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Swords for Hire: Two of the most unlikely heroes you'll ever meet Paperback – Apr 15 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Centerpunch Press (April 15 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0972488200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972488204
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 254 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,523,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-Sam Hatcher is an ordinary farm boy in the kingdom of Parmall, until his father sends him off to join the elite Royal Guard. The only catch is that the 16-year-old has no military experience. He soon finds himself teamed up with the slightly unbalanced soldier of fortune, Rigby Skeet, and they set out on a mission to find the rightful monarch of Parmall, King Olive, who has been deposed by his sneaky brother, Boonder. Wacky high jinks ensue. The story moves along at a nice clip, and Sam and Rigby develop a funny bantering relationship. The only potential sticking point is the inclusion of some details that seem inappropriate for the intended age group, e.g., Boonder beating his reluctant bride into submission, and saying that he will "put [her] in the tender care of my Elite guards" if she is uncooperative on their wedding night. However, it does not detract enormously from the value of the book.
Alison Ching, North Garland High School, Garland, TX
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Swords is sublime. Smart, quick, funny and unexpected -- you'll gulp it down and then wish you had made it last longer. You'll share it with everyone you know just so you can talk about it again and again.
Get at least two copies; one to keep and some to share. Swords stirs up classic adventure with offbeat characters and waggish dialogue to deliver a hearty, crowd-pleasing read. After I finished the book, I read it to my 2nd grade son. He was hooked at the opening line and begged, "Please just one more chapter!" Several friends' kids from 8 to 17 have quickly devoured Swords as soon as I passed it on, choosing it for book reports and telling friends about it. My first copy still hasn't made it back to me I'm told it's been read by an entire household and is making its way through another. Few books have the potential to be a favorite among multiple generations, but Swords for Hire seems to have enough magic for everyone.
Though Swords is the first we've seen from the young late Allen, don't think you're getting lightweight writing with this book. Swords may be fresh and witty but it exhibits the sophistication and craftsmanship of a seasoned novelist. I found it no surprise to learn that Allen wrote for most of his short life: his Swords is an unconventional classic that can stand with the best. You'll be proud to say you read it and loved it.
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By Detra Fitch TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 31 2003
Format: Paperback
Sam Hatcher lived on a farm until he turned sixteen. Then he became an apprentice to Rigby Skeet, Sword For Hire. A smuggled message landed in their hands to reveal that the "deceased king" was not really dead. Instead, King Olive was caged in a far away dungeon and guarded by "the Boneman". The two set out to rescue their true king from the evil guards.
I found this story to be an absolute delight! All through the book I chuckled and often I found myself laughing out loud. The author expressed even the most common things in the most unusual and humorous ways. For example: "Imagine a dark, sinister-looking castle, then multiply by two and you'd have the castle of the Boneman."
The author also added some strange personalities that kids of all ages cannot help but find amusing, such as the false king who enjoyed nothing more than putting worms on top of his head. It is things such as these that will make young readers WANT to read. Each chapter is short, which is recommended for younger readers as well. And of course, there must be (and is) a beautiful damsel in distress that needs to be rescued. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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Format: Paperback
Some of the most entertaining books are the ones nobody knew about. The not-exactly-new fantasy novel "Swords for Hire" is one of those, written over twenty years ago by a very talented young man, and now available because of his brother. Fans of "Princess Bride" and the works of Craig Shaw Gardner should check this one out.
The good and kindly King Olive is dead. Actually, he isn't - he was quietly usurped from his throne by his greasy, incompetent brother Boonder (who likes to put worms on his head). Olive has been held captive for three years in a cell guarded by the horrifying Boneman. All of this is unknown to the farm boy Sam Hatcher, who is sent by his father to become one of the Royal Guard. He doesn't quite make the cut, and is sent to Rigby Skeet, an eccentric but very capable "Sword for Hire" (who likes cute little rabbits).
Sam has only been there a short time when a man carrying the king's "Help" message staggers in and dies of three arrows. Soon he and Rigby are making a desperate run for the king's prison to set him free, with the brutal King's elite on their tail. Will they free Boonder's unwilling bride, Melinda? Will they make it past a deceptive sorcerer? And will they get Olive from the clutches of the sinister Boneman?
"Swords for Hire," although it was only just published, was actually written in the late 1970s by a very bright young man, Will Allen, who gave copies of it to his family for Christmas. Sadly, he died of melanoma a few months later. (He closely resembled Sam on the cover) He was a fan of Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Mark Twain, and particularly the novel "Princess Bride" (there's a clever homage to it late in the book).
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Format: Paperback
Sam Hatcher is a normal, if a bit cynical, farm boy who is clearly not destined to become a farmer. His father recognizes this and sends him off to join the Royal Guard on his sixteenth birthday. Thus begins an adventure that teams him up with Rigby Skeet, a mentor who is slightly deranged, on a quest to rescue the true King from the dungeon in which his slimy, worm-loving brother has imprisoned him.

The story is fast and fun and often surprising, taking a classic adventure story and saturating it with humor and irony, smashing through clichés as quickly as the protagonists smash through obstacles.
Sam is no starry-eyed apprentice and his mentor is no all-knowing master, and this lack of established adventure story roles leaves room for so much more.
This story was loved by every kid with whom it was shared, from age seven to age fifteen, and the adults who read it loved it even more.
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