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Sunday, April 4, 2021

Review: Dark Times in Hastarl by Ed Greenwood

 Dark Times in Hastarl is a direct followup to Far Too Many Thieves (my review here), so like the previous story, it is a cut piece from part two of the first Elminster book, The Making of a Mage, which you should read first. If you have read the prerequisites, you can find the story for free on the web archive here. It was published in August 2005.

This is "just before the Velvet Hands assault Trumpettower House on a certain notorious wedding night", which you can read about in chapter 6 of the novel. A band of five or so Velvet Hands go to Athalgard, the castle at the center of Hastarl, to thwart the Moonclaws they suspect to make a move on the magical Ioun stones held in the keep.

The encounter leaves them the target of a certain winged and clawed stone beast. The fight of which ends in a very much Greenwood fashion, that is funny but believable. At the end of the story, there are some definitely some things that lend the story its title of "Dark Times". I was shocked, but Farl and Tass have very different fates here than in the published novel. I couldn't say which I prefer, though one is sadder than the other. I'm interested to see how this plot-line will be finished up in Revenge Among Thieves, and how young Elminster fares.

As for Dark Times in Hastarl, the story is Exceptional.


You can track my current progress here.

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