Sword'n'Quill (Susanne Beck)
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Last modified: November 03 2012 12:33:04

Please make sure to read the EXPLANATORY NOTES before reading these reviews.

Alternative stories are designated as such with an [Alt] at the end of the title line.

This file features reviews of stories written by Sword'n'Quill. For any other fiction by this bard please visit any of the Xena fan fiction indexes.

For reviews of the author's commercial fiction check the Reviews Of Commercial Fiction.

The first of four planned books, SwordnQuill's latest takes a rare approach to the uber concept as it looks at the past of two soulmates instead of their future. The story begins in the nightmarish reality of a young woman named Maiandria as she makes the fateful decision to escape a brutal father. Unwilling to continue experiencing a life of humiliation and pain but ill-prepared to survive a life in the wild, Maia is soon confronted by a stranger offering help. To her surprise the stranger turns out to be a lot more intriguing than Maia could have suspected - a tall, beautiful female warrior with the most amazing eyes and a curious physical connection to the young woman both feel the moment their hands touch. In the days ahead Maia will learn that she's not the only young woman in need the warrior has helped for indeed Si’ian has made it her mission in life to bring back hope, self-respect and honor to those whom society will much too often dismiss as second class citizens. Leading a band of women from many different lands and cultures, Si’ian is on a quest to find a place they may finally be able to call their own. Along the way, Maia will help her rediscover her heart as the warrior finds herself surrendering to a timeless passion. Together they will face the greatest challenge of all as they struggle to unite their people and to lay the foundation for a nation that will someday become the stuff of legends. SwordnQuill does a nice job here of interweaving a large cast of characters into a story that charts the early history, culture and evolving mythology of a people XWP fans will be very familiar with. The leads are complex figures with difficult backgrounds both must work hard to overcome. The partnership they eventually create is a beautiful and passionate one, full of sparks and full of mystery. A solid beginning to a promising new series. DO NOT MISS! - 146 pgs., 2/3/02

**I, CONQUEROR by Sword'n'Quill - [Alt]
One of the most talented writers in Xena fanfic brings us her own version of the Conqueror in a SPECTACULAR story guaranteed to keep you on the edge of that computer chair. It begins innocently enough in the familiar world of Xena and Gabrielle as the two settle down in each others arms for a night's rest but in the morning things are very different for the young bard when she wakes alone to face a terrifying new reality - a reality without her beloved warrior where all of Greece and most of the known world are held in the grip of a ruthless Conqueror. It's a reality that has come to pass through the interference of a foe Gabrielle knows only to well. Charged with a mission to try to return time to its normal course, the bard will work to evade that foe but one confrontation she will not be able to avoid for her mission, her life and the fate of the world itself depends on it. The bard knows she must come face to face with the Conqueror and upon doing so she must then somehow find a way to reach the soulmate buried beneath those cold, royal trappings. SwordnQuil delivers here a masterful effort with first class writing, compelling characterizations and a gripping storyline. Her Conqueror is absolutely riveting - a NO-nonsense, brilliant, DEADLY warrior long-used to hiding even the barest hint of vulnerability. Her Gabrielle is gutsy and determined with a nobility that touches even the most jaded of souls and a staunch belief in her warrior that remains despite the extremes the Conqueror goes to test it. The Conqueror genre just keeps getting better and better guys :) VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! - 129 pgs., 2/9/00

