Okay, in a fractional rating system I'd have given this a 3.8. But it's just so nice to see that Fred Saberhagen can still write as well as ever at the age of 76. Ardneh's Sword is a bridge between Saberhagen's Empire of the East and the Swords series, which were always indicated as being connected; Empire being the pre-history of Swords, of course.Ardneh's Sword doesn't entirely explain the transition, but it is vintage Saberhagen and does shed some more interesting light on the Empire/Swords universe. It also brings back a minor character from Empire of the East, to my great surprise and enjoyment.Don't expect to find out who or what the Emperor is. I don't know if we'll ever find out. But the book is definitely a must read for any fan of either series, or of Saberhagen.