A warrior haunted by his past, Salim is a problem-solver for a church he hates, bound by the death goddess to hunt down those who would rob her of her due. Such is the case in the desert nation of Thuvia, where a merchant on the verge of achieving eternal youth via a magical elixir is mysteriously murdered, his soul stolen
from the afterlife. The only clue is a magical ransom note offering
to trade the merchant’s spirit for his dose of the fabled potion. But
who could steal a soul from the boneyard of Death herself ? Enter
Salim, whose unique skills should make solving this mystery a
cinch. There’s only one problem: The investigation is being financed
by the dead merchant’s stubborn and aristocratic daughter—and
she wants to go with him. Together, the two must embark on a tour
of the Outer Planes, where devils and angels rub shoulders with
fey lords and mechanical men, and nothing is as it seems.
From noted author and game designer James L. Sutter comes
an epic mystery of murder and immortality, set in the award-winning
world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
So...am I giving this book five stars because I think it is the next Game of Thrones or Bonfire of the Vanities? Nope. But I don't think it was intended to be. I'm giving it five stars because it is more than just good licensed fiction -- it's good fiction, period. And that's no small task.
One minor criticism...the adjectives and adverbs could use a trim.
I will seek out this author's work in future.
Death's Heretic was definitely one of the stronger examples of game world fiction that I've read, and it kept me turning pages till the end, but I was often left with a feeling of "I wish."
The strong point of the book was the engaging and well developed protagonist, Salim. A former citizen of the godless nation of Rahadoum, and a former hunter of priests, Salim finds himself in the ironic position of serving Pharasma, the Goddess of Birth, Death and Prophecy. Although the reader is sometimes caught in the position of wishing Salim would just get over himself long enough to enjoy life, he is consistently written and three dimensional. The romance he develops with the story's female lead is also well played out.
Another strong point of the book was the argument it made for atheism in a world where the gods leave no possible doubt about their existence. I want to give examples here, but since it is such a good part of the book I will leave it for the reader to discover there.
I don't read a lot of gaming fiction, but part of the reason I picked this book up was to learn more about the world of Golarion. The novel is set in the middle-eastern inspired nation of Thuvia, and I looked forward to seeing that area of Golarion developed.
Unfortunately, the story didn't go that way, instead spending much of its second act romping through various outer planes, which I thought robbed the book of some of its emotional core. I'm not a personal fan of planes traveling adventures as the outer planes are so strange that they make telling a human story difficult. They also eat up a lot of page space in descriptions of their weirdness, when I would rather have read about Salim dealing with the intriguing but undeveloped flesh and blood adversaries we are teased with early on in the story.
I would give this story four stars for the quality of writing and the very interesting protagonist, but I can't go that high for the overall review because I feel that the story never really found its center. The parts that take place on Golarion are by far the best in the book, but just as soon as we have one to appreciate, off Salim goes on another exploration / exposition of another plane of existence.
Still, I would read more of Salim's adventures. I just hope he stays a little closer to home next time.
I was captured by the book from page one. I had been having tough time with books maintaining my interest but it was this book that brought me back for the dark place of non-readers. Since executing every page of awesomeness I have read and enjoyed 6 more pathfinder books and 4 other books. In the end I still love this book the most. I am actually writing this book after just finishing the book for a 2nd time. Thank you