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The Last Garrison (Dungeons & Dragons Novel) [Kindle Edition]

Matthew Beard
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In the shadows between the living world and the land of the dead, the night’s terrors lurk…
For as long as anyone can remember, the mountain village of Haven has been under the protection of an ancient warlock known as the Old Stargazer. But after countless years spent deciphering the language of the cosmos, the old man is losing himself to the many voices of the night sky.
Now, a dark figure controls the forest with minions of kenku marauders—crowlike humanoids that menace Haven with violence and mayhem. If the Old Stargazer cannot or will not protect the villagers, they will have to find someone who can.
Nergei, an orphan raised by the warlock, knows they must venture beyond the safety of Haven to find the help they need. With little to offer mercenaries, and a ragged band at his side, he sets forth in search of heroes, never believing in what he might find.

From the Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

To some Matthew Beard is thought of as a recluse, but those people haven't been a part of his Tuesday night game. Between Michigan and Washington, the author's time is spent in pursuit of writing, gaming, and general Epicurean pleasures. As a side gig, Mr. Beard likes to take pictures of dice and monsters. You can see his photos and learn more about the author's projects at The Last Garrison is his first published novel.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1218 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (December 6, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004ZZN0V2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #881,135 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fun read, but not a great title. December 23, 2011
By Peter
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is becoming par for the course lately in this genre i have noticed. Really fun books with character and pacing issues. I considered the fact that Beard is a first time author, but then asked myself who failed to send it back to him for revision.
The premise itself is pretty cool...a town isolated and protected from the rest of the world by a powerful wizard (whom i think would qualify as an Alienist if you played through the Players Option AD&D years). The townsfolk have nice lives, mostly hunting and farming to make ends meet. The wizard starts to lose the battle for his identity with the entities who expanded his power and his attention to the protection of the town begins to slip. Pretty cool, ay? Simultaneously, the Raven queen decides that the wizard has cheated death long enough, and so sends an army to attack the town so her chosen assassin can sneak in and slay the wizard. Now, there are further nuances to the story which explain the timing of both, and why they are happening. So, the concept is sound, and pretty much in line with an introductory AD&D adventure.
The problem is the author is so enamored of all the characters that he spends more time trying to flesh them out than he does focusing on the intricacies of the story itself. The pacing suffers also, as the story basically maintains a very casual pace (due to an emphasis on the character development) until it closes on the end of the book, when the pace sudden shifts from sleepwalking to a frenetic conclusion (with one return to the casual pace between acts, as it were).

What i would like to have seen personally is more of a focus on the main characters, and less focus on ancillary figures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Turn your brain off to enjoy. April 28, 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Sometimes, pure escapism is all I ask from a book. When The Last Garrison by Matthew Beard arrived at my doorstep, I knew this was what I needed as a brain break from the difficult texts I was reading for my MA degree courses. So I set to reading it in my few spare moments. One the one hand, I was pleased the book asked little of my over-weary brain. On the other, I was able to see how the straightforward story may disenchant a reader in a day and age when Game of Thrones is the bestselling fantasy novel.

Beard's debut novel is a sword and sorcery set in the Dungeons and Dragons universe. In the tale, the reclusive town of Haven is besieged by kenku (raven-man) marauders. Formerly protected by an ancient magician known as the Old Stargazer, the town had known no strife for centuries. But the old man's powers are weakening and the kenku are attacking and killing villagers. The town council, sensing the danger, sends a small band of adults and young people to recruit defenders. They do so, heading into the city down the mountain from their village. Successful, the town representatives bring the adventurers home. The story culminates in a final battle between the kenku, the adventurers and the townspeople.

The Last Garrison reads like (and probably is) a novelization of a D&D adventure for which Beard was dungeon master. For characters, we have a clear cut evil villain, whose perspective we read in hints and asides ready and waiting for the hero of the hour to take on in hand to hand combat in the final battle scene.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Start for Mr. Beard December 21, 2011
By Stefan
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had a lot of fun reading The Last Garrison. It is a great introduction to Dungeons and Dragons novels and requires no previous knowledge of the game or setting.

The descriptions and imagery were very good, I had no problem visualizing the scenes in perfect detail. Some scenes were so well done that I could actually see and feel the action. A few of the characters really stood out, particularly Nergei, Luzhon, and Sten. I felt a sense of attachment to these characters, Nergei and Luzhon especially, as theirs was a sort of coming of age story. But of all the characters, the one I liked the most was the "villian' of the story, Temley. He had the most interesting backstory and I found myself impatiently turning pages in order to read more about him. Veteran DnD players will also be pleased to see a reference to the basic set module "Keep on the Borderlands."

The only negative thing I have to say about the book is that there were almost too many characters to keep up with for a novel of this length. If there had been 50 or so more pages maybe they could have been fleshed out a bit more. This caused some of the supporting characters to feel a little flat and one-dimensional.

The final battle was what pushed it from a 3 star to a 4 star review. It was so vivid that I could feel the tension of the battle and it was as if I was right in the middle of it.

This was Mr. Beard's first book and I think he has a bright future and will only get better. I hope to read more from him in the future.
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