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The Sword of the South by David Weber
Cover Artist: Dave Seeley
Review by Jon Guenther
Baen Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781476780849
Date: 04 August 2015 List Price $27.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

I admit very little familiarity with Mr. Weber's Bahzell Bahnakson/War God universe, but I decided to read The Sword of South because I enjoy many of this author's other works. As I imagined, he doesn't disappoint in this book.

This is the story of Kenhodan, a mysterious stranger we meet at the beginning of the story, who winds up in the tavern of Bahzell Bahnakson and his War Maid bride, Leeana, not knowing who he is or from whence he's come. To add to the mystery, he comes under the interest and protection of the millenniums-old wizard, Wencit of Rum. Together, this trio will embark on a journey against the dark sorceress Wulfra of Torfo to retrieve an ancient weapon (the obligatory fantasy MacGuffin) that will help our heroes defeat her and overcome the impending final battle against Kontovar's dark lords who want to conquer the world (or just the lands of the ancient kingdom of Norfressa in this case).

This book is rife with dwarves, dragons, shadow assassins, magic-wielding dark wizards, and a host of creatures one would expect to find in any good fantasy. The book moves at a great clip. There are adventures over land and over sea, including battles reminiscent of those you'd find in a good sea tale. There is also political intrigue, and a surprising herald archetype in a young girl with a surprising gift.

Frankly, The Sword of the South took me completely by surprise on many levels. Not just in the breadth and scope of Mr. Weber's efforts, but in the execution thereof. The dialog is realistic, the story is interesting, and the action is well-described. There is some back-story on which I was a little fuzzy, but my guess is that comes from not having read the War God books. That was only my sense, however, and not any recommendation you needed to read those books before diving into this one.

I would give The Sword of the South my highest recommendation for anyone who enjoys David Weber and fantasy works. This turned out to be not only a great read but reaffirmed my faith in Mr. Weber as a consummate storyteller. I not only relish reading the next book in the series, but am now eager to seek out the previous books set in this universe.

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