Review: Have Sword, Will Travel

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations


Book Title: Have Sword, Will Travel (available here)

Author(s): Garth Nix and Sean Williams

Illustrator: Cherie Zamazing

Publisher: Piccadilly Press

Publication Date: September 2018

Most Suitable For: KS2

Reviewed By: Louise Buisson, Primary English Leader



This adventure story has a setting that resembles medieval Britain. The two central characters are Odo, the son of a miller who wishes for nothing more than a quiet, trouble-free life and his best friend Eleanor, who is desperate for adventure.


One day, the pair are catching eels in the local river, which has recently reduced to a trickle causing problems for the whole village, when Odo accidently awakens an enchanted sword. The eccentric sword decides that Odo is destined to be a great warrior and then knights him on the spot. He also decides that Eleanor, who has always wanted to follow in her dead mother’s footsteps and become a knight, will be Sir Odo’s squire. Neither one is impressed with their new role.


It is decided that their first quest will be to find out what has stopped the river from flowing. In the early stages of their journey up the river valley, they meet a collection of characters and eventually learn that the infamous dragon Quenwolf is believed to have blocked the river. They realise that this challenge is possibly insurmountable for a pair of teenagers, despite being armed with an enchanted and very enthusiastic sword and are therefore relieved when they meet the imposing lady knight, Sir Saskia, with whom they hope to join forces.


But is Sir Saskia as amazing as she seems? And why would a dragon want to block a river? Or does someone just want them to think that it would? Will Eleanor ever achieve her dream of being a knight and will Odo warm to his role?


This is an exciting tale of adventure, friendship and overcoming seemingly impossible odds. I was a particular fan of how both women and men are knights in the story with no suggestion that a lady knight is in any way unusual. The vocabulary used throughout is rich and the narrative will draw children in.




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You can order Have Sword Will Travel online or from your local bookshop or library.



Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Louise Buisson for reviewing it.

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