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Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner

Swordspoint (original 1987; edition 1994)

by Ellen Kushner

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,143744,598 (3.95)125
Authors:Ellen Kushner
Info:Tor Books (1994), Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner (Author) (1987)

  1. 31
    Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling (Sorceress_rin)
  2. 20
    Point of Hopes by Melissa Scott (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: Another story revolving around two men in a relationship that takes place largely in a single city.
  3. 10
    The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (bookwormelf)
    bookwormelf: low on magic, high on characters and world-building
  4. 10
    The Killing Moon by N. K. Jemisin (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: Gutter-Duke swordpoint politics, meet assassin ninja-priests.
  5. 00
    Daughter of Mystery (Novel of Alpennia) by Heather Rose Jones (reconditereader)
    reconditereader: Both beginning series with similar-feeling settings.
  6. 11
    Maledicte by Lane Robins (FicusFan)
    FicusFan: Very Similar 'Period' Fantasy Feel, a Black Comedy of Manners
  7. 00
    Havemercy by Jaida Jones (FFortuna)
    FFortuna: Very similar, and both fantastic.

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» See also 125 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 74 (next | show all)
More like SwordspointLESS.

Okay, that's not fair. There was a plot. I was just underwhelmed by it, is all. Part of it is that I really disliked Alec, and I couldn't really understand why Richard liked him so much. I guess I just found it hard to care too much about any of the characters. I think Kushner did a good job of writing something in a pseudo-circa-17th-century sort of time period. The foreigners sounded more fanciful and interesting than the "homegrown" nobles, though. And at times I couldn't help feeling that the story felt a little, well, 80's, which put a damper on my ability to suspend disbelief. Maybe if she'd added something "supernatural" or fantastical I would have liked it better. Anyway, it wasn't a total waste of time, but it was underwhelming as a whole. ( )
  xiaomarlo | Apr 17, 2019 |
A wonderful exercise in style, beautifully written but... somewhat lacking in soul, at least from my point of view.

2 and a half stars, for the writing alone.

Complete review on my blog: http://spaceandsorcery.blogspot.it/2014/04/swordspoint-ellen-kushner.html ( )
  SpaceandSorcery | Dec 25, 2018 |
4 and a half stars. first in the Riverside trilogy that introduces the Duchy of Tremontaine, gifted with a terrific nuanced villain, beautiful writing, fabulous characters, and much to say, this fantasy of manners is a classic, and repays a reread every few years. ( )
  macha | Jan 21, 2018 |
Fascinating book. I wouldn't want any of the characters as friends, but they are fascinating to read about. Initially it all seems to be about the men, but it does not do to overlook the women in this novel.
Manners are everything in this culture and they can be used as a trap. ( )
  JudithProctor | Oct 28, 2017 |
A melodrama of manners in a non-magical fantasy land of nobles and a social underbelly, in which swordsmen are hired to fight nobles' battles for them -- to the death.

This was... not my favorite. It was okay. It didn't speak to me, though I can see that it would appeal to others with different tastes. I found the nobles interchangeable, with their intricate plottings and motivations hard to follow (this is my dislike of highly political fantasy speaking), and I found our heroes -- a swordsman-for-hire and his crazy-lover-with-a-Secret -- disturbing more than compelling (this is my dislike of grittiness in fiction speaking). A bit of a disappointment after Tremontaine, which had more motivated characters that I was comfortable with despite their moral grayness. ( )
  pammab | Aug 26, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 74 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kushner, EllenAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Canty, ThomasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fass, RobertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graham, DionNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kellgren, KatherineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kushner, EllenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reyes, Manuel de losTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Springett, MartinCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sullivan, NickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Man desires that which is Good.
"We all have flaws," he said, "and mine is being wicked."
-James Thurber, The Thirteen Clocks
In the end...everything will be found to be true of everybody.
-Lawrence Durrell, Balthazar
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Snow was falling on Riverside, great white feather-puffs that veiled the cracks in the façades of its ruined houses; slowly softening the harsh contours of jagged roof and fallen beam.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553585495, Mass Market Paperback)

The classic forerunner to The Fall of the Kings now with three bonus stories.

Hailed by critics as “a bravura performance” (Locus) and “witty, sharp-eyed, [and] full of interesting people” (Newsday), this classic melodrama of manners, filled with remarkable plot twists and unexpected humor, takes fantasy to an unprecedented level of elegant writing and scintillating wit. Award-winning author Ellen Kushner has created a world of unforgettable characters whose political ambitions, passionate love affairs, and age-old rivalries collide with deadly results.


On the treacherous streets of Riverside, a man lives and dies by the sword. Even the nobles on the Hill turn to duels to settle their disputes. Within this elite, dangerous world, Richard St. Vier is the undisputed master, as skilled as he is ruthless--until a death by the sword is met with outrage instead of awe, and the city discovers that the line between hero and villain can be altered in the blink of an eye.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:09 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In this collection which includes a novel and three short stories, the great swordsman Richard St. Vier is forced to become involved in a plot to gain control of a nameless city where elegance and decadence coexist.

(summary from another edition)

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Average: (3.95)
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