Swords for Hire in national TOP TEN list!

Swords for Hire chosen as selection number two in the American Booksellers Association BookSense Science Fiction / Fantasy TOP TEN LIST!


"This book will delight children,
teens, and adults alike"
Foreword Reviews

The familiar story of king, villain, fair maiden, and rescuer takes on a fresh spin in this comic retelling with modern vernacular. Readers will revel in the story's charm, humor, and numerous twists and turns. This book will delight children, teens, and adults alike.

"Reluctant readers will find themselves with a page-turner, while older readers, especially fans of William Goldman's The Princess Bride, will delight in the subtle and not-so-subtle humorous twists throughout the story"

What a kick! The rollicking cast of characters includes King Olive, who is moldering in a prison because of the diabolical deeds of his younger brother, Boonder; Sam Hatcher, a sixteen-year-old farm boy who thinks maybe he would like something more than a farm life-or maybe not; Rigby Skeet, an eccentric and talented man with a "sword for hire," who challenges Sam to join him for "an interesting time"; and, of course, a beautiful and feisty young woman, Melinda, who is held captive by evil Boonder. The interesting time promised by Rigby quickly becomes understatement, as Sam and Rigby must save the king, Melinda, and the kingdom from Boonder's evil clutches-which of course they do.
     This fast and thoroughly enjoyable read is for anyone from middle school age to adult who needs a laugh. The medieval backdrop provides a delightful setting for the adventures, but the cast stretches familiar roles of both good guys and bad with fresh twists, including that of beautiful Melinda, who joins Rigby and Hatcher's business after her rescue, and evil Boonder, a king who puts worms on his head. Allen's friend, Nancy Cartwright, voice of Bart Simpson, writes the foreword, but even without Cartwright's endorsement, this book will sell itself.

"A completely engaging thrill ride"  
The Boox Review

     Merry, often rollicking fantasy adventure suitable for 9-year-olds and older (many adults will love the humor), inspired in part by The Princess Bride and powered by hugely likeable characters, a classically structured plot and a writer who many saw as a bit of a comic genius before he died at 22, struck down in his prime by melanoma. Readers will find themselves seamlessly immersed in all the wacky fun well before the bad guys know what hit them. Short, well-contained, lightning-quick chapters and a superb delivery of all the literary elementals within make Swords for Hire a completely engaging thrill ride, satisfying and delectable to the core.

"A true pleasure to read"
SF Revu

     This is a quick and easy read that flows along very nicely and has just the right level of adventure and quirky humor. I’m glad that this story is getting the opportunity to be told to a larger audience, as the care with which it was written and the light irreverent humor that flows though the words are a true pleasure to read.  

“Silly, gross, juvenile, and very much fun to read”
Fearless Reviews

      Swords for Hire is silly, gross, juvenile, highly improbable, and very much fun to read. There are short-lived swordfights, a maiden almost in distress, and lots of wisecracks between the two swords for hire that remind one of Han Solo’s swaggering braggadocio in the original episodes of Star Wars. Author Will Allen got rid of all the extra stuff and kept the good parts in this entertaining comic fantasy aimed at adolescents as well as the adolescent-at-heart.

“Witty fantasy, a great book”
The Cincinnati Enquirer

      Swords for Hire is a humorous fantasy adventure for all ages inspired by William Goldman's The Princess Bride. The author uses traditional elements--evil guards, a foreboding sorcerer, a fight against insurmountable odds--but twists them in fresh and clever ways. It's a great book. And a funny one.

“Wacky high jinks”
School Library Journal

      Sam Hatcher is an ordinary farm boy in the kingdom of Parmall who finds himself teamed up with the slightly unbalanced soldier of fortune, Rigby Skeet, and they set out on a mission to find the rightful monarch of Parmall, King Olive, who has been deposed by his sneaky brother, Boonder. Wacky Hich jinks ensue. The story moves along at a nice clip, and Sam and Rigby develop a funny bantering relationship.

“If you enjoyed The Princess Bride, you'll enjoy this”
Georges T. Dodds, SF Site

     A fun-loving, family-oriented author who dies of cancer soon after writing his book, no less than 16 rave reviews online, a posthumous literary award: it's enough to make a cynical old curmudgeon want to expose the whole thing as some overly media-hyped mediocrity. But damn it, if Swords for Hire isn't funny, entertaining, well-written, and most thankfully of all -- for a heroic fantasy -- not published in 10 forest-depleting volumes.
     Does it cover all the clichés of heroic fantasy? Sure. But what pulls it out is that the author makes something new out of these standard characters, makes it funny, keeps the action moving along, and creates an altogether very entertaining work.

