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Monday, January 22, 2024

Review: The Veiled Dragon by Troy Denning

 Hello, friends! Today I wanted to look at The Veiled Dragon by Troy Denning. This is a 1996 novel that is technically book twelve in The Harpers series but is really only a sequel to Denning's earlier Harper novel, The Parched Sea.

The story starts with our heroine, Ruha. She has left Anauroch and is now in the Dragonmere aboard a caravel piloted by Captain Fowler, a half-orc with the classic piggish snout. After her adventures in the first book in her homeland she is now in the employ of the Harpers herself. She is assigned by Storm Silverhand to get to Pros. She has had one previous assignment in Voonlar. We learn she botched that job and a hundred people ended up in slavery as a result.

The sea trip quickly turns deadly as a dragon is spotted. The cover will give some of this away, but it is honestly a very cool introduction. I even did my own take on it in a short story of my own.

The rest of the story involves the Shou. Like the Bedine, these are analogous to a real-world group. I don't think these would be written today but likely were written to sell Oriental Adventures but are obviously orientalist in nature. While I do not care for such an obvious real-world analog in Faerun, the Shou themselves are not deemed lesser but different. There is an odd dialect that the Shou speak that has aged poorly.

Essentially the novel starts great but quickly descends just by the nature of what is being explored. It has some exciting moments and good action, and the descriptions that Denning conjures for a desert-dweller experiencing the sea are executed well. For example, the waves are described as dunes. But after reading this Mediocre book I was looking for better Realms novels.


You can track my current progress here.

Monday, January 8, 2024

2023 Review for the Forgotten Realms Lyceum

 OlorĂ© friends of the Realms! It is a new year! It is now the Year of the Ring, 1393 DR, if you don't jump with fourth and fifth editions. First, I want to say thank you to any readers, whether active or one-time comers. This has been a passion project now for almost four years, and I'm happy to be continuing my journey through the Forgotten Realms this year. I also briefly want to look at statistics.

I posted 36 articles last year, 32 more than the previous year. This was what I was hoping for, publishing at least twice a month to make up for my unintended hiatus in 2022. I still have some reviews coming for novels I read last year, and now I can list all the Realms books I enjoyed in 2023.

Realms of Valor

Realms of the Underdark

Realms of the Deep

Baldur's Gate by Philip Athans

The Parched Sea by Troy Denning

The Veiled Dragon by Troy Denning

The Druid's Call by E. K. Johnston

The Road to Neverwinter by Jaleigh Johnson

King Pinch by David Cook

Sea of Swords by R. A. Salvatore

Sandstorm by Christopher Rowe

I had previously read three Realms anthologies and in 2023 I doubled that. I also finished Paths of Darkness and read the tie-ins to the Honor Among Thieves film. But I largely read standalones. I also only read eleven, which is considerably less than a typical year. 

So, in 2024, I am hoping to get back into some series. There are many, many trilogies I have and been wanting to read and I think I will start with the Cormyr Saga. Cormyr is one of my favorite locations and I like Greenwood and Grubb's writing. I'm also looking at the Moonshae Trilogy, Starlight and Shadows, and many, many more. 

What are your Forgotten Realms plans for 2024? Amarast!


You can track my current progress here.