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 Unclean: Chapters 12 - 15 & Epilogue
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Alaundo
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Posted - 05 Apr 2007 :  09:10:56  Show Profile  Visit Alaundo's Homepage Send Alaundo a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Well met

This is a Book Club thread for Unclean (Book 1 of The Haunted Lands), by Richard Lee Byers. Please discuss chapters 12 - 15 and the epilogue herein:

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KnightErrantJR
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USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 18 Apr 2007 :  03:42:30  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That was an interesting ride. For a bit, at the beginning of this section I thought that maybe it was going to go the "normal" route, and the defenders of Thay were going to start be become more benevolent, and perhaps even the tharchion's armies were going to save Thay independent of the zulkirs . . . then we get to see that the tharchions are definitely doing what is best for them personally, and that the zulkirs are still firmly in charge.

In fact, while we can all empathize about the horrors of Szass Tam's undead army, in the end, when he argues with Aoth and his troops, he does have a point. Right now, yes, and undead army is horrible, but what about when riots are put down with fiends from the lower planes, or when Red Wizards use their magic to control the very minds of the population?

Aoth does seem to very clearly move back into "soldier" mode after seeming a bit more heroic in earlier chapters. Perhaps its just a denial of destiny, or an emotional reflex because of the death of his love interest, but he seems to desperately want to just go back to following orders and doing what he is told.

While it may start getting muddly as far as seeing if the zulkirs or Szass Tam are any worse in the long run, its obvious that Bareris has reason to want to deal with the zulkir of Necromancy, but in the long run, is it really going to matter? I'm not saying that Szass is assured to survive this ordeal, but Szass seems strangely removed from the direct issue of Tammith's transformation. I can see Bareris classing with Xingax, but Szass seems a bit too far beyond Bareris' revenge. I guess we'll see in time.

An interesting story so far, and I'll be interested in seeing how this develops. A really good, rousing start to the series.
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
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Posted - 18 Apr 2007 :  22:26:26  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KnightErrantJR


In fact, while we can all empathize about the horrors of Szass Tam's undead army, in the end, when he argues with Aoth and his troops, he does have a point. Right now, yes, and undead army is horrible, but what about when riots are put down with fiends from the lower planes, or when Red Wizards use their magic to control the very minds of the population?






I was thinking about this just earlier today, after finishing the book. Szass Tam may be evil, but is he really the bad guy? The other zulkirs and tharchions are evil, too (maybe a few "neutrals" here and there, but still). Most of them treat their subordinates badly. They enjoy holding other people in slavery. With all that (and more) in mind, why should I root for them against Szass Tam? At least Szass has a sense of style. And yes, by the end of the book, he seemed pretty reasonable, although he never DID fully explain what the reasons for his actions were, only that they were complicated.

All in all, I loved this book--it's loaded with dialogue, political intrigue, cool characters, and an scary setting, and that's just what excites me (I like undead too!).

PS: It's also interesting the way Bareris turned from someone with a bright outlook and a real sense of heroism to someone who is now brooding and hell-bent on revenge.

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)

Edited by - Rinonalyrna Fathomlin on 18 Apr 2007 22:28:48
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KnightErrantJR
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USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 18 Apr 2007 :  22:31:23  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Indeed . . . with all things being equal, perhaps the most stable leader turns out to be the "good guy," if everyone involved is more or less self interested and cruel.
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
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USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 18 Apr 2007 :  22:32:25  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KnightErrantJR

Indeed . . . with all things being equal, perhaps the most stable leader turns out to be the "good guy," if everyone involved is more or less self interested and cruel.



And I'm starting to think that maybe Szass Tam would make the most stable leader.

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)
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KnightErrantJR
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USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 18 Apr 2007 :  22:42:54  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, I was actually thinking that myself. Its funny, because I like the protagonists in this series, and I would hate to see anything worse happen to them, but their bosses aren't my favorite horses in the race, if you take my meaning.
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
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7106 Posts

Posted - 19 Apr 2007 :  00:31:58  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KnightErrantJR

Yeah, I was actually thinking that myself. Its funny, because I like the protagonists in this series, and I would hate to see anything worse happen to them, but their bosses aren't my favorite horses in the race, if you take my meaning.



I do, because I feel pretty much the same way.

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)
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SirUrza
Master of Realmslore

USA
1283 Posts

Posted - 24 Apr 2007 :  02:02:15  Show Profile Send SirUrza a Private Message  Reply with Quote
All this talk about Szass Tam and no one's talking about Mirror!

I'm up to 14, so still have some to go but I want to know who our ghostly ally is.


I love seeing Thayans portrayed as heroes too. Gives some hope for the other evil kingdoms. :)


Side note, it's amusing that Szass Tam is pulling a Palpatine for power here. :)


"Evil prevails when good men fail to act."
The original and unapologetic Arilyn, Aribeth, Seoni Fanboy.

Edited by - SirUrza on 24 Apr 2007 02:12:43
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Arkhaedun
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Posted - 24 Apr 2007 :  02:18:34  Show Profile  Visit Arkhaedun's Homepage Send Arkhaedun a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Would that make Xingax his Anakin?
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KnightErrantJR
Great Reader

USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 24 Apr 2007 :  02:19:46  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Arkhaedun

Would that make Xingax his Anakin?



