The son of a Norse warlord, kidnapped at birth and raised by elves, and the bitter changeling who replaced him clash in a monumental war of trolls, elves, and man in this acclaimed classic of fantasy fiction
Published the same year as The Fellowship of the Ring, Poul Anderson’s novel The Broken Sword draws on similar Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon sources. In his greed for land and power, Orm the Strong slays the family of a Saxon witch—and for his sins, the Northman must pay with his newborn son. Stolen by elves and replaced by a changeling, Skafloc is raised to manhood unaware of his true heritage and treasured for his ability to handle the iron that the elven dare not touch. Meanwhile, the being who supplanted him as Orm’s son grows up angry and embittered by the humanity he has been denied. A pawn in a witch’s vengeance, the creature Valgard will never know love, and consumed by rage, he will commit a murderous act of unspeakable vileness.
It is their destiny to finally meet on the field of battle—the man-elf and his dark twin, the monster—when the long-simmering war between elves and trolls finally erupts with a devastating fury. And only the mighty sword Tyrfing, broken by Thor and presented to Skafloc in infancy, can turn the tide in a terrible clashing of faerie folk that will ultimately determine the fate of the old gods.
Considered one of the masters of golden-age speculative fiction, along with such notables as Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Robert Heinlein, multiple Hugo and Nebula Award winner Poul Anderson proved himself equally adept at creating epic fantasy with The Broken Sword, a masterful tale of men, elves, and gods that is at once breathtakingly exciting and heartbreakingly tragic.
“A magnificent saga of the interplay of gods, demigods, faerie, heroes, and men.” —Anthony Boucher
“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.” —Michael Moorcock
“Poul Anderson’s classic fantasy, The Broken Sword, knocks The Fellowship of the Ring into a cocked hat.” —The Guardian
Poul Anderson (1926–2001) grew up bilingual in a Danish American family. After discovering science fiction fandom and earning a physics degree at the University of Minnesota, he found writing science fiction more satisfactory. Admired for his “hard” science fiction, mysteries, historical novels, and “fantasy with rivets,” he also excelled in humor. He was the guest of honor at the 1959 World Science Fiction Convention and at many similar events, including the 1998 Contact Japan 3 and the 1999 Strannik Conference in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Besides winning the Hugo and Nebula Awards, he has received the Gandalf, Seiun, and Strannik, or “Wanderer,” Awards. A founder of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, he became a Grand Master, and was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.
In 1952 he met Karen Kruse; they married in Berkeley, California, where their daughter, Astrid, was born, and they later lived in Orinda, California. Astrid and her husband, science fiction author Greg Bear, now live with their family outside Seattle.