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I remember reading a fantasy novel long ago in my late teens about twenty years ago.

The protagonist is a humble blacksmith who is the namesake of a legendary hero in that (fictional) culture. He is targeted by the forces of evil who believe he is the ancient hero reincarnated. They would like to kill him before he can grow powerful. While protesting that he is just a humble blacksmith, and in the process of trying to escape/defend himself from them, he develops myriad abilities.

The net result: He transforms into the hero. And takes on the forces of evil.

Unfortunately, I cannot for the life of me remember either the name of the author or the title of the book.

Does anyone know?

  • Hi there, and welcome to SciFi.SE. This is a very good first question, though I've cleaned up some items - like the salutations at the end - that aren't considered necessary here. I hope you get an answer soon. – Avner Shahar-Kashtan May 14 '15 at 10:22
  • Some questions that might help people narrow it down: Do you remember any details about the cover and what was shown on it? Any other characters, even in broad strokes? The nature of the forces of evil? – Avner Shahar-Kashtan May 14 '15 at 10:23
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    The "I'm just a humble blacksmith" bit reminds me of Touched by the Gods by Lawrence Watt-Evans. – Kreiri May 14 '15 at 10:41
  • Thematically, this sounds like Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion. I'm not well-versed enough to say if any of the related novels have this particular plot, though. – Simon May 14 '15 at 18:27
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He's not named after a hero, but in Lawrence Watt-Evans's Touched by the Gods, Malledd is a blacksmith who was born with a birthmark that a visiting priest proclaims means that he is the chosen champion.

Internet Writing Journal review:

One evening in a small country village, baby Malledd is born to a simple blacksmith. The baby is born with the claw mark of the God Ba'al on his face which a priest confirms means that Malledd is the chosen champion of the Domdur, to be called upon by the Gods to protect the Empire in the event of war. The mark fades and Malledd grows up. But the claw mark of Ba'al has marked Malledd for a life of teasing from his sisters and jealousy from other villagers about the fact that the priest said he is the Chosen Champion. All he really wants is to live a normal life and so does all he can to keep the secret of his birth. But when a New Magic is discovered and an evil magician arises with an army of walking undead to threaten the sleeping Empire, the Chosen Champion is called for by the Empire. Will Malledd accept his fate as Champion or will he ignore it? Will the Empire fall because one man's unwillingness to accept the destiny laid upon him by the Gods?

However, I do not remember if the bad guys targeted him, and his abilities are relatively limited, basically coming down to being stronger than normal, and with a great ability to endure.

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Sounds like Orson Scott Card's Tales of Alvin Maker series.

First book (Seventh Son) was written about 30 years ago, so the timing is right.

Alvin is a blacksmith who is fated to be powerful because he is the 7th son of a 7th son.

Powerful evil forces try to kill him repeatedly as he grows up.

He eventually develops his amazing powers and uses them to fight the evil, and try to build a better society.

Noting about historic namesakes or reincarnation, though.

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