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Vintage Treasures: The Sword of Winter by Marta Randall

Monday, October 2nd, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

The Sword of Winter-back-small The Sword of Winter-small

Marta Randall is best known for her science fiction. That’s definitely how I knew about her, anyway — through SF epics like Journey (1978) and Dangerous Games (1980), and her Nebula-nominated Islands (1976). So I was surprised to come across a paperback copy of The Sword of Winter, her sole fantasy novel, published by Pocket Books in 1985. It didn’t get a lot of attention, even back in 1985 — the only review I could find was this one at Kirkus:

In the frigid winter, vile dictator lord Gambin lies at Jentesi castle dying slowly and painfully, while foolishly refusing to name his successor lest a power struggle ensue. So when bad-tempered protagonist Lyeth, Gambin’s sworn Rider (messenger), dutifully arrives with prickly orphan Emris in tow, she’s soon drawn into the confused spying, plotting, and squabbling of the repellent heirs — Culdyn, Coreon, Maranta, and Syne. Much later, the Riders’ guildmaster is murdered, putting Lyeth in danger and obliging her to investigate…

In addition to her highly acclaimed novels Randall also made a name for herself as an editor, particularly with the New Dimensions series (including the mysterious Volume 13, which never reached bookstores.)

The Sword of Winter was published in hardcover by Timescape in September 1983, and reprinted in paperback by Pocket Books in April 1985. It is 273 pages, priced at $3.50 in paperback. The cover is by Rowena Morrill. There is no digital edition, and it has been out of print for over 30 years.

3 Comments »

  1. Either that’s a different dude, or… they spelled Zelazny’s name wrong on the cover blurb! That’s a helluva thing.

    Comment by Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones - October 7, 2017 7:04 am

  2. Yeah, I think Zelazny is the writer whose name I have seen misspelled the most in print.

    Comment by John ONeill - October 8, 2017 2:04 pm

  3. Heck, I mispronounced Zelazny’s name as “Zelzany” for years even after reading a dozen of his books with his name right in front of me.

    Comment by Ben - October 20, 2017 5:29 pm


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