By the Sword (Kerowyn's Tale Series #1) (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

By the Sword (Kerowyn's Tale Series #1) (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

by Mercedes Lackey


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When an attack on her home leaves her father slain, her brother wounded, and her brother's fiancee kidnapped, Kerowyn prepares to face the enemy who has shattered her family's dreams.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780613630245
Publisher: Turtleback Books
Publication date: 07/01/2003
Series: Valdemar Series
Pages: 492
Product dimensions: 4.25(w) x 6.88(h) x 0.94(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Mercedes Ritchie Lackey is an American writer of fantasy novels. Many of her works are interlinked and set in the world of Velgarth, mostly in and around the country of Valdemar. She is also the author of the Dragon Jousters series and the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms books, including The Fairy Godmother and Fortune’s Fool. Lackey is also a professional lyricist and a licensed wild bird rehabilitator. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband and collaborator, artist Larry Dixon, and their flock of parrots.

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By the Sword (Kerowyn's Tale Series #1) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 96 reviews.
W_Wyoung More than 1 year ago
I loved this book in its print form: it's got a great character, a fairly different set-up, and serves as a wonderful start of the whole "Winds" and "Storm" series of stories. When the ebook became available, I jumped at the chance to be able to take this on the road. I would have rated this book higher, except that, sadly, the eBook shows appalling signs of never having been proofread. It is literally filled with hundreds (yes, I counted) of errors. These are things like: 1. Incorrect use of the short dash instead of the long (typographical) dash 2. Obvious OCR errors (the word "corner" is changed to "comer" in many places) 3. Incorrect or inconsistent italics 4. Words that are in bold when they shouldn't be (the print version didn't use bolding at all) 5. Incorrect switching of single and double quotes, as well as using open quote instead of close quote or vice versa 6. Spaces or hyphens in the middle of words that shouldn't be there 7. Punctuation missing from some places. Don't get me wrong. You can still enjoy the story very well, but if you're a stickler for grammar and spelling, and expect something that looks like it was, you know, spell-checked and proofread, then you'll be very annoyed by this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was pretty good. There just seemed to be something missing that I just can't seem to grasp. I recomend this book to anyone reading the Valdemar books by Mercedes Lackey. Any people reading all the books by chronological order, my advice to you is this: read part one and two right after the Vows and Honor, then read Talia's tales (Arrows of the Queen, Arrow's Flight and Arrow's Fall), and then go back and read part three. Follow the time line normally afterward.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Even after 20 years of reading novels this is still my favorite book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have yet to find a book that I don't like by Mercedes Lackey.
zsms on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books as a kid. Solid plot, great characters, and generally good writing. I'd give this to almost anyone who likes fantasy.
van_stef on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very different book than any other in the series. Kerowyn is a very unique character is Valdemar and I love how we get to learn more about her and her past history.
jjmcgaffey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don't know why it was such a slog this time, but it was - finally I said I wasn't reading _anything_ else until I'd finished that. I enjoyed it, but I'd still have been picking up other books if I hadn't said that. Oh, and of course now I want to read more Velgarth/Valdemar books - Talia's story, and Elspeth's, and the Mage Storms where earthsense and Iftel and the Shin'a'in plains come back into the story...Unfortunately Misty Lackey doesn't keep very close track of things, and I have the kind of memory where I notice that. Things like in Exile's Valor Thanel uses his father's death to creep back into Selenay's favor after he's made her mad - but in By the Sword it was Thanel's attempt to kill Selenay that killed Jad. And the timing of the Tedrel Wars jumps around like a springbug - I've forgotten the details now but in Take a Thief it needs to have been several years before, but by Elspeth's age it must have been more recent, and in By the Sword it was ages ago (before Kero left Tarma & Kethry), but... And in Oathbound Tarma comments that her horse is 'deeply offended by all this white stuff on the ground' because snow never sticks much on the Dhorisha Plains - and then in Mage Storms they're working their way through several-foot-deep snow and the Shin'a'in seem to have handling it worked out. That _could_ be because of the Storms, but it doesn't say so. For that matter, the Snow Demon story indicates that there's heavy snow on the Plains. Sigh. There has been a Valdemar Companion concordance put out - I should look and see if any of this is explained in there.
dasuzuki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I¿ve read this book so many times I actually need to get a new copy because my copy is falling apart. I love Kerowyn and you see her in many of the other Valdemar books so if you have read those and wonder how she became who she is, this book tells her story. Readers see Kerowyn turn from this sheltered young girl into one of the top mercenary in the mercenary guild.The book is basically broken up into two parts. The first part follows Kerowyn as she is taken in by her grandmother, Kethry, and retired mercenary, Tarma. Tarma basically takes Kerowyn under her wing and hones her into a deadly weapon and gives her the confidence to go out and make a living on her own and not depend on a man to take care of her.The second half of the book is Kerowyn¿s entry into a mercenary guild, her rise in the ranks and eventually the job that takes her into Valdemar to meet the Heralds and Companions. And just maybe will she find true love with a man who views her as an equal?
