an enemy does he realize the entire thing had been an evil enchantment designed to lure him there. And even in this first book we get to see a number of the swords in action, and each is impressive. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

The swords cause great mischief, but they have a secret that could alter the balance of power in the world forever — they have the ability to slay the gods themselves. The trilogy is quite epic in scope, though it is kept somewhat personal by following Mark, the son of a human blacksmith who was forced to help Vulcan forge the swords. In the first book, Mark is forced to flee his home as a young man thanks to the misfortunes brought by one of the swords.

Along the way, he faces many dangers, makes new friends, and comes across several of the swords. By the end, he is wrapped up in the first of several epic wars sparked by the thirst for power that the swords naturally engender. Several adventurers, aided by their swords, plan to rob the main treasure hoard of the Blue Temple, which worships the acquisition of wealth for its own sake. The horde is guarded by terrible monsters and deadly traps, and the heroes must face many twists and turns, and a few gods and demons, before they reach their goal — which includes several more swords in the hoard.

Fans of Game of Thrones will be familiar with this style and would be recommended to this series. Fans of the Percy Jackson series might also enjoy the mortals interacting with Greek gods shared story context. Aug 09, Lisa Francis rated it it was amazing Shelves: Fred Saberhagen's Book of Swords series is really captivating. Each sword has a specific power that will only activate in a certain way.

We are introd Fred Saberhagen's Book of Swords series is really captivating. We are introduced to the first few swords in the first book: Coinspinner the sword of luck , Townsaver a sword which will only activate in a town or village where people are in danger , Dragonslicer the name is pretty self explanatory and Sighblinder which projects the illusion of a feared or loved person to those that the wielder encounters in that they will obey all commands given them. VERY well written and enjoyable.

First read the entire series back in the late 80's and have recently re-read it. Aug 09, Paul rated it really liked it. This is a review of the Book of Swords trilogy--but not any of the later swords books. I fell in love with Saberhagen with the Berserker books. I read the Books of Swords as they came out in the early 80s, and then re-read them this Summer. And they're very good. Saberhagen creates a fascinating world where the relationship between gods and humans is complex and fascinating--and that relationship drives the story.

The gods create a set of 12 swords with magical powers as part of a game to play wi This is a review of the Book of Swords trilogy--but not any of the later swords books.

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The gods create a set of 12 swords with magical powers as part of a game to play with humans as the pieces, and quickly the powerful begin maneuvering and warring over the swords. However, the swords are more powerful than the gods realize, and soon they are in danger from their own creation. The first and third book of this series are especially good--interesting, page-turning, and exciting. I like the second book too, but it's not quite up to the level of the others.

I heartily recommend these books if you like fantasy or science fiction. Jan 26, Sven Mysterioso rated it liked it. This one is from my foggy ancient past, and I read it as a youngster to boot, so bear with me. I loved the concept of semi-aware artifacts running loose in the world. With specific powers and goals and attitudes and influences. Its a good strong concept, and one that really lends itself to good epic fiction and large collections.

Saberhagen isn't a bad writer either, although I will really need to revisit with an adult eye now. I remember not been so enthralled that I had to consume every single s This one is from my foggy ancient past, and I read it as a youngster to boot, so bear with me. I remember not been so enthralled that I had to consume every single sword book though, and that is very telling.

So that means it stuck with me: Jun 23, Cody rated it liked it. There isn't much to say about this book. It's your basic fantasy from a couple decades ago. The best part about it is how the narration jumps forward to only the necessary parts of the story. I didn't have to read about Nestor's trek through the swamp or the gang's wagon ride to Sir Andrew's place. They just traveled there and the story continued. Made for a quick, easy read without any headaches.

There have only been a few Swords introduced so far, but they're neat. I just hope they get fleshed o There isn't much to say about this book. I just hope they get fleshed out more. Jul 22, Monk rated it liked it. Saberhagen's Berzerker stories are some of my favorite memories from my early science fiction reading. Never read his fantasy stuff. This is middling fantasy. More tolerable than the pretentious sprawling eleven-volume tripe that has become the norm, and not saddled with flashes of porn. A little light on character development, but a quick, enjoyable read.

Stops in the middle of nowhere, rather than in a cliffhanger. May 31, Mars rated it it was amazing. There isn't much to say about it - high fantasy, magical swords, hints that all is not as it appears. My only complaint is the fact that things are gleaned by divination rather than spies and footwork, half the time. Aug 30, Jim rated it really liked it. Another great science fantasy series. This series is a set of stories of individual stories about mythical swords, their power, and what happens to the people who come across them.

It's an interesting mix of quasi-mythology with a science fantasy story line. It's a fun set of stories, light and quick reads ad if you like this kind of thing, you'll really enjoy the series. Apr 10, Darin rated it did not like it Recommends it for: This book started out great and I honestly tried to get through the entire thing, but after pages, I gave up. The story slowed down, the main characters both started using false names, and the history of the swords was not alluded to enough.

Through the pages I got through, you only find out about two of the 12? Mar 24, Gautam Surath rated it really liked it. Not unexpected that I would find this a good read considering its about swords and sorcery. But in a different vein from the usual, the swords take the center stage here making the title an apt one. Each sword has its unique quality with which it was forged and we see a couple of them in this opening book. Lets see what the rest bring. Nov 12, ben rated it liked it. I love the stuff I have read by Saberhagen before and I have most of this series already but it has been a long time before I started it.

This being the first book, it makes me want to read more but not in as much earnest as The Books of the Gods series did. Still a good fantasy novel and blends a lot of new mythology particular to this universe to our own. Jan 15, B. I hadn't read this book since the '80s and all I could remember about it was the beginning and that I had loved it.

It didn't fail me. An entirely enjoyable read with great characters and vile villains. Thank goodness I have the next two books in this series waiting for me to read. View all 8 comments. Dec 17, Emily Nudge added it.

Books of Swords

Suggested by my closest in age brother a long time ago. I'm far enough along that I know I'm going to have to read the whole series. Sep 10, Helen rated it liked it. I enjoyed the book, and hugely appreciate that even though went got war, he didn't get bogged down in detailed battle scenes, but let us focus on what some non-combatants were doing sometimes. I'm curious about what happens next, but don't feel driven to get the next book in my hands right away Aug 10, Chichi rated it liked it Shelves: Pace picked up well enough at the end to make me want to read the second book.

Books of Swords - Wikipedia

Book Info missing page numbers 2 14 Apr 15, Fred Saberhagen was an American science fiction and fantasy author most famous for his ''Beserker'' and Dracula stories. Saberhagen also wrote a series of a series of post-apocalyptic mytho-magical novels beginning with his popular ''Empire of the East'' and continuing through a long series of ''Swords'' and ''Lost Swords'' novels. Saberhagen died of cancer, in Albuquerque, New Mexico Saberhagen was Fred Saberhagen was an American science fiction and fantasy author most famous for his ''Beserker'' and Dracula stories. Saberhagen died of cancer, in Albuquerque, New Mexico Saberhagen was born in and grew up in the area of Chicago, Illinois.

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Saberhagen served in the [[U. Air Force]] during the Korean War while he was in his early twenties. Back in civilian life, Saberhagen worked as an It was while he was working for Motorola after his military service that Saberhagen started writing fiction seriously at the age of about Then, in , Saberhagen saw the publication of his first novel, ''The Golden People''. He then quit and took up writing full-time. In , he moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. He married fellow writer Joan Spicci in