This book is something of a hidden gem. For novice writers, this book contains invaluable information: different weapon types and what each is capable of (did you know that a scimitar was not as effective at piercing or stabbing as a rapier?). For the more advanced writers, some of the information might seem a little basic, ie “before the attack, the heroine holds something in her hand, but during the attack the item is forgotten.” However, I found this only to be true when reading the book straight through.
Once I put the book into practice, those basics became lifesavers for keeping my fight scenes realistic and gripping. It’s easy to forget that mug of ale he was holding before the attack(even for seasoned writers!) because as I visualize the fight scene, he must have dropped it.
The real gem in this book is the psychological advice, such as Chapters 18 (Make the reader care) and 19 (The inside experience). Writing your character to use a sword in a believable way is one thing, drawing a reader into the battle and rooting for the person you want the reader to root for is something else entirely. And Rayne Hall does a very good job of explaining hurdles in that endeavor as well as advice and strategies to overcome such hurdles.
All in all, this book has something for every writer.