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All I remember from this trilogy was that it was 3 books in 1 giant book, a little over a thousand pages long, and I read it around 2010. It was already somewhat old by then, so it's possible the first book was published in the late 80s. I think the third book title had something to do with a circle? Or encircling? A big clue is that there weren't just multiple POVs (and I mean a LOT, at minimum I think there were 5), but multiple main characters spread across each book.

Anyway two scenes really stick out to me: one main character was reflecting that she liked a knight so much because he didn't look perfect and points out that his teeth were crooked when he smiled at her. Another is that one character did something horrible (I think she sacrificed someone?) to gain inhuman beauty, only then to die tragically a while later due to the actions of a different main character.

I'm pretty sure there were multiple species/magical creatures and the characters could summon gods/demons to help them?? Not to sure about this one. But yeah, I can't for the life me remember what this is or if I made it up. Pretty sure the author was a man, but yeah.

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  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. Do you remember the cover of the book at all? Was it paperback or hardcover? What country?
    – DavidW
    Aug 11 at 3:21
  • @DavidW I think the cover might have been blue and white with a symbol on the front? It was a paperback and either from the US or the UK, but I'm leaning towards the UK.
    – guestguest
    Aug 11 at 3:28

1 Answer 1

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Not much to work with here...

I'm going to make a wild guess that you read one of the Book of [Lost] Swords collections. This was a series of 11 books by Fred Saberhagen, republished in various omnibus collections of three titles each. Even within each book there were multiple main characters with corresponding POV. A lot happened in these books. I don't recall the specific scenes you mention, but any or all of them would have fit somewhere. Each sword had a symbol embossed on it and that symbol was always mentioned prominently. The symbol for the sword "Doomgiver" was a plain circle, and it might logically have appeared on the cover of one of the omnibus editions. Despite the titles of the individual books, the various named swords show up in more than one book.

Book of Swords (3)
    The First Book of Swords (1983)
    The Second Book of Swords (1983)
    The Third Book of Swords (1984)
  Omnibus: The Complete Book of Swords (1985)
Book of Lost Swords (8? 9?)
    Woundhealer's Story (1986)
    Sightblinder's Story (1987)
    Stonecutter's Story (1988)
  Omnibus: The Lost Swords: The First Triad (1988)
    Farslayer's Story (1989)
    Coinspinner's Story (1989)
    Mindsword's Story (1990)
  Omnibus: The Lost Swords: The Second Triad (1990)
    Wayfinder's Story (1992)
    Shieldbreaker's Story (1994)
  Omnibus: The Lost Swords: Endgame (1994)

I refer you to the Wikipedia page for more information than you probably need, but here is a brief excerpt:

The Swords of Power were created by the gods and given to humanity as part of a great game, so they could enjoy watching humans scheme and fight amongst themselves in an effort to obtain these magical treasures. Each sword has a different ability, which corresponds to a different god. The series revolves around different characters finding, acquiring, stealing, using, and eventually destroying the swords. This provides the gods with the amusement they desire, until they find out that the swords were made too well, and even the gods themselves can fall victim to them. The swords are introduced in by name and general ability in The Song of Swords, the poem that precedes the story, but it is only over the course of the series that the specific effects, conditions, and loopholes of these weapons are discovered.

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