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Item - Prisoner of Elderwood

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Series: Endless Quest — no. 32
Translated Into: Prisionero de Elderwood (Spanish)
Author: Algozin, Bruce
Illustrators: Easley, Jeff (cover)
Williams, Gary (interior)
Date: February, 1986
ISBN: 088038283X / 9780880382830
Length: 157 pages
Number of Endings: 14
User Summary: You are Redmond Longbow, and you have taken up a career of thievery in order to free your people from an invading king's army. Just recently, however, you and your friends have been captured....
Demian's Thoughts:

Like Bruce Algozin's earlier entry in the series, Lair of the Lich, this book has flaws -- not only does it fail to capture the feel of D&D very effectively, but it also is weighed down by some rather uninteresting companion characters and a downright unpleasant and irritating hero. There's also at least one major error that the copy editor should have noticed -- on page 33, Tindle the magician is named instead of Thorn the bird! The book does have a few redeeming features, however, most notably its extensive use of descriptions of smells to build atmosphere; writing about senses other than sight and sound definitely does have the potential to increase the immersiveness of gamebooks. Also interesting is the portrayal of conquering King Cradack; unlike every other character in the book, he's not a boring stereotype, and his ambiguous alignment makes the book's scenario a bit more interesting than it would otherwise have been. These touches help the book, but they don't save it from being a fairly uninteresting read. It is, at best, average.

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Kveto's Thoughts:

Continuing the trend of adult protagonists, you play Redmond Longbow, a thief in the service of your mountain kingdom opposing the evil invading armies of King Craddock. The book starts with you a prisoner of Craddock and he offers you a "devil's deal". Work for him and rescue his daughter who was kidnapped by his wizardly advisor. Do this and he calls off his forces. The king is actually an interesting character, a tyrant willing to forgo everything for his daughter.

You are accompanied by Thistle, an old wizard in a conical hat; Mora, a female mountain girl fighter and (hmm) a talking bird, Thorn. The writing is quite good and atmospheric, lending a lot of mystery to the forest of Elderwood. You learn that the evil wizard has cursed the fairy folk into losing their powers, putting them at the mercy of orcs and kobolds.

The wizard's lair is a gigantic tree, an ancient Blofeldian villain hideout if ever there was one. The interior artwork is fairly good. There is even the hint of a love triangle between you, Mora and the dryad Anemone to keep things interesting.

Overall, a very good book with lots of fun tropes and good atmosphere.

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