Pathfinder Tales: Master of Devils

****( ) (based on 41 ratings)
Pathfinder Tales: Master of Devils
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Journey to the East

On a mysterious errand for the Pathfinder Society, Count Varian Jeggare and his hellspawn bodyguard Radovan journey to the distant land of Tian Xia, on the far side of the world. When disaster forces him to take shelter in a warrior monastery, "Brother" Jeggare finds himself competing with the disciples of Dragon Temple as he unravels a royal mystery. Meanwhile, Radovan—trapped in the body of a devil and held hostage by the legendary Quivering Palm attack—must serve a twisted master by defeating the land’s deadliest champions and learning the secret of slaying an immortal foe. Together with an unlikely army of beasts and spirits, the two companions must take the lead in an ancient conflict that will carry them through an exotic land, all the way to the Gates of Heaven and Hell and a final confrontation with the nefarious Master of Devils!

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

400-page mass market paperback
ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-357-6
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-358-3

Master of Devils is also available as a digital edition on the following sites:

Master of Devils is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Its Chronicle sheet and additional rules are a free download (229 KB zip/PDF).

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****( ) (based on 41 ratings)

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Fantastic!

*****

Probably my favorite of the Radovan and Jeggare stories - epic wushu adventures in the Far East! Politcal Drama! Martial Arts action! An entire side story about a heroic dog (best part!)

If you like fantasy novels and kung fu movies, this is the book for you.


Schemes and Sorcery in the Far East!

*****

A very, very fun story starring once again Varian Jeggare and his companion/bodyguard/partner Radovan, and promoted to full cast member for the first time Jeggare's wolfhound pet Arnisant, whose surprising role as a central, narrating character caught me pleasantly off-guard.

As the three are separated during a bandit attack that goes horribly wrong when a pack of tigers shows up, all three suddenly find themselves being propelled in unexpected directions through the landscape of Golarion's Far East.

Jeggare becomes an unwitting student at a monastery, where he must overcome the distaste of his fellow students for a "foreign devil" and his own Chelish pride while investigating the mysteries surrounding a beautiful princess, a mysterious bodyguard, and one of his elite fellow students.

Radovan finds himself prisoner to Burning Cloud Devil, the titular Master of Devils, a vengeful sorcerer and self-proclaimed King of Heroes who is on a mission of destruction with Radovan as his weapon of choice, on pain of a very unpleasant death. Bonus points to Dave for the frequent inclusion of the amusing phrase "my g@@$!%ned little brother".

And Arnisant, separated from his master and his best friend, seeks out the aid of the kami Judge Fang, who leads him on a quest to gather spirits, beasts, and other mysterious entities for an impending conflict, and along the way proves himself as much a hero as his two humanoid companions.

The three viewpoints are far improved and much more balanced than in Prince of Wolves, where it seemed all the entertaining or action-packed chapters tended to be in Radovan's narration and Jeggare's chapters tended to be slower-paced. Watching the three separate storylines interweave and move steadily and inexorably toward their inevitable collision was a fun ride, and leaves me eager for more of Gross's work and excellent characters.

And here's hoping this isn't the last we see of Arnisant's narration. The first few of his chapters had me rolling in laughter, especially with Gust and the Goblin-who-Swallowed-the-Wind, the unnamed spider woman (I presume intended to be a Jorogumo), and the Great Turtle.

On to Queen of Thorns!


Enjoyable

****( )

I'm loving this series, and this story was no disappointment, although I didn't enjoy it as much as Prince of Thieves or Queen of Thorns, which I'm reading now.

Read the full review on my blog.


Terrific sequel builds off original

****( )

ave Gross continues the adventures of Count Varian Jeggare and his hellspawn bodyguard, Radovan in this charming - and surprisingly sweet - wuxia tribute.

Sent to far off lands, Varian finds himself in training at a monastery whilst Radovan - supposed dead - is in fact terrorising the land as a fearsome devil. Can the friends reunite before the kingdom falls?

I enjoyed this book quite a bit more than its predecessor - Gross seems more confident with his characters and less inclined to hammer home their character traits.

The pace is fast, and the alternating chapters work well - both perspectives are interesting. The world itself, like most Pathfinder constructions, feels real. It's comfortable, but with enough unique flair to make it interesting. In this case, the similarities to Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds are readily apparent (and welcome).

Perhaps the most surprising part of the book was Gross' willingness to give his characters a sense of pathos, if not tragedy. Of course, this is not out of place in a Wuxia novel, but such... emotional landscapes are rare in adapted fantasy, let alone sword and sorcery novels. I really, really appreciated it, and the fact that you can have a bit of light and dark without thousands of pages of melodrama. Pathfinder Tales continues to impress me.


Fantasy setting comes alive

****( )

I, as many others, like the writing style of Dave Gross. Although being a non-native english reader/speaker I do sometimes have to look up a word or 3/page.

The story is, as always, in place and is an exiting follow up to the e-novel Husk.