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Two series Lackey published early in her career was Vows and Honor, dealing with Tarma and Kethry and the Valdemar series, dealing with Heralds, a police/military force bonded with magical horses. Both series were favorites of mine when I was a decade younger and still hold up now. Although I think By the Sword could stand alone, I'd read those novels first. The Vows and Honors books are first chronologically speaking and start with The Oathbound. The first Herald Trilogy, begin with Arrows of the Queen and end with Arrows Fall. Arrows Fall overlaps a bit with By the Sword and so would act as a spoiler. Having loved the other books set in this world, the small roles in this book by the earlier characters such as Tarma, Kethry and Talia was a treat. I found the protagonist, Kerowyn, appealing. I like how this novel dealt with life in a mercenary company and in that way is reminiscent of Moon's The Deed of Paksenarrion or the Tarma and Kethry novel, Oathbreakers. By the Sword was an engaging and fun read.
men1967 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book that got me started on the Valdemar series. What a fantastic novel - great characters, exciting plot... it has it all!
kyira.kalifax on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this book!! It's one of those good old adventure/love stories, only in this book the girl does all the rescuing and life-saving.
jehovahrapha on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I always liked Kero, and I love how well this book fills in both the gaps in the existing Valdemar storyline (between Arrow's Fall and Winds of Fate), and touches back on the Tarma and Kethry stories (which I love almost more than the Valdemar tales) as well as being something unique of its own sake. After all, Kero is special all on her own! I also like the taste of Need's true abilities while still 'sleeping'.
Bibliotropic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mercenary life and fantasy warfare never really interested me that much until I read this book. Why? Because up until that point, so many fantasy novels that I'd read showed either the overblown or the gritty tactics of warfare from the viewpoint of someone who'se brilliant, talented, a star general, and little to no backstory on how he got there. If there was that backstory, it consisted of said leader always having had a talent and getting promotion after promotion within the military with ease.By the Sword tells a slightly different story. For one thing, the hero of the piece is a heroine, still leading battles with aplomb but with the slight twist on the story by virtue of them being female. Which may be nothing to look twice at by today's standards, but there was less of a focus on heroines back in the early 90s, often unless it was to prove a point. Kerowyn doesn't need to prove a point that she's as good as a man by pointing it out at every turn. She does it by being a competant and talented leader who earns respect rather than demands it.Secondly, although Kero is said to have a natural aptitude with swordwork and tactics, she still goes through gruelling training to perfect that talent, and what's more, the reader gets to see it. I don't know about anyone else, but I tend to look sideways at pieces like I mentioned before, where the hero is the hero simply because they are, and where little is shown regarding them actually working for and earning the respect and skills that they command.Internal inconsistancies in this novel as it relates to the rest of the Valdemar novels are, thankfully, at a minimum, which is in no small part due to the fact that the only time it really relates to what happened in other novels is at the beginning when Tarma, Kathry, and Warrl are around, or toward the end when it involves Valdemar and Heralds. It's a good standalone book in the series for that reason.Though I have to admit, I do find it a bit sad when I can say that it's partly good because the errors are kept low. I love Mercedes Lackey, I really do, but the amount of timeline mistakes made through the series... Do not want.Stylistically, this book is on par with most of what Lackey was doing at the time. Between then and now, her work still has gone on to be polished, but the feel of By The Sword style is much the same as what you'll find in just about any of her later Valdemar books, which for me, is a good thing. There's a reason that I class these books as the literary equivalent of comfort food. For all their errors and imperfections, I still love them to death, adore the world created and the stories told in it, and wouldn't want to be without them.As a standlone, this is a book that can be skipped over without missing any major plot points, since some of Kero's backstory is mentioned again in subsequent Valdemar novels. On the other hand, it is a good tale of progression, with good messages about not taking crap from people who are flinging it, about standing up for what you believe in even if others think you're a little nuts, and about not just keeping quiet and accepting what others have decided for you when you're just plain not suited to it. The overall theme is about living your own life and not somebody else's, and that's a theme I can really get behind.Recommended for fans of the Valdemar/Velgarth novels, for those interested in more of Valdemar's backstory, though I wouldn't recommend starting your journey into Valdemar with this one, since it hints at and mentions far too much that Lackey expects you to already know about Tarma and Kethry. If I hadn't already read the Vows and Honor series, I suspect I'd be frustrated at not getting the full story but instead only getting vague mentions of what came before, especially in the way that they're delivered.
