Review of Book of Seven Hands by Barth Anderson

SFFaudio Review

Book of Seven Hands coverBook of Seven Hands (Foreworld SideQuest)
By Barth Anderson; Performed by Nick Podehl
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
[UNABRIDGED] – 5 hours

Themes: / Foreworld / swordsmen /

Publisher summary:

Expert swordsmen Basilio and Alejo have one last mission before they go their separate ways: they must recover their teacher Don Manuel’s ancient fighting manual and take it to remote Cataluña in order to have it translated by the famous alchemist Paracelsus. Unbeknownst to them, however, Don Manuel has been murdered, and a host of powerful forces has come looking for the coveted book – everyone from old lovers and lifelong archenemies to the King’s assassin, and the Spanish Inquisition. The adventures of Basilio and Alejo usher in a new era of adventures in Foreworld, one wherein the Shield-Brethren, the fabled warrior monks of the medieval era, have been stricken from history. Old traditions are threatened and long-standing secrets are in danger of being revealed.

This is a novella from the Foreworld saga and I must admit, this is my first book from that series. I don’t know if any of the characters overlap from other books, but I had no trouble getting into this book or understanding what was going on.

The general setting is in 13th century Spain where the Inquisition is searching for renowned swordsmen who are seeking the book of seven hands. Those two men are Basilio and Alejo, students of the great Don Manuel. They are fulfilling the master’s last wish in retrieving his old fighting manual and getting it translated for use. Adventure ensues as the swordsmen are pursued espadas, are drawn, and revelations are made take place. Think of it kind like Zorro meets The Three Musketeers complete with bits of humor thrown in for good measure.

Overall I found the book to be enjoyable and fun. My wife and I guessed the big revelation later in the book and it didn’t really have much bearing on the main part of the story anyway.

As for the audiobook, I really like Nick Podehl. I’d even say that the only reason I chose to do this book was because he was reading it. It wasn’t my favorite performance of his but I still really enjoyed all the different characters. I definitely got some flashes of Christoph Waltz from Django Unchained with Mr. Podehl’s voice for Paracelsus.

Posted by Tom Schreck

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