Pathfinder Tales: Prince of Wolves

4.40/5 (based on 75 ratings)
Pathfinder Tales: Prince of Wolves
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Howls in the Dark

For half-elven Pathfinder Varian Jeggare and his devil-blooded bodyguard Radovan, things are rarely as they seem. Yet not even the notorious crime-solving duo is prepared for what they find when a search for a missing Pathfinder takes them into the gothic and mist-shrouded mountains of Ustalav. Beset on all sides by noble intrigue, mysterious locals, and the deadly creatures of the night, Varian and Radovan must use both sword and spell to track the strange rumors to their source and uncover a secret of unimaginable proportions, aided in their quest by a pack of sinister werewolves and a mysterious mute priestess. But it'll take more than merely solving the mystery to finish this job. For shadowy figures have taken note of the pair's investigations, and the forces of darkness are set on making sure neither man gets out of Ustalav alive...

From fan-favorite author Dave Gross comes a new fantastical mystery set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

300-page mass market paperback
ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-287-6
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-331-6

Prince of Wolves is also available as a digital edition on the following sites:

Prince of Wolves is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle sheet and additional rules are a free download (225 KB zip/PDF).

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Average product rating:

4.40/5 (based on 75 ratings)

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Slow start... better finish

3/5

I'm a big fan of the Pathfinder RPG and have read numerous fantasy novels over the years. I started this book at least a year or so ago and put it down after finding it hard to keep interested. I'm not quite sure what the problem was but I recently decided to give it another chance and was pleased I did. I just finished it and found it to be satisfying read.


Great Book

4/5

I am a sucker for anything related to Ustalav and I have multiple Szcarni characters in PFS so I really enjoyed this novel. It was well written, which is obviously a plus. Unfortunately some fantasy novels lean heavily on a generic setting and romantic themes but are poorly written. This book is not one of those. There was minimal romance in the novel, which I liked. I thought the switching perspective of the book was neat. I can't wait to read Prince of Devils and follow Radovan and Count Varian on more adventures.

One annoyance about Pathfinder novels in general: poor editing. I'm sorry, Paizo, your books are great and all but I feel like some of your fiction editing flies under the radar. I am one of those people that carries a red pen everywhere I go and I just itched to mark the minor misused words I found in the novel. Of course I didn't do that because I had borrowed a friend's book. For someone like me, though, too many errors can be overlooked but is a bit of a turn-off.


Good read

5/5

Finally got around to buying and reading this. I've been wanting to check it out for some time, and finally got it from my FLGS. It took a bit to get used to the first person perspective and the switching back and forth between the two characters. I was quite confused as to who was speaking in the second chapter with the fight between Radovan and Nicola, but that was soon sorted out. I haven't quite finished it yet, but I'm really looking forward to the ending. :)


Finally got around to reading this

4/5

Just read this on Friday, and Master of Devils yesterday. I'd been a huge fan of the short-story arcs in PF, but took my time getting around to the novels.

From a PF perspective, I enjoyed getting a good look at Ustalav, seen through the eyes of 2 interesting characters like Jeggare and Radovan. I like the nod to Sherlock Holmes & Watson in their dynamic, though of course it's a lot more involved than just that. Radovan's a great anti-hero; not too 2-dimensional like he could be. As for the Count, I find his pretensions quite amusing, and like how his worldview contrasts w/ Radovan's.

There were some minor editing issues (mostly missing words like "to", and "tenants" instead of "tenets), but luckily those decreased in the next novel. I wish the rating system allowed for 1/2 stars. I'd give this 3.5 stars (to allow for the fact I liked Master of Devils even more, which also gets 4 stars).

Look forward to reading more of their misadventures.


Passable Detective Yarn, Good Read

4/5

Prince of Wolves (2010) by Dave Gross was the first of the Pathfinder Tales novels, a series of novels published by Pathfinder RPG publisher Paizo, and set in their Golarion campaign setting. I believe it’s fair to say that the primary target of this product line was the Pathfinder RPG enthusiast, but that none of the parties involved would object if their popularity spread much farther afield.

