Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Interesting! New version of Marta Randall’s Sword of Winter

Anybody besides me remember Sword of Winter? It was first published in 1983, I see. Wow, how time flies.

It’s a good book — I’ve read it a bunch of times. In fact, I learned a lot about writing action scenes from the scavenger hunt in this book. I mean, about the nuts and bolts of the sentences that go into writing that kind of scene — the effect of shortening or lengthening sentences and things like that.

Here’s the description from Goodreads:

In the cold and dangerous land of Cherek, emerging from an era of magic and confronted by technological advancements, Lord Gambin of Jentesi lies dying and chaos reigns. During his four decades in power, Gambin has wielded a tight and tyrannical hold over his province, and his four heirs jockey to inherit his vast power, the people of Cherek teeter on the brink of change and watch the passing of the sword in Jentesi. For if Gambin’s power passes intact to his heirs, Cherek could lose the promise of its bright future and tumble irrevocably into a dark and vicious past.

This is terrible back cover copy. Not that it’s false, but it’s completely misleading. Nothing whatsoever about the protagonist, Lyeth; or about the most important secondary character, Emeris, a boy whom Lyeth takes under her wing. Lyeth drives the story. I can’t believe she’s been erased from the description.

But here’s the interesting thing: Marta Randall must have pried the rights back, because she’s released an apparently heavily revised version under a different title: Mapping Winter.

Look at that, Book I of a series. One gathers that when it came to this story, Randall always had more in her head than made it to print. Here’s the description from Amazon:

In the frozen land of Cherek, Lord Cadoc Marubin lies dying and chaos threatens the land.

During his four decades in power he had held Dalmorat Province in an iron grip, for which his heirs now contend. Cherek is poised on the brink of new-world advancements in culture and technology, but Cadoc’s choice could deny his people that bright fate and seal Dalmorat in darkness.

Kieve Rider, sworn to Cadoc’s service, detests both the man she serves and the oath that binds her to his evils. Yet by that same oath it falls upon her to act as lynchpin in Cadoc’s naming of a new heir. Embroiled in the complexities of character, corruption and political intrigue, Kieve struggles to trust anyone, not least herself.

Interesting! The main character has either changed entirely, or at least changed her name. But she is mentioned here, though, rather than erased from the description. I can see the fundamental background seems about the same, or at least the two versions look like close cousins.

Despite the bones of the background showing considerable similarity, there’s nothing here about Emeris. If he’s not present in this story, that would change practically everything, so much so that Randall might as well have changed all the names and just said this was a different world, unrelated to anything else she ever wrote.

Well, we’ll soon see, because I did immediately pick up this new book. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what Marta Randall’s done with it.

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4 Comments Interesting! New version of Marta Randall’s Sword of Winter

  1. Elaine T

    I loved the scavenger hunt in that book. Sometimes I’ll pick it up just to read that.
    Will have to try this variant edition.

  2. Mary Anne

    I immediately blipped on your link and purchased, before I even read the rest of your post. I was actually checking to see if this book was available in Kindle format a few months ago. One of those books that stuck with me, and I randomly scan to see if it’s been put
    out there in electronic form. I really hope this rewrite is as good. I admit I tried a few of her other books and could never get into them.

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