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The Blue Sword
Author: The Blue Sword was written by Robin McKinley, the
author of other books, such as The Hero and the Crown. Both of
these books chronicle the continent of Daria.
Setting: Most of the book takes place in the small nation of Damar.
There are also scenes in an outpost in the Damarian desert, in
race’s, known as the Homelanders, outpost. One or two chapters
also take place in the far north.
Note: Harry Crewe is female in case you don’t pick that up.
Plot: An orphan young women, ‘Harry’ Crewe (Harry is what she
preferred to be called) is sent to a remote outpost of the
Homelander empire. The Homelanders are a very British-like race
of humans with about the technological ability of the mid 1800s.
The fort surrounds the town of Istan. At the residency Harry is
adopted by Sir Charles, and Lady Amelia, there the story begins.
Harry is discontented with life in Istan, she finds it boring and
mundane, any chance for excitement quickly catches her attention.
Damar, a medieval country that has been partly overrun by the
Homelanders, is threatened by the Northerners, a race of human,
and almost-human warriors.
Corlath, king of Damar, comes Istan to ask for the Homelander’s
help in closing his mountain passes against the threat. With his
small population, his army is not large enough to beat off a
concentrated Northern assault. Sir Charles, and Colonel Jack
Dedham, leader of the Homelander forces at the fort, receive
Corlath and offer him an insulting treaty. If he gives his country up,
his population will not be slaughtered. The Damarian king does not
take this lightly, he storms out as the Homelanders rush after him
to try to save the meeting.
As Corlath mounts his horse, he sees Harry Crewe and his
kelar, a type of sorcery that some Damarians are blessed with. The
Gift, as it is known, sometimes grants it’s users powers, and
sometimes doesn’t. Corlath’s kelar tells him that he must bring
Harry back to his city, it doesn’t explain why.
That night Corlath sneaks into Istan and steals Harry away. He
rides for many hours to a camp set up by his riders. At the feast
that night, he passes around the meeldtar, also known as the water
of sigh. This induces visions on all of those who have kelar. When
Harry tastes it, she collapses and sees scenes of a great battle, she
also uses an ancient language still spoken by few and one of which
she would have no way on learning.
After several nights in the camp she is formally introduced to
Mathin, one of Corlath’s riders. He teaches her the language of
Damar and they begin to forge a strong friendship. After about two
weeks of training in the camp, Mathin takes her away from the
camp to train her in the ways of swordsmanship and horsemanship.
Now a powerful warrior Harry is take to Corlath’s city, lying on
some of the only remaining plains of Damar. When she arrives on
the fields, she is entered in the Laprun Trials, a contest to tell the
most powerful warrior in Damar and the winning of a sash sliced
by Corlath. The sash in Damar is a signal that the person wearing it
may handle a sword.
Harry wins at the trials and is hailed throughout Damar as the
Laprun-Minta. In her battle with Corlath at the end, she cuts his
sash at the same he cuts hers, this is the first time it has ever
The next day, Corlath begins to muster his army, with no help
from the Homelanders, he hopes only to slow down the Northern
advance so, when the Homelanders realize the problem, they will
be able to destroy the Northerners. During the mustering period,
Harry rested and prepared for the coming battle. With her horse,
Tsornin, and the Blue Sword, which was given to her after the
trials, she trains.
When Corlath’s army departs from the city, Harry rides with
them. She and the other riders march hard until they reach the pass.
At this stop, in a briefing, Harry realizes that a pass to their west
could allow the Northerners through the pass and outflank their
army. Corlath will not acknowledge this and Harry leaves the
camp, intending to block the pass herself.
On her way, she runs into two friends from her camp who have
been following her. They decide to go to the Homelander station to
seek help from her old friends. In the end of a few days of
recruiting, their force contains a few dozes cavalrymen, some
archers from outlanding Damarian villages, and fifty men from a
When they fortify the pass, they hope to only face only a small
fraction of the Northern force. They ended up facing a force of
thousands with barely one hundred warriors. Worst of all, the
Northern forces were lead by Thurra, a demonic king.
In the first melee, the Damarians push back the Northerners into
the valley behind the pass but are surrounded, when they come out,
they find half of there number missing. Harry is also wounded in a
battle with Thurra.
After a brief rest the Northerners return, this time hoping to
slaughter all of the Damarian forces. Harry climbes a mountain and
her kelar forces the mountains to crumble down upon the Northern
army. This kills all of their soldiers including Thurra.
Harry moves on to marry Corlath and have several kids with
him. Jack Dedham moves to the Damarian city and lives there as a
queen’s rider for the rest of his life. Damar opens diplomatic
relations with the Homelander empire and the two become great
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