Pathfinder Tales: Plague of Shadows

****½ (based on 36 ratings)
Pathfinder Tales: Plague of Shadows
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A Desperate Quest

The race is on to free Lord Stelan from the grip of a wasting curse, and only Elyana, his old elven adventuring companion and former lover, has the wisdom and reflexes to save him. When the villain turns out to be another of their former companions, Elyana and a band of ragtag adventurers must set out on a perilous race across the revolution-wracked nation of Galt and the treacherous Five Kings Mountains, bound for the mysterious Vale of Shadows. But even if they can succeed in locating the key to Stelan's salvation in a lost valley of weird magic and nightmare beasts, the danger isn't over. For Elyana's companions may not all be what they seem.

From sword and sorcery icon Howard Andrew Jones comes a fantastic new adventure set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

350-page mass market paperback
ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-291-3
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-333-0

Plague of Shadows is also available as a digital edition on the following sites:

Plague of Shadows is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle sheet and additional rules are a free download (229 KB zip/PDF).

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Tales Subscription.

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Product Reviews (36)
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****½ (based on 36 ratings)

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A Good Take on Classic RPG Fiction

****( )


I have to admit I wasn't particularly looking forward to Plague of Shadows, the third book in the Pathfinder Tales line of novels. The blurb about adventurers banding together on a quest to retrieve a lost artifact sounded about as cliche "gamer fiction" as it gets. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. Yes, there are adventurers and there is a quest, but Howard Andrew Jones' writing is excellent and he manages to give each character enough spark so that they don't come off as cardboard-cut-out heroes. I quite liked the use of flashbacks linking two different adventuring groups together despite the passage of time, and the portions of the story set in Galt really made the country come alive (in a terrifying way). There's a big twist about 5/6 of the way through that I'm not 100% sure is justified, and there's a limit to how much originality can be added on to the "fantasy adventuring group" chassis, but I honestly enjoyed Plague of Shadows and would definitely read more Pathfinder novels from the author.


I thought Jones did an excellent job portraying the elves of Kyonin and their condescending but charitable view towards the "Forlorn" (elves who grew up outside elven society). I thought his portrayal of the Shadow Plane was a bit bland, especially considering the major villain is a specialist Shadow Wizard; I didn't feel like there was enough detail given to explain why Arcil, and the cabal of Shadow Wizards that Elyana's old adventuring group fought, were so fascinated with the place. The story's biggest twist (SUPER SPOILER REMINDER) in having Vallyn be working with the Galtans to betray Elyana just wasn't set up well enough; a twist of that kind needs to have enough (cleverly hidden) basis before it appears so that the reader doesn't feel it just came out of nowhere. Last, I thought the ending was superb, with Elyana leaving so that she doesn't have to watch her love grow old and die; and Drelm coming with her was inspired.

****( )

Wow, I really loved this book. Great, party-based adventuring, moving characters, plot twists I did not see coming, and lots of excellent action scenes.

I read this last weekend and immediately hit its sequel this weekend. Elyana is a great heroine, and she had lots of company as far as engaging companions. I love how the author plays against stereotypes and 1-dimensional characters. The half-orc Drelm could so easily have been a caricature, and I appreciated his development (even more in the next book). That said, you know you've got a good writer when the ostensible "bad guy" turns out quite sympathetic. Redeemable, you might say.

Great stuff.

Stick with it!

****( )

Did not expect to love this so much from the sort of stilted (in my view) start. A lot of odd stuff happens all at once, and some (apparent) stereotypes/definitions put onto the characters that didnt make them seem very interesting. Could not have been more wrong. Its all sort of a set-up so you can see how much they grow and change, so you understand how difficult some of the choices they have to make are, lending them a great deal of force and drama.

I cant even begin to dissect the plot these characters traverse other than to say its a thrill-ride, and like most of what I call good books, it escalates and speeds up the farther you get into the book, until you are completely sucked in.

I think I saw this author has written several other works and I am going to hunt them down immediately.

****( )



The book was an excellent read. The characters were great, and I liked the plot twist near the end. You really get drawn into the story.

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