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Pathfinder Tales: The Crusader Road

***** (based on 6 ratings)
Pathfinder Tales: The Crusader Road
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by Michael A. Stackpole

Taming the Wild

When the aristocratic Vishov family is banished from Ustalav due to underhanded politics, Lady Tyressa Vishov is faced with a choice: fade slowly into obscurity, or strike out for the nearby River Kingdoms and establish a new holding on the untamed frontier. Together with her children and loyal retainers, she’ll forge a new life in the infamous Echo Wood, and neither bloodthirsty monsters nor local despots will stop her from reclaiming her family honor. Yet the shadow of Ustalavic politics is long, and even in a remote and lawless territory, there may be those determined to see the Vishov family fail...

From New York Times best-selling author Michael A. Stackpole comes a new novel of frontier adventure set in the world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the new Pathfinder Online massively multiplayer online roleplaying game.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-657-7

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

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Product Reviews (6)
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Average product rating:

***** (based on 6 ratings)

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A good story

****( )

This would be a great Pathfinder Novel for someone who is new the the PF world. Basic villains and creatures, nothing too heavy that could bog down new readers.

The story was well told and held my attention. I did think the ending was a bit weak. (Sort of telegraphed and predictable.) But it didn't detract for the overall enjoyment of the story.

I hope the author writes a follow on novel. The city and characters really deserve more adventures and I would love to see them developed further.


A great read!

*****

This was my first Pathfinder fiction apart from the stories in the Adventure Paths, and I haven't read much fantasy for a long time. I got the book as part of the Kickstarter campaign so I thought I'd give it a try to learn a bit more about the Crusader Road and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. It turned out to be one of those books that I actually made time to read as I enjoyed it so much and I'd like to hope that there will be more stories of Silverlake and the Vishov family.


Great premise delivered on.

*****

An exiled noble and her family have to carve a city out of a wild region near the River Kingdoms. I read the sample chapter and I was hooked. This is a very entertaining PF Tale and one of the best in the series. Stackpole writes likable and engaging characters. I would love to see a sequel to find out what happens next. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.


Excellent story well told

*****

This is adapted from my review on GoodReads and doesn't so much deal with the Pathfinder Online tie-in. The star ratings on GoodReads are much more strict than standard (if you go with it as designed--and I do), so a four star there is easily a five star elsewhere (in case you notice the discrepancy).

---
The Crusader Road is a good choice to invite people into the Pathfinder Online setting and a strong tale well told. The story is a relatively simple one: the Vishov family (mother Tyressa, older teen daughter Serrana, and young teen son Jerrad) comes to the river kingdoms (sparsely settled lands open for settlement) to carve a place for themselves to escape shame visited on them in their home country. They have a group of loyal folks with them so it's not just the family, though the rest of the settlers are kind of faceless minions (one of the few weaknesses in the book, really).

In structure, the story could be seen as a mirror of the Kingmaker adventure path because it, too, concerns building a kingdom from nothing, making deals with established neighbors, and making peace (however uneasy) with the wild things (the fey, yes, but also a kind of gestalt presence that represents the wood itself) that have palpable presence. Fortunately, Stackpole is author enough to make this a tightly-paced story and infuse it with characters we come to care about.

The story mainly follows Jerrad as a coming-of-age tale as he morphs from the "mouse" he is in the beginning into discovering his own strengths—both of character and of mind. It helps that he's as diplomatic as he is intelligent and that he seizes the opportunities he finds to learn and expand as he encounters this land of danger and beauty. In the shadow of the heroic father who left on the crusades a decade ago, he has to find his own way to shine and learn that real heroes are measured by those they serve rather than those they defeat.

We get almost as much from Tyressa's perspective. She's the leader of the settlement, after all, and her actions carry the strongest, or broadest, consequences. She makes a commitment at the beginning of the story to remain with this community and bind herself and her fate to the region—even after her term of exile (20 years) is up. That's quite a decision up front, essentially giving up the long heritage of her noble family to settle in the back of beyond (and without any guarantee of success let alone prosperity). She's a wise leader, though, and that bone-deep commitment infuses her actions and interactions with neighbors, rivals, and enemies alike.

But my favorite transformation is Serrana who starts off the whiny favored daughter bred for court who finds herself transplanted wholly against her will and with no recourse. She yearns for "home" and wants nothing more than to hold onto hope of return. Her transformation is kind of quick, but completely believable and I just love seeing her blossom as the future leader of these people as she chooses to transform herself into someone they know they can trust. She gets the least screen-time of any of the other characters, but I still loved seeing her grow and develop.

Stackpole creates some major defining moments in the life of this settlement and those moments are important, meaningful, and competently earned. But he doesn't forget those quiet moments and personal connections and decisions that are as important in the life of the growing community. I loved how completely I was drawn into the story and how much I enjoyed being there with them.

I'm not sure how broad the appeal of the novel will be to those not interested in Paizo's Pathfinder setting, but I suspect it'd hold up well as stand-alone fantasy novel. Certainly, no prior knowledge or previous work is necessary to understanding the events or their impact on the characters.


Great right out of the gate!

*****

Wow! This is one of the very best of Pathfinder Tales. I was captured in the first chapter and could not put this book down. Never a dull moment. I will be recommending this book to lots of people, and already have just a few chapters in. I want a sequel and/or more Pathfinder setting books from Michael A. Stackpole. His writing has some serious style.


1 to 5 of 6 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Top Sellers
Pathfinder Tales: The Crusader Road
1. Pathfinder Tales: The Crusader Road
***** (based on 6 ratings)

Add Print Edition: $9.99

Add ePub/PDF: $6.99

Add Non-Mint: $9.99 $7.49


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