**REDEMPTION by Sword'n'Quill (Susanne Beck) - [Alt]
Set in a modern-day women's prison known as the Bog, this new entry in the uber genre is a phenomenal, gut-wrenching story that solidifies Sword’n’Quill's spot among the top writers contributing to Xena fanfic today. Told from the perspective of a young woman named Angel serving a sentence for murder, the story follows the daily drama of life in a setting where violence is the predominant state of affairs, the struggle for survival consumes most of the hours in a day, and despair holds the soul in a vice like grip. Bright, friendly and determined not to give in to that despair, Angel carves a niche for herself within the prison, surviving some initial encounters with its most violent denizens to become a respected inmate known for her skills at procuring things for the prisoners. It's a skill that will bring her to the attention of infamous repeat offender Morgan Steele when the legendary prisoner better known as "Ice" returns to the Bog. The minute Angel looks into the woman's icy blue eyes, she is drawn like a moth to a flame, sensing a connection she cannot explain and is not particularly interested in denying. Amused by the young woman's nervousness and charmed by her innocence, Ice takes the girl up on a dare that will forever change their lives as the two start down a road together they've never traveled before - fueling a passion that will rock them to the very core and nurturing a love that will make them stronger together...and so much more vulnerable apart. Joining Ice and Angel in this fascinating action-drama is a colorful cast of characters who add both to the novel's uber feel and the contemporary setting with some of the friendliest faces serving double duty as vicious killers. Sword’n’Quill delivers here a story that pulls no punches, vividly describing the more harrowing aspects of prison life and making an important statement as well about the social ills that drive human beings into that life. Beautifully written and edited, the novel is both troubling and reaffirming - the type of memorable read that will stay with you for a while. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! [See the sequel RETRIBUTION] - 639 pgs., 9/17/99
AWARDS: Swollen Bud "All Nighter" award" (March 23, 2000)

Calli Story Cover
"Ice Doll" by Barbara Maclay
MaryD Story Cover
MUSIC: "Redemption" by Honey
[French version: REDEMPTION translated by Fanfan at]

**RESTITUTION by Susanne M. Beck (SwordnQuill) - [Alt]
Fans of SwordnQuill's uber yarns REDEMPTION and RETRIBUTION can rejoice at last while new readers will have three spectacular novels to look forward to with the release of this third installment in what is arguably one of the finest contemporary trilogies on the Net. Picking up the story shortly after the conclusion of the second novel, this third contribution opens with an anguished Angel awaiting the court verdict that could shatter her life even worse than it already has been. Separated from Ice for three months now, Angel knows that could become a much more permanent separation - but Morgan Steele knows the same thing and to prevent that she's willing to risk it all on one final, desperate bargain. In exchange for a promised pardon, Ice embarks on a hunt for the deadly criminal responsible for her years in the Bog. It's a quest that will separate the two lovers as a reluctant Angel seeks temporary refuge with their old friends from prison while Ice disappears into the Mexican underworld. For Angel especially it will be a time of change and growth as the young woman helps another fight all-too-familiar demons, as she gains a newer understanding of her friends and her partner, and as the steely resolve she has cultivated through the years asserts itself in her determination to be near the woman she loves. Morgan Steele has always been quite capable of managing the impossible on her own but for this last battle she's gonna have an angel on her shoulder whether she wants to or not. SwordnQuill's writing throughout this trilogy and especially in this third installment has been nothing but phenomenal. Told mostly from Angel's perspective with some HIGHLY effective exceptions, the story gives us tremendous insight not only into the character of this intuitive young woman but those around her as well. SwordnQuill supplements her main story with a wonderful cast of characters. A number of returning favorites and some memorable new additions, all work to enhance the story of the two leads, helping us to understand them better and drawing us into a saga that is at times heartbreaking, at times hysterical, often inspiring, ALWAYS passionate, and simply - beyond riveting. A worthy conclusion to a masterful trilogy, RESTITUTION earns my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION! - 236 pgs., 3/19/01

