Okay so no spoilers; I read this book cover to cover in about 4 hours. Like the first book, I could not put this one down! It brings back the main character from the previous novel and adds some new ones as well as the character from the connected short fiction story the author did. I cannot talk this book up enough, I thought the characters were again very well written, the story had me on edge and I'm combing through bestiaries looking up stats for some of the monsters.
I don't know what I want next: more Isiem, more Ascaros or a prequel on members of 'the family'.
Nidal has always held a fascination for me and this book knocked it out of the park in terms of capturing the feel of the country. I thought all the characters were really well fleshed out and the main character especially was well-written. The story jumped through time but it all flowed really well and wasn't choppy at all. The ending left enough questions unanswered that I have eagerly anticipated the sequel book.
I've probably re-read this book 4x now and I find something new that I like about it each time I pick it up.
Today, my life-sized mechanical 'girlfriend' stopped 'working'. I walked out to my car and realized it had a flat tire. I got to work wondering what else was going to go wrong and saw the email that this had been put into my downloads.
Just from reading the title and description my hair started falling out and I realized it had turned white. I have multiple hairline fractures in both wrists and hands from gripping the mouse and computer desk too hard. My fingernails broke and fell off. All from reading the author's name.
Having run this scenario 6 times in the past 3 days, I can safely say this is one of the most balanced scenarios out there. There is great investigation and role playing for players who really enjoy that, as well as challenging combats for players who enjoy that. The last combat is definitely tough, but not an auto-TPK at low-level as long as the GM follows the tactics given in the scenario.
The back story for the scenario is great and really helped me as a GM flesh out the story.
All of my tables at the convention where I ran this had a great time and the coordinator had a lot of positive feedback. Each of my tables was ready to move on to Part II immediately, and were a bit sad that the time at the table had to end, which is really my only criticism I have. The end doesn't have a finite stopping point, so I really would recommend this for convention play when Part II is available at the end of March 2011.