cover image Mindsword's Story

Mindsword's Story

Fred Saberhagen. Tor Books, $16.95 (250pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85128-6

Set in the same universe as Saberhagen's excellent Empire of the East, this book continues its sitcom spin-off exploitation of the original fantasy concept. For a game, the Gods created 12 Swords of Power, giving them to humans for use and misuse. But the Swords were more powerful than the Gods, and now only the Swords remain, with humans scheming to steal them from each other. All the Lost Sword stories involve the family of Prince Mark and Princess Kristin. Here, Mindsword, when drawn, compels complete loyalty and love to the wielder. Neighboring Prince Murat hopes to win Kristin's respect by giving her the Sword, but as in a Shakespearian comedy, he finds himself gathering a horde of followers, all proclaiming their devotion, and all of whom would turn on him in anger if released from Mindsword's spell. Like cotton candy, this is an enjoyable quick read, with little substance. (Dec.)