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 ResultsSwordspointOn 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

10 thoughts on “Swordspoint

  1. says:

    I read very little of this book While it is well written I say this in respect to those who like it greatly it is not a book I care to get involved in The world while well crafted is one that creeps toward debauchery and cynicism on an almost monumental scale There are actually so far as I can see no heroes here, very little that is redeeming It s claim to fame is a drama in a world of those who see themselves as sly sophisticates Please enjoy it if it s to your taste as fiction. It isn t mine and I choose not to put my time into it I m going to update this as my review has raised some eyebrows In detail then, I couldn t get into the book When I said I realized it was well written I said this as I saw the world building as being clear if not detailed and I could tell that the characters were at least clearly seen by the writer On the other hand FOR METhat s FOR ME they don t translate well Their dialogue didn t seem natural and frankly I just couldn t care about anyone in the book It never drew me in and I skimmed and skipped I just wasn t into the book and didn t care about the characters or the story.For me it was a waste of my limited reading time to forge through it There are thousands of books waiting.I know some really like this book It s true of most any book that some will love it and some will hate it and some will be in the middle To say a book is good or bad is in truth subjective I can t think of a thing I like by Steinbeck Does that mean that Steinbeck isn t a good writer That s absurd Many, many people love his work, I find it depressing and even painful The fact that he translates that pain to paper so well simply depresses some of us SoFOR ME repeat FOR ME this book is a one star experience, a waste of time that doesn t draw my interest If you like it great, enjoy It s a matter of taste.

  2. says:

    First, I should point out that the audiobook of this novel is a fantastic treat, including multiple voices including the author, herself, but also ambient sounds such as background conversations and even a cat Music, too But don t let that dissuade you, either, because it s all low key enough to let us focus mainly on the tale at hand.So what is this Is it really fantasy Honestly, I don t think there s much fantasy at all, but if you like swords and high 18th century culture on a slight steroid high and full of homosexual men murdering each other for profit in high society, then by all means, come on over and read this book I was in the mood for lots of fast conversation and a bit of wit and this book has that in spades Intrigue is really what it s all about I got through the book in an enjoyable flash, but to be frank, I kinda stumbled a bit with the big court scene It was interesting once I got over the fact it broke my pace, but it wasn t what I was quite expecting I was expecting a tragedy But, No This remains an old style comedy, where bad things happen but the upturn is always around the corner But what about the old adage that those who live by the sword, die by the sword Read it for yourself There s no escaping your fate.This novel is now considered a new classic , btw I think it s classic and timeless fun I suppose that s the definition.

  3. says:

