Hill has a rich, joyous imagination filled with dark forces trembling against the light and light forces battling the darkness. His land Elan, in the prime realm closest to the godly planes, endures the Godswar, and is conquered by the Dark Lord, Ruen Searr. Dissidents are transformed into willing accomplices through the Bodybanks. Intently dedicated on becoming a god, Searr invades other realms. Meanwhile, somewhere else, Brin is a college student who finds himself with the Sword of Power and a bad case of amnesia.
He follows the living sword, is infused with magical powers, and discovers that he is the Chosen One who can save Elan. Along the quest toward freedom, he is accompanied by a miniature dragon (with a taste for rock music), a merry dryad and a spry Elfanian.
Action aplenty, humor deluxe, and a fast-paced, very exciting universe of challenges, wit, and just plain page-turning fun. Hill writes up a storm of plenty, his sentences binding together a cosmos of adventure and marvelous inventions. Dimension dance, evil eyes, nethrafire, gruenjaqs, running the green (plant walking from one place of existence to another). A unique feature is the changing of type fonts for the different entities speaking–and it works: Caspaw is gothic type, Durgie is light and openfaced.
Dulac is informal boldfaced. William Hill creates with authority and integrity and his magnificent novel captures the intimacy and drama of other universes, other times. Fantasy on a very high level indeed.
—The Book Reader
The land of Elan falls under the tyranny of Searr, who alchemically restructures all dissidents into followers of his master plan, and he begins his war on the dragons and faeries. Brin Williams, the unwitting Chosen One, is whisked from Earth to Elan, and with the help of a dragon, a dryad, an Elfanian and countless other creatures, he fights to save his homeland in William Hill’s (The Magic Bicycle) Wizard Sword.
This is my first look at William Hill’s writing and I am quietly pleased with his style. Wizard Sword surprised me from the very opening with its pace. At 800pp I was expecting padding and some big and slow contemplative chapters but I was wrong. This epic moves; even races along. I found myself gasping for breath as I dove into the action. William Hill can certainly entertain the reader with his prose.
Wizard Sword is high fantasy, loaded with dragons, miniature and large, faeries, immortals, strange creatures and even stranger humans; interwoven with great intrigue and surprise. Ah there are strange happenings in Wizard Sword, what of the mouse wielding the crystalline blade? The Vampire and the Windelems? Such fantasy enslaves the imagination until you find yourself
bending to its will and you stand beside the hero in the enchanted forest; sword in hand and power in his heart.
Brin, our protagonists, is on a quest. He not only must search out a magical sword’s enemies but also search for his own destiny, identity, his own beginning and future. Brin is not like other heroes; he is flawed to the core and often disobeys the will of the sword. Sometime for love and sometimes just for the hell of it. I liked Brin, I didn’t like his pet but Brin was a winner of a hero.
As I raced through much of this book I began to suspect there was much more to unravel, a deeper story waited in the darkness of dungeons and the power of the Dream Makers. In the end the surprises and story fell neatly into place creating an enjoyable read indeed.
— By Robert Stephenson, Altair Magazine
In the first few page, I was hooked! It’s great fun and a wild ride! Mr. Hill has written a number of other books before, but this is his first venture into the epic fantasy genre. I must say, at first, the 800 page volume was rather intimidating, but within minutes of first opening the book I was hooked on the story. By the end, I wanted a sequel, or at least a reread. The layers of detail, the sheer number of characters and life forms, the quality of the characterizations–all served to make me want to look for more of Mr. Hill’s work. As I read, it hit me that he had made full use of the “canvas” that such a large books presented. The story was complex, drawing one in gradually, and shifted viewpoints often to better tell the backstory and sub-plots. The set dressing was well done, also, with well described settings for the imaginative characters to romp through. Ample historic and cultural detail is given for the various inhabitants of Mr. Hill’s fairyland to flesh each one out into believable beings. Their respective cultures are well described and
quite plausible. It was hard to keep in mind that this was a first foray into epic fantasy, as the story drew me along.
— Dan Hollifield, Aphelion E-Zine
William Hill’s Wizard Sword (Otter Creek Press) is not for the novice reader nor the faint of heart. It is, however, a daring attempt at presenting a fantasy epic, with fascinating cast, a plot line that will keep you guessing, and an interesting
use of typography to characterize the speech and thought of certain magical characters.
