by Annie Morris
You can't fence all the time. Sometimes, you have to put up your sword and partake of a more restful activity. Why not read a book with swords in it?
If you are new to fencing, you may be intimidated by many of the books on how to fence. They are big with a lot of fancy French words in them and lots of diagrams. You just want something simple with clear pictures. I've got just the book for you. It's called FENCING (Know the Sport) by Alan Skipp. It's a paperback with a retail price of $5.95. It's got sections on clothing, the weapons, basic moves, target areas, and a nice glossary of terms. It's got great pictures illustrating stance and movement and the text is clear and concise. When new students sign up for lessons at Tampa's Fencing Academy, they receive a copy of this book to help get them started. That's a pretty good recommendation itself, don't you think?
If you have kids in your home who are interested in fencing, you might enjoy reading ON GUARD by Donna Jo Napoli along with them. A good children's book follows the same rules of writing as a good adult book and even if the plot is not complicated, it will keep you wanting to know how things turn out. That's the case with ON GUARD. It's about a young boy who wants to find a way to be special. He thinks that becoming a good fencer will be the key for him. He finds out that fencing is more than an athletic activity and comes away with much more than the skills needed to face an opponent on the strip. The recommended reading age for this book is 9 to 12. Look for it in the young readers shelves of book shops. It retails for $4.99.
Bernard Cornwell is probably best known for his Sharpe's series of books but his WARLORD CHRONICLES deserve more than a few kind words also. The series is comprised of THE WINTER KING, ENEMY OF GOD, and EXCALIBUR ($14.95 each in paperback). Although these are chronicles of the life of the famed King Arthur, the narrator, Derfel (pronounced "Dervel") Cadarn will be taken to your heart even more than the great Arthur. You follow his life from the time he was a Saxon child thrown into a druid's deathpit to his time as a warlord and then to the end of his life as a Christian monk. His life in intertwined with Arthur's and the story of Arthur would not be complete without him in this telling. By the end of the tale, you'll know that Britain had two bright blades as part of her mythic history: the Sword of Rhydderch (Excalibur) and Derfel's Hywelbane.
You'll get to know Merlin, Guinivere, Mordred, Lancelot, Galahad, Sagramor and many others from Arthurian legends in a way you have never known them before. There is beauty and romance to be found in these pages as well as amazing battles. There is not only war between the Saxons and the British but also between the Christians and Pagans. There is intrigue and outright derring-do. This is no fairy tale. This series is true heroic adventure.
If you can't find these books in your local bookstores, ask them to order them for you or buy them online at Barnes & Noble or at AMAZON.COM
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