What however makes it 4 stars is the authors unmatched ability to make the Golarion Pathfinder setting come alive. I find these books, this one in particular, amazingly good at describing and using facets of the Pathfinder Golarion "universe" - kudos to that and thanks for a modern writing style in a _traditional_ yet renewed asian fantasy novel :D


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Dark Archive Contributor

Protoman wrote:
I loved this book! I ESPECIALLY love the appearance of my favorite simian demigod as I never get enough of him in any sorts of media. I've been wanting to read an asian-themed fantasy D&D story since I've started playing so I'm grateful you wrote it.

Anyone named Protoman is all right by me. Are you a fan of the band?


Dave Gross wrote:
Protoman wrote:
I loved this book! I ESPECIALLY love the appearance of my favorite simian demigod as I never get enough of him in any sorts of media. I've been wanting to read an asian-themed fantasy D&D story since I've started playing so I'm grateful you wrote it.

Anyone named Protoman is all right by me. Are you a fan of the band?

The band and the character.

I think I met you once in 2008. Played a LFR game at your place. Asian kid that kept talking too much lol

Dark Archive Contributor

Protoman wrote:
I loved this book! I ESPECIALLY love the appearance of my favorite simian demigod as I never get enough of him in any sorts of media. I've been wanting to read an asian-themed fantasy D&D story since I've started playing so I'm grateful you wrote it.

Also, I implore anyone who enjoyed the book to post a review here, at Amazon, Goodreads, Booksamillion, B&N, or anywhere you can spread the word about Pathfinder Tales. We're still in the early days of this book line, so the more word of mouth, the better for everyone.


I'm just about through this book and am loving it. Looks like Prince of Wolves is a must read for more of these characters, do they appear anywhere else? (Pathfinder...noob)

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Zelq wrote:
I'm just about through this book and am loving it. Looks like Prince of Wolves is a must read for more of these characters, do they appear anywhere else? (Pathfinder...noob)

Jeggare & Radovan first appeared in the Pathfinder Journal for the Council of Thieves Adventure Path (available separately in "Hell's Pawns"). "The Lost Pathfinder" serves as an introduction or prequel to Prince of Wolves. "A Lesson in Taxonomy" features a much younger Varian Jeggare (which originally featured in Wayfinder #4). Master of Devils has Varian and Radovan in a very different set of circumstances, and the "Husks" serial featuring this dynamic duo are in the Jade Regent Adventure Path volumes.

Hope that helps!


Liz Courts wrote:

Jeggare & Radovan first appeared in the Pathfinder Journal for the Council of Thieves Adventure Path (available separately in "Hell's Pawns"). "The Lost Pathfinder" serves as an introduction or prequel to Prince of Wolves. "A Lesson in Taxonomy" features a much younger Varian Jeggare (which originally featured in Wayfinder #4). Master of Devils has Varian and Radovan in a very different set of circumstances, and the "Husks" serial featuring this dynamic duo are in the Jade Regent Adventure Path volumes.

Hope that helps!

Immensely! A shopping I must go :) Thank you!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Out of curiosity, are we going to get a wallpaper of the cover art? Or did I miss one? ^_^

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

I finished this one a couple weeks ago, and I thought it was great. Especially

Spoiler:
"Radovan catches on fire more than anybody."

I freakin howled at that. But there are a lot of unanswered questions still about Radovan's nature. I'm wondering if
Spoiler:

the devil that occupied Radovan's space was a distinct entity and not a manifestation of his nature. In that case, killing a devil merely returns it to its native plane, with limitations on when it can return, correct? In that case, isn't it possible, and in fact likely, that Radovan may eventually encounter this being again, external to his own form, and the devil may want to renew the bond? Or seek vengeance of Radovan for letting him get killed. Even if this is not the case, there are still a number of questions about how the bond was formed in the first place. Or was this covered in the CoT AP fiction?

Anyway, the book was a lot of fun and I was sad to see it end. Thanks, Dave, for another great ripping yarn.

Dark Archive Contributor

Christopher Dudley wrote:

I finished this one a couple weeks ago, and I thought it was great. Especially ** spoiler omitted **

I freakin howled at that. But there are a lot of unanswered questions still about Radovan's nature. I'm wondering if ** spoiler omitted **

Anyway, the book was a lot of fun and I was sad to see it end. Thanks, Dave, for another great ripping yarn.

Thanks for the kind words! If you have a chance, it'd be great to see your review here and at amazon.com.

While there's a strong hint about the catalysing event in "Hell's Pawns," all of the information we have on Radovan's condition has come through the filter of his point of view. Since he doesn't have all the answers (yet), neither do we.

Master of Devils included some big hints of Radovan's unusual nature, and the next novel will include bigger revelations.

Much bigger.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Dave Gross wrote:

Master of Devils included some big hints of Radovan's unusual nature, and the next novel will include bigger revelations.

Much bigger.

