The Broken Sword

The Broken Sword is a fantasy novel by American writer Poul Anderson, originally published in 1954. It was issued in a revised edition by Ballantine Books as the twenty-fourth volume of their Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in January 1971. The original text was returned to print by Gollancz in 2002.[1]

The Broken Sword
Broken sword
Dust-jacket from the first edition.
AuthorPoul Anderson
CountryUnited States
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback)


The book tells the story of Skafloc, elven-fosterling and originally son of Orm the Strong. The story begins with the marriage of Orm the Strong and Aelfrida of the English. Orm kills a witch's family on the land and later half-converts to Christianity, but quarrels with the local priest and sends him off the land. Meanwhile, an elf named Imric, with the help of the witch, seeks to capture the newly born son of Orm. In his place, Imric leaves a changeling called Valgard. The real son of Orm is taken away to elven lands and named Skafloc by the elves who raise him. As the story continues, both Skafloc and Valgard have significant roles in the war between the trolls and the elves.


Anthony Boucher praised the original edition as "a magnificent saga of the interplay of gods, demigods, faerie, heroes and men."[2] Groff Conklin described the novel as "a rip-snorting, bloody, imitation-Norse epic containing all the elements of faerie".[3] Michael Moorcock declared The Broken Sword superior to Tolkien, calling it "a fast-paced doom-drenched tragedy in which human heroism, love and ambition, manipulated by amoral gods, elves and trolls, led inevitably to tragic consequences."[1] E. F. Bleiler, commenting on the revised edition, declared that "The first portion of this novel is perhaps the finest American heroic fantasy, with good characterizations, excellent surface detail, good plotting, and an admirable recreation of the mood of the Old Norse literature. But the story ends in a mad scramble and unconvincing slaughter".[4]

Influences and adaptation

The novel is set during the Viking Age and the story contains many references to the Norse mythology.[5] It is often described as a successor to the 1891 novel The Saga of Eric Brighteyes, by H. Rider Haggard. A partial adaptation of the novel, done as a serialized black-and-white graphic novel, was adapted by fantasy writer Tom Reamy and illustrated by professional fantasy artist George Barr. This was published during the mid-to-late 1960s over several issues of Reamy's twice Hugo Award-nominated science fiction fanzine Trumpet; the adaptation was never completed, though there were revived plans underway to do so at the time of Reamy's death in late 1977.[6] British fantasy writer Michael Moorcock has written that The Broken Sword greatly influenced his stories; Moorcock's Elric of Melniboné series features a magic sword, Stormbringer, which has many similarities to Skafloc's sword.


  1. ^ a b Michael Moorcock (24 January 2003). "Tolkien times two". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  2. ^ "Recommended Reading," F&SF, February 1955, pp.97.
  3. ^ "Galaxy's 5 Star Shelf", Galaxy Science Fiction, May 1955, p.115
  4. ^ E. F. Bleiler, The Guide to Supernatural Fiction, Kent State University Press, 1983, pp .5-6
  5. ^ Clute, John; Grant, John (1999-03-15). "Nordic Fantasy". The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. Macmillan. p. 692. ISBN 9780312198695.
  6. ^ Gravett, Paul (January 6, 2008). "Bryan Talbot: An Artistic Wonder From Wearside". Retrieved 26 November 2010.


  • Tuck, Donald H. (1974). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. p. 9.

External links

Adelaide O'Keeffe

Adelaide O'Keeffe (5 November 1776 – 4 September 1865) was an amanuensis, poet, and novelist. She was known for her children's poetry and authored what is perhaps the first verse novel for children.

Broken Sword

Broken Sword is a franchise centered on a series of adventure games. The first game in the series, Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars, was released in 1996 by English video game company Revolution Software. The first sequel, Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror, was released a year later, and was followed by three more sequels: Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon in 2003, Broken Sword: The Angel of Death in 2006, and Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse in 2013. A remake of the first game in the series, known as Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars – The Director's Cut, was released in 2009, and a remake of the second game in the series, Broken Sword: The Smoking Mirror – Remastered, in 2010 (for iOS devices; other platforms followed in 2011).

The main protagonists of the series are George Stobbart, an American patent lawyer, and Nicole "Nico" Collard, a French freelance journalist, Nico does not appear as a playable character in the original game The Shadow of the Templars, she would become one in the Director's Cut.