Alliebadger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I certainly liked it, but it's not Lackey's best. A lot of it is quite rambling, and while everything still comes together and ties up in a much neater bow than one would think possible, it isn't quite as satisfying as it probably should be. Kerowyn is a protagonist that is easy to identify with (although readers of other Valdemar novels will roll eyes at her stubbornness against going into Valdemar because she thinks she can't POSSIBLY be herself there), and it is written very well as a whole. I do wish there was a map included so I could better follow the travels/battle plans, but I take it as a good sign that I wanted to follow them. :^)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite of all the Valdemar books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
anne_jindra More than 1 year ago
It was the 1980s and feminism was taking fantasy writing by storm. There were movements (Lackey is quoted as apologizing in a cover letter for a predecessor to "By the Sword", saying I know it's another rape and revenge story...), countermovements (Chicks in Chainmail was a huge pun based series of short stories meant to take back the C word), and drives to provide role models for young women, and growing kids. Fantasy was still based largely on reality- which is no bad trick. It wasn't until modern day that we started to experience completely religion free examples of magic (Harry Potter, Twilight, most crappy urban fantasy...). Lackey was an example of her time, but she created such driving, immersive and character based stories that she rocketed to the top of the market. While she started the Valdemar series with "Arrows of the Queen" (based off of a dream she had, although she warns would be writers to avoid the enchanting thought of doing the same- please see "How to Write" for inspiration instead), "By the Sword" rocketed her to the top of the market. Kerowyn is a little sister, a repressed girl with tomboy tendencies, forced to worship and work for Agnetha in her home- the mother aspect of the triple Goddess. Her mother is passed away and her brother is about to get married, her grandmother is a thing of myths and warnings. It sounds like a Disney Film waiting to happen. Her brother's wedding is stormed and her daydreams come true via nightmares- what's now run of the mill in fantasy, but Lackey did it before it was cool. Her grandmother's magic sword wakes for her and basically saves her as she tracks down her brother's new wife, runs off to a life of mercenaryhood and eventually meets and falls in love with the fabled Heralds of Valdemar. The mindmagic, the enchantments, the guardian spirits- all of the elements of the story from the traditional to the cliche (the Hawkbrothers are a white version of Native Americans) are true to form and are a great study point for anyone interested in the influence of mythology on modern day fiction. Overall it's a gripping, if feminist, action packed example of exactly why Mercedes Lackey is one of the richest authors in the history of man.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seriously how did No one catch that its merc not mere I don't think that one was right even once
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started reading Mercedes Lackey with her Vows and Honor Series and I absolutely loved it! From there I just kept on reading her books and when I finally got my hand on this particular book, I expected it to enchant me as the previous three books did. Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed. I expected Kero to be as epic as Kethry and Tarma but she fell short in all aspects. I think I was sorely disappointed by the potential of what Kerowyn could have been. Though she has Kethry's ability to use sorcery, she doesn't tape into that potential. In fact, they mention it in passing what a great potential it would be to hear Need's call and also be a warrior. In fact, I thought it was such a waste that she kept on repressing her magic side because she wanted to be a 'warrior'. I would think that any warrior would jump at the chance to be an effective fighter as well as wield magic. Heck, isn't she one of a kind?!  Oh, well. I must say, the ending was pretty epic but maybe it was because I felt like it was the only real exciting part of the book. I felt the book couldn't hold my attention and it took three tries to finish it. It didn't engage me quite like the previous books and I found her to be rather dull. I was hoping when they mentioned Kethry's extended family we'd see more of the Shinanin or other familiar people from the previous books. I felt like this book was a teaser for many things, dangling the carrot of exciting things to come...but never delivering. I personally don't recommend it because I never feel a sequel that didn't center around familiar characters that you love live up to their potential and just disappoint you. This book just enforces that belief.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Your story is awesome!! I haven't reviewed it until I decided to! Especially since nobody seems to have reviewed it yet..O.e. I have never played the Kirby games so I don't always understand at first but I think I may have a much better understanding of the game now. Plus your story is just super-cool. Keep going!! Pleeeaaase don't be the next fanfic to die on me!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I read from her collection, all her books are well written and keep you going!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago