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This is te third book in these Greyhawk classics, which were non-interactive novels based on classic D&D adventures from the 70s and 80s. This module made up the middle section of a long epic campaign which started with the Against the Giants modules and endied with Queen of the Demonweb Pits. This novel should have brought the characters from Against the Giants but instead uses the characters from White Plume Mountain, most likely because the characters from the former were so forgettable.
I had to read a number of these books before I could notice how much better the books by Paul Kidd are. And one of the main reasons for this is that Kidd doesn't play by the rules. While the other books follow the general format of assembling a group of adventurers and having them do a dungeon crawl, which doesn't usually make for interesting reading, Kidd instead focuses on his characters, which are interesting, and creating a storyline which can be set in the module's world. His adventuring party is not a balanced adventuring party at all, consisting of the Justicar, the high level Ranger who uses magic as well; his girlfriend the pixie princess Escalla, who has lots of magical skills; a sentient hellhound pelt; an inexperienced crossbower; and a wagon driver. No adventuring party would take the useless wagon-driver Polk on a mission, but he's here, providing comic relief.
And instead of the adventure hook of being hired by merchants as in the module, this adventuring party is pursuing an unknown assassin from fairy world into the depth of the earth. In fact, like White Plume Mountain, half the book is set up leading to the depths of the earth, with the first half set in the fairy kingdom of the so-called Seely court, where Escalla is from. In fact the magical, political fairyworld is more interesting than the depths of the earth, as these pixies are much less frivolous than our usual idea of them.
The only drawbacks are the modern dialogue, which I got used to, and the ease with which the heroes defeat the Drow, who should be tougher opponents than they appear here. This is the second of the Justicar's three books and head and shoulders above those I've read so far.
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