Robert Barr’s “The Sword Maker”

BLOG #18, SERIES 6
WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE
DR. JOE’S BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB #40
ROBERT BARR’S THE SWORD MAKER
May 6, 2015

Well, there’s always a first time for everything. Quite candidly, when I re-read Robert Barr’s A Prince of Good Fellows after an interval of over half a century, although I was pleased by the second reading, I failed to recapture my original delight. So much so that when I returned the book to my library after writing the April 1 blog (Blog #13, Series #6), I noticed another Barr title I’d evidently never read before, The Sword Maker. After scanning it, I decided to read it and see if I’d been mistaken about Barr’s writing power.

I had not. I literally could not put The Sword Maker down! Turns out it is a much more unputdownable read than was A Prince of Good Fellows. I didn’t quit reading until I reached the last page in the middle of the night. The result? Concluding that I must follow up last month’s blog by another book by the same author.

The setting is imperial Frankfort in Germany back in medieval times. I’ve always been fascinated by the hilltop castles overlooking the Rhine River, thus when I discovered Barr’s protagonist daring to pit his wits against the robber barons who from time to time brought river commerce to a halt, it was a great opportunity to learn more about that period of German history.

I will be most interested in hearing from you, seeing if or not you agree with my featuring this second Barr title.

For biographical information, please refresh your memory by re-reading the April 1 blog.

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I’m guessing that a number of you will now be interested in reading more of Barr’s novels.

Here’s a list to help you in your search.

•    In a Steamer Chair and Other Stories (1892)
•    The Face and the Mask (1894)
•    In the Midst of Alarms (1894)
•    From Whose Bourne (1896)
•    One Day is Courtship (1896)
•    Revenge! (n.d.)
•    The Strong Arm (n.d.)
•    A Woman Intervenes (1896)
•    Tekla: A Romance of Love and War (1898)
•    Jennie Baxter, Journalist (1899)
•    The Unchanging East (1900)
•    The Victors (1901)
•    Prince of Good Fellows (1902)
•    The O’Ruddy, A Romance, (with Stephen Crane) (1903)
•    The Tempestuous Petticoat (1905)
•    A Rock in the Baltic (1906)
•    The Triumphs of Eugéne Valmont (1906)
•    The Measure of the Rule (1907)
•    Stranleigh’s Millions (1909)
•    The Sword Maker (1910)
•    The Palace of Logs (1912)

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The Sword Maker by Robert Barr (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1910).