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Literature / My Swordhand Is Singing

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My Swordhand is Singing is a novel by British writer Marcus Sedgwick.

It is set in the early seventeenth-century, in a small village called Chust. Tomas and his son Peter settle in the small village as woodcutters. Peter is finally happy that they have settled down and stopped their nomadic lifestyle, since they are unable to fit in anywhere. However, strange and unexplainable things start to happen in the village, and Tomas seems to know something about them. The man also holds a deep, dark secret.

My Swordhand is Singing was also awarded the 2007 Booktrust Teenage Prize.


This novel provides examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Tomas.
  • Cannot Cross Running Water: The vampires, which is why Tomas redirects a stream to create an island in the middle when he is building the house. Once the house is built on this island, it is a safe haven than no vampire can reach.
  • Cool Sword: Tomas' sword.
  • Dream Melody: The Miorita
  • First Girl Wins: Subverted. Agnes turns into a hostage and Peter kills her.
  • Hot Gypsy Woman: Sofia.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Vampires are always referred to as "hostages".
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The novel uses the original Eastern European folklore. Vampires are called "hostages", they suck blood by using their long tongues to get through skin and into the arteries, and many other superstitions adhere to them.
  • Super OCD: The "hostages", as in traditional folklore, are compelled to stop and count scattered grain.
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  • Title Drop: "No, Milosh. I am not hurt," he said. "I am dying. But my swordhand is singing. I will take the sword into the village, and put an end to it." and "Yes, Father. My swordhand is singing.
  • Weapon of X-Slaying: Tomas' sword is designed to kill vampires, and is one of the only ways to do so.