''The Blue Sword'' by Creator/RobinMcKinley is a fantasy novel that follows Angharad "Harry" Crewe as she adjusts first to life in the Homelander colony of Daria -- called Damar by its native inhabitants -- and then to being kidnapped by the Damarian king, Corlath.

There is also a prequel, ''Literature/TheHeroAndTheCrown'', which tells the story of Lady Aerin, Dragon-killer, one of Damar's greatest and most legendary heroes, who is mentioned with some frequency in ''The Blue Sword''. There is ''also'' a midquel short story, "A Pool In The Desert," which has less swords and horses than the other two.

[=McKinley=] has said she wrote the book after reading (and being completely horrified by) ''Literature/TheSheik''. She's referred to it as 'the anti-Sheik'.

[[folder:Tropes in ''The Blue Sword'']]
* AbductionIsLove: Subverted. The Riders suspect with dismay that this is Corlath's intention when he kidnaps Harry, but he makes it very clear that's not the case. He only keeps her around because of a premonition too strong to ignore, and later because of her magic and sword skills. [[spoiler:They do fall in love, but not until she's fairly adjusted to her new home and on more or less equal terms with him.]]
* ActionGirl: Senay and eventually Harry.
* AffectionateNickname: Harry calls her brother Richard "Dickie", which doubles as {{Have A Gay Old Time}}. Jack calls Harry "Captain". The Hillfolk call her "Harimad" or "Hari" in their best approximation of Angharad/Harry. [[spoiler:And after they get engaged, Corlath calls her "my heart".]]
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking
* AwesomeButImpractical: The Damarian style of riding involves a padded saddle, no reins, and no stirrups.
* [[spoiler:BabiesEverAfter: Tor Mathin and Aerin Amelia.]]
* BadassNormal: Jack Deadham, Mathin, and the rest of the King's Riders
* BigBad: Thurra
* BigBrotherInstinct: Richard, much to Harry's annoyance.
--> "He takes the man's responsibility to his frail female relations very seriously, does Dickie. Drat him."
* ColonelBadass: Jack Deadham
* CompleteImmortality: Luthe, although it may be TheAgeless, instead.
* CoolHorse: Tsornin, Isfahel, ''all Hill horses''...
** Corlath recounts a story of Tsornin's ancestor, who was able to bring her master home after he'd been tortured and gone partly insane. That's right, even the horses get a HeroicLineage.
* CompletelyUnnecessaryTranslator: Corlath to the Homelanders.
* EasingIntoTheAdventure: The story begins with Harry's efforts at adjusting to life in Homelander-occupied Daria; after she's kidnapped by Corlath, she goes through another adjustment and training period.
* EccentricMentor: Luthe, to a certain extent
* EmbarrassingFirstName: Angharad "Harry" Crewe
* EmpathicWeapon: Gonturan
* EnemyMine: Corlath sees an alliance with the Homelanders as this; the lesser of two evils compared to the Northerners.
* FantasticHonorifics: "Sola" for for men and "sol" for women.
* FantasticRacism: Homelanders vs. Hillfolk, in both directions. And both of them hate the Northerners.
* TheFederation: The Homelanders
* GlowingEyesOfDoom: Corlath, Thurra and [[spoiler:Harry]]
* HiddenElfVillage: The Filanon.
* HistoricalFantasy: The Homelander Empire's expansion into Daria/Damar bears some resemblance to the British Empire's expansion into India.
* TheHorde: The Northerners
* HorsebackHeroism: Yep.
* ImpoverishedPatrician: Harry joins her brother in Daria/Damar because there's nowhere for her to go in their Homeland: her parents are dead, their home and property sold off, and as a "penniless blueblood of no particular beauty" she is not regarded as prime marriage material.
* InTheBlood: The ''kelar'' (magic) of the Hillfolk runs strongest in the royal line and their close relatives. [[spoiler:[[SecretLegacy Harry's maternal great-grandmother was a Hill noblewoman "of some rank"; and is the source of her Gift.]]]]
* MagicVersusScience: The magic of the Northerners and the Damarians interferes with Homelander technology like guns.
* MagicWarrior: Corlath, Thurra, and [[spoiler:Harry]]
* MentorOccupationalHazard: Mathin [[spoiler:although he survives.]]
* MightyWhitey: Subverted. [[spoiler:Harry actually has Hillfolk blood.]]
* NaiveNewcomer: Harry, after she's kidnapped.
* NeverWasThisUniverse: The Homelander Empire is a fairly obvious {{Expy}} of the old British Empire, colonial possessions and all, but what we learn of the world makes it clear that it's not really an AlternateHistory.
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: Sir Charles, sympathetically.
* OldMaster: Mathin
* OnlyTheChosenMayWield: Gonturan, the titular Blue Sword, which will only work for women of any age and men younger than 20.
* OvershadowedByAwesome: Harry at first has this reaction about Tor the Just, husband to [[RedBaron Lady Aerin, Dragon-killer]]:
--> "It must be very dreary, being Just, when your wife is out killing dragons."
** However, she later decides he can't have been all that boring if he was also a noted general, able to hold off the Northern army for 9 consecutive days of battle.
* PlotInducedStupidity: [[spoiler:Ignoring the northwest pass and letting the Northerners destroy Istan "to keep them amused" without even warning the town?]] Really, Corlath?
* RainOfArrows: In the climactic battle against Thurra's Army
* ScarsAreForever: The King's Riders all have ritually scarred hands, with the aid of a special salve.
* ShoutOut: Corlath telling Harry if she's so worried about sneak attacks, she might as well [[Literature/TheHobbit keep an eye out for eagles carrying rocks.]]
* SupernaturalGoldEyes: Using the inborn magical talent called ''kelar'' turns the user's eyes temporarily bright gold.
* SwordFight: many
* TimeAbyss: Luthe is at least 2000 years old by the time of ''The Hero and the Crown'', and has not changed a bit however many hundreds of years later it is when we meet him in ''The Blue Sword''.
* TomboyishName: Harry, whose real name - Angharad - isn't revealed until a good ways into the story.
* {{Uncoffee}}: Malak.
* VaguenessIsComing: Lampshaded by Luthe, who points out that he's given Harry a much straighter answer than she has any reason to expect from any ancient oracle on a mountain.
* YouALLShareMyStory: [[spoiler:Senay, Terim, the Homelanders and the Filanon all get credit for stopping the Northerners. Aerin explains that she arranged this for Harry, because in her own lifetime, she found that the people at home don't like being left out of the adventure.]]

[[folder: Tropes in "A Pool In The Desert"]]
* AbusiveParents: Hetta's father is domineering and emotionally manipulative. Hetta's mother is an IllGirl only slightly less self-centered than him.
* TheCaretaker
* HoldingHands
* PromotionToParent: she raises her younger siblings.
* TheStoryteller
* TalkingInYourDreams: How Hetta and Zasharan meet.
* ThatWasNotADream: after waking up the first time around, Hetta finds sand in her bed.