adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $29.99

Buy for $29.99

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

The Narthani, a militant realm who believe their manifest destiny is to rule the entire planet, Anyar, plan to absorb Caedellium into their empire and crush any resistance. Yozef Kolsko (a.k.a. Joe Colsco) works to find ways to increase the chances of resistance to the Narthani's planned conquest.

Complicating his life is attraction to a brilliant daughter of an island leader, and his uncertainty of his own mind, hers, or intricacies of Caedellium customs.

Despite his desire to devote himself to introducing new knowledge, Yozef is drawn more and more into developing weapons and giving tactical and strategic advice - things he knows he's unqualified to give. The enemy is coming. The odds seem overwhelming, and it will take all Yozef can do, the courage of his new people, and luck, to survive.

©2016 Olan Thorensen (P)2017 Podium Publishing

What listeners say about The Pen and the Sword

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,380
  • 4 Stars
    719
  • 3 Stars
    142
  • 2 Stars
    39
  • 1 Stars
    15
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,370
  • 4 Stars
    539
  • 3 Stars
    77
  • 2 Stars
    15
  • 1 Stars
    6
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,102
  • 4 Stars
    674
  • 3 Stars
    162
  • 2 Stars
    43
  • 1 Stars
    18

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Following a great premise, but gets long-winded

Would you try another book from Olan Thorensen and/or Jonathan Davis?

Yes

Would you be willing to try another book from Olan Thorensen? Why or why not?

Yes. He has some captivating ideas and does a good job developing a strong central storyline.

Which scene was your favorite?

The battle for Mooreland City

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Yes

Any additional comments?

The first book was extremely intriguing. This one followed along that original, strong premise but got too wrapped up in explaining what and why characters thought or felt certain ways. I'm fine with a little overdevelopment of characters - made it through all of "A Song of Ice and Fire" as well as "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead" and many other more "wordy" books. But this got to where it felt like over half the book was elaborating on how smart Maera Keelan is, and how smart Yozef thinks she is and what Maera thinks about how smart Yozef thinks she is, and how everybody else feels about how smart Maera is, and what she thinks about that. It gets really old and doesn't get anywhere with character development. Instances similar to this are spread throughout the book with various characters and it got frustrating more than a couple times. The central premise of the story is great. The development of Yozef's new ideas and their implementations on Cadellium is well done and thorough. The fight against the Narthani keeps me listening, as I'm in the middle of the third book currently. I think Thorensen has a wonderfully original idea for a series and most of it is solid story telling. Combining a primitive human world with space travel and the spreading of humans throughout the galaxy has almost unlimited potential for many differently avenues of story line. I hope he keeps it up but I could personally stand a little less personal thought explanation that doesn't lead to any better character development.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

A missed opportunity

I usually like sci fi/fantasy used as an exercise in societal examination but these books seem created as a canvas for a rather sexist author (is he Mormon?) to make sure everyone knows just how marvelous he is. The hardest points to swallow are a tie between the ‘see how kind and egalitarian I am even when it causes other people pain or discomfort’ moments and the ‘when Joseph says it, you just know it’s clever/perfect/funny/exactly correct’ phrasing (no joke, that’s almost verbatim) which is repeated almost every chapter when one person dares to question this messiah’s mad genius.

The adoration and fawning from literally everyone would have been acceptable had this book been a satire, but alas, no. Just everyone making sure we know how truly intelligent, fun, kind, innovative, generous, compassionate, strong, resilient, humorous, sexy, fair, courageous, bold, gentle, and disciplined this humble
average joe is.

Didn’t fully hate it, and not quite at full on contempt - More at an eye roll level. I consider the premise a missed opportunity. Ok if you just need background noise. I hope the author matures. Maybe he can hit the target next series.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

At last !

I've been waiting for a new author to take the place of H PIPER as one of my favorites of all time . I hope he's as prolific .

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The story is a good follow up but ....

