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Guild Wars : Ghosts of Ascalon Mass Market Paperback – July 27, 2010


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Star; Reprint edition (July 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416589473
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416589471
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Matt Forbeck is the author of 16 novels, including the award-nominated Guild Wars: Ghosts of Ascalon. Jeff Grubb is an author and game designer, best known for his work on games such as Guild Wars Nightfall. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Over the years, Dougal Keane developed a personal rule: Never adventure with people you like. If pressed, he might modify it to: Don’t adventure with people you’d hate to see die. Now, in the depths of the crypts beneath Divinity’s Reach, he was getting his wish. Dougal disliked his comrades intensely. He also hated his task. Most of all, at the moment, he hated the stifling heat of the crypts themselves.

The sweltering summer heat that enveloped Divinity’s Reach above had stolen deep into the bowels of these hidden burial grounds, where it festered like a hidden wound. The prevailing winds that caressed the burial ground’s cliffside entrances might carry the stench of the warm, dry rot away from the city, but inside the crypt’s twisting passages, Dougal had no means of escaping it. People had been bringing their dead here since before the founding of Kryta’s new capital, and Dougal swore he could smell the dust of every last one of them.

Their explorations had taken them into parts of the crypts that even Dougal was unaware existed. At each branching of the path, Clagg had consulted his glowing map, then indicated they take the less-traveled option. The smooth, polished flagstones of the Skull Gate in Divinity’s Reach gave way to less-used paths, and finally to rooms and corridors that had been untouched since the dead were left here to desiccate centuries before the founding of the city above.

Still, as he stalked forward, brittle skull fragments of all shapes and sizes crunching beneath his feet, Dougal reminded himself that these crypts weren’t as bad as some places he had been. The ruined temples of the Caledon Forest, or the Bloodtide Coast, its beaches awash with twitching, malevolent corpses.

Or Ascalon. Never as bad as Ascalon.

Dougal stopped and rubbed the stubble on his chin as he scanned the bone-covered passage before him. It opened into a wide chamber that stretched far beyond the reach of his torch’s light. It was clear of bones.

He didn’t like that.

He signaled for a stop, and his companions—the sylvari, the norn, and the asura riding his golem, the one who’d hired the rest of them for this expedition—pulled up short behind him.

“What is it?” snarled Clagg. The asura was irritable when they first met, and the closed, stuffy air of the tomb had done nothing to improve his disposition.

Clagg’s people had bubbled up from the depths of the world over two centuries ago, harbingers of the fact that the nature of Tyria was about to change. They were a small people with oversized, flat-faced, ellipsoid heads, the width of which were made more pronounced by long ears, drooping in Clagg’s case. Their skin came in varying shades of gray, their large eyes a product of lives spent in magic-lit caves. The asura arrived on the surface world not so much as refugees as settlers confident in their intellectual and magical superiority over every race they encountered.

And, Dougal had to admit to himself, they were often right in that assumption.

Clagg was seated comfortably in a harness fixed to the front of his golem, the creature a masterpiece of polished and painted stone and fitted bands of bronze. Its articulated limbs hinged on glowing blue magical jewels that held the independent parts of the angular, headless creature together without actually touching them. Magical force, magic beyond that which Dougal was comfortable with, held the creature together. A single large crystal housed between its carved shoulders served as both its eyes and ears. The sharp-faceted gem constantly swiveled around in its socket, scouring its environment for more input.

Clagg called it Breaker, and seemed more concerned about its well-being than that of the other members of the party.

“I said, ‘What is it?’” snarled the asura, its shark-like teeth flashing with irritation. Dougal rarely saw an asura smile, and was never reassured when he did.

“Something’s wrong,” Dougal said, keeping his voice low.

“Humans,” Gyda Oddsdottir muttered, shaking her head. The silver sleigh bells woven into her long, yellow warrior’s braid jangling loudly. “Always taking stock instead of taking action.” She set her huge hammer before her with a resounding thud, crushing a dry skull to dust.

Dougal winced, not at the norn’s words, but at the racket she made. At nine feet tall and bristling with weapons, she thundered down the halls, making more noise than the asura’s golem. This daughter of the distant snowcapped Shiverpeaks didn’t care who heard her coming: she wanted to warn them of her approach. In the heat of the depths of the crypt, her heavily tattooed flesh dripped with a sheen of sweat.

