We take a look at an older fantasy release that is well worth the trouble of tracking down: White Plume Mountain.
Rating: 4 smileys
A remorseless ranger.
A sentient hell hound pelt with a penchant for pyromania.
An irksome pixie who sells intrigue and information.
Three companions who find themselves trapped in a city filled with warring priestly factions, devious machinations, and an angry fiend. To save the city, they must find three weapons of power, which lie in the most trap-laden, monster-infested place this side of Acererak's tomb: White Plume Mountain.
Novels set in Dungeons & Dragons game worlds seem to either have readers that are fans or readers that avoid these types of books all together. I can understand the hesitation sometimes, though I think readers are missing out on some great stories here and there. Paul Kidd's three greyhawk books would be one of those great reads. Not only is this "trilogy" one of my favorite D&D based reads, but probably one of my favorite reads ever. (I say "trilogy" because the three books do go in order, but are each their own contained stories with simply the same characters continuing their adventures).
Any players familiar with the modules these books are set on will recognize what they are mixed up in. It is not a straight telling of the module, actually taking place thirty years after the module; but you will still recognize some of the elements.
The characters and dialogue are so fun and witty, the pacing and action so great that the books end up being some of the most entertaining stories I've encountered. One thing about the dialogue is also it has the feel of breaking out of the tradition fantasy speak... not quite crossing the line, but coming close to sounding like players sitting around a table playing the game itself. Perhaps not so much in precisely what they say, but how serious they take their predicaments sometimes. This is not a negative for me, it simply made the book more fun a read. In the end, this book is the popcorn adventure movie of fantasy books.
You also do not have to be familiar with the D&D game or the world to keep up with the books. The Greyhawk world it's set in is probably the one world that they have that is least used in their novels and is fairly generic in it's build. This might not sound appealing, but considering these books are adventure stories and do very little world building, it works to a great advantage to have a world that is easily understood by almost any fantasy reader.
If you like fast paced, quick reads that you can have fun with and shoot through in a couple days easy reading, I think these books are for you. White Plume Mountain is the first and they are hard to find in stores now, usually needing to be ordered. But they are also some of the funniest and most entertaining little reads out there and worth the trouble of tracking down.
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Written or Contributed by: Jeremy Shane
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About the Author - Jeremy Shane
Jeremy was born in a small mountain village of a strange foreign land called Weystvurginea. Banishment for liberal views saw him spend years wondering the east coast until he decided to bike to California. When he saw how long a trip it was, he drove instead. Now he's living it up in a low humidity climate, sometimes working on his photography and when not, he writes for us covering books (by way of his blog: Reading Realms), gaming, tv, movies, comics, conventions in the SoCal area, and creates a weekly webcomic: A Journey Through Skyrim. If you look for him offline, start in the L.A. area; online start at: www.jeremyshane.info for his profile and all the social networks he's on... or just follow him on twitter, he seems to be on there a lot: @jeremyshane.
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