A battered, unborn, undead Anakin perhaps . . .
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SirUrza
Master of Realmslore

USA
1283 Posts

Posted - 24 Apr 2007 :  02:49:00  Show Profile Send SirUrza a Private Message  Reply with Quote
No, I'd say that Xingax is his Dooku and Tammith is Anakin.

"Evil prevails when good men fail to act."
The original and unapologetic Arilyn, Aribeth, Seoni Fanboy.
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KnightErrantJR
Great Reader

USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 24 Apr 2007 :  02:49:59  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oooh, good call.
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SirUrza
Master of Realmslore

USA
1283 Posts

Posted - 24 Apr 2007 :  03:32:12  Show Profile Send SirUrza a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks. :)


Richard btw is quickly becoming one of my favorite Realms authors.

"Evil prevails when good men fail to act."
The original and unapologetic Arilyn, Aribeth, Seoni Fanboy.
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1809 Posts

Posted - 24 Apr 2007 :  04:50:10  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Urza, and thanks to everyone who's taken the trouble to say he enjoyed the novel.
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RodOdom
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509 Posts

Posted - 24 Apr 2007 :  19:57:53  Show Profile  Visit RodOdom's Homepage Send RodOdom a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Much thanks to Mr. Byers for not just a great Forgotten Realms adventure, but a fantasy book that's as good as anything outside the game-book genre.
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KnightErrantJR
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USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 24 Apr 2007 :  22:16:11  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, in case I didn't make it clear enough (sometimes my intent gets lost in my verbal baggage) I really enjoyed this novel and I look forward to the rest of the trilogy. Excellent work (as usual) Richard.
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Braveheart
Learned Scribe

Austria
159 Posts

Posted - 01 May 2007 :  00:24:13  Show Profile  Visit Braveheart's Homepage Send Braveheart a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rinonalyrna Fathomlin

quote:
Originally posted by KnightErrantJR

Indeed . . . with all things being equal, perhaps the most stable leader turns out to be the "good guy," if everyone involved is more or less self interested and cruel.



And I'm starting to think that maybe Szass Tam would make the most stable leader.



Hm, he probably would, but just think about what that would mean for Rashemen and in the long run Aglarond. Could they stand against Thay united? As Richard pointed out in the book, the squabbling and mistrust between the tharchions kept Thay from conquering Rashemen a long time ago.
I'm beginning to suspect that Szass Tam made up this whole "Trade-instead-of-war"-doctrine to weaken the tharchions armies, whereas he was stocking up his troops (hey, we haven't yet read anything about those famous Ju Ju zombies, have we? ), as is shown in "The Crimson Gold".

And with every great story, it just stops at the most interesting moment possible. As if I wouldnt buy the second book automatically .

Jarlaxle: "Do keep ever present in your thoughts, my friend, that an illusion can kill you if you believe in it."
Entreri: "And the real thing can kill you whether you believe in it or not."

Edited by - Braveheart on 01 May 2007 00:33:03
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Victor_ograygor
Master of Realmslore

Denmark
1069 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2007 :  22:35:16  Show Profile  Visit Victor_ograygor's Homepage Send Victor_ograygor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I read the last chapter of the book today, and I must admit that this book is a must read! I have mailed the four gaming groups I am in contact with here in Denmark and said that they just hade to read UNCLEAN!

I really enjoyed the way you write about Szass Tam, and he was just what I had expected.
Ambitious - Genius – Evil - Old, I really felt that this character was all these things…

Richard Lee Byers You are one of my favourite Realms authors, and I what you to know whey

When you use monsters, spells and items, I have an idear of what they are when you use them in your books

I don’t have a hard time reading your novels because you don’t use words that I have to look up in a dictionary every time I come to a new page. (English isn’t my first language)

There is only one thing that I don’t like: The way the Zulkirs are killed!

First I would imagine that if one should be abele to kill a Zulkir it would be with something unknown and special, not because one forgot that a Tenari could teleport…

I am Looking forward to hear more about the creatures and characters

One last thing.. If I were a Zulkir I would make sure that if I were killed, I would
return some how… some way

Victor Ograygor The Assassin and Candel keeps cellar master

Everything I need to know about life I learned from killing smart people.

Links related to Forgotten Realms
http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=9571

Adventuring / Mercenary Companies / Orders / The chosen from official sources
http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=11047

Priests in Forgotten Realms.
http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=9609&whichpage=1

Edited by - Victor_ograygor on 04 May 2007 10:46:18
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2007 :  23:18:34  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Braveheart
Hm, he probably would, but just think about what that would mean for Rashemen and in the long run Aglarond. Could they stand against Thay united? As Richard pointed out in the book, the squabbling and mistrust between the tharchions kept Thay from conquering Rashemen a long time ago.



