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The Walls of Spyte

Series: Blood Sword #5
Translated Into: Le mura di Spyte (Italian)
Les murailles de Spyte (French)
Stenite na Spayt [Стените на Спайт] (Bulgarian)
Authors: Johnson, Oliver
Morris, Dave
Thomson, Jamie
Illustrators: Nicholson, Russ (interior)
Wingate, Geoff (cartography)
Release Date: 1988
Aussiesmurf's Thoughts: I generally agree with Yermither's review here. Although the Magi are, in many senses, the 'real' enemy of the series, they are like the Emperor as compared to Darth Vader. Power without emotional resonance.

The scope of this adventure was also smaller. After the wondrous globe-trotting of Books 2 and 3, and the journey through hell of Book 4, a simple dungeon crawl seems almost like a disappointment.

Still, a satisfying conclusion, with a VERY counter-instinctive choice needed near the end for a complete victory.

More reviews by Aussiesmurf

yermither's Thoughts: After the highs of the previous books in the Blood Sword series, which included bargaining with genies, descending into Hell, and sending Icon the Ungodly to his final rest, this final book is... well, it's a bit of an anti-climax really. The series started off with a dungeon crawl in The Battlepits of Krarth, and the series ends in this book with... another dungeon crawl. As a standalone adventure the crawl through the blasted remnants of Spyte, the ancient city of the True Magi, is pretty good with multiple paths through the ruined city, but as a series finale it is just missing that special something: for starters it lacks for any decent antagonists now that that that bloody Icon is dead. (How fab would it have been if the True Magi had resurrected Icon to battle you in the Cauldron with the fate of the Apocalypse hanging in the balance! Cold winds screaming about you as you battled with flashing blade and eldritch magick against the Foe Who Just Would Not Die?) The True Magi are trapped in their celestial bodies for most all of the adventure and in my opinion they haven't been built up throughout the series as worthy foils for the characters. A suitably evil villain (wonderfully illustrated by Russ Nicholson) is introduced just prior to the final showdown with the True Magi, but she is dispatched in a single evocative passage and that's that.

I may be sounding overly critical here, but that's just because Blood Sword is just such a good series: the writing throughout is much better than your average gamebook, and the narrative that is sustained through the books is matched only by the Lone Wolf series. The Walls of Spyte is worth getting, and only comes up rarely on eBay. (Don't forget that you can read a scanned PDF version of the book - and all the other entries in the series - at the Home of the Underdogs site).

More reviews by yermither

Errata:In section 62, the "XX" should read "100."
Special Thanks:Thanks to Ed Jolley for the errata.
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