Does the next book have a title and release date?

Dark Archive Contributor

JoelF847 wrote:
Dave Gross wrote:

Master of Devils included some big hints of Radovan's unusual nature, and the next novel will include bigger revelations.

Much bigger.

Does the next book have a title and release date?

Officially, not until Paizo announces them, but I'm told it's okay to say there is another book in the works with these boys.


Very much looking forward to it...

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Dave Gross wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:
Dave Gross wrote:

Master of Devils included some big hints of Radovan's unusual nature, and the next novel will include bigger revelations.

Much bigger.

Does the next book have a title and release date?
Officially, not until Paizo announces them, but I'm told it's okay to say there is another book in the works with these boys.

Darn, you saw through my clever ruse!

I hope that "these boys" includes all 3 point of view characters.


Well done Dave Gross - I've put up my review for Master of Devils, and I am certainly looking forward to more. I'd be particularly happy if you could offer another glimpse of the Dragon Empires in more than a passing manner in a future novel! (Who could resist reading about the Monkey King in action?)

Dark Archive Contributor

LoreKeeper wrote:

Well done Dave Gross - I've put up my review for Master of Devils, and I am certainly looking forward to more. I'd be particularly happy if you could offer another glimpse of the Dragon Empires in more than a passing manner in a future novel! (Who could resist reading about the Monkey King in action?)

Thanks for that well-written and gratifying review.

While I could write nine more novels set in Tian Xia, I don't expect the boys to return soon. If you haven't been following the Jade Regent AP, you can look forward to "Husks," the Minkai-based prequel novella to Master of Devils, appearing via the web store later this year. If you have been following Jade Regent, then you've got most of it already.


Thanks for the swift response! I've mentioned it in a thread with James Jacobs before, but perhaps you could directly pitch such an idea to Paizo: I think there is ample opportunity to pen a "bigger" story.

By that I don't mean something more epic or world-shattering (Paizo has repeatedly confirmed that they are happy with the degree of impact the stories have, and I agree wholeheartedly). I mean that there is room for a story so rich and complex that it requires not one but eight books to complete.

Perhaps, to me, the perfect example is Neal Stephenson's "Baroque Cycle" (consisting of the three volumes: Quicksilver, The Confusion, The System of the World). Many characters, complex relations, a fantastic story that conveys a tremendous sense of reality and insight into the psyche of the time.

Dark Archive Contributor

I share your love of long-form narrative and Tian Xia. If a lot of folks feel the same way and sales follow, who knows what might happen?

In the meantime, the boys' next adventure takes them to Kyonin, back in the Inner Sea region. And in case you haven't read Prince of Wolves, there's a tiny element of Asian fantasy in the otherwise Eastern European-influenced setting.

Have you read the Barry Hughart novels? That might satisfy your craving for more Chinese-influenced fantasy.


I'll keep my eyes open for them, thanks :)

Kyonin, you say? I think my ex will like that a lot.


Dave Gross wrote:
Also, I implore anyone who enjoyed the book to post a review here, at Amazon, Goodreads, Booksamillion, B&N, or anywhere you can spread the word about Pathfinder Tales. We're still in the early days of this book line, so the more word of mouth, the better for everyone.

I have posted my review on both Amazon (where I am a "Top Reviewer") and here. Thanks for the fun read!

The Barry Hughart novels are great. I highly suggest them.

Dave, in your last book, you put the name of the protagonist/narrator at the top of each chapter. Please continue this.

Dark Archive Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for the reviews, DrDeth.

I love Hughart's novels. It's a shame he hasn't written any more, giving up in despair with his publisher. Bridge of Birds remains one of my favorite novels.

In Queen of Thorns I started tagging the chapters with the POV character. It seems more important to do that when there are more than two, but I'm sure it's a permanent fixture.


Folks, here are some other ways to help a fave author on Amazon (and these mostly work elsewhere) besides the usual buy the books, and write a review:

1. If the book is not out yet, add it to your Wish List, even if you plan on buying it straight from Paizo.

2. If you find a good review, mark it helpful. This adds verisimilitude to the review, which helps the book. It also makes the reviewer happy.

3. Look for other books by the same author.

Dark Archive

Dave Gross wrote:

Thanks for the reviews, DrDeth.

I love Hughart's novels. It's a shame he hasn't written any more, giving up in despair with his publisher. Bridge of Birds remains one of my favorite novels.

In Queen of Thorns I started tagging the chapters with the POV character. It seems more important to do that when there are more than two, but I'm sure it's a permanent fixture.

Congratulations for your first sold out Pathfinder novel, Dave!

I'm sure the others will follow.
Anything new planned?


Absolutely brilliant, loved it.
So well written it was like watching an epic Kung Fu movie on a cinema screen.
Dave Gross is my new favourite author.
Let's hope for many more novels to come.
I have to say, Radovan reminds me a little of the Wolverine comic character, which is a very good parallel to have.

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