The Broken Sword series was originally conceived in 1994 by Charles Cecil, Noirin Carmody and Sean Brennan, while talking about the mythology of the Knights Templar. The first three games in the series were all developed by Revolution Software, while the fourth game was co-developed by Revolution and Sumo Digital. The Shadow of the Templars and The Smoking Mirror were critical and commercial successes, selling millions. However, The Sleeping Dragon and The Angel of Death received mixed reviews and were not as popular as the first two games. This was mainly due to the switch to 3D graphics and that the third game left the "point and click" interface to a more action oriented gameplay. The series appeared on several top adventure game lists. A comic book was produced for each remake of the first two Broken Sword games.

In 2007, it was revealed that a Broken Sword film was in the works and would be produced by CastleBright studios, although there has been no sign of development for many years, which may indicate that the project has been abandoned. However, in 2015, Matt Smalley of Cheltenham, UK, started fund raising on a new planned Broken Sword film. According to Matt Smalley "Fund Raising is going well, I send out at least 50 emails and Facebook posts a week and hope to reach my target amount shortly. But not before sending out some more emails and recurring Facebook posts."In 2016, the Guinness World Records announced that the Broken Sword franchise now holds the Record for the “Longest running graphic adventure protagonist”. The achievement will be recognised in the next edition of the Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition 2017.

Charles Cecil

Charles Cecil (born 11 August 1962) is a British video game designer and co-founder of Revolution Software. Cecil was taken to the Democratic Republic of the Congo when he was still very young, but was evacuated two years after Mobutu Sese Seko's coup d'état. He studied at Bedales School in Hampshire, England. In 1980 he began his studies in Engineering Manufacture and Management at Manchester University, where he met student Richard Turner who invited him to write text adventures for Artic Computing. After completing his degree in 1985 he decided to continue his career in game development and became director of Artic. The following year he established Paragon Programming, a game development company working with British publisher U.S. Gold. In 1987 he moved into publishing as a software development manager for U.S. Gold. A year later he was approached by Activision and was offered the position of manager of their European development studio.

In 1990, Cecil founded Revolution along with Tony Warriner, David Sykes and Noirin Carmody. Originally located in Hull, the company moved to York in 1994. Cecil then became Revolution's managing director and focussed on writing and design. For the company's first title, Lure of the Temptress (1992), Cecil conceived with others an innovative game engine, called Virtual Theatre, that was designed by Tony Warriner. Cecil's interest in cinematic techniques and technical developments became manifest in Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars and the games that followed. Broken Sword 1 was a 2D point-and-click game, but by the end of the nineties Cecil took the company to 3D games with direct control, including Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon (2003). In 2004 with no project at hand, he, as head of the company, let everyone go. Nevertheless, he continued to design by implementing the so-called "Hollywood model", in which each time a team is assembled to create a movie. For the fourth Broken Sword game, Broken Sword: The Angel of Death, he decided to work with Sumo Digital. By the end of the decade new developments made it possible to renew the back catalogue of Revolution, and in 2011 Develop ranked Revolution Software among the top 50 most successful development studios in the world. Currently Revolution is working on Broken Sword – The Serpent's Curse.

Lure of the Temptress was followed by a string of critically and commercially successful adventure games, including Beneath a Steel Sky, the Broken Sword series, In Cold Blood and Gold and Glory: The Road to El Dorado. Beneath a Steel Sky and the Broken Sword series are often referred to as one of the best adventures of all time, appearing on numerous "top" adventure game lists and receiving several awards and nominations. Sales of Broken Sword 1 and 2 have made over US$100 million and have sold over 3 million copies worldwide. New versions were downloaded by over 4 million people in 2011. Cecil worked on various adventure games outside Revolution, including The Da Vinci Code and Doctor Who: The Adventure Games.

Cecil is currently operating as managing director of Revolution. He co-founded Game Republic in 2003 and has been a director on the board. He is a member of the advisory committee for the renewed Game Republic, and has been on the advisory panel of the Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival. He is member of the advisory panel of the Evolve and Develop Conference, a board member of Screen Yorkshire, and a member of Skillset's Computer Games Skills Council. He regularly talks at events and to mainstream press about creative and commercial aspects of the gaming industry. In 2006, he was awarded the status of "Development Legend" by Develop. He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to the video game industry.

Chestnut (joke)

Chestnut is a British slang term for an old joke, often as old chestnut.

The term is also used for a piece of music in the repertoire that has grown stale or hackneyed with too much repetition.

