D&D General I'm reading the Forgotten Realms Novels- #202 The Howling Delve by Jaleigh Johnson (Dungeons 2)


He Who Lurks Beyond The Veil
I really love this thread and your synopsises of the books. This might inspire me to read something new if some of those really hit a right nerve.

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#013 Horselords by David Cook (Empires Trilogy Book 1)
Read 5/10/19 to 8/10/19

Forgotten Realms Horselords (Empires 1) a 30.jpg

Another series I was prepared not to like- wrong! It started slow, or rather I'm reading along thinking this is just some sort of rehash of the exploits of Genghis Khan set in the Forgotten Realms, in or en route to Kara-Tur... which it is, but then my interest got well and truly piqued. Koja, a holy Lama, is sent to meet with Yamun Khahan (like Khan- with an extra 'ha' in the middle, for laughs) who has pacified the various Tuigan clans and now comes equipped with an army made to conquer. Anyway, Yamun likes our man Koja, and so gets ratted (on fermented/curdled horse's milk, that's some hard drinking) one night and shows the priest what he can do. He stomps out into the pouring rain with thunder and lightning all around (and remember we're in/on the steppes here- that's a lot of horizon- you get good value for your storm). Anyway the big man (Yamun) heads in to the fury, while all of the other horselords take fright, and then gives Teylas (God of Lightning) the verbal V-sign. The Khan, sorry... Khahan thereafter plays the part of lightning conductor, the big man's left glowing like one of the Windscale kids*

Next day, fully charged, Yamun is on it- Koja is hired, whether he likes it or not- as official Yamun Khahan historian- next stop to make some history.

Thereafter the trials and tribulations of conquest, with a pair of sneaky back-stabbing bastards in the camp- family, and best friend- natch. It's a rollicking tail, a little meh here and there but mostly your reading and watching waiting to see what the big feller gets up to next. As I said at the start, it's real world- a Forgotten Realms retelling of Mr. G. Khan esquires kill-and-tell romp through the middle part of nobody-much's empire.

I was hooked from the lightning bit- Khahan is suitably violent, arrogant (chosen of god, yer bound to get a little uppity), cool and even a little enigmatic. He's very likeable- a homicidal maniac that plays by the (his) rules. The bad guys are suitably nasty, and Koja sits in the middle and tells us what he thinks.

Oh, but in the background, the mighty empire of Shou Lung- keep an eye on those bad boys, Khahan does.

*Windscale kids refers to the Windscale nuclear reactor which 'went on fire' (a common phrase used in insurance claims, oddly) one day in 1957 and some fallout may (or may not) have got out and left its mark on the children of the area. I bet they got glowing marks at school.


#004 Darkwalker on Moonshae by Douglas Niles (Moonshae Trilogy Book 1)
Read 27/8/19 to 1/9/19

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Yeah, this is the one I should have read first- in some ways I'm glad I didn't. Set in the Moonshae Isles (obviously) which is home to the Celtic mythos style Ffolk and the marauding Viking-like Northmen. Our hero is a bit of a... I don't know, and neither does he, that might be the problem. The start of the novel gets my back up for a good long while, awfully contrived and a bit (whisper this) unbelievable- when Tristan meets Daryth (a bit Drizzt lite). Also, what's with the faithful side-kick cats/dogs (Guenhywvar vs Canthus) who had the hound/canine companion first Salvatore or Niles. Pawldo is very Halfling.

The above aside it's a cracking read- Kazgaroth (and his boss) versus the Earthmother, plenty of hot druid action (and even more in the later novels) and the Beast in his many forms. Oh, and you've got to shed a tear when the Leviathan goes under, although secretly I was rather rooting for the Northmen (who doesn't love a Viking?).

Still, I found myself rooting for the bad guys a little too often, the central character/s can be annoying (including Robyn) and this doesn't let up in the proceeding novels- just talk to each, tell him/her how you feel and stop bottling up your teenage style sexual frustration/angsty angst. Cut the moping and the self doubt and we'd have room in the novel for another hefty helping of combat action, and there are some supercool bad guys that'd love another scene.

This story is actually my candidate for a D&D movie. Not because it is particularly good, but because it covers most of the bases for the D&D archetypes in terms of classes, races, dungeons, magic swords, comic relief sidekicks, cute pets, and dragons (I would refluff Kazgaroth's natural form to be more dragonlike). And it also has the angsty "young adult" male and female protagonists that have been fashionable in movies of late. It also both stands alone and has sequels if successful.

