In the foreboding north, the demonic hordes of the magic-twisted hellscape known as the Worldwound encroach upon the southern kingdoms of Golarion. Their latest escalation embroils a preternaturally handsome and coolly charismatic swindler named Gad, who decides to assemble a team of thieves, cutthroats, and con-men to take the fight into the demon lands and strike directly at the fiendish leader responsible for the latest raids—the demon Yath, the Shimmering Putrescence. Can Gad hold his team together long enough to pull off the ultimate con, or will trouble from within his own organization lead to an untimely end for them all?
From gaming legend and popular author Robin D. Laws comes a fantastic new adventure of swords and sorcery, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
I've been eagerly devouring Pathfinder Tales novels for the last several months, and have enjoyed most, but if you're thinking of picking this one up, don't. The problem has already been stated before. It is writing 101 that you do not use passive voice in a work of long fiction. You particularly should not write the whole novel in passive voice. I frankly expect more from Paizo when it comes to choosing authors.
This book comes across to me as pantomime taken to a macabre level. There is witty banter amongst the protagonists. There is slapstick comedy and farcical fight scenes where the heroes defy the odds and win as the bad guys step on metaphorical banana skins. There are melodramatic moments of doubt. The heroes swagger. The villains are sadistic and have a cunning plan for domination of their little slice of the world - which is remarkably ineffectual in the face of the heroes' even more cunning counter-plan (which goes off without a hitch). The only significant casualties at the end of the day are the bad guys and a couple of bit-part characters whose demises are there to emphasise how horribly sadistic the bad guys actually are; everyone else goes home to their respective rewards and with the world safe yet again.
Give or take the odd editing howler in the first edition, it came across to me as solidly written, but I would caution that it might annoy readers looking for something 'serious' and/or unprepared to put aside suspension of disbelief for several hours.
This is my co-favorite amongst the Pathfinder Tales novels I've read so far (tied with Prince of Wolves). The second person tense took some getting used to, but after a few pages it was fine. Maybe having read Stross's Halting State helped.
I'd love to see some of the characters return, though I would be okay if they returned in the third person.
This was one of my favourite Pathfinder Tales novels. I love caper stories and this was a fun take on the genre--caper meets horror with a motley crew of characters. I'd love to read more of the group's adventures. I'm normally not a fan of present tense, but I thought it worked in this case. It was one of those books where I stayed up far too late reading "just one more chapter."
In the interest of full disclosure, I love heist/caper movies. I am fascinated by extreme competence and love to see people who are really good what they do. This is why The Worldwound Gambit was my first foray into the Pathfinder Tales line.
While I can understand people being put off by the present-tense narrative voice, I think it really adds a solid feel of immediacy and tension to the action of the book. But beyond this interesting stylistic choice, the novel is just a solidly fun, albeit sometimes gross, heist story. The characters are all nicely developed, but there does seem to be greater depth to the maie protagonists. I found Jarisa to be overall a bit boring and not as cohesive a character as I would prefer. She seemed to have been saddled with a lot of narrative function without the presence to really connect with the reader.
Hendregan more than made up for her shortcomings. I want to play that character!
Clocking in at over 400 pages I think it might be the longest of the Pathfinder novels but it definitely doesn't lack for action. Were I an editor on this project I would have tried to get more tower heist and less pre-heist travel but these are minor complaints on the whole.
Looking forward to more Tales of Gad and his people.