We interrupt this blog for a special announcement: The Pathfinder Tales novel Death's Heretic is still totally free in audiobook form on Audible.com until February 16th! Grab it now before the offer expires!
We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post.
At this point, with three books in his Pirates series, you might think I'd be sick of talking about Chris Jackson's books. But you'd be wrong.
See, Chris is one of those authors that editors like me dream about. Not only is he a fabulous writer, perfectly balancing action and character development, but he also lives and breathes Pathfinder. He knows Golarion inside and out, and has a mastery of the rules that never ceases to amaze me. (Seriously, if you only knew the number of times he's brought up an interesting corner case or rules exploit that caused hours of discussion among the designers and developers...) Combined, those two aspects of his writing make his books a delight to read, both as a reader and as a gamer. How would naval combat work in Pathfinder? What kinds of magical defenses would a Chelish ship have? How could a naga best disguise herself as human? How might a sorcerer use magic to infiltrate a coven of paranoid witches? Chris uses the rules of magic not just as a storyteller looking to forward a plot, but as a person living in that world would, which means there's always something I can take away from his books for use at the gaming table.
Yet really, it's Chris's characters that get to me. At this point, I feel like I know Torius and Celeste and Snick and Vreva as well as I know Chris himself—maybe better, since I've spent so much time in their heads. They feel like real people to me, in a way that only the best characters do. When I suggest an edit to Chris, it's usually phrased like "Celeste wouldn't say that"—as if she were a mutual friend, rather than someone he made up out of whole cloth. That's the power of a good character.
So in Pirate's Prophecy, it's exciting to catch up again with the crew of the Stargazer, to see them settling into their new roles as abolitionist privateers for Andoran. While the crew may be perfectly happy to steal from slavers and spirit the freed slaves away to freedom, being involved in the world of international politics comes with a whole new heap of troubles. When expert spy Vreva Jhafae uncovers a Chelish plot to unleash a terrible weapon on Andoren ports, only the crew of the Stargazer can stop it without blowing her cover. Yet even as Vreva puts herself in harm's way with a series of Mission: Impossible style infiltrations, Celeste finds herself suddenly speaking in tongues and wrestling with the appearance of strange new powers...
James L. Sutter