Gyda’s grandsires were refugees as well, fleeing from the power of one of the great Elder Dragons to the north. The norn were a healthy, hearty, proud people, quick to anger and equally quick to forgive. In his time since leaving Ebonhawke, Dougal had met good norn and bad norn. The good ones treated every day as an adventure, every problem as a challenge, and every foe as a chance for personal glory. Most people didn’t understand how dangerous the dark places of the world could be; the norn actually relished exploring them.

Gyda, though, was definitely in the latter category of norn: boastful, judgmental, and unpleasant to those around her. She was both bullying and insulting, as if any achievement by others diminished her own. Dougal didn’t like it when she smiled, either.

“The floor. It’s too clear,” said Dougal, talking to Clagg but meaning it for Gyda. “No bones. No one was buried here.”

“And that means a trap,” said Killeen, the last member of the party, the sylvari, in her soft, melodious voice.

Dougal nodded. The sylvari necromancer was probably the most pleasant individual of their motley krewe, himself included. Shorter than a human but not as diminutive as the asura, her skin was a verdant green, her hair more similar to the leaves of a succulent plant than that of a human woman. When she moved, golden pollen drifted off her.

The humanoid appearance, Dougal knew, was a lie. Killeen and the others of her race were born fully formed from the fruit of a great white-barked tree far to the south. There was no animal warmth to her flesh. The sylvari were a recent addition to the world, their entire race only a little older than Dougal himself, but they had already spread far and wide, like an invading weed. Killeen had all the traits attributed to her race: she was honest, direct, and focused. In many ways she was better than most humans he knew.

That may have been what made Dougal most uncomfortable of all.

Killeen took Dougal’s statement at face value, but Gyda instead snorted, “I think you are just trying to delay us from our goal.”

The sylvari ignored Gyda but said, “What do you think would set it off?”

Dougal looked at the norn. “Not noise. Maybe vibration, or maybe weight.”

“The human’s probably right,” Clagg said, sitting in the relative safety of his armored harness. “I guess even a blind dredge finds a diamond some days.”

The asura fiddled with a row of crystals set into his harness’s front rim, then nodded to himself. “Ah, yes. There it is. Crude, but effective.”

“What is it?” Dougal hated asking the question. He knew the asura was fishing for yet another reason to explain how brilliant he was. To an asura, the other races of the world existed primarily for heavy lifting, taking risks, and asking stupid questions.

“If one of us were foolish enough to walk into that room,” Clagg said, enunciating every syllable, “it would trigger a lethal blast that could kill those present.”

Gyda harrumphed as if no explosives could slow her down, magical or otherwise. Still, Dougal noticed, the norn’s feet stayed rooted where they were.

“If it is a trap, can’t Dougal disable it?” Killeen asked. “Isn’t that what you hired him for?”

From any of the others, such a statement would have come laden with sarcasm and bile. The sylvari, though, meant every word in earnest. It was, indeed, why he was part of this expedition: his knowledge. Of traps. Of history. Of the way the world used to be.

“He hired me for my experience in recovering powerful artifacts,” said Dougal.

Gyda let out a deep chuckle. “Robbing tombs, you mean.”

Dougal ignored her. “Does anyone have something helpful to add?” Dougal asked.

“The petal-head’s comment stands,” said Clagg, prim as a schoolmaster, “That is why we brought you along, human. We know the trap is there. Now take care of it.”

Dougal reached down and picked up a skull, trying not to think about if this was an ancestor. He aimed for a spot about in the middle of the room and touched the locket beneath his shirt for luck. Then he pitched the skull underhand into the room.

Nothing. He pitched another skull to a different area. Nothing again. He pitched a third.

Gyda rolled her eyes at his uselessness and folded her thick arms with impatience. Clagg shook his head at him as if Dougal were an addled child.

“Not set off by noise,” said Dougal. “Not vibration or motion, either. That leaves weight. We should send in something heavy.” He looked at Gyda.

“I will not be an experiment for you,” said the norn quietly, her face clouded.

“Well, then, the golem,” said Dougal.

“Strike that suggestion,” snapped Clagg, “I did not craft Breaker from scratch just to see it blown to smithereens. This is your problem, human.”

More About the Author

Matt Forbeck has been a full-time creator of award-winning games and fiction since 1989. He has twenty-seven novels published to date, including the award-nominated Guild Wars: Ghosts of Ascalon and the critically acclaimed Amortals and Vegas Knights. His latest work includes the Magic: The Gathering comic book, The Marvel Encyclopedia, the MMOs Marvel Heroes and Ghost Recon Phantoms, the Leverage novel The Con Job, the Dangerous Games trilogy of thriller novels set at Gen Con, and the Monster Academy YA fantasy novels. For more about him and his work, visit Forbeck.com.

