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Altdorf: A Novel of the Forest Knights [Paperback]

J. K. Swift , Chris Ryan
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 16.37
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Book Description

Jan. 8 2012
A wild land too mountainous to be tamed by plows... A Duke of the Holy Roman Empire, his cunning overshadowed only by his ambition... A young Priestess of the Old Religion, together with a charismatic outlaw, sparking a rebellion from deep within the forests... And an ex-Hospitaller caught between them all. "Re-imagining the William Tell legend-without William Tell." At the end of the thirteenth century, five hundred orphans and second sons are rounded up from villages in the Alpine countryside and sold to the Hospitaller Knights of St John. Trained to serve as Soldiers of Christ, they fight in eastern lands they know nothing about, for a cause they do not understand. Thomas Schwyzer, released from his vows by the Grandmaster of the Hospitallers, returns to the land of his birth a stranger. Once a leader of men, and captain of the Order's most famous war galley, he now settles into the simple life of a ferryman. He believes this new role to be God's reward for years of faithful service fighting the Infidel in Outremer. Seraina, considered a witch by most, a healer by some, is a young woman with a purpose. A Priestess of the Old Religion, and the last Druid disciple of the Helvetii Celts, she has been gifted by the Great Weave to see what others cannot. Her people need her guidance and protection now more than ever. For Duke Leopold of Habsburg, in his efforts to control the St. Gotthard Pass, builds a great Austrian fortress in Altdorf. Once finished, the Habsburg occupation will be complete, but the atrocities visited upon her people will have just begun. Set in medieval Switzerland, ALTDORF, a novel of The Forest Knights, is the first book in a two-book series.

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Product Description

About the Author

J. K. Swift writes historical fiction and fantasy from his home in Vancouver, Canada. He has worked as a school teacher, jailhouse guard, Japanese translator, log peeler, accountant, martial arts instructor, massage therapist, technical editor, and has called a few Bingo games. He gets his story ideas while traveling in Europe and wandering aimlessly along the streets and beaches of the Pacific Northwest.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable tale Feb. 6 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An enjoyable epic about a small group of crusaders returning from the Holy Land, it intermingles historical fact, a little Robin Hood, and William Tell. A good read, but a little too short for my liking.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  147 reviews
62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Forest Knights: Altdorf Oct. 30 2011
By Rachel Ellen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This was a terrific book! It has got knights, sword fights, druids, damsels, and heros who stand up for justice for their people. I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish it. When I first started to read, I was afraid that the story would be cheesy and that there would be glaring historical innacuracies. However, I found it to be a complex story line and, after looking up some of the actual historical characters I found that the book portrayed historical characters and settings accurately within the framework of the fictional story. I did feel that the book ended a little too abruptly. I know there is a second book that continues the story, but I think that books in a series should still be able to stand alone. The suddenness of the ending, while making me want to read the second book, left me feeling like this book was actually "Part 1" and not able to stand on its own. I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to review it.
84 of 93 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Frustrated with ending Dec 30 2012
By RSDickson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book until I got to the nonexistent ending. I understand the desire to get the reader into the next book in a series, but to trick the reader into it by waiting to the stopping of the story to do it is very frustrating. Just tell me up front that I have to get two books, or more - that is just being honest. This is the second time I have been fooled by this trick and I don't appreciate it. So, reader beware. Again, I enjoyed the story, but know that you will need to get a second book to have a satisfying conclusion.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars are there no Good Editors left in the world? Oct. 29 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Once again a story that a decent editor would have fixed or trashed and saved me two hours muddling through bad dialogue and tired old tales retold badly filled with far too much gore and mutilation, to the point I think it is clear the author is a sicko.

the story is of Hospitaller Knights AFTER their Crusade in the holy land, 7 are left after 10? 20? or 30? years of fighting, the author cites at least three different lengths of time.

the remaining 7 travel back to Switzerland where they were taken? as children by the Knights and pressed into service to eventually be used to fight wars for the Holy Church in Rome....take that for what it is worth. The backstory is clumsily told and is flashbacked far too many times.

The soldiers then disband and we follow the life of the Captain as evil Kings and Dukes and what not all work against him , many characters are introduced to us, none of them likeable or memorable, the hero has his life long friend killed and his love of his life stolen from him by an evil Duke...yadda yadda where have we seen this tired chesnut before....and so on and so on,

the story could be a good one but the TELLING of it is simply horrible but you can't tell that until you are well through it, characters are described in detail over and over and they play no part in the tale,.you find yourself skimming then simply skipping ahead, skipping ahead skipping ahead....

perhaps there are too many characters introduced and being over done because they are in future books....heres the mark of a good writer...tell the story clearly. and to be clear you need to be brief. stop introducing characters that we never see again !

and be well aware that the author has a very unnatural need to throw rape into any situation, rape, torture and demonic sadism seems to fill this authors mind. To the point where he takes a treatise on witches from hundreds of years in the future and brings it into this tale simply to justify a few more torture scenes, that go on far longer and in more detail than a normal person would fixate on.

seek help whacko and we can only hope the Canadian police keep an eye on this sick freak.

Instead of crafting a clear and well told story this author seemingly chooses to decide he will write 39 books about the Forest Knights...which we never meet in this book, and then cranks out the tale until 280 pages is met and then the story ends with Prologue Epilogue and a few flashbacks and flashsideways to boot. others said POINTLESS and they were correct.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CAT May 10 2013
By Jen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When I started reading this book, I wasn't overly impressed because it seemed like way too much time was spent creating the characters. My wife felt the same way later when she read the book. However, once we got past the introductions, and into the heart of the book, the reason for spending the extra time getting to know the characters became apparent.

This book ended up being one of the best I've read in the past year. I ended up buying the sequal so I could find out how it ended.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hopeless July 9 2013
By runruby - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was good for me, but not great.

It was a little violent for my taste. Even as I type that though...the scenes were not terribly violent, I think what got to me was the undercurrent of hopelessness woven throughout this book. The thinking of the men, the violet tendencies (rape/torture), and the lack of a "good guy" all contributed to the hopelessness. I can see how many people would feel it is very romantic, but I just felt sad.

I do not think it is "inappropriate", just not to my taste.
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