Sword-Dancer by Jennifer Roberson

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc. 

A few weeks ago I read the exceptional retelling of Robin Hood, Lady of the Forest, by Jennifer Roberson and was obviously intrigued with such a talented author. Immediately I set out to unearth her other novels, which of course led me to discover her Tiger and Del fantasy series. Not withstanding its awesomely bad cover, I quickly ordered the first, Sword-Dancer with high hopes.

Known throughout the Southron for his courage and deadly skill with a sword, the Sandtiger has survived his fair share of dangerous and unusual scrapes as a sword-dancer. But from the minute the strange woman with the pale hair and a sword strapped to her back stepped into the cantina, Tiger knows he's out of his league with Del. Tiger is even more stunned to discover that Del wants hire him to lead her through the Punja desert in search of her brother who was stolen by slavers years before. Knowing a crazy undertaking when he hears it, Tiger still agrees to Del's proposal. No sooner do the pair set off, than they are set upon by viscous desert tribes, fierce sandtigers, and the harsh desert itself; that is when they aren't trading insults or clashing swords.

Holy cow this book is a whole new animal. One that I fell in love with double quick. And that includes its 'unique' cover - which I absolutely adore to tell you the truth - because that is Del. Told solely from the perspective of the arrogant and often narrow-minded (yet oh so lovable) Tiger, Sword-Dancer excels at describing the tricky relationship of Tiger and Del. Both are incredibly strong personalities who are more than capable of taking care of themselves but together they form this crazy partnership that simply works. Obviously Del as a foreigner has buckets to learn about the Southron from Tiger but more often than not, she's the one teaching Tiger a thing or two about his deepest self. And Del. That girl won my heart with her fierce determination and her willingness to challenge every accepted tradition - especially when it comes to women being capable of wielding a sword and wielding it well. I love nothing better than watching strong characters go through the toughest of trials and Sword-Dancer does just that. Tiger and Del face some heartbreaking obstacles and emerge all the stronger. Love this book. Love the characters. I'm anxious to see where Tiger and Del go next.

series reading order:
~ Sword-Dancer
~ Sword-Singer
~ Sword-Maker
~ Sword-Breaker
~ Sword-Born
~ Sword-Sworn

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
Angieville review

book source: purchased


Unknown said...

Wow, thanks for the review - I will definitely check out this book! It sounds like a great fantasy read :)

I haven't read any "old" fantasies anymore, and you've caught my interest!

Angiegirl said...

It does my heart good to see this review. I didn't know what to expect going into this one either, having only read her historicals. But, wow, do I love these two. And each book is better. The scene toward the end where she does something specifically for him . . . *love*

Chachic said...

LOL at the cover! It's such an old school fantasy cover. I'm hoping that this one is available locally because it sounds like just my kind of thing (any book with an excellent swordswoman is).

Holly said...

These two sound awesome. I'll definitely have to pick this up when I'm in the mood for some sword-wielding fantasy.

Michelle said...

Epic Rat - Oh this one is a treasure and I think you'd enjoy it immensely.

Angie - You've started me on some serious book crack sweetie. Tiger and Del are priceless. And that scene? So dang good.

Chachic - Yes! Female swordswoman!! You will dive right into this one I'm sure.

Holly - Yup and yup. Both are excellent.

Janicu said...

I had a hard time getting into this book so although I own it, I haven't really ever finished it. I should give it another try.