Swordspoint

Swordspoint

by Ellen Kushner
4.1 30

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Overview

Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner

The cult classic fantasy of manners, now with three bonus stories
 
Swordspoint has an unforgettable opening and just gets better from there.”—George R. R. Martin
 
Hailed by critics as “a bravura performance” (Locus) and “witty, sharp-eyed, [and] full of interesting people” (Newsday), this acclaimed novel, 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307418357
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/18/2007
Series: Riverside , #1
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 126,509
File size: 998 KB

About the Author

Ellen Kushner’s Riverside series begins with the cult classic Swordspoint, followed by the Locus Award winner and Nebula Award nominee The Privilege of the Sword; The Fall of the Kings, written with Delia Sherman; and, most recently, the collaborative prequel Tremontaine. Her mythic fantasy novel Thomas the Rhymer won the World Fantasy Award and the Mythopoeic Award. She also co-edited Welcome to Bordertown with Holly Black.
 
A popular performer and public speaker, Kushner created and hosted the long-running public radio show Sound & Spirit, which Bill Moyers called “the best thing on public radio.” She has taught creative writing at the Clarion and Odyssey writing workshops and is an instructor at Hollins University’s children’s literature MFA program. She lives in New York City with Delia Sherman and no cats whatsoever, in an apartment full of theater and airplane ticket stubs.

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Swordspoint 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read this book three or four times by now, and it has gotten better every time. the characters are witty and very different, the writing is some of the most beautiful i've encountered, and the plot is believable and surprising. I definatley reccomend that you read this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It was suggested by a friend that I should read it and I was glad that I did. I thought the story was full of deceit, intrigue and great sword fights. It was a very entertaining fantasy adventure.
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brjunkie More than 1 year ago
I didn't care for this book. But, it wasn't so bad that I didn't finish it and at the end I sort of liked it. It's got to be the first mannerpunk novel that I've read. (What?! I had to look this one up for myself.) I loved reading about the sword-fighting, Richard St Vier's and Lord David Alexander Tielman Campion's relationship, and about Godwin learning to be a swordfighter. The bonus short stories at the end of the book are real treasures. Ultimately, I read 'Swordspoint' and its sequel 'The Fall of the Kings' together. Alternating back and forth, it was the best way for me not to get bored with this book. As I mentioned in my review of 'The Fall of the Kings', each book has a different feel to it and has its own personality. Were I didn't like this one, others will love it. Based on my experience with reading the first two books in the world of Riverside, I will not be reading 'The Privilege of the Sword'. In a society where disputes between nobles are settled with hired swordsmen, St Vier is the best in the business. He dotes on his lover not only with love, but also with his past payments of eye-popping and jaw-dropping rings worth fortunes. Soon, he is trapped to do a job, (and perhaps even cursed after seeing the play superstitious to swordsmen), when Alec is kidnapped by the lord that St Vier refuses to work for. When a nobleman is struck dead without a contract, St Vier must face charges of murder. There are rules and manners that even a hired swordsman must follow.
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VixenneVictorienne More than 1 year ago
It would read very much like Ellen Kushner's classic fantasy of manners. Swordspoint sparkles with the sort of wit and verve that is an Austen trademark, but Kushner adds her own special narrative voice and crystalline prose. She creates a world both familiar and yet not like anyplace we've ever been and inhabits it with characters who cease to be imaginary. Like Mr. Sabatini, the swordfight scenes keep one on the edge of their seat, though are elegantly restrained yet sharply honed. It is a testament to Kushner's skill that she manages to create such a vivid world and multi-dimensional characters in one short novel where so many authors need entire trilogies. Richard St. Vier is as dashing and gallant as Basil Rathbone and Errol Flynn combined, and as just complex. He kills for hire, yet has a poetic soul and a certain code of honor, which includes not taking commissions in which children or women are to be harmed. His companion, the mysterious Alec - once a student at University, now 'slumming' on the other side of the river, has a definite taste for danger though he can barely handle himself. He's wry, sarcastic and perhaps a little unhinged. The alluring Diane, Duchess of Tramontaine is one of literature's cleverest femme fatales, and I would love to see an entire novel written about her. She comes off as completely uninterested in anything outside of her little social milieu, a facade that fools nearly everyone around her. I'm a little appalled that some critics of the book make much of the novel's take on homosexuality, to the point that they did not enjoy such a well-crafted tale. I think these readers forget this is not a social treatise, but a work of fantasy fiction and as such, Ms. Kushner doesn't have to deeply examine the whys and wherefores of her imagined society's tolerance. To be honest, I found Ms. Kushner's treatment of the fluid sexuality of her characters to be passionate yet tasteful. She doesn't write erotica (and not that I am adverse to erotic interludes in fantasy), but allows the reader to imagine the power of the various couplings. Bottom line - good fantasy fiction allows us to immerse ourselves in places and times not our own, and if one brings their silly baggage and hangups with them, they do a great disservice to the writer...and to themselves. My only issue with 'Swordspoint'...it was far too SHORT. I fell in love with Riverside and its inhabitants and shed a tear when I had to leave. The true sign of a book that will remain dog-eared and much-beloved.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago