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Pathfinder Tales: Song of the Serpent

***( )( ) (based on 4 ratings)
Pathfinder Tales: Song of the Serpent

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by Hugh Matthews

To an experienced rogue like Krunzle the Quick, the merchant nation of Druma is full of treasures just waiting to be liberated. Yet when the fast-talking scoundrel gets caught stealing from one of the powerful prophets of Kalistrade, his only option is to undertake a dangerous mission to recover the merchant lord’s runaway daughter—and the magical artifact she took with her. Armed with an arsenal of decidedly unhelpful magical items and chaperoned by an intelligent snake necklace happy to choke him into submission, Krunzle must venture far from the cities of the merchant utopia and into a series of adventures that will make him a rich man—or a corpse.

From veteran author Hugh Matthews comes a rollicking tale of captive trolls, dwarven revolutionaries, and serpentine magic, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

336-page mass market paperback

ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-388-0
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-389-7

Download a free sample chapter by clicking here! (45 KB zip/PDF)

Song of the Serpent is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle Sheet and additional are a free download (246 KB zip/PDF).

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

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Product Reviews (4)

Average product rating:

***( )( ) (based on 4 ratings)

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Fun read, but lacks overall plot

**( )( )( )

I did enjoy most of this book in that the characters are funny and created with creativity. The book plot, the storyline however falls to the ground: It builds up through the book for the last suspense, the last great encounter ... which then greatly disappoint (at least me).

I cannot say that I don't recommend reading the book. But don't read it for learning about Golarion, and don't expect a huge revelation as the plot unfolds in the last two chapters.


Fun diversion

***( )( )

I enjoyed this Vance-ian style diversion. It's not the strongest novel in the pathfinder series, but it's refreshingly unpredictable and the prose is up to snuff.

Enterprising thief Krunzle is strong-armed into a mission to retrieve a powerful merchants daughter, compelling by the sorcerous, mind-reading necklace round his neck. But a job that never added up starts making even less sense, and it becomes clear that Krunzle is just one pawn on a whole chess board of pieces...

Cheerful amorality has a storied history (ha) in sword and sorcery - it can work well but it can also bring with it a glibness that reduces a reader's ability to care in what happens. Matthews avoids this with a helter skelter narrative that barely pauses for breath, and plot sprinkled with mysteries that gradually unfold throughout the book.

Its relatively short length is a critical part of its success, but for all that I had no problem devouring the book. Whilst not quite up to the eloquent tomfoolery of Jack Vance, the novel's debt is clear and the homage is is passable, and pleasurable.

Like the best sword and sorcery, Song of The Serpent frequently hits at a greater world, in which our protagonist is but a tiny part. It's something I really enjoy about the genre and it's rare done so well as it is here. A fun way to pass a day.


Tastes like chicken (but filling!)

***( )( )

I struggled with whether to give this one 3 stars or 4, but decided to be generous because it was an entertaining read. Then I wrote my review and went back and changed it to a 3. But it's a high 3.
Likes: A fast and entertaining read. A couple of the characters (Skanderbrog the troll, Chirk the serpent necklace) are great.
Problems: Despite ultimately dealing with one of Golarion's core mysteries, the book suffered from feeling too generic, and only tangentially tied to established Pathfinder lore. I had the feeling that it was a story Hughes (or Matthews, as it were) had at least partially written, then plunked into Druma (an area as yet undeveloped in Golarion lore) after being tapped by Paizo to write a novel. The inclusion of the (spoiler ommitted) at the end felt strange as a result, not to mention something we've seen before in a series of stories about a certain exiled Pathfinder (not to mention, an entire Adventure Path...)
The tone, too, feels off. It's a little too goofy, a little too fable-ish, at times.
Krunzle, the protagonist, is unlikable and lacking in any sort of redeeming quality. Gyllana, likewise, is lame (a slutty, shrewish nobleman's daughter, how original) and I don't care enough to look up the name of the generic dwarf prince (he's bald!) they meet up with later. Still, the book provided enough entertainment that I didn't resent spending $6-7 and a couple of evening's reading it. How's that for a rousing endorsement?


Got it, opened it, didn't put it down, 7 hrs. later done

****( )

An engrossing story of adventure and destiny in the land of Druma. That features a host of interesting characters that make strange bedfellows; that wittingly and unwittingly follow a path they were all destined to follow. Another fun addition to the Pathfinder Tales series!

My only criticism is the that different creatures normally speak different languages yet Song of the Serpent had every creature speaking what I assume is Taldan.




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