- Title: Oath of Swords
- Author: David Weber
- Series: The War God #1
- Genre: Fantasy
- Format: eBook
- Source: Baen Free Library
- Reviewed by: Sonja
- Rating: 5 out of 5
Description: Whom the gods would recruit, they first tick off…
Our Hero: The unlikely Paladin, Bahzell Bahnakson of the Horse Stealer Hradani. He’s no knight in shining armor. He’s a hradani, a race known for their uncontrollable rages, bloodthirsty tendencies, and inability to maintain civilized conduct. None of the other Five Races of man like the hradani. Besides his ethnic burden, Bahzell has problems of his own to deal with: a violated hostage bond, a vengeful prince, a price on his head. He doesn’t want to mess with anybody else’s problems, let alone a god’s. Let alone the War God’s! So how does he end up a thousand leagues from home, neck-deep in political intrigue, assassins, demons, psionicists, evil sorcery, white sorcery, dark gods, good gods, bad poets, greedy landlords, and most of Bortalik Bay? Well, it’s all the War God’s fault.
Review: I unabashedly love this book *and* our hero, Bahzell Bahnakson. I suppose it has standard fantasy tropes – good gods/bad gods good guys/bad guys – but they are tropes for a reason. They work.
It is fascinating to go back and read the description after having finished the book – Bahzell doesn’t want to mess with the problems of others as he has enough of his own . . . Yet, the book begins as he gets himself into deep doodoo because he jumped in to help a young lady who was being ravaged by the royalty of the land. He manages to escape – with her – but a friend tags along (because what is a fantasy story without a rag tag group?) to help him.
I love Bahzell. He jumps in and helps people. And, then thinks about the repercussions. He helps this young lady at the beginning. While escaping with her, he runs into another young lady being beset by a group of hoodlums and winds up escorting her group to their home in far away lands. After he sends them on their way and leads their chasers astray, he runs into yet another group being bullied by elves . . . and . . . you guessed it – steps in to help them. All along his journey, he is being chased by the enemies of the War God whose champions happen to be associated with the first group from whom he saved the girl. Whew. So, I love him because he has a heart of gold – even though he would never admit it in a million years. He thinks he is monster.
I love Bahzell’s relationship with his friend, and bard wannabe, Brandark. As they trot around the globe, saving damsel after damsel and fighting for their lives, their banter never stops. Nor does the fact that they actually care for each other and would defend (and do) the other to the death.
But, what I *really* love about Bahzell is his relationship with the War God. Bahzell argues, cajoles, ignores, and everything else he can think of to avoid being the War God’s Champion. The War God doesn’t give up; Tomanak very patiently gpursues he who knows is right for him. But that doesn’t really encourage Bahzell. Bahzell doesn’t trust Tomanak – really any of the gods. It isn’t until his very dear friend lay dying and Tomanak gently tells Bahzell this his champion can do more than kill that Bahzell quite get it.
I am a Christian. Pretty conservative, fundamental Christian. I have friends who would question my Christianity by the very fact that I *read* this book (or any fantasy, for that matter.) I, however, strongly believe that God can talk to you through anything and any circumstances. I love the fact that Bahzell argues and takes nothing sitting down – I do not know how many times I have found myself arguing with God. This isn’t news to Him – He created me – He knows what I am like. He made me this way. Sometimes, my life would be so much easier if He would manifest in front of me and TELL ME WHAT TO DO! Yes, I realize He has many ways to speak to me. But, none of them are come right out and tell me what you think ways – they are all open to some sort of interpretation. This book helped make my relationship with God stronger. It made me question and appreciate and verify and . . . just be thankful. I can give a book no higher praise.
Also – this book carried me through months at the gym. I had read it before. Years ago. I knew I liked it. I needed a book that I could ONLY read at the gym. Which means I couldn’t have that burning desire to know how it ended – because then I wouldn’t wait. Since I *knew* how this ended, I was safe to wait til the next trip at the gym to read it. Oh, in between I read other books that did have the burning desire, but that was safe because I always knew I had this one upon which to fall back. Few books have the potential to keep me reading – and *wanting* to read – over that period of time.
So. This book comes with not 1, but 2 very glowing recommendations. 1) It strengthened my walk with God (YMMV) and 2) It kept me interested at the gym. How could I rate it less than 5 stars?