"What a remarkable novel. . . I was blown away"
Writer's Digest Magazine

     What a remarkable novel- funny, surprising, rich characters. Will Allen makes this classic adventure fresh and exciting... a page-turner. I was blown away by Allen’s ability to not only propel the story, but flesh out the characters through their own voices. And there are some hilarious moments of narration as well. Kids will dream of being Swords for hire.

“A rollicking, clever novel- hard to put down”
Midwest Book Review

     Swords For Hire is a rollicking, clever, novel. When Sam Hatcher turned 16 he meets Rigby Skeet and the two of them uncover a plot that has placed the king's evil brother upon the throne. To expose the plot, Sam and Rigby embark on an exciting cross-country adventure complete with evil guards, a magical sorcerer, ambushes, and a beautiful girl held captive against her will. A terrific read, one of those heroic action fantasy novels that are so easy to pick up and so hard to put down!
“A classic adventure smashing though cliches”

     The story is fast and fun and often surprising, taking a classic adventure story and saturating it with humor and irony, smashing through clichés as quickly as the protagonists smash through obstacles. This story was loved by every kid with whom it was shared, from age seven to age fifteen, and the adults who read it loved it even more.

“One of the best novels I've ever read”
Book Review Club

     I give two thumbs up and five gold stars for Swords for Hire’s remarkable qualities. Never before have I read a novel this hilarious; I literally had teary eyes for laughing from start to finish. Never before a fiction piece about medieval kingdom, heroes and villains is this vivid, detailed and super-easy to read, that people of all ages will love and adore.

“A breezy, lighthearted spoof”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

     This novel is a breezy, lighthearted spoof of adventure fantasy plots, with a silly sense of humor and quirky sense of order. The attention-grabbing opening launches readers into a swift-moving plot parade that doesn't let up until the foregone but still funny conclusion.

“Quirky and funny--a fun read for kids and adults”
Cindy Lynn Speer,  SF Site

     A smart read that doesn't take itself too seriously, filled with great characterization, quirky and funny dialogue, and a sense of irreverence that will make it fun for kids and adults. The characters are wonderful...the good guys are admirable, the bad guys are icky, and even the sole female of the book plays a wonderful and brave role. People will love Sam's common sense, Rigby's oddball wit, and the Boneman's creepy omniscience.

“This book was a real page-turner”
Scribes World

     It kept me wondering what was going to happen next. The characters, description, and content were put together in a completely enjoyable way, as well as kept me laughing thoughout. I think this book would be equally enjoyable for both teens and adults. This award-winning book deserves to be read.

"A must-read for fans of THE PRINCESS BRIDE"
Kathy Boswell, TheBestReviews.com

     Readers of all ages will enjoy this one! If you are a fan of books such as THE PRINCESS BRIDE, then this is a must-read. Adventures abound and there's even a little romance as well. You never know who or what will turn up next! This quick easy fun read will appeal to fantasy readers of all ages. I highly recommend this one.

"The best children's book I've ever reviewed"
Melissa Brown, MyShelf.com

     This engaging tale of a missing king, a misfit royal soldier, and a coming-of-age farm boy is absolutely delightful...the perfect balance of adventure and humor. The story is fast-paced and easy to read, a joy for both parents and children. After reading Will Allen’s first published book, you’ll be wishing for more.

"A smart read that doesn't take itself too seriously!"

     The Princess Bride by William Goldman is cited as one of the author's favorite books, and you can see that he does tip his hat to that work, without making this story any less original. Allen, twenty two years old and terminally ill, wrote Swords for Hire as a present for his friends and family. Years later, his brother Paul took the manuscript out of hiding and sent it to a national competition, where it won an award in 2002. I think it's wonderful to see that Allen's brother has brought this present out to the world, for all of us who need a good book to escape into.

"Charming and funny from beginning to end"
Tree Klotzbach, YetAnotherBookReview.com

     Swords for Hire is a charming and funny, wholesome and entertaining story from beginning to end. Beling fast-paced and engaging, it will keep the interest of any child. Listening to my kids giggle and hearing them quickly turn pages is a testimonial to this book.

Five-Star Rating  *  *  *  *  *  "Highly Recommended"
Detra Fitch, Huntress Reviews

     I found this story to be an absolute delight! All through the book I chuckled and often I found myself laughing out loud. The author expressed even common things in unusual and humorous ways: "Imagine a dark, sinister-looking castle, then multiply by two and you'd have the castle of the Boneman."  This book will make young readers WANT to read. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

"I simply couldn't put Swords for Hire down"

     After reading the first intriguing line, I just kept reading and didn't stop until the last word. It was possible one of the funniest, most imaginative and spellbinding books I have read in a very long time. I would recommend it to anyone!