Hmm, good point. :-/

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)
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KnightErrantJR
Great Reader

USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2007 :  23:27:09  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Unless of course the Simbul and the Witches were to forge a more concerted allied defence against Thay in response to this particular development . . . at the very least its providing a lot of interesting fodder for discussion.
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Braveheart
Learned Scribe

Austria
159 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2007 :  07:36:18  Show Profile  Visit Braveheart's Homepage Send Braveheart a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KnightErrantJR

Unless of course the Simbul and the Witches were to forge a more concerted allied defence against Thay in response to this particular development . . . at the very least its providing a lot of interesting fodder for discussion.



Yep, I think it was mentioned in the book, that Aglarond and Rashemen were teaming up. Although that line came from a red wizard, so that could just be propaganda...

Jarlaxle: "Do keep ever present in your thoughts, my friend, that an illusion can kill you if you believe in it."
Entreri: "And the real thing can kill you whether you believe in it or not."

Edited by - Braveheart on 04 May 2007 07:39:52
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sleyvas
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USA
9897 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2007 :  00:16:27  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I really liked Aoth poisoning the beer and well at the inn. It goes to show, sure he's worried about protecting his sides interests, and he's not squeamish about doing something that would be considered definitely evil by other countries. He was starting to get just a little too polished, and I like him with a bit of dark side to him. I would like to see the griffon legion itself show a little bit more of its own politics (after all, it includes red wizards in its own ranks... many of whom may resent Aoth being given defacto leadership, even if they really don't want to lead so much as boss people around).
Bareris, if I were to guess where he'd be going next as a character, the dirgesinger from libris mortis comes to mind. It would be interesting if he learns to use the necromancer's tricks against them (after all, the dirge singer does gain some ability to dominate undead). Maybe he starts studying death magic and undeath in an attempt to find a weakness in Tam and begins down this path.
I really like Malark and how he turned on the wife of the Autharch by leaving the note. This is just great stuff, especially how he sees himself as being an adversary of Tam's.
Mirror is just quirking my curiosity. Not sure what to make of him yet, and I'm wondering if he's really undead and not... say... a Telthor from ancient Raumathar possibly?
I really liked how he handled the Zulkir's speaking (though I keep wondering what machinations Lauzoril has up his sleeves, and how did he fair with undead raiding in Thazalhar since that's where is home is <according to Simbul's Gift>).
I can see him having temporarily killed off Aznar Thrul to throw Bezantur into a bit of chaos for his plans, but I would expect him to be coming back. However, the whole time I heard about the army on the march south, I kept wondering what Ythazz Buvarr is doing. When they started digging up the cemetery in Bezantur to create the new army, did the demilich who was Zulkir get free? Has he found a new body?
Boy, the clergy of Kossuth must be SOOO mad at Tam about now. I can see the Order of the Firedrake getting prepped for a crusade. Only problem is they're clergy ranks are decimated. They've probably got the money to raise their main clerics who died, but now they've got to start recruiting young priests, and being made to look like fools isn't going to help. Still, Tam may have just made a big mistake, messing with people's religion. If word about the happenings in Thazar Keep wouldn't get out, he'd have been safe, but they're will definitely be some ill will about this.
There are a few things I would add that could add more of a Thayan feel to the country. First, not all slaves are human. In fact, most slaves are probably humanoids who were captured and brought back. Second, simulacrums. Given the power of these mages, it might be an interesting tidbit that they're homes have several simlulacrums of themselves in order to enhance themselves with their circle magic (after all, their simulacrums are probably higher level than their apprentices). Of course, this would only be available to those still able to use illusions, which would probably cut out a lot, but it would show how some schools who don't have a lot of practictioners can still make themselves very viable.
I'm loving the attention to the country. So far, this is the best representation of Thay I've seen so far. Can't wait for the next set of books to come out.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Braveheart
Learned Scribe

Austria
159 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2007 :  14:24:54  Show Profile  Visit Braveheart's Homepage Send Braveheart a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

They've probably got the money to raise their main clerics who died,



The only problem with that is, that there's probably not enough left to resurrect.

Jarlaxle: "Do keep ever present in your thoughts, my friend, that an illusion can kill you if you believe in it."
Entreri: "And the real thing can kill you whether you believe in it or not."
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1809 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2007 :  15:17:03  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
As before, thanks to all of you who've gone to the trouble to say you liked the book. I appreciate it.
You might be interested to know that I turned in Book Two just a few days ago, and that my story for Realms of War will be a tale of the Thayan civil war. I also have a story about Bareris's early days accepted for publication in Dragon, but in light of the sad news that the magazine is going away, I'm uncertain whether the piece will actually appear. If not, maybe it will see print elsewhere.
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KnightErrantJR
Great Reader

USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2007 :  15:52:26  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I loved your short stories that appeared in Dragon, Richard, so its another reason for me to be sad about the end of that publication.
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Braveheart
Learned Scribe

Austria
159 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2007 :  20:46:59  Show Profile  Visit Braveheart's Homepage Send Braveheart a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That's really sad news, Richard . Perhaps your story about Bareris will be published on the Wizards website instead?

Jarlaxle: "Do keep ever present in your thoughts, my friend, that an illusion can kill you if you believe in it."
Entreri: "And the real thing can kill you whether you believe in it or not."
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