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For other uses of 'By the Sword,' see the disambiguation page.


By the Sword fills in what had been some gaps in the series: it shows what happened to Tarma and Kethry after the end of the Vows and Honor sub-series; it also reveals more about the background of Seleney's husband (and Elspeth's father). The details of the assassination attempt are filled in more clearly in a book centered on Weaponsmaster Alberich (Exile's Valor).

Synopsis Edit

The teenage daughter of a minor nobleman, Kerowyn has been in charge of managing her father's household since her mother's death, but hates the life of a noblewoman and would rather learn to fight and to work with horses. She is more than ready to hand the responsibilities of the household over to her younger brother's new wife, but the keep is attacked during the wedding feast and the bride, Dierna, is kidnapped. With her father dead, her brother badly wounded, and no able-bodied man remaining to go to the rescue, Kero goes to her grandmother, the sorceress Kethryveris, for help. Kethry presents Kero with her magical sword Need, and Kero rides after the bandits herself (watched over, unbeknownst to her, by Kethry's Shin'a'in partner Tarma), successfully rescuing Dierna in an event later immortalized in a song called "Kerowyn's Ride."

Following the rescue, Kero finds that she is both a hero and an embarrassment to her brother. She soon leaves to live with Kethry and Tarma, becoming Tarma's student in the arts of warfare, and learning to control her mind-magic from Tarma's kyree partner Warrl. In the course of her training Kero meets Darenthallis, third son of the king of Rethwellan and another of Tarma's students; after a period of mutual antagonism, the two of them eventually become friends, and then lovers, but when Daren's father dies and his older brother takes the throne, Kero refuses to go with him to Rethwellan, unwilling to sacrifice her freedom and return to the life of a noblewoman for the sake of maintaining their relationship. Instead, upon completing her training with Tarma, Kero joins the mercenary company known as the Skybolts.

Kerowyn remains with the Skybolts for several years, growing in skill and in standing within the company. During a campaign against Karse, disaster strikes and Kero ends up separated from the rest of the company, fleeing farther and farther north into Karse. Ultimately she encounters a group of Karsites who have captured and are planning to torture the Herald Eldan. Securing Eldan's promise to pay her for it, she rescues him from the Karsites and the two of them flee together.

Kero and Eldan quickly fall in love, but when she realizes that the Karsite sun-priestesses are somehow tracking Need's presence, she sneaks away in the night, drawing the Karsites away and leaving Eldan to make his way north back to Valdemar while she returns, after a hard journey, to the Skybolts. Through her intervention, the Skybolts escape ruin by a selfish Captain, and Kero herself takes the Captaincy.

Bythesword2

Cover of the French edition

Ten years pass. The Skybolts are a formidable company under Kero, and they win a decisive battle for Rethwellen against Karse. Kero meets Daren again, who brings her home to meet his brother. While she is at the court, Herald Talia and Herald Dirk arrive, seeking aid. Prince Ancar of Hardorn is making war against Valdemar, using men who are being controlled by magic as soldiers. Valdemar has had no experience with magic since the time of Vanyel, and more importantly, they do not have a large enough army. Kerowyn volunteers the Skybolts as an advance force, while Rethwellen promises a second force with Daren to follow.

In Valdemar, Kero is reunited with Eldan, whom she has not been able to forget. But Ancar's forces seem limitless, and Kero was unable to bring her own mages across the Valdemar border. The Skybolts, to a man, sympathize with Valdemar and their cause, and the forces prepare for what looks like their final stand. With perfect dramatic timing, Daren arrives with the Rethwellan army and a number of Ancar's soldiers, now freed from the controlling spell. Ancar's troops are driven off. In the chaos of the battle, both Kero and Daren are Chosen by Companions, making them Heralds. Daren and Selenay meet on the battlefield and fall instantly in love.

In gratitude, Selenay gives the Skybolts a border town in Valdemar to use as their home base. Kerowyn is able to remain with Eldan while fulfilling her duties as a Captain and a Herald.

Characters Edit

Bytheswordjapanese

Japanese cover of By the Sword

Places Edit

Terminology Edit

See Also Edit

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