    My My What A Big Swashbuckling Fantasy Rip Off We Have Here Buddy Read MMWABSFROWHHBR with my fellow inmates at the Scarlet Citadel That Was But Is No Longer Okay, so I said pretty much everything I had to say about this delightful masterpiece in my fascinating pre review down there , but I m afraid for you, not for me that some things must be expanded and analyzed and stuff, so here goes Let s see, this book is supposed to be a Fantasy Classic Everyone following me so far Good Because it s not A Fantasy Classic, I mean Okay, so maybe it is a Classic Well to some people who read the book very wrong it obviously is But Fantasy HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Oh my dear shrimp, I laughed so hard I nearly almost dislocated my exoskeleton Phew, that was close But I digress Okay, so when I started reading this book, I expected Swashbuckling Fantasy As in a story rife with swords, magic and quite possibly adorable pets such as dragons and the like You know, something or less like this Hey, I said or less, okay So No bloody magic no bloody dragons or even moderately vaguely supernatural creatures of any kind not even, I don t know, something as basic as a screwed up planetary system with two suns and three moons and stuff no bloody shrimping Fantasy This is an outrage and stuff This book is fiction, plain and simple Call it Alternate History if you re feeling terribly bold and audacious and want to stretch things a bit further And Super Extra Boring Fiction SEBF at that But on that later Now, I m in a particularly benevolent mood today, so I will most graciously tell you how and why this came to be classified as Fantasy Fishy Publishing Shenanigans Inc, of course Get that it turns out Ellen Kushner initially tried to sell her story as a work of fiction you know, fiction as in FICTION Only that she never got anywhere Enter a publisher editor who should be glad I forgot his name otherwise I would most certainly have unleashed the murderous crustaceans on him who convinces Kushner to have the book marketed and released as Fantasy And bingo A star rip off is born Yay and stuff Okay, the good news is brace your little selves for this might come as a shock , there are actually swords in this book I kid you not As for swashbuckling, well, there s lots of endless talk about swashbuckling, yes And a couple of guys vaguely train to become Super Extra Good Swashbuckling Types SEGST Which is kinda sorta a total waste of their boring time since they don t get to do any actual fighting Well maybe one of them does Once And he s such a gifted, badass SEGST that all he has to do is wave his sword around a bit not too much, he wouldn t want to overexert himself and, tada Everybody scrams As if by magic and stuff Which would make this book Fantasy, which it is not, so it is not.Anyway, the disgusting truth is, I could have gotten over my initial discombobulation upon discovering both the non Fantasy fantasy and non Swashbuckling swashbuckling aspects of this book, and ended up liking it a little Maybe Yes, I most definitely could have Had the story had been original, fun, entertaining, and generally enjoyable But it wasn t, it wasn t, it wasn t, and generally, it wasn t So I didn t I m beginning to think my 2 star rating is a horribly generous one, just so you know So what was this book like, you ask Apart from dull, uninteresting, and a total snoozefest, you mean I don t know, one of the most soporific, failed comedy melodrama of manners ever, maybe Yeah, I guess you could say that The lack of both originality and complexity of the world is confounding The plot, with political schemes and devious ploys galore, had the potential to be deliciously delicious But it was confusing, contrived and badly executed, so it wasn t Deliciously delicious, I mean Oh, and by the way, Ms Kushner, for help with your everyday scheming and backstabbing scenes, you might want to call 1 800 Devious Bastards R Us, the Glen Cook emergency hotline Let s see, what else Oh, yes, the most endearing characters They are flat, one dimensional, and unlikeable as fish And the most headache inducing bunch of blabbermouths in the history of headache inducing bunch of blabbermouths Why this book doesn t come with an XXL pack of extra strength aspirin is one of the greatest mysteries of our time, if you ask me Anyway, the strange thing about the characters is that they all seem to be one and the same, as if the author had created one character, and cloned it to infinity Which wouldn t be a problem if said characters were even moderately charismatic But you should know how this goes by now they weren t, so they weren t.Now We come to what must be one of the weirdest things about this book The portrayal of homosexuality and bisexuality First, it s fairly cartoonish and heavy handed which might have something to do with the fact that this book was published in the late 1980s, and was one of the first of its kind to feature homosexual characters extensively And second, all the men in the story are either homosexual or bisexual, while all the women are heterosexual Which makes me feel kinda sorta Now if someone would mercifully explain to me if there is a reason for that, and if such is the case, what said reason might possibly be, I would be most full of grate So thank thee kindly in advance and stuff Nefarious Last Words NLW want to read actual, gloriously glorious swashbuckling material Pick up any bloody shrimping classic in the genre The Three Musketeers, Scaramouche, The Prisoner of Zenda, Captain Blood, etc Want to read fun, exciting M M Historical Fantasy Romance or is it Historical M M Fantasy Romance Or Historical Fantasy M M Romance I forget Read The Magpie Lord Want to be thoroughly entertained Read pretty much any book but this one Even PNR will do Or Paranormal YA Historical Romance Get it Good I rest in my case and stuff Pre review nonsense Is this Fantasy Nope Is this original Nope Is this entertaining Nope Are any of the characters even moderately likeable Nope Is this a clich d as fish comedy of manners Yep Is this the cure for insomnia Yep Is every single character flatter than my favorite herd of ironing boards Yep Is the fact that only the male characters in the story are gay bisexual while all the women are heterosexual as shrimp Super Extra Weird SEW Yep Is doing Look Ma No Hands Push Pups LMNHPU wayyyyyy titillating than reading this book Oh hell yeah Full review to magically appear post haste and stuff.

  4. says:

    my goodness, but this was the time I started worrying that the twisty subterfuge would drain the story of momentum I looked up and realized I d practically inhaled this badboy to the 70 percent mark and then some shit went down and my heart was pounding in my throat.meanwhile, this edition has a trio of follow up stories at the end, so 70 percent turned out to be 90 percent bravo a lush, layered, ingeniously taut melange of gripping skullduggery, sword fights, bisexual escapades, and even a perilous courtroom drama for shits and giggles my only complaint would be the fate of Michael, whose arc does not receive a satisfying conclusion.other than that, tho booyakasha

  5. says:

    Ellen Kushner s first novel sets the standard for what a polite fantasy of manners and romance should be Like Jane Austen, Ms Kushner s language sparkles with wit and verve 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 Rafael Sabatini, the swordfight scenes keep one on the edge of their seat, though are elegantly restrained yet sharply honed Richard St Vier is as dashing and gallant as Basil Rathbone and Errol Flynn, 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, 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 writerand 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.