A good scriptwriter and good acting could fix the characterisation problems easily enough.


Oh, don't worry... You haven't gotten to the second book, yet. The first book is the best of the lot, and the other two are written by different people and it shows.
I have, I've read them both already- I'm playing catch up here with my posts.

There's a list in the second post of this thread with all the books I have read so far (with dates), or bought and are next to be read.

Cheers goonalan


#014 Dragonwall by Troy Denning (Empires Trilogy Book 2)
Read 9/10/19 to 10/10/19

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Book 2- and as Azzy posted above, it's not as good as the first. So, Yamun Khahan has got the bit between his teeth, blaming the Shou Lung emperor/empire for his attempted assassination. They're next on the Khahan's hit list... but this book follows Batu Min Ho, the young maverick Shou Lung general who is eventually entrusted with the defence of the empire (much to the chagrin of his elders and better). Batu is all very straight, hard and cool, but... well, there's something missing- you like him because he's the underdog, and he respects the Tuigan (being of the same ancestry), and he's not one of the other idiot generals, but it still doesn't quite fit. Personally I'd happily consume another novel with more about Yamun and his crazy horse-folk. So, it's okay- you'll note I read this one in two days, so it was no hardship.

There's an (unintentional) comedy moment when Batu returns home from his first battle (in the book) which has been a relative success, to his new house in the Imperial Palace. Only the place is dark and empty- his family missing (?), and he feels a presence- there's someone there! So, reading this I'm thinking- oh no, this isn't going to be his wife- leaping out at him with some chop-socky madness, in the style of Cato (Burt Kwok) from the Peter Sellers- Inspector Clouseau films. It is. She nearly murderises the poor lad.

The rest is politics, treachery- a spy (who better than the head of security), the slaughter of Batu's family, more battles, a very long trip on a boat, and eventually... well, a deal is done between Khahan and the Shou Lung Emperor, but Batu's honour has been besmirched and now he's a pop-up Ronin (popping up in the next book).

The trilogy is a good idea on paper- let's take a look at three Empires, and their rulers, and see what sort things they get up to. Yamun Kahahn and his Tuigan horde tie the whole thing together- they're the marauders the second two empires must defend themselves from. The first book then has ass-kicking and gum-chewing aplenty, this one- and the next, much more humdrum, but... still with a few nice bits here and there.



#015 Crusade by James Lowder (Empires Trilogy Book 3)
Read 11/10/19 to 14/10/19

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Book 3- and more of the same, actually- probably a little less of the same. This time we're in Cormyr, and in the head-space of King Azoun, fretting about the Tuigan invasion (that's right- Yamun Khahan is off on his holibobs again, laying waste to various civilisation en route). So, King Azoun needs to put together an army, a confederation of nations which he will lead to blunt the Tuigan ravagers, there follows a bunch of political intrigues- a (v. poor) assassination attempt, a meeting with the Zhent (that's nice) and a few other royal engagements. We also get to see (and hear about) the lot of the common man, pledging their lives for their king and country.

The tale keeps on getting told, it's interesting, but not high-energy or exciting- although there are some fretful moments en route to the final showdown. With the bickering Dwarves, Dalelanders, and a Zhent Orc army- a few nice insights in to racial enmities, and also a fair amount of Dwarf-hating (the Dwarf leader is a right royal pain in the r's). King Azoun even gets back to bickering with his formerly missing (and estranged, a bit) daughter.

Odd bit, throughout Azoun calls his royal magician Vangerdahast (very high level Wizard) by the nickname 'Vangy', it just stuck in my craw a bit- particularly as the pair chatter like two old ladies at a bus stop. Again, it's the presence of everyday magic- a medieval realm with for those that can afford it with an extra magical helping of shazam.

So, we're 230 pages in (from 313) before the Tuigan actually appear- the battle, of course, is the best bit- slightly odd that 'Vangy' gets a sniffle just before the big off. I think a full effect Archmage (or whatever he is) may have swayed the encounter more than a little.

That's it really- the novel goes where you expect it to, it's pretty much happy ever-after in the end. It's not great but, if you want plenty of info on the day to day of royalty, the planning and the intrigue and the politics then... it fits.


In the first trilogy, Drizzt wasn't a bad character. It wasn't until after this that he became the Gary Stu of all Gary Stu's. No weakness...the best at everything.
But that's not the case. He is skilled but he is for sure not the best at everything, and he has a number of weaknesses.

Voidrunner's Codex

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