A plausible explanation for the term given by the Oxford English Dictionary is that it originates from a play named "The Broken Sword" by William Dimond, in which one character keeps repeating the same stories, one of them about a cork tree, and is interrupted each time by another character who says: Chestnut, you mean ... I have heard you tell the joke twenty-seven times and I am sure it was a chestnut. The play was first performed in 1816, but the term did not come into widespread usage until the 1880s.

Fantasy Masterworks

Fantasy Masterworks is a series of British paperbacks intended to comprise "some of the greatest, most original, and most influential fantasy ever written", and claimed by its publisher Millennium (an imprint of Victor Gollancz) to be "the books which, along with Tolkien, Peake and others, shaped modern fantasy."It has a companion series in the SF Masterworks line. A separate Future Classics line has also started featuring eight science fiction novels from the last few decades.

The books were numbered only through No. 50; in the 2013 reboot of the series the books are unnumbered, have a uniform look, and feature introductions by well-known writers and critics.

José Luis Alcaine

José Luis Alcaine (born 26 December 1938) is a Spanish born cinematographer. Educated in Tangier's he was the first cinematographer to use fluorescent tube as key lighting in the 1970s. He has worked on films such as Belle Époque - Fernando Trueba - (Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, 1993) The Skin I Lived In - Pedro Almodovar -, and Todos Lo Saben. - Ashgar Farhadi .

He won the European Film Award (EFA) for Volver.

His enormous cinematographic work has been rewarded with five Goya Awards for the best photography of a total of eighteen nominations

In 2011 he released his theory of the inspiration of Picasso's Guernica. According to him, the inspiration was due to very defined images in the film Farewell to Arms (1932) by Frank Borzage . There are eleven well-known coincidences between shots of the film and the magnificent Guernica painting : like the horse neighing, the woman who cries out to the sky, the door at the back -with a very similar shadow drawing in the film and in the painting- , the fire of the house, the terrified face of a woman, the woman fleeing with open arms, the dead man lying face up in the painting with his hand outstretched - in the film he is face down, but in some photos taken by the photographer of Picasso,Dora Maar , from the first notes of Guernica, we can see that he began painting this body face down - the open hand towards the sky that corresponds to a large foreground of a hand that closes convulsively in the film, the woman with the child in arms that cries to the heavens, the goose that screams in terror that corresponds to a cradle where two scared geese are transported - the broken sword that corresponds to a dialogue in the film in which Gary Cooper tells Helen Hayes that swords are no longer good for the battle front. In addition, the painting was painted by Picasso in black and white, just like the film and the whole picture gives the impression that everything has a movement from right to left exactly like the sequence from which most inspirations are culled, that all of it develops from right to left. And finally José Luis Alcaine adds that for him, the bull of Guernica is the representation of his painter, Pablo Picasso since he has shown himself many times as a bull in several of his paintings. And he also has a place in the painting that is very similar to Velázquez's place in Las Meninas , a painting that is the most admirable in the world for Picasso.

Lure of the Temptress

Lure of the Temptress is Revolution Software's debut point-and-click adventure game published by Virgin Interactive Entertainment. It was released in June 1992 for Atari ST, MS-DOS and Amiga. The player assumes the role of a young peasant named Diermot who has to overthrow an evil sorceress. Lure of the Temptress is the first game built with the Virtual Theatre engine, which Revolution used in the subsequent games Beneath a Steel Sky and the first two games in the Broken Sword series. It was received favourably by critics, a commercial success and re-released as freeware on April 1, 2003.


Ohtar is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium.

In the story "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields" found in Tolkien's Unfinished Tales, Ohtar was introduced as squire to Isildur, the Gondorian king who cut the ruling ring from the hand of Sauron at the end of the Second Age. A few years later, they were leading a small army of Men when a huge force of Orcs attacked. Isildur saw that they were in great peril, and determined to save one of the great heirlooms of his people—the shards of Isildur's sword. Isildur called Ohtar to his side; Tolkien wrote that Ohtar "was dear to Isildur and of his own kin", and suggested that Ohtar was not the squire's proper name but "probably only the title of address that Isildur used at this tragic moment, hiding his feelings under formality".

Isildur entrusted Ohtar with the broken sword and said, "Save it from capture by all means that you can find, and at all costs; even at the cost of being held a coward who deserted me. Take your companion with you and flee! Go! I command you!"Isildur and virtually his entire army were soon wiped out by the Orc horde. The only other survivor was Estelmo, a young squire found "stunned and buried under fallen men", among them Elendur, Aratan, and Ciryon, Isildur's eldest sons.

