In the war-torn lands of Molthune and Nirmathas, where rebels fight an endless war of secession against an oppressive military government, the constant fighting can make for strange alliances. Such is the case for the man known only as The Masked, the victim of a magical curse that forces him to hide his face, and an escaped halfling slave named Tantaerra. Thrown together by chance, the two fugitives find themselves conscripted by both sides of the conflict and forced to search for a magical artifact that could help shift the balance of power and end the bloodshed for good. But in order to survive, the thieves will first need to learn the one thing none of their adventures have taught them: how to trust each other.
From New York Times bestselling author and legendary game designer Ed Greenwood comes a new adventure of magic, monsters, and unlikely friendships, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
I can only reinforce what some of the other reviewers have said. The books opens with a chase scene that takes up the first 100 pages of the book, it gets old quick, and doesn't get any better.
The heroes find themselves increasingly, improbably, flushed out of every single hidey hole they find, either well thought out or not, to continue the chase past the point of exhaustion. If I were one of the players in this adventure, I would have either told the DM, "OK I give up, you catch me, because it's obvious I'm not supposed to get away no matter what." or just thrown my character sheet at him in disgust and walked away.
The second part I have a problem with is that once the heroes decide to go on their little trip, they have almost none of the regular gear and adventurer would need to go dungeon delving or traveling cross country, no money, not even magical healing, which they have to find later. Even when they do find it, it's like a glut was put there by the author once he realized that his characters were about to die, they have so much they can't even carry it all.
I don't know what it is about Ed and giving his hero's weapons, but he just doesn't, and they eventually wind up rolling around on the ground with their enemies, trying to kill each other with rocks, after losing or breaking every weapon that they have. It gets old man, give the hero a magic sword and let him use it! Quit having them scrabble around trying to beat each other to death with broken crossbows. It's boring.
The dungeon scenes were fun, although it would have been cooler to see them get caught in a trap and think their way out instead of bypassing them all ahead of time. All in all I liked that.
But the maiming, why? What was the point of that? I know that sort of stuff happens in real life, but if it doesn't add anything to the character, or make a development later more interesting, then why do it? If they kept the magical gauntlet to replace what was lost, that may have actually been a cool idea. But a clockwork hand? Where are the Pathfinder rules for those BTW?
I have read every single Pathfinder tales novel, and this one fits solidly at the bottom of that list.
Decent story, there's a good mix of dungeoneering as well as political/military intrigue. I liked how magic was treated in the book, it's pretty widespread (at least in terms of potions etc), but that doesn't mean everyone has access to it. It was also nice to see more of the Nirmathas/Molthune tension too, that part was very well done.
However, the chase and trap-finding scenes were too repetitive for my tastes, or not nearly spaced out enough.
Overall, really great setting, and cool concept, but the delivery could have been better.
Award winning & best-selling author Ed Greenwood here turns his well-honed +5 pen to the Pathfinder setting and a tale of two mismatched and star-crossed rogues.
One is a mysterious man with a mysterious past and an even more mysterious mask- which has a deadly curse. Another is a young female Halfling, who is an escaped slave.
Although trust is hard to come by in their world, they find themselves thrown together by a series of chases and closes escapes. Finally they are captured and sent on a weird quest to recover a powerful magic item, an artifact. The quest sets off yet another series of chases, fights and hairbreadth escapes. When they finally get to their destination, you, as the reader, are as out of breath as they are!
But wait! Now comes the best part- a series of horrific undead and harrowing traps guard this dungeon. The “dungeon crawl” is very well done, perhaps even better than Gygax himself. The final battle is epic in scope, what with magic and tricks being used liberally.
But of course, with Ed at the helm, it turns out that’s just the penultimate encounter. We still have the long trip home and the real, true final battle!
Breathless escapes, great characterization, non-stop action, swashbuckling swordplay and a real page-turner.