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Series: The Haunted Lands
Author: Richard Byers
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Format: Kindle digital edition
100 years have passed since the last book. Szass Tam has completed his domination of Thay with the building of multiple fortresses, which turn out to be the keystone for a massive magical spell. A spell that will unmake the Universe and potentially remake it, with Tsazz Tam as the new head honcho god. Theoretically.
So the gryphon rider and undead bard from the previous books set out to stop him, with the help of the former Zulkirs of Thay.
Throw in Tam's insane but powerful top lieutenant who wants only the first part of the spell to succeed and you wind up with a pretty fantastic story.
Sometimes Forgotten Realms books really stink. The plot is as pulpy and the characters as wooden as the paper they are printed on. But sometimes you run across some that are really a good story that keep you coming back for more. This book, and trilogy, have been one of the good ones.
The plan behind the plan, that was hinted at in the previous book, comes to full light here. Tam's deal with Bane makes sense. Why worry about your soul in 1000 years if you're going to remake the universe with you at the head? You can just unmake the god that you made the deal with and negate its consequences.
Just like in the previous 2 books, the "heroes" are the underdogs and Tam is a pretty sympathetic antagonist. The bard and mercenary [and for the life of me, I can't remember WHY the mercenary is so long-lived] and their little ghost friend all finish their fight, but it ends up being against their former ally turned Szass Tam lieutenant instead of Tam himself. All part of making Tam the "not really the bad guy" bad guy.
Because I've enjoyed the majority of Byer's work in the Forgotten Realms universe, I'm thinking I'll go track down the rest of his stuff and put it into my tbr pile instead of just some random FF trilogy/series like I have been doing. We'll see if he can continue to entertain.