**RETRIBUTION by Susanne M. Beck (Sword'n'Quill) - [Alt]
At long last comes the much anticipated sequel to one of the finest ubers from 1999, Susanne's REDEMPTION, the hard-hitting, gritty story about two inmates finding solace, friendship, and love amidst the violence and desolation of a women's prison. As this sequel opens Ice and Angel are on their way out of the United States, intent on crossing the border into Canada in hopes of settling down in Angel's childhood home and avoiding the authorities still looking for Ice. It's a time of healing for the two of them as they put time and distance between themselves and the darkness they left behind, as their relationship deepens and as they start to make a new life, with old acquaintances and new ones bringing an unexpected sense of normality, acceptance and peace. For Angel in particular every day seems to bring one more reason to feel grateful as her beloved partner works to try to make all her dreams come true but beneath it all remains a troubling uncertainty, like the calm in the eye of the storm. It's an uncertainty Ice knows will continue to cast a shadow on their future for there are sins that will haunt them, dangers that will forever threaten unless old debts are settled and to do that they're gonna have to risk the happiness they've struggled so hard last time. This is simply put - an EXQUISITELY written story folks. Like the first novel it is told from Angel's point of view and beautifully captures the charm, humor and optimism, the contrasting wisdom and innocence of this unforgettable young woman. As seen through her eyes, all the other characters come alive - none more so, of course, than the beautiful, enigmatic loner that is her soulmate. Striking at times, the differences in personality between Angel and Ice bring a very touching sense of poignancy to their relationship. These are two women who've learned to accept and treasure those differences, who recognize one another's vulnerabilities, value one another's strengths, and are fiercely protective of the connection that makes their lives together so much more than what those lives were once apart. Like the first novel, RETRIBUTION also features a wonderful cast of supporting players with some terrific new additions to the story and the return of some old favorites. This is one of those rare writing achievements that simply shows NO weaknesses - exceptional storytelling, well-developed, engaging characterizations, a masterful merging of the sentimental with an underlying sense of misgiving all woven together in a richly detailed tapestry that will have you marveling every other sentence at this author's brilliance with the written word. This one easily joins the creme-della-creme of Internet fiction gaining my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION! [See the sequel RESTITUTION] - 270 pgs., 6/27/00

STRANGER IN YOUR EYES (THE) by Sword'n'Quill -- [Alt]
This new bard makes a strong debut on the Web with a contemporary uber novel that has an ancient warrior still grieving for the soulmate she lost thousands of years before. It is an agony that becomes even more acute when Xena suddenly finds herself protecting a young woman from the Mafia a young woman that is the mirror image of her beloved bard. Well-written and carefully edited, the novel merges riveting action scenes with some very emotional moments. [See the sequel TO STAND TOGETHER THROUGH THE STORM] - 189 pgs., 10/18/98
[Palm Pilot version available at XENA FAN FICTION FOR THE PALM PILOT]

An adventure-drama set in modern times, this EXCEPTIONAL novel is the sequel to Sword’n’Quill's THE STRANGER IN YOUR EYES which had the ancient immortal Xena at long last reuniting with her beloved bard after Gabrielle was reincarnated in another's body. Set a short while after the end of that first story, this new episode begins with a tender, peaceful interlude as warrior and bard reacquaint themselves with one another, rediscovering the love and passion and wonder of two soulmates too long denied. Soon enough though - the outside world snakes its way back into their lives as Xena is asked to assist in an investigation of a white supremacist group suspected in a growing number of disappearances. At the same time, Gabrielle reveals the real reason Hades allowed her to return to the world of the living - to make an appeal to the immortal warrior for her help in stopping an ancient God determined to reclaim his powers by plunging the world into a renewed cycle of hatred and war. There's only one way to stop the coming Armageddon...and it demands a price even Xena may not be willing to pay... Mixing moments of nostalgia with a deeply touching love story, SIZZLING romance, suspenseful action, and the charming humor ingrained in the bard's efforts at familiarizing herself with the modern world, Sword’n’Quill's latest is a captivating tale you will not want to put down 'til the very end. Beautifully written and edited, this one is a definite MUST READ! VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! - 349 pgs., 4/17/99
FANFIC ART: Ciegra Story Cover - Not currently available on the Web
[Palm Pilot version available at XENA FAN FICTION FOR THE PALM PILOT]

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