  6. says:

    I picked this up for a couple of euro in one of my favourite second hand bookshops because I d heard it recommended numerous times on my flist Cheesy fantasy novel cover aside as a side note, exactly why must the covers of 99% of fantasy books be so fantastically appalling , the descriptions I d heard of it made it seem as if the book was tailor made to appeal to me A well written, slashy, historical fantasy of manners what s not to like Well, quite a lot, as it turns out If the blurb by Neil Gaiman on the back cover is true that this was the best fantasy novel of 1988 then the fantasy novels published in 1988 weren t all that much to write home about, I think.This is not to say that Swordspoint is badly written It s not It s quite competently written, in fact but that s all There were a couple of nicely written passages, but I never really got the impression that Kushner rose above the average throughout the book It s also probably an indication of how much fanfic I read than how prevalent it actually was, but I was also really irked by how often it seemed she talked about characters eye colours, and how much she used epithets I am perfectly aware that they can come in useful when dealing with two characters who are the same sex but constantly referring to Richard as the swordsman does tend to wear after a while.However, my main issue with the book was the fact that it came across as Les Liaisons Dangereuses by numbers There are attempts at witty, subtle, layered dialogue treacherous, unscrupulous, amoral characters hot sex In fact, Kushner tries to include almost everything that makes Les Liaisons Dangereuses such a delicious pleasure to read She lacks the finesse in combining everything which made Choderlos de Laclos book work, though.Richard and Alec are, for the most part, boringly flat For a potentially lethal swordsman who has no qualms about killing, Richard is remarkably unmenacing, while for an unstable aristocrat, Alec is remarkably boring The plot is very see through, and Kushner seems to have a thing for twisting the characters to fit the plot, rather than letting the character s development affect the story For instance, I am really, really unable to see any reason why Alec and Richard are together and stay together other than for the necessities of the plot The rapier sharp dialogue which I m sure Kushner was aiming for was also a much blunter sword than the author would wish, I think A lot of the time, it had the laborious feel of someone who sat around a lot coming up with witty epigrams to come up with at a moment s notice much Mr Collins than Elizabeth Bennet, I m afraid.I m also pretty certain that, were the Marquise de Merteuil and the Duchess Tremontaine ever to meet, the Marquise would be able to rip the Duchess to shreds without exerting herself one little bit.I m not not recommending this book a lot of people whose reading tastes normally gel with mine really seem to love it but it left me cold.

  7. says:

    Hahahahaha wow Man I don t even know what to say about this Okay basic run down this book s got two primary narrators Richard St Vier and Michael Godwin Everyone wants a piece of St Vier because he s the most badass swordsman ever to exist and apparently stabbing people is an acceptable way to resolve conflicts in this world so long as you outsource the job Michael Godwin is a doof with a talent for ruining his own life Lucky for him he is rich good looking doof who catches the eye of one of the book s power players and consequently retains both his life and a purpose Good things comes to those who are privileged Yeah so let s talk about St Vier I was pretty down with this guy Swordfighting, competence, not a huge talker, all good things in my book This affinity lasted for about as long as it took me to catch on to the fact that Richard St Vier is a psychopath.Maybe you re shaking your head at me right now, like girl he kills people for a living, you re surprised that his moral compass isn t properly functioning To which I say shut up okay, fantasy is chock full of morally ambivalent swordsmen who lean towards good, how was I to know Everything was proceeding normally, people were doing the usual ooh Mr St Vier routine and then this friend of his is like view spoiler yeah that Richard, anyone remember that old girlfriend of his Temperamental girl she was, pity Richard s temper was of the deadly variety And the story just kept going on like normal while I was stuck boggling at the bit where our hero figure murdered his last girlfriend because he got mad at her.Later on a noble kidnaps his boyfriend to blackmail him into doing a job for him Ain t no one who blackmails Richard St Vier so once he returns him St Vier takes the calm proportional response of murdering his henchmen and sneaking into his house to cut him into pieces as he begs Here, why don t I let Richard tell you about it First he silenced him, and then he took, very slowly, the life from the four corners of his body, being careful not to render him unrecognizable Richard never spoke, although the man s wild eyes begged him for it while they could hide spoiler

  8. says:

