Review: unholy (The Haunted Lands, Book III)

unholy (The Haunted Lands, Book III)
Author:  Richard Lee Byers
Published: February 2009
Genre:  Fantasy, Horror, Dungeons & Dragons
Review:  Ninety years have past since the Council of Zulkirs fled Szass Tam’s undead hordes to take up an exiled residence in a nearby land.  Szass Tam hasn’t attempted to pursue them, because he has been working on a plan to destroy the world and recreate it as he sees fit.  In preparation, he’s constructed numerous “Dread Rings” throughout Thay in precise locations to accomplish the Unmaking.
Having discovered Tam’s plan, Bareris and Mirror convince Aoth to join them in swaying the Council of Zulkirs to help thwart Tam’s plans.  The group marches their army to one of the Dread Rings, eventually winning that battle.  The expected destruction of Tam’s plans, though, is very short-lived as he manages to reconfigure the magical layout of the Unmaking to allow it to proceed.
Realizing the Unmaking can still take place, the plan changes to to destroying Szass Tam.  Eventually, a battle involving Tam, the Zulkirs, Bareris, Aoth, Mirror, Malark Springhill, and numerous demons and undead takes place at the heart of the Unmaking ceremony.  Who lives?  Who dies…permanently?  You’ll have to read it to find out.

Bottom Line:  The third and final book in The Haunted Lands sums up the loose ends of the series very well.  It has some compelling battle scenes and introduces characters to be found in a different series.  I enjoyed the series and recommend it to fans of the Forgotten Realms books, as well as general fantasy fans.

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Review: undead (The Haunted Lands, Book II)

undead (The Haunted Lands, Book II)
Title:  undead (The Haunted Lands, Book II)
Author:  Richard Lee Byers
Published: March 2008
Genre:  Fantasy, Horror, Dungeons & Dragons
Review:  It’s ten years into the war that started in “unclean” and the lands of Thay are bleak and dying.  This isn’t really a problem for Szass Tam’s legions of undead, but for the Council, the rest of the Zulkirs opposing him, they see a country that will be barely habitable if they don’t finish the war soon.  Weary of the decade long war, the leader of the Griffon Legion, Aoth Fezim even contemplates abandoning the cause for greener pastures.  In a battle that should have gone the Council’s way, a bit of espionage turns the tide in favor of Szass Tam.  As he’s about to have his victory, though, Mystra, Goddess of Magic, is assassinated, unraveling the Weave, and causing the Spellplague, which renders all arcane magic nearly useless and allows the Council to survive the battle.
At their next battle, the Council’s forces are fairing well and look to have a chance of winning the day, before Szass Tam begins to unleash the powers he bargained from the evil god, Bane, and a long time ally turns his coat.  As Tam’s forces assault the port city in which the Council has taken refuge, the Council slips off across the water, burning the boats they don’t need, abandoning Thay to Tam.
In an attempt to finish the Council once and for all, Szass Tam conjures up boats for his minions, and draws on the waning powers Bane had given him to summon a few more undead sea creatures.  They chase down and join battle with the Council.  When the last trick he has up his sleeve is beaten, Tam is forced to concede defeat and pull back to Thay, and what remains of the Council has to try to find new lives in exile.

Bottom Line:  This installment of the series provides more new(ish) undead, plenty of face time for some of your favorite characters, like Aoth Fezim, Bareris Anskuld and Tannith, Mirror, and Malark Springhill.  It has betrayal, allegiance changes, a number of large battles, and the first look at the Spellplague…and what it did to casters, magic, and the land itself.  I’m not sure how well it would stand as a story by itself, but it’s a good series book.

Teaser Tuesday: unholy (The Haunted Lands, Book III)

Teaser Tuesday post for 25 March 2014:

unholy by Richard Lee Byers

But when he saw the raven perched on his windowsill, a tiny scroll case tied to one of its claws, intuition told him the book would have to wait.

from “unholy”  by Richard Lee Byers

 

Teaser Tuesday logo

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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Teaser Tuesday: undead (The Haunted Lands, Book II)

Teaser Tuesday post for 18 March 2014:

undead (The Haunted Lands, Book II) by Richard Lee Byers

Comrades.  It seemed like the bitterest word ever spoken, but he nodded, shook her hand when she offered it, and tried not to wince at the corpselike chill of her flesh.

from “undead”  by Richard Lee Byers

 

Teaser Tuesday logo

———————————————————————————–

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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Review: unclean (The Haunted Lands, Book I)

unclean (The Haunted Lands, Book I)
Title:  unclean (The Haunted Lands, Book I)
Author:  Richard Lee Byers
Published: April 2007
Genre:  Fantasy, Horror, Dungeons & Dragons
Review:  Szass Tam, Lich, Red Wizard, Zulkir of Necromancy, has decided he’s no longer content with sharing the rule of Thay.  His elaborate scheme to try to win the support of the other Zulkirs as the supreme ruler of Thay endangers the whole of the realm, including the lives of Bareris, a human bard, desperately trying to find and win back his lost love, Aoth, a gryphon rider, and Malark, a monk of the Long Death, …and the many Zulkirs and Tharcions on both sides.  Legions of the undead clash with armies of humans –red wizards, priests of Kossuth, gryphon riders, among them.  From where did the undead come, and whose side is Szass Tam really on?

Bottom Line:  Honestly, I found Byers’ writing style to be a bit difficult to read at first, but the story lines are interwoven well enough to make for a moderately compelling tale…or, at least, the first third of the tale.

Teaser Tuesday: undead (The Haunted Lands, Book II)

Teaser Tuesday post for 11 March 2014:

undead (The Haunted Lands, Book II) by Richard Lee Byers

“We’re all ghosts.  Ghosts of the men and lives that ought to have been.”

from “undead”  by Richard Lee Byers

 

Teaser Tuesday logo

———————————————————————————–

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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Teaser Tuesday: unclean (The Haunted Lands, Book I)

Teaser Tuesday post for 4 March 2014:

Dreamsongs, Volume II by George R. R. Martin

He clawed a gash into the palm of his lower left hand and held it out to her.  “Drink.”
His blood was like fire in her mouth, but she forced herself to suck and lap it anyway.

from “unclean”  by Richard Lee Byers

 

Teaser Tuesday logo

———————————————————————————–

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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