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The Lost Swords: The Second Triad by Fred…

The Lost Swords: The Second Triad

by Fred Saberhagen

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310435,978 (3.45)2



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The first book deals with Farslayer and 2 Clans at war with eachother. Zoltan is still pursuing Blackpearl, but loses her in the conflict. The second book is about Coinspinner and deals mainly with Mark and Kristin's oldest son Adrian; who is growing up to be, quite possibly, the greatest magician the world has yet seen. And the third book deals with the Mindsword. I didn't like this one at all. Kristin comes under its spell, becomes devoted to Prince Murat, divorces Mark by royal fiat and at the end of the novel throws herself over a balcony when Murat dies. We don't know if she lives or dies. I'll have to find out in the final books. The Mindsword was a terrible sword and this story was not grand or great. It was very bleh. I didn't like the fact that mere magic" could overcome all of what a person knew to be right and wrong." ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
This is an omnibus, so I'm going to review the individual books as I go.

Farslayer's Story:

Farslayer's is a Romeo and Juliet, or maybe Hatfield and McCoy story. Farslayer, of course, is the sword that will fly off and kill anyone you care to name. The problem arises when the victim's friend scoops up the sword and sends it back at you. In a feud-locked river valley, people are getting full use out of this problematic - and apparently cursed - weapon. Add in our Usual Suspects - Zoltan and Yambu, Mark and Ben, a couple of mermaids and some random minions of the Ancient One, and there's enough trouble for a book. I don't totally love it - Zoltan's adolescent infatuation with the mermaid is just not that compelling, and very few of the characters are at all sympathetic (and most of them end up dead) but it's not actually bad. I do appreciate Saberhagen's continued creation of varied and non-stereotypical female characters - he's really good at making gender totally secondary to character, and, particularly in books of this era, that's a rare skill.

Coinspinner's Story:

Coinspinner's a a straight-up adventure focusing on Mark's adolescent son, Adrian, and new character Prince Murat, a hapless romantic who uses Coinspinner to steal Woundhealer from Tasavalta while Mark is away (and incidentally develop a huge crush on Mark's wife) and gets sucked in to the ensuing chase. It's not bad, again, but most of the characters are new and fairly flat - this one really is more about displaying Coinspinner's particular strengths and weaknesses in a variety of situations. Which are interesting - pure good luck leads to all sorts of wacky things, and Coinspinner's ability to simply disappear when it gets bored makes it the least trustworthy of the swords. Adrian has potential as a character - he's very inexperienced but possesses tremendous raw magical skill and obvious native wit - but he's overshadowed by the rescue party as well as the incidental holders of Coinspinner he meets along the way.

Mindsword's Story:

Again, this is really a book about the sword itself more than the characters, and this one actually works fairly well. The Mindsword engenders instant and overwhelming love and loyalty to the holder in anyone in a hundred meters. However, it's not mindless loyalty - people can lie to or disobey the wielder as long as they genuinely believe it's in his best interests. This makes the whole situation much more interesting that it would otherwise have been. The subplot is about Mark's wife Princess Kristen, somewhat distanced from her husband anyway by his constant absences, getting seduced by the Mindsword and not really seeming to want to recover. This gives the book something of a cliffhanger ending, although Kristen was never a particularly well-developed character so I find it hard to get too worked up about it.

Overall, solidly middle-of-the-road fantasy in a very neat world. No really outstanding volumes, like the first collection, but certainly nothing painful to read, either. ( )
  JeremyPreacher | Mar 30, 2013 |
I really, really enjoyed the first 3 books of the Triad. These three gradually tailed off in suspense and quality. Farslayer's Story was interesting, and it was good to see that the swords have limitations, but I can't say the same for the other two. While it was nice to read more about Mark, he's no longer the key figure in the books, the swords are! Still good reading and some of the best fantasy available of its day. ( )
  Karlstar | Jan 17, 2013 |
I just can't put my finger on a reason why these are little better than mediocre. The stories are interesting and well written in a pleasant concise way, but there is just no pizazz. A few of them plod along to a quick but flat finish (There are three books in the Complete book and eight in the Lost Swords books). As near as I can figure, it's because the main hero, Prince Mark, is pretty humdrum and really just an average guy who has some fancy parentage. His sidekick Ben is much more interesting, and realistic, in that he has traits and flaws. Mark is a bit to David Hasslehoffy, to coin a phrase. Also, so much of the world is a desolate wasteland with most of the travel through and across boring deserts and scrubland that require little textual detail. This jibes with the reality that the story takes place thousands of years after a nuclear holocaust that took place 50,000 years before the first story began with the forging of the twelve Swords, but the whole Ardneh thing was supposed to have altered the laws of physics to prevent such an event (it's some sort of advanced computer system from about our current era that is remembered in the far future as a benevolent, but still lowercase god). Still, the concluding two stories seem much more engaging, and a decent conclusion seems to be in the offing.

I would not readily recommend them to a general reader, a serious fantasy/SF reader should make a dash through them just because Saberhagen is a fairly famous author, although I'd bet that the Swords books are not among his best work. That would probably be his Berserker stories and a long vampire series. The Empire of the East books that lead up to these stories about the Swords don't particularly sound appealing, they mostly revolve around the life of the arch villain Wood (from the Swords stories) as a mortal, tens of thousands of years earlier, battling for supremacy with other evil bastards and a bunch of demons. No thanks. ( )
  DirtPriest | Sep 10, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fred Saberhagenprimary authorall editionscalculated
Walotsky, RonCover artistsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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In the middle of the day the black-haired mermaid was drifting carelessly in a summery river, letting herself be carried slowly through the first calm pool in the Tungri below the thunder of the cataract.
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