I enjoyed it. I did. Really. But I find many of the characters quite two dimensional, especially the women but maybe that's just my point of view. Certainly a story which charts the impact of a modern, educated man raised in the West on a backward society on another planet makes for an interesting read. I just didn't feel any great empathy for the characters themselves. I'm sure I will read the next when it comes out despite that.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

looking forward to book 3

Good story and just as good as the first book. the narator does a good job.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I'm All In

The Pen and the Sword has rocketed the Destiny’s Crucible series to my top slot for 2017. Exceptionally good writing and masterful character development have transported my thoughts to another planet in another time. I now give a damn about what happens to the key people in these books. For me, this level of emotional attachment is more important than all the intrigue and action combined.

Speaking of action, Olan DOES ratchet-it-up in The Pen and the Sword. A small incursion is a defining moment in Book 1, while a full pitched battle is the apex of Book 2. In both cases, what delighted me was the intricate writing and tactical knowledge used by the author to bring these conflicts to life. The Battle scene in The Pen and the Sword is one of the best I’ve ever read. After reading more about Olan Thorensen on his web page, I saw the three letters SOG and knew that explained it all. Not only is Olan a great author, but he’s probably pretty much a badass too. That makes for a great mix!

One more thing I like about these books is ZERO fantasy. Sure, it’s science fiction, but they are 100% believable. These are REAL characters doing REAL things. As an Audible listener, I also encourage you to buy the Kindle version of The Pen and the Sword. It's much more complicated than Book 1, so being able to read along helps you better track clan names, key characters, and the many locations of Caedellium. Olan has also posted some Anyar Maps on his website which are also real helpful when understanding the strategy.

So, go ahead and spend a few credits as you will enjoy these books. Like all books, there are some dry spots, but this is all important backstory that helps the main storyline unfold. While not quite War and Peace, these are BIG BOY books, and sometimes you have to climb a hill if you want to see the full view!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Journey continues

Would you listen to The Pen and the Sword again? Why?

Perhaps years from now, but I just finished it this morning, so it is not a relevant question.

What did you like best about this story?

My gosh, all of it. The characters, the plotline, the intrigue, the structure. This is an outstanding series and this second book fulfills the promise of the first book. Building out the rationale, finishing some story arcs and starting new ones. A fascinating extension to the character and plot introductions from the first book.

Which scene was your favorite?

The battle scene with the Narthani at the end was very impressive.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

As noted above, the last 3rd of the book is impressive in every regard.

Any additional comments?

This is a rich series, and well worth the investment of time ( as it is long, to be sure ). Brilliantly conceived, rich in detail and content, a stellar ( and consistent ) performance by JD, and more to come. Highly enjoyable, and completely credit worthy. One of the best of the year!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Another Binge Listen

As others have mentioned, this is a book that is really hard to stop listening to (as is volume 1). Thorensen's story is excellent in conception and execution. Jonathan Davis is a super-star reader. Put it all together and you might as well get used to saying "ssshhh, I'm listening to a story!" to everyone you know for a day or two.

One thing I really like about these books that I haven't seen mentioned in other reviews, is that each book thus far has a natural conclusion to its part of the tale. I find cliffhangers annoying but this and the first book both have a satisfying conclusion while leaving the story open for development. I feel like Thorensen respects his readers -- he certainly doesn't need the cliffhanger gimmick to get people to read the next installment. The stories are flat out great.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping. Refreshing ratio of sci-fi to fantasy!

Gripping. Can't wait for the third book to come to Audible. Finished Book 2 in less than 2 days. I'm legitimately bummed that I started listening before this whole series is out on audible, because now I'm counting the days until the next release. The narrator takes an enthralling story and delivers a performance that reaffirms my respect for those capable of this level of artful storytelling. I really got a sense of anticipation and fear, sadness and joy. There were moments that gave me chills. I laughed out loud. Really interesting story and the narrator is perfectly suited to the books. If it wasn't already apparent, I strongly recommend this book, esp. if you're looking for that perfect ratio of sci-fi to fantasy.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Extremely slow pace

This book series seems like a good short story that was stretched out to two books (so far). For example, Every action is explained at least three times: in the planning before the action, when the action happens and in the after action discussion. Facts from previous chapters or the previous book are mentioned again and again, sometimes with the same words.

