A palatable but unexceptional installment in Saberhagen's cleverly conceived Swords series. Scattered throughout the world are 12 god-forged Swords possessing particular and powerful properties. Mindsword impels slavish devotion to it's wielder. Found by well-meaning Prince Murat of Culm, he intends to present it to unrequited love Princess Kristin of Tasavalta, in redress for past wrongs; but Murat draws the Sword, and Kristin becomes his adoring slave. Slowly, Mindsword's corrupting influence makes him power-hungry and paranoid, eager to possess all the Swords and thus rule the world. Murat is conspired against by bad-guy Vikalta, and Akbar, a treacherous demon, until both fall under Mindsword's influence, and use their magic to propel Murat toward conquest of Tasavalta. With magician Karel, Kristin's husband--Prince Mark--spirits her away from Murat and back to Sarykam, the capital. Murat assaults Sarykam to reclaim his beloved and take the kingdom, but Vikalta and Akbar escape Mindsword's influence, costing Murat his life. Prince Mark drives off both Vikalta and Akbar, but Kristin is critically injured. Diverting enough, with a nice whiff of corruption in Murat's camp, but a by-the-numbers exercise overall.