This adventure-filled fantasy presents an interesting world that combines swords and sorcery but primarily focuses on the physical prowess of the main characters. The constant challenges and sometimes self-effacing but practical responses that are evoked tend to divert the reader from really being conscious of the extent of violence that is portrayed throughout the story. There are exciting sword fights and intriguing glimpses of the world occupied by these characters but the action is a bit uneven and seemed rushed at the end. The affection between the characters is obviously hard-won, judging by the recaps of past adventures and the overall story is fascinating and makes one want to become familiar with all of the volumes in the series. The partial resolution of issues whets one’s appetite for additional stories and, although this entertaining tale can be read as a stand alone, undoubtedly it will be better appreciated by prior acquaintance with Del and Tiger from the first six books in the series.
“Sword-Bound” by Jennifer Roberson continues the saga of Sword-Dancers Del and the infamous Sandtiger (Tiger), after all of the adventures detailed in the ‘Sword-Dancer Saga’. Domesticity has somewhat tamed the pair who have established a teaching school and a family but the urgings of the Tiger’s son, Neesha, spurs them to venture out of their protected enclave. Fortunately, neither of the resourceful duo has lost his or her edge, figuratively and literally, and Neesha will benefit from tempering his skills, if he survives the crucible he is about to be subjected to. A formidable foe is determined to exact revenge for past insults and Tiger’s reputation precludes the group having an uneventful journey but they never expect the ferocity of the challenges they will face and they will have to marshall a wide variety of resources if they expect to survive.
For the first time in years, life seems settled for Tiger and Del. They run a school for sword-dancers in the South. They're raising a two-year-old daughter. They collect income from their interest in a thriving cantina. Occasionally Tiger must dance against sword-dancers bent on killing him for forsaking the oaths and vows of the circle, but for the most part it's an idyllic life. Until Tiger's twenty-five-year-old son accuses him of being "domesticated."
Thus challenged by his own flesh-and-blood to reclaim his legendary status, Tiger, accompanied by Del and his son, embarks on a journey northwards that will test his sword skill and resolve, and lead him and Del into danger from an old enemy. Though Tiger had forsaken his magic years before, he now faces the choice to reclaim it, and to wield it, in order to save those he loves.