Customer Reviews

This book will keep you reading until the end.
M. N.
This story did well to tell a solid adventure with mildly interesting characters.
Jeremiah Dickson
I highly recommend this book to any GW fan and to any fan of adventure fantasy!
Solomon Payne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Arkiver on July 24, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Got my copy this morning, finished it by this afternoon. It was an engaging read. I think appreciation of it benefits from being an ArenaNet/Guild Wars fan, especially with the lore touches. If you've been following ArenaNet's gradual release of information about the upcoming Guild Wars 2, I think you'll really get the most out of this novel. I loved seeing this new and updated world of Tyria, along with just the right amount of touches and callbacks to the amazing lore and history of the original. The characters were well-realized and the various new races quite intriguing. I think this will mostly appeal to existing fans or those that are interested in the new game...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Solomon Payne on December 1, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First off, the story was nothing like I thought it was going to be. I was expecting a huge epic conflict around the ruins of the long disowned Human capitol of Ascalon, but what I got was a very entertaining tale of a small band of adventurers and their journey to forget past hatreds in the light of an omnipotent threat that hold the world in fear.

The overall formula is nothing new, but it is told in a very entertaining and exciting way with some very likable characters. As a long time Guild Wars fan, I am very happy to see the tale expanded. I highly recommend this book to any GW fan and to any fan of adventure fantasy!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By skappy7 on July 24, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read through most of it and it is indeed an excellent book. It has an engaging story line yet sticks to the places you know and love from the original Guild Wars game (oh, Lion's Arch) Definitely a good read for any Guild wars fan!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Zachary Gallas on August 26, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jeff Grubb has done it again. His talent in writing has poured all over this book, allowing readers to feel the full force of what fantasy can be. This book is a great fantasy book, probably the best in the past couple of years. As someone who doesn't normally read video game books, I was skeptical. People on Twitter kept saying this was such a good book, though, and so I had to at least give it a chance. I was very surprised to find myself so drawn into a story based off of a video game, I almost forgot that it took roots from one at all!

It is a must read for those who like video game books, and worth a chance for those who like fantasy or Guild Wars, but don't really know if game-to-book stories are that great.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Grogan on August 30, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was a great adventure into the mysterious territory of not-yet-released Guild Wars 2 online game. I enjoyed reading it. I am a Guild Wars 1 game fan. The story helped acquaint the reader to the situation of the future Guild Wars (particularly Ascalon, but also other areas) in a engaging and enlightening way.

The writing was fun to read, but mediocre in places. There were a couple plot inconsistencies, possibly from re-writes in one part that left a related part skewed. Twice there were references later in the story remembering how the party had teleported via Asura gate from Destiny's Reach to EbonHawke, when actually they teleported from Lion's Arch to EbonHawke.

About Guild Wars 2 vs. this book: One of the main characters in the party was a blatant Necromancer, a profession only recently revealed (after I read the book) as a profession that will be available for Guild Wars 2 players. There were obvious elementalists and warriors. They never did tell what the profession of the main character was. He was like a theif, but I don't think that is a GW2 profession. He was good at getting past locks and traps. He favored a sword as a weapon but was only mediocre with it. It makes me wonder if he represents a new profession in GW2 that we don't know about yet. The books also had me wondering how much this matched what would be in the game. Would I be able to climb ropes, pick locks, travel sewers, summon rats, use flame throwers, etc like in the story?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Lenarz on August 4, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
This book has surpassed my expectations of what a Guild Wars book can be. The authors did a spectacular job at shaping the world of Tyria into book form.

5/5
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. N. on July 26, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very engaging. You don't want to put the book down. You don't have to play Guild Wars to understand the book, but it does give you a better feel if you've played the game. The book takes place between Guild Wars 1 and GW 2. There will be 2 more books to follow, and I hope they are just as good, if not better than this one.

I recommend this book to any Lord of the Rings fan, Sword of Truth, Stormbreaker, sci-fi, fantasy, action fan. This book will keep you reading until the end. I couldn't put the book down.

I recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Woo on July 30, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I play the video game and could not wait tell the book came out. You do not need to play the game to read the book. I enjoyed reading the book but I only gave it 4 stars because it is not award winning writing. I liked how the author was able to fill in the back history leading up to the book.

I liked the character development and would read sequel to the book.
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