So, with my last Take Five post, I said I had an idea. An idea no one would read. (Honestly, not many people are reading these anyway, but I love doing them, so whatevs.) By now you probably know I'm kind of a fan of those TSR/Wizards of the Coast novel tie-ins to their Dungeons and Dragons game. (Even though I've never played the game.) In fact, those were the first fantasy books I ever read! Now, I do admit, some of them - like any group of books - aren't very good. I do think though that I can come up with five books that I'd feel comfortable recommending to someone that has never read D&D books before.
Elfshadow by Elaine Cunningham
Silent death stalks the Harpers of Faerun. One by one, members of the semi-secret society for good in the Realms are falling to a murderer's blade. Now a Harper agent and a beautiful half-elf assassin must solve the mystery. If they fail, they will be the next victims.
But things in the Realms are rarely that simple.
A 'standalone' with sequels, this was one of the first two fantasy books I ever read.
Azure Bonds by Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb
Her name is Alias, and she is in big trouble.
She is a sell-sword, a warrior-for-hire, and an adventuress. She awoke with a series of twisting, magical blue sigils inscribed on her arms and no memory of where she got them.
Determined to learn the nature of the mysterious tattoo, Alias joins forces with an unlikely group of companions: the halfling bard, Ruskettle, the southern mage, Akabar, and the oddly silent lizard-man, Dragonbait. With their help, she discovers that the symbols hold the key to her very existence.
But those responsible for the sigils aren't keen on Alias's continued good health. And if the five evil masters find her first, she may discover all too soon their hideous secret.
Another 'standalone' with sequels. Don't mind Alias' outfit on the cover. She wore that once when she was getting ready to be sacrificed, but skin sells. (And you wonder why these books have such a bad name.)
The Binding Stone by Don Bassingthwaite
In Eberron, there are terrors older than the nations of men.
A chance rescue brings bitter rivals together.
With a mysterious ally, the two warriors embark on a mission of vengeance, but the enemy waiting for them in the depths of the Shadow Marches is far more sinister than any they've faced before.
In the dark places of the wild, the secrets of The Dragon Below are better left undisturbed.
Love this book! It's the start to one of my favorite fantasy series ever. (D&D or otherwise.) It's the first of a trilogy that is followed by a sequel trilogy with some of the same characters.
Thieves of Blood by Tim Waggoner
One man searching for peace in a land that knows only blood.
Diran was once one of the most feared assassins in the land. But he has turned his back on murder, seeking the life of a wandering priest. But in a rough port town on the edge of the world, his past is about to catch up to him.
When raiders hit the town, capturing Diran's former lover, he must risk everything to save her. And he's running out of time - for these are no ordinary pirates bent on plunder, but minions of Erdis Cai, a warlord and servant of The Blood of Vol.
Okay, so it's about a priest that used to be an assassin and his half-orc sidekick. I'm sorry. If you don't already want to read it then I can't do anything else for you. The first in a trilogy.
Voyage of the Mourning Dawn by Rich Wulf
For years, rumors have spoken of Ashrem's Legacy, a device beyond imagination. Some say it was a weapon, some a portal to other worlds. But in Cyre, on the Day of Mourning, Ashrem and his Legacy vanished in the destruction.
Now a young thief on the streets of Wroat has stumbled upon a clue that may lead to the lost Legacy. To stay alive, she and the crew of The Mourning Dawn must find Ashrem's Legacy, for if they fail, Eberron will plunge into another century of war.
The cover's enough of a reason to read this book - because inside it is just what the outside promises. Also the first in a trilogy.
Okay, so, I'm biased. I love the Eberron setting, kind of like the Forgotten Realms setting and don't much care for the Dragonlance setting. These are all books that I personally like. I truly wish I could find more books along the lines of these - because D&D books aren't as good as they used to be and most other fantasy books don't capture the adventure and the excitement and the friendship that these books do.