2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
In the world of good intentions run afoul of fate, Garth the overman occupies a special place. What started out as a lone overman determined to have some impact on the world has turned into a trail of disasters. It's not that Garth particularly relishes wanton slaughter and destruction, but they seem to follow him around. But his last episode - stealing whatever was on the altars of the seven dark gods in Dusaarra - has left him with an unpleasant legacy. Garth is now the wielder of the sword of Bheleu, and it has no intention of letting go of him.
The sword has a nasty habit of taking over Garth's mind and inciting him to violence. Having barely managed to keep his temper during the long trip back from Dusarra to Skelleth he finds that his wife has laid siege to Skelleth (suspecting that Garth was being held captive. Far from straightening thing out, his arrival inflames a conflict that results in Skelleth becoming the spoils of a war that no sane overman would want to start. Gerth is now faced with trying to find a way to undo the disaster at Skelleth and rid himself of the sword - without asking the King in Yellow for help.
Others have noticed that Bheleu now has a avatar. The priesthood of Aghad would like nothing better than to torture Garth to death for desecrating their temple. And the council of wizard has reconvened to stop Garth before the world has to deal with 30 years of increasing destruction. Needless to say, our overman is in hot water, and wherever he turns, someone is turning up the heat. If he doesn't find a solution he is slated to live a short life for an on of his kind.
At this point it is unclear whether Garth is hero or anti-hero. Occasionally he does a good deed or two, and he never really intends to wipe out whole priesthoods or the guards of an entire city. But the peculiarities of overman logic make him a crisis magnet. And nothing he tries works out. Lawrence Watt-Evans has created a truly hapless hero and made him surprisingly sympathetic and believable. As the tale has moved along, it has developed a complex story with serious overtones, but it has never lost its sense of the irreverent, and this is what makes this much more than a fantasy adventure story. Recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Arthur W. Jordin
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Sword of Bheleu (1982) is the third Fantasy novel in The Lords of the Dus series, following The Seven Altars of Dusarra. The initial volume in this sequence is The Lure of the Basilisk.
In the previous volume, three months later, Garth came back to Skelleth with three companions. They entered in the night and set up the trading goods on the town square. Despite their fear of overmen, the villagers were soon trading for the furs and carved ivory.
The Forgotten King sent Saram to fetch Garth. So Garth walked to the King's Inn and told the Forgotten King that he wanted nothing to do with him. Despite his reluctance, the Forgotten King made an unappealing offer for further services.
Later the Baron's guards opened his front door. Herrenmer set a guard on each side of the door and then noticed the overmen. He went over to ask Garth why he has returned,
The baron agreed to let the overmen trade with his villagers if Garth would swear fealty to him. Garth was very angry, but vowed to present the offer to his City Council after returning to Ordunin. Then he returned to the King's Inn and accepted the task proposed by the Forgotten King.
In this novel, Garth is an overman. He is a humanoid taller and stronger than a man. He is the Prince of Ordunin -- a port city in the far north -- and Lord of the Overmen of the Northern Waste. He is married to three overwomen and has many children.
Kyrith is Garth's senior wife. They have no children.
The Forgotten King is an immortal man from long ago. He lives in the King's Inn within the village of Skelleth.
Saram is a former Lieutenant in the guard of the Baron of Skelleth. He had been discharged from the guard for insubordination.
Frima is a young maiden of Dusarra who had been taken by the followers of Sai -- the goddess of pain and suffering -- and tortured by the priests. Garth had rescues her from the altar and took her with him.
Koros is Garth's warbeast. He is a mixture of the breeds of cat, dog and donkey. The warbeast is as tall as a large human, but weighs much more.
In this story, Kyrith is certain that Garth has been held captive by the Baron. She persuades the City Council of Ordunin to send sixty overman to find Garth. The Baron is in a depressive state when the overmen arrive and will not talk to them. Kyrith decides to lay siege to the town.
Galt comes back to Skelleth as co-leader of the group. He doesn't have much to do, since Kyrith has taken overall command of the group. He is standing guard in the rain when Saram comes out to talk to the overmen.
Garth arrives the following day with Frima and Koros. He also has the Sword of Bheleu, the powerful token of the god of destruction. Since he has lost his other weapons, the Sword is his only means of defense.
Garth already has anger management issues. The Sword keeps him at a low level of anger whenever he is near it. The pommel glows bright red while it is manipulating him.
Garth is extremely angry at the news that the overmen are besieging Skelleth. He sends the first overman that he encounters off to gather the others and take them back to the camp. Then Garth faces his wife and tells her that laying siege to Skelleth is an act of war.
Garth has the Sword with him when he leads the overmen to the town square and demands the presence of the Baron. When the Baron appears, he immediate angers Garth and heads back inside his house. Garth draws the Sword and throws it at the Baron's back.
Garth decides to appoint Saram as acting Baron of Skelleth. Garth leaves management of the town to him. Saram selects subordinates to take charge of the various needs of the town. If they don't work out, Saram dismisses them and selects replacements.
The Sword makes Garth irritable. Galt and Kyrith convince him to let them handle problems within the town. Garth spends most of his time within the King's Inn.
Meanwhile, the new head priest of Aghad decides the Sword is too powerful to attack directly. So he sends his acolyte to the Seer of Weideth with word of the destruction caused by Garth. The seer then informs the Council of the Most High -- the wizard organization -- and they become interested in Garth.
This tale makes Garth a target for both the Aghadites and the wizards. The Council tries long-range death spells, but the Sword counters them. The wizards even try to ambush Garth, but nothing works against the Sword.
Only the Forgotten King can shut down the Sword. The next installment in this sequence is The Book of Silence.
Highly recommended for Watt-Evans fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of divine talismans, political intrigue, and alien thinking. Read and enjoy!
-Arthur W. Jordin
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
This book is the key piece in the outstanding "Lords of Dus" series. In this book, Garth the overman comes to understand just what he has in the sword he plundered from the temple of the god of destruction, Bheleu. The sword is a link to the god of destruction himself, plugging Garth directly into the destructive will of Bheleu, who wishes to use him as a tool of destruction. But Garth is an essentially good person (though not a man, but, interestingly, an "overman" - a nicely executed twist in the series).
While Garth has become involved through the wish to achieve fame, he does not want fame through destruction. This pits Garth as an individual against the will of a god, and the twists of fate. Plucky to the end, Garth wrestles through this series with destiny, struggling to bring good out of evil, life out of destruction.
Garth makes a completely atypical hero. He is hideously ugly, not an idealist, and far from being above the temptation of evil power. But he is game! He is determined to maintain his individuality and will in the face of one trial after the next.
These books are filled with imaginative scenarios, wryly humorous developments, and lots of action, details, and surprises. But, beyond being engrossing and enjoyable, they will make you think. This isn't just good fantasy; this is good writing!