Manual The Sword Bearer: 1 (The Archives of Anthropos)

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Return to Book Page. It was John's birthday. He would be thirteen. And what's more, it was on this day that his grandmother would tell him the mystery of his locket. And of his parents.

But it was not to be. Before he could find out, he was magically transported to the land of Anthropos where he was startled to be hailed as the Sword Bearer, the slayer of the Goblin Prince. Here, in the imaginative story of the early history of Anthropos, John White captures the excitement and wonder of another world.

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More filters. Sort order. Jan 14, Molly rated it really liked it. Looking back, I know this series wasn't very good. In fact, it was probably awful. Jan 11, Matthew rated it liked it. I read it because my brother liked it Oct 31, Aelvana rated it it was amazing. John Wilson was happy on his way home from school on the day of his 13th birthday, the day his grandmother has promised to tell him about his parents.

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But his wonderful day collapses when he trips over the body of his grandmother as he enters their house. She's dead, and now he'll never know. He's too much in shock to feel much grief just yet. Then a worse piece of news comes the next morning: Nicholas Slapfoot, the town's frightening scrap man, a man who almost killed John on his last birthday, John Wilson was happy on his way home from school on the day of his 13th birthday, the day his grandmother has promised to tell him about his parents.

Then a worse piece of news comes the next morning: Nicholas Slapfoot, the town's frightening scrap man, a man who almost killed John on his last birthday, has stepped up to "adopt" John since the absence of money and relatives means John has nowhere to go. Fleeing Nicholas, John stumbles through a door into another world. In quick succession, he meets both the Changer and Lord Lunacy, the powers of light and darkness. The Changer has given John a sword and named him Sword Bearer, with prophecies that he will bring about the end of the Goblin Prince and the current darkness.

Lord Lunacy convinces John the Changer was just a dream, and that his true power lies in his own evil. Bewildered and alone, John seesaws between light and darkness. Only the old prophet Mab keeps believing that the Changer's prophecies about John will come true.

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  • John, Mab, and a group of others flee to the isle of Geburah to escape Lord Lunacy. But even there the power of darkness overshadows them.


    Within three years, the prophecies must be fulfilled: John to slay the Goblin Prince, Mab to die, and Lord Lunacy to retreat. No one, least of all John, knows how any of this is even possible. Although the first book in the Archives of Anthropos, The Sword Bearer is actually the third book White wrote the Tower of Geburah, although published first, is chronologically third in the series. Because of this, there are a few references to things that happen in the Tower of Geburah, mostly as prophecies. All of the Archives of Anthropos are set up around a specific Bible story, and this one happens to be the story of Adam and Eve getting kicked out of Eden.

    Fortunately, this book is far more than a simple retelling.

    The Sword Bearer (Archives of Anthropos S.)

    The garden itself doesn't show up until most of the book is over. Far more of the focus is on John and his rocky road to finding his own faith. The book does not spend long on John before he gets pulled to Anthropos, but it still grounds him so firmly as a character that he grabs immediate sympathy. He goes from cheerful to horrified when he finds his grandmother dead, complete with the shame that he's more worried that she'll never get the chance to tell him about his parents than the fact that she's dead.

    He learns his mother is already dead from overhearing the neighbors talk about the funeral arrangements, so he pins his hopes on a father he only knows through a small picture in his locket, a father who might not even know he exists. The only clue anyone has is that ten years ago, his father set off for Canada, so John decides that's where he'll go too. And then Nicholas comes, and John runs into another world instead. Nicholas, more than Lord Lunacy, is John's greatest fear.

    Nicholas threw a crowbar at John one year ago when John went into his yard, and John's shoulder still aches whenever Nicholas comes near. Nicholas speaks with a thick English brogue, walks with a limp because he has two club feet, and in general is the much more real and immediate threat when compared against the ghostly form of Lord Lunacy. Nicholas plays up John's fears and doubts, taunting and humiliating him.

    As a person he doesn't have much depth, but the wonderful characterization as a villain still makes him as solid as John himself. Mab is almost six hundred years old and a powerful prophet who provides most of the magic. Although Mab supports John unconditionally, he's more than a little disturbed at John's inability to drink the wine of free pardon and John's frequent statements of agreement with something Lord Lunacy said. Mab infuriates John because he doesn't treat John as special, just as a comrade in arms, but the old man's friendship soon becomes a vital part of John's life.

    For everything I love about this book, it has one major flaw, and that flaw comes fairly near the beginning and poisons a good chunk of the book. Right after John meets the Changer, he meets Lord Lunacy. Lord Lunacy tempts and suggests various things, as appropriate. Somehow the element of free choice got wiped out during this whole exchange.

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    John doesn't believe necessarily because he was persuaded; it comes off feeling like he believes because he got enchanted. John doesn't often struggle to define what happened to him right at the beginning for this very reason. He thinks back to the Changer a few times, but he doesn't sit down and try to understand the whole experience from beginning to end. But if that was the major bad point, there are plenty of major good points to offset it.

    I talked about the characters above; the plot is another highlight.