Ohtar and his (unnamed) companion escaped the Orcs' onslaught, and delivered Isildur's sword to Rivendell, where Elrond fostered Isildur's youngest son Valandil.

Steve Ince

Steve Ince is a British writer and game designer, known for his work on Revolution Software titles such as the Broken Sword series, and is working on a freelance basis.

Before entering the video game industry, Ince earned a degree in astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In 1993, Ince was employed by Revolution Software, where he worked on titles such as Beneath a Steel Sky, the Broken Sword series, In Cold Blood and Gold and Glory: The Road to El Dorado. He left the company in 2004, and set up a new website, Steve Ince Solutions, offering solutions for writing and design in the video game industry.

Ince is also a creator of various comic strips and in 2004 a collection of one of his comic strips was published by BookSurge Publishing. In 2005 he launched Juniper Games, a label under which he would develop his own games, which was followed by the release of its first game, Mr. Smoozles Goes Nutso. He also announced a new company, InceSight, through which he offered his skills and experience to developers and publishers in need of assistance in the fields of writing and game design. Ince wrote down his ideas on game design in a series on Developing Thoughts, and in a book entitled Writing for Video Games.

As writer, designer or script editor Ince has been working on a number of games, most notably Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None, The Witcher, So Blonde and The Whispered World. When Revolution started working on remakes of the first two Broken Sword games for newer platforms in 2009 and 2010, Ince became involved again. During this time he also worked on Spare Parts, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, and ScanMe, and on casual/hidden object games, such as Rhianna Ford and The Da Vinci Letter and two Special Enquiry Detail games. For Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon, Ince received a nomination for Excellence in Writing at the Game Developers Choice Awards 2004. In 2008 he received another nomination from the Writers' Guild of Great Britain in the category of Best Video Game Script for the game So Blonde. As of February 2012 Ince is represented by the SMART Talent agency.

The Battle for Skies

The Battle for Skies (Russian: Битва за небеса) is a novel by Russian author Maxim Kalashnikov, first published in 2000 by the Great Resistance publisher. It is the second part of Kalashnikov's historical, geopolitical and economical series of novels (the sequel to The Broken Sword of the Empire).

The Battle for Skies is essentially the big missing part of The Broken Sword of the Empire—what the author meant to write about the Cold War but didn't include into the first book. A few changes can yet be seen. Kalashnikov was deeply touched by the Yugoslavian crisis (Operation Allied Force) in 1999. As a result, he wrote the introduction of the second book by exposing his thoughts about this war. Notably, the author draw a distinct parallel between the events in Yugoslavia and the state of affairs in Russia. Kalashnikov was convinced that it was only an exercise for the "Westerners" (NATO country-members), and that the same destiny would await Russia in the close future.

The Broken Sword of the Empire

The Broken Sword of the Empire (Russian: Сломанный меч Империи) is a book by Russian author Maxim Kalashnikov, first published in 1998 by the Great Resistance publisher. It is the first part of a historical, geopolitical and economic series by the author.

The Broken Sword of the Empire is a historical/geopolitical analysis of Russia in the period from the 1930s to the 1990s. The whole book is constructed as an answer to the question “Who was winning the Third World Cold War?”

The Druid of Shannara

The Druid of Shannara is a fantasy novel by American writer Terry Brooks. The second book of his tetralogy of The Heritage of Shannara, it was first published in 1991.

The Forever King

The Forever King is a fantasy book written by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy, the authors of Grandmaster, which reached #3 on The New York Times bestseller list. The Forever King is the first in the Forever King Trilogy. The second title is The Broken Sword: King Arthur Returns while the third book is called The Third Magic. Robert Jordan, author of The Dragon Reborn calls The Forever King "a fresh and exciting view of the Arthur legend.”

Set in modern and medieval times, the antagonist Saladin has lived through many of the world’s ages by using the Holy Grail… until he loses it. The Cup finds its way into the hands of ten-year-old Arthur Blessing. Now Hal Woczniak must protect Arthur and the Grail from the madman Saladin, who kills anyone that ever stands in his way or between him and the Cup. The Forever King is 55 chapters divided into three sections entitled, “Book One: The Boy,” “Book Two: The Cup,” and “Book Three: The King.”

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