Swords may have vanished from most conflicts today, but interest in swords lives on. Swordfighting plays a role in many popular children’s fiction series such as Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Inheritance Trilogy, Five Ancestors and The Ranger’s Apprentice. Local groups such as the University of Iowa Fencing Club and the Society of Creative Anachronism have been great in assisting with library programs where children either learn some basic swordfighting or see a demonstration (most recently Sarah Prineas’ enhanced reading of The Magic Thief).
If fiction has piqued your interest in swordcraft, Swords: An Artist’s Devotion by Ben Boos is a terrific book for learning more. The book is a treasury of detailed illustrations of swords used by a variety of groups such as Vikings, Ninjas and Sultans. The variety within Asian civilizations is quite impressive. Seeing the pictures and descriptions of how each is best used can certainly make picturing the scenes in books like The Samurai Mysteries easier. Boos clearly respects swords and their masters from all cultures and times. The text is brief and only a starting point, but the drawings are quite clearly the work of a devoted artist.