With strength, wit, rakish charm, and a talking sword named Hrym, Rodrick has all the makings of a classic hero—except for the conscience. Instead, he and Hrym live a high life as scoundrels, pulling cons and parting the weak from their gold. When a mysterious woman invites them along on a quest into the frozen north in pursuit of a legendary artifact, it seems like a prime opportunity to make some easy coin—especially if there’s a chance for a double-cross. Along with a hooded priest and a half-elven tracker, the team sets forth into a land of monsters, bandits, and ancient magic. As the miles wear on, however, Rodrick’s companions begin acting steadily stranger, leading both man and sword to wonder what exactly they’ve gotten themselves into...
From Hugo Award-winner Tim Pratt, author of City of the Fallen Sky, comes a bold new tale of ice, magic, and questionable morality set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
Liar's Blade by Tim Pratt is my new Pathfinder Tales gold standard. Of the seven tales I've consumed Liar's Blade was simply the most fun. A combination of simple but intriguing story, strong characters, mystery, and clever dealings put Liar's Blade on top. Liar's Blade is a fun romp in the north-east region of Galorion and provides a sense of travel and adventure; a classic quest across the River Kingdoms and Brevoy. It's rich in Galorion nuggets although on this point I wanted even deeper details. The plot keeps a brisk pace and provides constant short-term suspense, intermediate page turning anticipation, and long-term mystery. Who's the bad guy? What is really going on? Who is truly loyal? Can man and sword form an intimate bond? All these questions are answered.
It's a quest tale seen from the perspective of two hoot provoking hireling's. It's a buddy story. The main characters Rodrick (the human) and Hrym (the sword) made me laugh throughout the adventure. Rodrick's fertile mind produces some unique and creative solutions to encounters that inspire more mirth than you can stuff in a bag of holding. The other characters are also well developed and add a great deal to the story. There are some truly gruesome but enthralling character driven moments to keep you on your hoofs!
As I write this Liar's Blade is 7th on the top 10 list for Paizo novels but in my humble opinion it should be higher. I just want everyone to enjoy this book as much as I did.
One of the best novels in the line, up there with Death's Heretic, Nightglass and the Dave Gross Novels (though for different reasons).
Liar's Blade is laugh out loud funny, with two main protagonists that are so entertaining, you'll find it hard to put the book down. The other characters don't disappoint, either. They've all got their own secrets and agendas, and Tim Pratt does a masterful job of teasing the reader with hints about their origins and motivations. Just a great book, not only funny, but exceptionally well written. I was impressed with Pratt's writing on City of the Fallen Sky, but I'm absolutely a fan now - I'll read anything he puts out, and am very much looking forward to his future contributions to the Pathfinder Tales line, whether it is the further adventures of Hyrm and Rodrick, or something new!
I just finished reading Liar’s Blade, one of a batch of Pathfinder Tales novels I got recently. This is a line of novels set in Pathfinder’s Golarion game world.
This is a well-crafted novel, not standard tie-in fiction fare by any means. It’s a story of a scoundrel named Rodrick and his magical intelligent sword, Hrym. They get hired by some weirdos to go across the River Kingdoms and Brevoy to get some mystery artifact.
The writing is good, with less of the tortured translation of game rules into prose than is customary (I hate that…). The banter between Rodrick and Hrym (and to a lesser extent with their other traveling companions) is really fun. The two people who hire them, the dour priest Obed and his freaky companion Zaqen, remind me of the tag-along bad guys from the Curse of the Crimson Throne adventure path, who we affectionately referred to as “The Boner Squad” – Shadow Count Sial was the dour one, and then if you kinda combine the perky Laori Vaus and the chain devil into one person, you get a bit of the same dynamic.
Rodrick as a rogue was a well-realized character. He wasn’t uber competent or a hopeless schlep, and he was avaricious but not vicious, scheming but occasionally letting his emotions get away with him. And Hrym is pretty funny, he’s a sword made of living ice who can’t really remember all of his millennia of life; he’s fond of sleeping on piles of gold coins and of Rodrick’s “twisty little mind.” In the afterword Pratt credits Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser as the inspiration for his two characters’ adventures, and the main characters’ bromance in Liar’s Blade definitely puts one in mind of Leiber’s characters.
The travelogue through the River Kingdoms and Brevoy is also nice. The fight scenes aren’t anything to write home about, but since Hrym is super-magical many of the fights end quickly with a blast of ice magic, so we don’t have to dwell on many of them.
I’ve read a half dozen of these novels and this is definitely the best-written. Liar’s Blade is very entertaining, I give it 4 goblins out of 5!
Rodrick is a rakish, raffish rogue, a dab hand with a blade and a con, who is partners with just about the most powerful magic sword in the whole region. Note I didn’t say “owns”- said sword is part of the duo/partnership/friendship of Hrym (the sword) and Roderick (the human rogue).
I really liked this touch. The two really acted like long term partners, with constant bickering and jokes (and you’ll get a few chuckles here and there too). It’s also nice to see a powerful magic item- not many characters in D&D/Frp Fantasy fiction are known for their powerful magic items.
I also really enjoyed the very realistic character of Roderick, who reminds me more than a bit of Cugel the Clever. Not a “good guy” nor a “bad guy” just a realistic guy out for the main chance and some gold. Roderick is not a super-swordsman (altho he does wield a super-sword), nor is he supernaturally fast, smart, lucky or anything. He’s just a regular clever guy who lucked into a partnership with a powerful magic item.
But his quest partners are anything but ‘regular”: Rod & Hrym get hired by a VERY mysterious and odd duo of sorcerer and cleric, who are weird, strange, eldritch and a host of other adjectives- except “normal”. How their mysteries unveil is part of the fun of this book.
And, another part of the fun is the overall ‘tone”. Tim Pratt, being a Hugo award winning author, didn’t feel the need to make this book “dark & gritty” as so many recent other Fantasy novels are. Instead the light tone- which doesn’t mean there aren’t some pretty dark and scary moments. In fact the real identity of the sorcerer and the ultimate plan of her priestly boss could cause a few nitemares. Really creepy & scary. It’s a tribute to the writing skills of the author that he manages to carry off a over all light in tone book but is able to segue into some terrifying and dark encounters so very easily.
Very readable, with plenty of action, banter, magic, mysteries and a great twist ending.