"A wildly fun and exciting tale"
Heather Froeschl, Quilldipper.com
     Swords for Hire is wildly fun. The characters are interesting, humorous and full of enchantment. The classic knight in shining armor tale it isn't— it's  better. It is a classic with a modern twist, a bit of male bonding and of course the bit of romance that makes it worth the quest. Readers of all ages will love this story.

"This adventure will have you laughing out loud"
Lydia Funneman, Writers Unlimited

     I decided to read this book to my children as I read it myself. We started on a Saturday morning and finished that night — the girls didn’t want me to stop until we had finished the book. The girls perched on the edge of their seats when Sam and Rigby would get into a dangerous situation and would roll on the floor laughing when Sam or Rigby did or said something funny. I also enjoyed it as much as they did — it was a delightful adventure.

"Comical and fun, this book has it all. Fantastic."
Jennifer LB Leese, It's Only Ink

     Swords for Hire is a remarkable, hard-to-put-down book for young adults. Readers who enjoy fantasy adventure will love this comical and fun book that has it all: Dark dungeons, betrayal, kidnapping, magic, evil, and treachery, plus much more. This reviewer found Allen's book extremely satisfying, enjoyable and fantastic.

"I couldn't put it down. . . Swords for Hire rocks!"
Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson

     Swords for Hire is interesting, surprising, full of suspense, and most of all, funny. I loved it. I couldn't put it down. In fact, my 11-year-old son wouldn't let me put it down! He loved it, too. And so will you. It's a must-read, for kids and adults!     

"Downright funny, destined to be read again and again"
Brenda Ramsbacher, Scribblers

     The kingdom remains in danger. No one can be trusted. Especially the King. Now the SWORDS FOR HIRE must right the wrongs of the past before it is too late. In this adventure, young readers will enjoy the witty dialogue and engaging plot. SWORDS FOR HIRE is a downright funny tale destined to stay on any child's keeper shelf to be read again and again.

"Allen seems to have had a knack for writing humor"
Eva Wojcik-Obert, Fantastica Reviews

     This could be the answer to getting away from the dull reality of the workplace. We all need a little lighthearted romp with a happy ending every now and then. Something that makes us laugh a little and shake our heads can do wonders for our attitudes. Writing humor that works is no easy thing. Will Allen seems to have had a knack for it. Makes me wonder that if he’d lived to be older than 22, if he could have written something to give William Goldman’s The Princess Bride a run for the money. 
"A delightful read, will provide nonstop enjoyment"
Bob Spear, Heartland Reviews

    This wonderful middle grade young adult fantasy with lots of tongue-in-cheek humor tells the story of how young farm boy, Sam Hatcher, links up with a fumbling king's guardsman, Rigby Skeet, to restore the rightful King Olive to his throne. Swords for Hire was a delightful read and will provide nonstop enjoyment for many a young reader. 
"A fast, fun read that just couldn’t be put down"
Hilary Williamson, Bookloons

    The subtitle, 'Two of the most unlikely heroes you'll ever meet' doesn't come close to saying it all; this tale is funny, punny and improbably entertaining. Its wackiness is appropriately introduced by Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson and a childhood friend of the author. Swords for Hire is a fast fun read, which my 14-year-old son devoured in one sitting - and said the book 'just couldn't be put down.'
"Humorous, exciting, and hard to put down"
Harold McFarland, ReadersPreference.com

    "Swords for Hire" is a humorous and exciting medieval adventure. Inspired by "The Princess Bride", the style is similar enough that anyone who enjoyed that book should enjoy this one. Although it is written for the juvenile market (age 9 or so and older) it is still a delightful read for anyone. It is hard to put the book down and you may find yourself sitting up to finish it. "Swords for Hire" is a highly recommended and enjoyable read. 
"Most entertaining- a funny, quick-paced adventure"
L.A.Solinas, Amazon.com Top 30 reviewer

     Some of the most entertaining books are the ones nobody knew about. The fantasy novel "Swords for Hire" is one of those, written over twenty years ago by a very talented young man, and now available because of his brother. Fans of "Princess Bride" and the works of Craig Shaw Gardner should check this one out. It's a funny, quick-paced adventure story with lots of fighting, loathsome villains, feisty damsels, underestimated heroes and the occasional gruesome specter. Fans of funny, fast-paced fantasy and adventure will definitely enjoy this.

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