The Unwilling Warlord 1
The Unwilling Warlord
First Published: November 1989, Del Rey Books
Main Character: Sterren of Semma
A small-time gambler in Ethshar of the Spices discover's he's the heir to a hereditary title in one of the Small Kingdoms, just in time for that title to get him into trouble.
< With a Single Spell
The Blood of a Dragon >

The Unwilling Warlord is the third book in the Legends of Ethshar, following With a Single Spell and preceding The Blood of a Dragon. This book details the story of Sterren of Semma taking over, unwillingly, the hereditary position of warlord for one of Ethshar's Small Kingdoms.

Plot summaryEdit

The Kingdom of Semma is on the verge of war but the VIII Hereditary Warlord has died. The King sent out a search party to the Hegemony of the Three Ethshars where, with the aid of magic, they track down the heir to the title; the unwilling IX Warlord Sterren.

The story evolves as Sterren, along with assorted others hired to help in the war, is hauled off from his career as a low stakes gambler to Semma. One of his companions is Vond, a master Warlock who is feeling the Calling and who is seeking to get as far away from Aldagmor as he can. Vond takes a liking to Sterren, who was actually apprenticed as a Warlock for three days before being dismissed as unable to perform. Not long after arriving in Semma, Vond discovers a second source of power for Warlockry and quickly becomes the most powerful magician in the Small Kingdoms.

Characters in "The Unwilling Warlord"Edit


  • King Phenvel the Third
  • Queen Ashassa
  • Princess Lura
  • Princess Shirrin
  • Princess Nissitha
  • Agor the Theurgist
  • Lady Kalira of Semma - formerly the heir apparent to the hereditary title of Trader, now Chancellor and Vice-Regent of the Empire of Vond
  • Alder -Trusted guardsman
  • Dogal -Trusted guardsman

Hired MagiciansEdit

References to other worksEdit

This novel takes place two decades after the event in the novel Night of Madness, when the Source of Warlockry arrived in Aldagmor and the first Warlocks came into existence. Vond is not one of the original Warlocks, and as a Master of that time has all of the skills learned between the Night of Madness and the 'modern' era of Ethshar.

References to actual history, geography and current scienceEdit

Lawrence Watt-Evans details how a history of England and a hereditary title inspired the novel.

References in other worksEdit

The Vondish Ambassador was written in 2007 and is a direct sequal to this novel.

Publication historyEdit

  • 1989, United States, Del Rey (Ballantine) ISBN 0-345-35413-3, Pub date 1 October 1989, Paperback
  • 1991, United Kingdom, Grafton Books ISBN 0-586-21149-7, Pub date 7 November 1991
  • 1996, Russia, AST (Moscow) and Terra Fantastica (St. Petersburg) ISBN 5-88196-609-0, (published as part of the Blood of Dragons (Voyenachal'nik Ionevole) omnibus
  • 2001, United States, Wildside Press ISBN 1-58715-286-X, Pub date 1 March 2001, Paperback

Sources, references, external links, quotationsEdit

The Unwilling Warlord at [1]