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TheThird Book of Swords by Fred Saberhagen
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TheThird Book of Swords (original 1984; edition 1985)

by Fred Saberhagen

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415325,597 (3.49)1
Member:Karlstar
Title:TheThird Book of Swords
Authors:Fred Saberhagen
Info:St Martins Press (1985), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Fantasy, Swords of Power, Mark

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The Third Book of Swords by Fred Saberhagen (1984)

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The gods gather together to discuss the swords after they realize they are not immune to the weapons powers. They decide to interfere in the game and collect the swords from the humans.

Ben and Barbara have married and live a comfortable life on the small amount of jewels Ben took from the Blue Temple treasure. They are working with an underground group to get swords to Sir Andrew to help him battle the Dark King.

Mark is visited by “the Emperor” who may be his true father. He gives Mark the sword Sightblinder and is told where the Dark King and his men are encamped. When he arrives he finds that the Dark King has the Mindsword, a sword that commands all who come in sight of it to bow down and worship the holder.

This novel was the story I was waiting for after the first installment in the series. I liked the use of mythology in the first book and the gods finally becoming a main plot point. They come down to earth to try to collect the swords and fall victim to their powers. A question brought up in the first book when the gods are asked “where did you come from?” is answered in this book when they are told the gods did not create humans but the other way around.

Many swords come into play in this book, Sightblinder, the Mindsword, Woundhealer, Soulcutter, Shieldbreaker, Doomgiver, and Coinspinner. It’s interesting to see how the swords work; when Aphrodite takes Woundhealer from a young man wielding Doomgiver she is doomed to love him forever, Woundhealer can regrow limbs, no weapon can beat Shieldbreaker and the bearer cannot stop using it until all the attackers are killed, Soulcutter causes everyone around it to give up and become despondent including wielder.

Even though this book wraps up the story of the god’s involvement with the swords, it does not have a satisfactory conclusion regarding the main human characters. There are many other books in the series, but they seem more about the swords than the characters. I still enjoyed reading the novel. ( )
  craso | Jul 16, 2013 |
The Third... brings at least one of the major themes to its conclusion, and Mark's character arc to a new plateau. It's not as much sheer fun as The Second... - it's a war novel, not a heist novel, and there's as much about army movements and stealthy raids as magic Swords and the machinations of the gods. But it's a broader and more exciting story than The First, and unlike that one it's tightly plotted.

If Saberhagen had left the series here I think it would not have been nearly as memorable as it was - it's not a bad trilogy, and the premise is great, but it is nowhere near fully developed. Thankfully, he took another six or eight books to play with the concepts, including a straight-up Sherlock Holmes pastiche that is my other favorite book ever from this series, and while they're not all perfect I'm looking forward to rereading them. ( )
  JeremyPreacher | Mar 30, 2013 |
This book really picks up the story, where book 2 was a bit of a detour. The game of swords is on, and Mark and Ben and other human heroes are making unexpected use of the swords. The uses and counter-uses of the various swords are what really makes this series fascinating. ( )
  Karlstar | Dec 3, 2008 |
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Up at the unpeopled borderland of cloudy heaven, where unending wind drove eternal snow between and over high gray rocks, the gods and goddesses were gathering.
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n a flash understanding came. The gods were coming to take charge.

The cloud, no longer serving any purpose of concealment, was being allowed to dissipate, and it vanished quickly. The handful of beings who had ridden it were walking now, already entering the parade ground at its far side, and approaching quickly. The sea of humans occupying the open space parted at the deities' approach. Four gods and one goddess, each as tall as Draffut, came striding forward without pause, and Mark got the impression that they would have stepped on people without noticing had any remained in their way.

Humanity had hope of being saved, by the beings who had made the Swords, from powers that were too much for it to manage.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812553454, Mass Market Paperback)

Coinspinner, Farslayer, Mindsword, and nine more...The gods gave the Swords of Power to humankind for a game--but the swords can kill gods as well as mortals. And as the gods begin to die, the mortals find that life is not what it seemed...

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:44 -0400)

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