    Tiresome Tedious Repetitive Populated with interchangeable, unlikable cardboard cut out characters The dialogue is endlessly crammed with discussions of fashion and parties and clothes and status seeking The action sequences either occur off stage or crawl by at a snail s pace, and despite its name there s next to no sword fighting in the actual narrative I have no idea how this became considered a new classic nor even how it managed to become identified as fantasy It s like an alternate history novel, set in a world devoid of the supernatural and which is a sort of melange of Renaissance France, Italy and perhaps Enlightenment Vienna Guy Gavriel Kay does something similar, but in his novels the differences are substantial enough, and the supernatural apparent enough, to justify being identified as part of the fantasy genre In Kushner s setting, the culture, the religion, the languages, etc all seem like little than vague and amateurish attempts at re creating actual historical features The only fantasy elements about it are A the way in which all the men sound and behave like women, and B the fact that every man in this fictional world is less than a meaningful glance away from a homosexual romp and naturally, none of the women seem similarly inclined to lesbianism Ultimately, this read exactly like the sort of Harry Potter slash fics my female friends used to write, in which Dumbledore and Snape and Harry and Draco and James and Sirius couldn t keep their hands off one another, yet somehow the female characters never seemed to engage in anything other than frustrated flirtations with their disinterested male counterparts It feels like the rankest sort of stereotypical hyper female wish fulfillment, and the fact that the author is a woman at once does not surprise me and confounds me utterly So no, i was not a fan And i suspect its classic status has to do with the fact that it was one of the first fantasy novels to deal with homosexuality cartoonish and adolescent though its approach might be in an open, encouraging and frank manner, than any sort of value the book itself might contain Indeed, THAT is the only sort of swordplay this book truly contains.PS I deeply regret buying both this book and its sequel I have learned a valuable lesson about believing a book s hype.

  9. says:

    Nunca m s le hago caso a una recomendaci n de George R.R Martin.Esta es la historia de Richard de Vier, una suerte de mercenario que trabaja de batirse a duelo con espadas en nombre de la persona que lo contrata No tiene escr pulos en matar a su contrincante si la situaci n lo amerita, y suele ser contratado por los nobles que viven en la Colina, la parte de la ciudad donde la ley a n existe bastante.El libro ir alternando la historia de Richard con las historias de varios nobles, en una curiosa sucesi n de eventos sin la menor importancia, di logos intrascendentes y algo que me gustar a comenzar a llamar burocracia literaria que no es otra cosa sino alargar eternamente el momento de que por favor ocurra algo que mueva la historia Comienza bien, eso no lo puedo negar Est escrito de forma po tica, el primer cap tulo es lindo y ya desde el principio deja ver con mucha naturalidad que el protagonista parece estar en pareja con otro hombre Richard y Alec viven juntos en un sector marginal de la ciudad, conocido como La Ribera All a la gente le encanta presenciar duelos y ver correr sangre, y Richard mata con una facilidad pasmosa as que les da un show bastante seguido Que Alec parezca tener por hobbie provocar a la gente para que Richard tenga que batirse y en lo posible a muerte colabora bastante con eso Tambi n colabora a que Alec caiga considerablemente mal, sumado a que es desagradable, ego sta, soberbio y morboso.Richard no es ninguna joya tampoco, la verdad que entre los dos no se hace uno Sin embargo, la relaci n entre ambos no me termin de quedar clara durante buena parte del libro, ya que la misma autora muchas veces nombra a Alec como el amigo de Richard, y muy pocas veces como el amante Cuando finalmente se esclareci , me di cuenta de que la relaci n que tienen es horrible Quiz s porque ellos son horribles Son de esos personajes que lisa y llanamente, caen mal.Por otro lado tenemos a los nobles que viven en La Colina ste es un mundo muy muy muy rococ , sus habitantes son todos viciosos, ego stas y desagradables y tienen un sistema pol tico que durante la mayor parte del libro me result m s confuso e inentendible que otra cosa S lo me quedaba claro que hab a mucha gente intentando conseguir m s poder a base de hacer rodar cabezas literalmente.Pero lo que realmente har n todo estos nobles, adem s de confundirme sobre qui n es realmente el protagonista de la historia de tanto que aparecen, ser hablar Y acostarse entre ellos o tratar de Y comer.Al comienzo del libro hay una pelea interesante y va a ser una de las pocos que vamos a ver Para la novela llamarse A punta de espada, hay una curiosa falta de duelos.Lo que si hay, y much simo, es di logos Di logos que no dir n absolutamente nada, que alargar n los momentos hasta el l mite de lo alargable, y que contribuir n de forma muy eficaz a que uno se maree y no entienda gran cosa de lo que est ocurriendo Eso cuando de hecho est ocurriendo algo.Not con horror que en esos pocos momentos en que realmente se cuenta algo importante, ocurre a tal velocidad m ximo tres p rrafos que a veces uno pasa de largo y tiene que releer.Antes de tomar una decisi n sobre algo que produzca una m nima acci n lo piensan, y lo hablan, y lo siguen pensando, y se van de tema y se dan una semana para responder y luego se ponen a especular con c mo la otra persona puede llegar a reaccionar, y a hacerse toda una pel cula de cosas que al final son s lo imaginaci n de los personajes y entonces siguen conversando de cosas que luego no aportan nada a la historia, y siguen hablando Y en la pr ctica no ocurre nada Nada Creo que si tuviera que marcar los eventos importantes de la historia, no ser an m s de diez Pasado el 25% del libro a n no hab a ocurrido nada digno de menci n En el cap tulo 12, m s o menos el 35% del libro, la historia empieza a mejorar, y hay de hecho ciertas partes que son buenas y o entretenidas Pero no duran Ese estilo po tico que me gustaba al principio muy pronto se vuelve una molestia Se interrumpe la no historia para hacer descripciones y m s descripciones y seguir especulando y exteriorizando los pensamientos de los personajes y la historia OH POR DIOS NO AVANZA.Adem s, a la autora le encanta usar el curioso adjetivo cremoso , y lo usa para describir cosas que jam s hubiera imaginado como cremosas. S podr amos decir que su forma de escribir es cremosa Adem s de peligrosamente recargada Estaba desesperada por terminarlo, un sentimiento que no deber a inspirar ning na novela.Y entonces se termina de golpe.Mi edici n por desgracia ten a dos historias m s, la primera de ellas bastante inconexa, y la otra un intento de deprimirnos con lo que se podr a llamar un golpe bajo Este es un libro que se vende como fantas a, as que mientras iba leyendo y avanzando, aburri ndome y deseando que por favor ocurriera algo, todo lo que pod a pensar y la fantas a cu ndo llega La respuesta es simple nunca Lo nico que tiene de fantasioso es que la historia est ambientada en una ciudad inexistente as que queda descartado ficci n hist rica , donde las leyes son muy laxas y la mayor parte de la poblaci n parece ser abiertamente bisexual Hasta los nombres de los personajes son comunes y corrientes No hay magia, no hay dragones, no hay ni siquiera una curandera que trate los callos plantales con pasto masticado.Me acord mucho de George R.R Martin mientras lo le a Nunca m s le hago caso Nunca M s Rese a de Fantas a M gicaBuddy Read en Emma s Tea Party