In the special thanks, Gross mentioned Erik Mona putting “a bug in his ear in Calgary,” suggesting to me that the Paizo staff were confident enough in his abilities not just to tell a good story, but to communicate the spirit of Golarion -- a task in which I believe he succeeded, with a few miscues along the way.

The novel was set in the country of Ustalov, the Golarion analog of TSR’s old Ravenloft. The Vistani are there, but they’re Varisians now. The swirling mists, as well. The Tarokka has been reborn as the Harrow deck. Ustalov felt so familiar that you expected to stumble across Strahd, himself. But there is no Strahd or Van Richten. Not yet. Perhaps the mists will deposit them here soon. This was where Gross’ novel succeeded. Ustalov is a scary place.

Gross’ other triumph here was that he told a passable detective story. I love Sax Rohmer, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Jim Butcher. They told great detective stories. Gross told a really good one. I enjoyed the way Gross fed us the clues. I enjoyed getting the a-ha at the same time as Dave’s protagonists. And there were only a couple of places where a revelation stretched my suspension of disbelief. Heck, Doyle did worse than that.

Finally, Gross created a delightful pair of protagonists in Jegarre and Radovan. In their debut, Hell’s Pawns, I loved how they played off one another. Manipulating and playing friendly mind games with one another. Familiar, yet formal. Moonlighting without the romantic tension.

The first place the novel stepped wrongly, in my opinion, was when he chose to split up the party. Jegarre and Radovan were less interesting to me on their own. The courtly world of Jegarre dragged without Radovan to make fun of its foilables. Radovan wasn’t as fun a figure with his new companions, and their relationships were less believable. The chemistry that made Hell’s Spawn crackle and pop took a break for a large portion of the novel, and I missed it badly. The last chapter indicated that in future stories they would be friends instead of boss and investigator. That’s too bad.

The second place where Gross misstepped was having Radovan repeatedly use pejorative labels to describe the deformed villagers. (The novel was written in first person.) While I had no objection to Gross’ use of deformed characters, and though I believed their presence contributed to the horrific atmosphere, the repeated use of the word “freak” was offensive to me. Once or twice was enough to establish Radovan’s insensitivity with the reader. The additional uses saddened me, and detracted from an otherwise enjoyable read.

When I was trying to decide how to rate this book, I kept asking myself if I should rate it as “game fiction” or “regular fiction.” Game fiction has gotten a bad rap. Perhaps deservedly so. For game fiction, it’s five stars. Gross’ contribution is definitely at the top of the game fiction genre. In the broader context, I would still give this passable yarn a four.


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Dark Archive Contributor

Thanks for the kind words, Ssalarn.

One day I'd love to write at least a story with Arnisant as the protagonist. Goblins beware!

Dark Archive Contributor

Ssalarn wrote:
I want more from Arnisant! I loved the attention and character development he got in Master of Devils and was sad to see him back in an ancillary role during Queen of Thorns.

BTW, have you seen this contest? An Arnisant entry would be very interesting.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
Dave Gross wrote:

Thanks for the kind words, Ssalarn.

One day I'd love to write at least a story with Arnisant as the protagonist. Goblins beware!

Sounds like something for the webfiction... nudge, nudge.

Scarab Sages

Is there ever going to be a PFS chronicle for Prince of Wolves? It's the only Pathfinder Tales without one, as far as I can tell.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Deidre Tiriel wrote:
Is there ever going to be a PFS chronicle for Prince of Wolves? It's the only Pathfinder Tales without one, as far as I can tell.

It has one.

Additional Resources

On the right hand side under Pathfinder Tales.


I am rereading Prince of Wolves. Well, I'm rereading the entire Varian Jeggare/ Radovan series, and I'm currently in Prince of Wolves.

I really enjoy the way that Dave Gross writes Radovan. Some of what I like is embodied in this line that I just encountered:

"Despite their frightening appearances, not a one of [the villagers] tried to bury me alive or set me on fire. That made them my favorite villagers in all of Ustalav, so far."

-Aaron

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