5 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Vivien Z.
  • Vivien Z.
  • 11-16-17

Tedious

A lesson in how to spin out very little story to the maximum length possible would sum up this book. Incredibly boring battles, clumsy dialogue and one of the worst bedroom scenes I've come across for some time. I could go on but have no desire to induce the same levels of boredom as the author.
I won't be buying the third book because I really couldn't care less what happens to any of the characters and can't bear to sit through another brain numbing experience.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Thomas Brown
  • Thomas Brown
  • 10-18-20

Much stronger than the first book

The first book felt a bit random in comparison to its sequel. The Pen & The Swords story follows a much more logical trajectory now that Olan had spent book one creating his universe. Josef's life on Anyar has become much more driven and his character development has progress to make him a more likeable and relatable character. He isn't a typical hero, he doesn't want to fight, he wants to use his knowledge for the better of the people.

Now that the momentum has ramped up and the supporting characters have been fleshed out a bit, Destiny's Crucible has now started to get interesting. Now where is book three in my library...?

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 10-12-20

Not about innovation

The first book was al about innovation and the social aspect with the whole town, wich was good. This book was all about war and his wife. I was really missing the aspect of trying to share more knowledge.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mark Butler
  • Mark Butler
  • 09-27-19

More of the same as book 1

Sigh. Not much more of the bigger story so you have to like old style battles. I liked it enough to keep going but it was hard work. The performance was not my style either, I got used to the voice, but it never really did the characters that well.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for E. Robinson
  • E. Robinson
  • 10-16-18

Could be better

I downloaded this in error after having returned the first one through frustration. Why I don't know I decided to stick with it a bit of a mystery. Its OK and an interesting concept though Im sure it could be better if the padding were removed along with the repitition and the story speeded up bit through some good editing. I find the narrator to be a bit annoying and rather whiney and a long way behind the likes of Sean Barret or Carl Prekopp. Though in fairness that type of American accent does not work for me. RC Bray would have been preferable if it had to be an American.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mr. R. Chvapil
  • Mr. R. Chvapil
  • 01-13-18

Excellent again!

Second book as good as first. One of my favourite books. The story sucks you right in.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for John
  • John
  • 01-06-18

this second book did not disappoint

this is the first book that I actually stayed up all night to listen as I just couldn't put it down

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Chris Wilson
  • Chris Wilson
  • 10-22-17

Brilliant

Usually when you get a trilogy of books the middle one is the poorest one this one is better than the first I hope this continues in the third one which I am deafly going to listening to

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Richard S.
  • Richard S.
  • 08-17-17

A damn good read, I would highly recommend.

One can identify with Yozef Kolsko, the main character, and his dilemma of having advanced knowledge but being unable to apply it in a society thats 300years behind that which he was removed from.

Read the first and second books back to back, couldn't put them down. I cant wait for the third book, will the Natharni be finally pushed back off the island? What about windmills/water wheels as energy source. Will we see steam power and the beginnings of an industrial revolution emerge.

Bring on the third instalment.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tracey
  • Tracey
  • 02-08-18

Great Book...I'm hooked

I'm hooked on a completely new genre of books thanks to Audio...thanks ☺ and Narrator was EXCELLENT again

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kayla
  • Kayla
  • 11-02-20

Engaging Low Tech Parallel Earth Story

This is book 2 of an engagingly written Sci-Fi story, where the slightly geeky main character Joseph has to adapt into a parallel Earth culture with a technological level of the 17 hundreds. The humans on the island Caedellium were taken from a pre-European culture - thus their development follows similar structures then those on Earth, although there are significant differences in their society. In Book 2 Joseph integrates further into Caedellian culture and develops his social standing while discovering the advantages and limitations of his advanced knowledge. He also gets confronted with the geo-political realities of his new home. The book is written from several point of views of different characters. It will be helpful to go to Olan Thorensen's web page and download the Anyar/ Caedellium maps and the character list to prevent confusion with the many different names.
The narration of this book series was excellent - especially with so many players involved. It is a very entertaining read.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jlobb
  • Jlobb
  • 02-23-18

Great story. On to book 3.

A great story with some cute nods to significant scientists and other epic novel authors. Highly recommend this book.