  10. says:

    Well, this one is unique This is something I can honestly say I ve never seen before, at least inside the fantasy genre, though I ve seen it quite a bit outside of it This is a comedy of manners in the classic sense, and reads like Jane Austin and Oscar Wilde got together to write a fantasy novel It s funny, well executed and very witty so much of the dialogue has double meanings or insults hidden behind kind words that I found myself laughing out loud on multiple occasions.The plot alternates between two central protagonists Michael a young nobleman with little interest in politics, but quite a fan of playing cards with those who are interested in such matters, who decides to take up the sword initially to cause a scandal, but finds himself in a rather interesting situation.The other protagonist is where the plot mostly focuses, as he weaves into Michael s, but is following a much dangerous path on his own He is a swordsman named Richard He is the best and most popular duelist in town In his own words, he doesn t do weddings, which in this case means he is not for mere entertainment or ceremony He only will duel to the death and preferably with only those who will give him a challenge In the world presented here, duelists come off as glorified assassins While someone else can accept the challenge for their target, swordsmen are typically paid to try to corner their opponent in such a way that they have no one to fight for them, making for an easier kill This is presented as the norm in this society and seemingly the way most petty matters of honor are resolved.Kushner has created a fascinating world here, and I can see why this book has such a loyal following While it is not one of the best known fantasy novels, it is one that I see fairly consistently on best of lists, and I cannot disagree The story is clever and almost perfectly presented The characters are witty and the dialogue charming It also has a fantastic opening which at least in my edition is even praised by George R R Martin on the cover blurb and if it doesn t hook you immediately well, then perhaps this isn t the book for you I only have one complaint about the book, and honestly it s a big enough one that it prevented a full five stars view spoiler Michael s plot just kind of trailed off There s no resolution there, and while we can pretty much gather what will happen, he s just temporarily stuck in a limbo like state and I found that rather annoying as he was so central to the first half of the plot and then just seemingly cast aside hide spoiler