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Why does Musashi talk about swords so much?

Question from a reader -

I'm reading The Book of Five Rings, and I have a question.

There's a lot of good stuff about acting decisively and immediately so that you can win while your opponent is hesitating, but I don't get why he emphasizes swords so much in particular.

Masters of the long sword are traditionally known as heihosha [strategists]. As for the other military arts, those who master the bow are called archers, those who master the spear are called spearmen, those who master the gun are called marksmen, and those who master the halberd are called halberdiers. But we do not call masters of the long sword "long swordsmen", nor do we speak of "short swordsmen". Bows, guns, spears and halberds are all tools of the warriors and each should be a way to master strategy.

Review: The Written by Ben Galley

On Books In Progress

Ben Galley is a fantasy author and staunch defender of independent publishing. The Written is his first book, and the first in The Emaneska trilogy.

I have to say I was expecting some fairly standard sword and sorcery tale here, a bit of magic, a few fabulous beasts slain, the usual wise grey beards and prophecies. As a first book that would have definitely been the safe option, and would still have been a good read.

Needless to say this isn't what you get. You get a slew of mythical creatures - dragons (I suspect on the Pern novels exceed the sheer number in this book), werewolves and more besides. You get heroes and villains. You get magic. You get sword fights. But all of these are put together in a way that's different from the norm. Rather than trying to subvert all the fantasy tropes it is as if Galley dropped them and they smashed and in putting them back together they aren't quite the same as they were before.

The basic story concerns the theft of a spell book which, in the wrong hands, can be used to summon a mighty and powerful evil. Farden, one of the Written (a sort of magic user that has spells tattooed onto his back) has to try to prevent this happening. I won't give any more details as there are many twists and turns as the story unfolds.

Farden is a powerful mage and a tough fighter and although he is heoric he also has personal demons that could cause his mission to fail. He is a loner with little patience for others. He doubts his own abilities and judgement. As the reader you feel you want to give him a good shaking sometimes to get him to act. This makes him a very complex character, realistic and interesting to follow. The other main characters are also fully realised with their own mannerisms and momentum.

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