I'm trying to find a book I read in the late '70s or early '80s.

In the book, the gods were active in the world, through their mortal champions. The gods spoke directly to their champions, and gave them guidance and tasks to perform.

The protagonist was a swordsman, a champion of the good-aligned warrior god.

The protagonist was of a race that was once known for their wise and thoughtful counsel, but through some kind of "deal-with-the-devil" with one of the evil gods, they now are subject to episodes of irrational berserker rage.

As a champion, the protagonist has special abilities granted to him, like being able to summon his sword magically from its scabbard directly into his empty hand with a single word.

At one point, he encounters a younger swordsman who is very full of himself, but the warrior god tells him not to kill the younger one, because he has plans for him. So, he uses the flat of his sword to break both of the kid's arms as a lesson in humility.

I remember having the impression that the book was one of a series, but I can't be certain of that.

1 Answer 1


I think that's David Weber, Oath of Swords - at least if there's any chance you're misremembering when you read it. It's a close fit - active champions of gods, berserking race - but it wasn't published until 1995.

Our Hero: The unlikely Paladin, Bahzell Bahnakson of the Horse Stealer Hradani. He's no knight in shining armor. He's a hradani, a race known for their uncontrollable rages, bloodthirsty tendencies, and inability to maintain civilized conduct. None of the other Five Races of man like the hradani. Besides his ethnic burden, Bahzell has problems of his own to deal with: a violated hostage bond, a vengeful prince, a price on his head. He doesn't want to mess with anybody else's problems, let alone a god's. Let alone the War God's! So how does he end up a thousand leagues from home, neck-deep in political intrigue, assassins, demons, psionicists, evil sorcery, white sorcery, dark gods, good gods, bad poets, greedy landlords, and most of Bortalik Bay? Well, it's all the War God's fault.

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    Is there a scene where Tomanak tells Bahzell not to kill someone and he breaks his arms instead?
    – DavidW
    Mar 3 at 15:31
  • It's possible I read it later; I do well to remember what I had for breakfast some days. :( Mar 3 at 15:57
  • @DavidW - I read it too long ago to remember such a scene one way or the other. Mar 3 at 16:04
  • Looking over the series list, I'm thinking the one I read was "War God's Own", book #2 in the series. I've got the series coming from e-bay, but I'm gonna call this answered. Mar 3 at 16:13
  • @DavidW There is, to a young and prideful member of the order of the War God (Tormak)... Who has fancy clothes. THe youth drastically changes by learning from Bahzell.
    – Questor
    Mar 3 at 23:40

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