It is that very dizzying aspect of Wizard Sword that will make it a difficult read for those new to the genre. It takes several days of reading the opening chapters to ensure that you’ve really read what you think you’ve read. The opening of the story is especially difficult to latch on to because it starts in the middle of the main character’s dilemma
Our hero is Brin Williams, who later learns he may or may not really be Brin Kheldon-born on the magical world of Elan, but hidden on Earth as a child so that, if necessary, he can come back as Elan’s savior. When the story opens, Brin is fighting through a snow storm to reach his college dormitory, which is engulfed in flames. He finds Terrex, the Sword of Power, and immediately begins to have trouble separating his Earth-bound life with the memories of the Sword’s previous wielders. This is how Hill presents Brin to the readers and why it is so difficult to care about him-at first.
At the heart of the flames is Llando, a wizard that Brin simultaneously does and does not recognize, and a number of demons who are threatening both Llando and Brin’s college friends. With a nod to Star Wars, Llando is seemingly killed and Brin whisked away to Elan where he learns he is the “Chosen One.”
Along comes Durgie, a dragonnette, who, thanks to telepathy, falls in love with Brin’s memory of American rock-and-roll, making him one of the most engaging characters in the novel Oh, the Sword of Power is telepathic, too. Talk about some weird conversations.
Soon, Brin learns his one true mission is to save the last Dimension Dancer, Wyn-Sauern, a beautiful young woman who holds The Host within her, the souls of all of her race who committed suicide rather than be used as Bodybanks parts by the villain.
Oh yes, the villain. Well, there’s one big bad guy who we rarely get to see, Ruen Searr, who is trying to turn himself into a god. There’s also his mad Necromancer, Margrave Toomes, and his warlord, Dareth Jarl.Jarl is probably the most convincing of villains. He holds some things sacred, like his relationship to the great dragons, and throughout the book’s mid-section must reconcile his fealty to Searr and his worship of the dragons. Searr, Toomes, and Jarl all have their minions, some working at cross-purposes, and it seems at times that they are more engaging than Brin and his fellow heroes.
There’s a lot of characters here, including elemental beings called Wavelems, Torchelems and Windelems, centaur-like beings called Dobani, and much, much more. There are also dryads-including Shawna, with who Brin falls helplessly (but not magically in love with). In fact, some of the love scenes are somewhat over the top, but fun to read. In fact, most of Wizard Sword is over the top.
Brin’s supernatural powers–some from Terrex, the Sword of Power, some from Ellus, an elemental staff originally wielded by Llando, and some that he gains after ‘merging’ essences with Shawna–are downright Superman in scope.
He can fly, phase through solid objects, control the elements, and–after being bathed in dragon’s blood–nearly indestructible.
And there, along with the murky introduction, lies Wizard’s Sword’s major fault. There is an almost inevitability to Brin’s success in saving Elan and rescuing Wyn-Sauern. Although the sentient Sword of Power’s true intentions belie ulterior motives of some kind, whenever Brin faces a challenge that is seemingly insurmountable, along comes Terrex to help save the day.
At well over 750 pages, Wizard Sword does deliver, but at an odd pace. Some passages blast through like a wind storm while the book, as a whole, seems to take its time telling the story.
And then there’s the use of typography. Several different typefaces are used to represent telepathy, dragon speech, elemental speech, and so on. It is an interesting attempt at visually cluing in the reader as to who or what is talking. However, the reader may find themselves referring to a typography index at the beginning of the book to remind themselves of what’s going on.
Ultimately, such attempts are better suited to the Internet where web site visitors expect to see such visual tricks. In print however, it is probably best to go with simple techniques, such as all capitals, italics, or text that begins and ends with asterisks or other unusual punctuation to denote a difference.
Wizard Sword is an enjoyable tale of sword and sorcery in one, with, surprisingly, an ending both unexpected and logical, although it does leave things unresolved. After such a long book, what is left to tell? I suppose Hill has left the way open for a sequel.
While William Hill hasn’t crafted the perfect fantasy tale, he has written a book that veteran epic adventure lovers should enjoy, once they understand who and what Brin Williams-and the Sword of Power- truly are.
—Martin Cahn, DemensionsZine.com