The Book of the Sword / The Book of the Spear (Hallowed Isle, Books 1-2)

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9780380813674: The Book of the Sword / The Book of the Spear (Hallowed Isle, Books 1-2)
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The Arthurian saga is one of the most enduring legends of Western civilization. In her sweeping and magnificent multi-volume work The Hallowed Isle, acclaimed author Diana L. Paxson brilliantly reinvents the classic myth from the unique perspectives of four distinct tribal cultures that shaped Britain in the violent days of the sixth century.

Book One: The Book of the Sword

Mighty Rome subjugated the isle of Britain only to abandon it, leaving behind a bloody patchwork of warring tribes. To put an end to this conflict, Artoria Argantel--Lady of the Lake and Druid priestess--has called upon the Spirit of War and Justice to deliver a champion who will unite the broken land. A champion who will come from her own ancient and royal blood. For only one man can wield the sword forged from star-steel by ancient spells. Only one man can free the sword from its prison of stone: Artor, a fosterling of unknown parentage...the promised High King.

Book Two: The Book of the Spear

A Saxon of royal blood, Oesc has fled the drowned, doomed country to which he is heir in order to claim rich lands in Britannia. Though sworn to the spirits of his new home, he truly serves the dark sorcery of an older god--the power of the Spear. But the Spear's magic is opposed by that of the Sword of Rome, the sword wielded by young King Artor and his father Uthir before him. The sword that slew Oesc's own father. Now vengeance burns fiercely in Oesc's heart, a lust for revenge that could destroy a greatness before it fully blooms. Destiny lies in the clashing of magic steel...the hope of all Britannia rests in the hands of the warrior sons.

The Arthurian saga is one of the most enduring legends of Western civilization. In her sweeping and magnificent multi-volume work THE HALLOWED ISLE, acclaimed author Diana L. Paxson brilliantly reinvents the classic myth from the unique perspectives of four distinct tribal cultures that shaped Britain in the violent days of the sixth century.The Arthurian saga is one of the most enduring legends of Western civilization. In her sweeping and magnificent multi-volume work THE HALLOWED ISLE, acclaimed author Diana L. Paxson brilliantly reinvents the classic myth from the unique perspectives of four distinct tribal cultures that shaped Britain in the violent days of the sixth century.

Book One: The Book of the Sword
Mighty Rome subjugated the isle of Britain only to abandon it, leaving behind a bloody patchwork of warring tribes. To put an end to this conflict, Artoria Argantel---Lady of the Lake and Druid priestess---has called upon the Spirit of War and Justice to deliver a champion who will unite the broken land. A champion who will come from her own ancient and royal blood. For only one man can wield the sword forged from star-steel by ancient spells. Only one man can free the sword from its prison of stone: Artor, a fosterling of unknown parentage...the promised High King.

Book Two: The Book of the Spear
A Saxon of royal blood, Oesc has fled the drowned, doomed country to which he is heir in order to claim rich lands in Britannia. Though sworn to the spirits of his new home, he truly serves the dark sorcery of an older god---the power of the Spear. But the Spear's magic is opposed by that of the Sword of Rome, the sword wielded by young King Artor and his father Uthir before him. The sword that slew Oesc's own father. Now vengeance burns fiercely in Oesc's heart, a lust for revenge that could destroy a greatness before it fully blooms. Destiny lies in the clashing of magic steel...the hope of all Britannia rests in the hands of the warrior sons.

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Review:

This addition to the Matter of Britain is an omnibus volume of the first two (of four) novels in Diana L. Paxson's Hallowed Isle series. The first novel begins in the chaos of early fifth century Britain: the Roman legions have left, and the Romano-British aristocracy, along with various Picts and Scotti, and a few assorted Teutonic tribes, are circling the power vacuum like vultures. The heart of the matter is, of course, Arthur (or Artor, as he is known here). Paxson surrounds Artor with all the usual suspects--Cei, Merlin, Betiver and so on--and sends him down the by-now standard path to his destiny. Her Once and Future King is smart and likeable, has equally good sword and people skills, and loves to infuse his followers with his own personal vision of peace, unity, and civility for all. Where Paxson departs from the usual fare is in her consideration of the Saxons (and Angles and Jutes and Frisians, etc.) as people with their own goals and beliefs and lives, rather than as stock barbarians who exist only to destroy what is left of Roman civilization.

The sword and spear of the novel titles are totemic objects of the Romano-Britains (in particular Artor), and the Teutonic Myrgings (in the person of Oesc) respectively: humming with fantasical properties and mystical significance. Paxson uses them to full effect. There are battles (of will, of weapons, of religion), prophecies, and lots of intriguing historical tidbits. The author has obviously done her homework, and equally obviously relishes immersing her characters, and readers, in the dirt and poverty and epic heroism of a still not well-understood age. --Luc Duplessis

About the Author:

Diana L. Paxson is the award-winning author of The Lord of Horses, The Wolf and the Raven, The Dragons of the Rhine, The White Raven, and The Serpents Tooth, and coauthor (with Adrienne Martine-Barnes) of Master of Earth and Water, The Shield Between the Worlds, and Sword of Fire and Shadow, the chronicles of Fionn mac Cumhal. She lives in Berkeley, California.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780380805464: The Hallowed Isle Book Two:: The Book of the Spear (Hallowed Isle, Bk 2)

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ISBN 10:  0380805464 ISBN 13:  9780380805464
Publisher: Harper Voyager, 1999
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9780739407769: The hallowed isle

SFBC F..., 2000
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9780380788705: The Hallowed Isle Book One: The Book of the Sword (Book of the Sword/Diana L. Paxson, Bk 1)

Harper..., 1999
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9780783895567: The Book of the Spear

G K Ha..., 2002
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