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Book Review: Night of the Hunter: Companions Codex, Book 1

Night of the HunterThe Night of the Hunter, R.A. Salvatore

384, Wizards of the Coast

ISBN-13: 978-0786965113

Drizzt and his reincarnated companions have had a twenty-year reunion, and they are going back to one of their old haunts: Gauntlgrym. Their goal is to rescue or destroy Bruenor’s loyal shield dwarf friend. So, you might think that this is just one major problem to handle, when, in fact, these companions have several major problems. The biggest is that Bruenor’s old friend is now a vampire. Also, a colony of drow has decided to set up shop in Gauntlgrym and, like all good drow from Drizzt’s hometown, they feel inclined to kill him on sight. If all of that isn’t bad enough, something is afoot aboveground, and Drizzt and his companions must traverse dangers above and below the surface to get to Gauntlgrym. Good times.

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Book Review: The Silk Map

The Silk MapThe Silk Map

Chris Willrich

450, Pyr

Paperback $12.12, Kindle $9.59

ASIN: B00GL3HKTO

When we last encountered our heroes Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone at the end of the novel The Scroll of Years, they were forced to make a choice—a choice that no parent should ever have to make. To protect their child from several very powerful evil forces, they had to trap their son named Innocence along with the daughter of their ally in a pocket dimension that can be accessed only through a magical scroll. To keep these children safe, Bone was forced to drop the scroll in the sea to keep it from those who would do harm to him and his. To find the scroll and to save their children, Gaunt, Bone, and Snow Pine embark on an epic quest. Their first stop is to travel even farther to the east to consult the great demi-god Monkey for sage advice. As with all things dealing with Monkey, there is a price. Monkey knows how to get to the scroll, but, for the information, these parents must bring Iron Moths back to Monkey. Iron Moths’ cocoons produce the almost magical iron silk (think fantasy Kevlar). But a quest is only a quest if it is difficult, and this one makes difficult look easy.

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Book Review: Myths and Legends: Robin Hood

Robin HoodMyths and Legends: Robin Hood

Neil Smith

80 pages, Osprey Publishing

Kindle, $10.49

ISBN: 978-1472801258

Myths and Legends: Robin is yet another amazing addition to the already formidable Myths and Legends series. This installment includes all of the usual suspects one would expect from the Robin Hood mythos. There is Little John, Friar Tuck, Maid Marian, the Sheriff, and Will Scarlett, to name just a few of them. Now, if you are not familiar with Robin Hood, I can break the mythos into a few quick sentences. He robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. He was an amazing archer who lived in the woods. That is Robin Hood really simplified—those familiar with Robin Hood know just how simplified that description is.

In keeping with the Myths and Legends spirit, Smith and company tell us some of the legends that have contributed to the subject matter, transition to actual historical information, and then close us out with a look at their current place in popular culture. This format really works for this series and, more importantly, for me as a reader. Many of the legends in this book I already knew—or at least thought I knew. There were several nuanced aspects of these stories that I have never heard about, and that made revisiting them even more worthwhile.

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Book Review: Lost Covenant

Lost CovenantLost Covenant

Ari Marmell

250 pages, Pyr

Paperback, $12.58, Kindle $8.69

ISBN 978-1616148119

Widdershins, the queen of snark and bad choices, is back. It has been six months since her last hair-raising adventure in the city of Davillon. In her travels, she has discovered a plot by a noble house to make a move against another house. I doubt this would normally bother her except the target house is the last bastion of the Delacroix house—the same house that her adopted father belonged to. These relatives are distant, but to honor the memory of her adopted father, Shins, as she is often called, sets out to thwart the plot and protect the last of her adopted bloodline. To do this, she must travel to a small town on the edge of the nation, where she must derail the plot and find out who is behind it. To complicate matters, she learns that not only is the rival house involved, but a criminal organization is working against the target house as well.

This fantasy tale of teen angst is the kind of rollercoaster ride that both young adults and not so young adults can enjoy. This is the first book in this series that I have read, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that if there were a wrong place to be, Widdershins would be in it. If a wrong thing could be said, she would say it, and if a really bad course of action to take presented itself, she would take it. I believe Marmell held a séance with a few deceased teen girls, because he really captured the spirit of how a teen girl might think. I am the proud father of two teen girls (I’m proud because at 18 and 16 I still like them as people—as a parent you always love them, but normally the “like” part seldom happens at those ages), and while I would never presume to say I understand how a teenaged female mind works, some of Widdershins’ reactions to situations were spot on.

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