John Johnson

The Blade

With nothing but a sword and a gritty determination to live, Woden, the son of a Germanic ex-slave from the land of the steppe, stumbles into the far reaches of the eighth-century empire of Byzantium. He quickly learns that a soldier’s skills and the right blend of ruthlessness, cunning, and luck will win him women, wealth, status, and power.
His quest for worldly rewards propels him through primeval forest lands, vast empty deserts, the great city of Constantinople, Saracen hordes, tribal armies, and walled cities. His skills in hand-to-hand combat and brutal military slaughter and his cunning strategizing gain the respect of his men, the favor of generals, and the adoration of the Empire.
A faithless man among the faithful, Woden lives by the sword as others die by his sword. But is there more to life than surviving? Will Woden’s desperate search for a mental edge to sustain him within the violence surpass his quest for riches?
307 printed pages
Original publication



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