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on May 24, 2007
Night of the Long Shadows is an action-packed blend of high fantasy and hard-boiled crime fiction. While this is the secod book in The Inquisitives series, set in the world of Eberron, it is a stand-alone story and can be read independent of the 1st book (although that book is well worth a read as well) and can be enjoyed by any fan of fantasy (even if you've never read an Eberron novel before).

Dark and gritty, Night of the Long Shadows has a pulp noir feeling to it. Well-written plot twists and deep, interesting characters make this one of the best Eberron novels to date. The novel has a great cast of characters. The "heroes" are an eclectic mix. The story starts with a gruesome murder and quickly evolves into a fast-paced action-packed adventure through the city of Sharn.

We are introduced to a wide array of characters from all walks of life. As mentioned in another review, there is the mob enforcer who finds himself in the middle of a murder mystery, a half-elf detective who quickly comes to realize not everything is as it seems, the detective's dwarven assistant who helps keep him in line, and the old gang that hints at a less than savory past for our detective. Not only are the 'heroes' well done, but the villians provide an exciting mix of nastiness and genius.

The story is well-written and full of surprising twists that leave the reader on the edge of his or her seat. The author does a great job of providing clues and revealing the mystery a little at a time without tipping his hat too soon. I was left scratching my head through most of the book.

In addition to a great cast of characters and an engrossing mystery, the author does such a good job describing the city itself, that it becomes almost like another character in the tale.

Great writing, crisp dialog, an interesting tale, and deep characters makes this novel a must read for any fan of fantasy or mysteries. I highly recommend this novel for anyone looking for a good read.
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on May 14, 2007
Night of the Long Shadows is one of a rare handful of novels to come out of the Wizards of the Coast, that is a must read for anyone even minutely interested in the Eberron shared world setting. Paul has created some of the most interesting and entertaining characters in fantasy and pulp detective fiction that I have read.

A bruiser for an underworld crime syndicate, a pretentious half-elf private detective and his cynical dwarf sidekick get involved in a plot that weaves itself into a more and more complex tapestry with each turn of the page, without ever becoming complicated. The dialogue is sharp, witty and delivered with maximum effect. Sharn, City of Towers is captured in all its vibrant glory; from its seedy underbelly to the ridiculously affluent aeries.
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on June 23, 2012
Extremely entertaining. The writer quickly brings you in with his characters. You find yourself identifying with them almost immediately. Then you just want to see what happens. And the author doesn't disappoint!
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on July 7, 2007
The Night of Long Shadows is a fantasy novel, replete with elves, dwarves, half-elves, hobgoblins and Eberron-specific creatures such as Warforged and Shifters. It is also a noir mystery in the finest tradition of Dashiell Hammett, with (literally) backstabbing damsels, a famed Inquisitive and his trusty, if cynical sidekick, and an anti-hero who seems happier in the dark alleys, handing out black eyes and broken jaws at the whim of his employer, a halfling named Tiel (who reminds me of Joe Pesci's character in Goodfellas, without the cuss words!).

Thus, do the plans of dwarves and half-elves go astray, when Wren, a famed half-elf inquisitive (re: detective) is called to the brutal murder of a professor at Margrave University. The only witness is Torin, Wren's dwarf sidekick, who places Cutter at the scene of the crime.

Cutter is a human bruiser with a dragon tattoo and twin blades taken from the leader of a band of elves who had enslaved him for three years. His primary goal is to save up enough money to run off with his girlfriend Rowan and begin a new life, away from the nastiness of Teil Boromar, the leader of a crime syndicate trying to advance to the literal top of Sharn, City of Towers. These three are the story's main characters.

Wren and Torin are to Eberron as Holmes and Watson are to London, England. They are constantly bickering and are rightly accused of acting like an old married couple (Torin's wife supposedly hates Wren, who seems positively terrified of her). The humor doesn't get in the way of their abilities, and Wren shows himself to be intelligent and carefully observant. Torin keeps Wren in line.

Mr. Crilley expertly balances the humor with Wren's professionalism, Torin's stoicism and Cutter's dark need for vengeance and destruction. Make no mistake, this isn't a book for kids under 10. There is a LOT of blood and guts spilled. Torture, while occurring off stage, leads to messy results and a powerful, emotional message is told as we see our characters face death and attempt to overcome it, or at least move beyond.
This is, at its heart, a dark story of redemption...and it is a very good one.

The mystery takes the characters from the seediest underbelly of Sharn to its highest towers, with a shadowy warforged intent on destroying any "softskins" that he happens upon. Prison breaks, leaps from burning towers and the sky literally falling are just some of the obstacles that Wren, Torin and Cutter must face in order to discover what's happening.
At no point does the author telegraph what's coming, making the mystery a real-time event, just as it is to the characters. We learn as they do.

What keeps this book from being a full five star novel is one major quibble I have, which some people might not agree with, but for me, is something my mind couldn't get past:

There are characters that appear out of nowhere and, in the course of one or two chapters, either disappear, never to be seen again, or die. In one case, the "convenient" characters have a long past with our heroes, but serve little purpose other than to assist our heroes with one goal...the final outcome of this sequence bugged me a little, but no to such a detriment as to make me dislike the story. It just seemed too convenient to me that they should be there for just this one event...and then be gone. I WANTED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THEM!! And that, also, is a mark of an excellent writer, that such short-lived characters should engender such a reaction.

Aside from this one issue, the rest of the novel is nothing but a fun, frightening romp into the land of black-and-white noir (a la The Maltese Falcon) and pulp fiction (Indiana Jones, the most recent and obvious incarnation).

The story (and the mystery itself) is solid, the characters are emotionally fulfilling and interesting. Mr. Crilley's writing is smooth and easy to read (minus a glaring computer glich that repeated an entire paragraph - it's good to know that neither writer nor editor are to blame...these things happen from time to time...but it was still a noticeable speedbump in the flow of the story). He knows how to write good action sequences and how to tell a complicated mystery without making it seem complicated.

Best of all, he has created two iconic characters, Wren and Torin. Let me just say that the final sentence of the novel absolutely made the entire book emotionally satsifying for me.

I enjoyed The Night of Long Shadows, but Mr. Crilley ended the story in the best possible way, and realizing how it could have ended, makes it that much better.

Highly recommended for fans of mystery, fantasy and good writing.
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on March 26, 2008
Just finished this book. It was pretty bad. I had such high hopes because, I love fantasy books and I love mystery books, so I just figured this book would be right up my alley.

First, what I liked. I did like the banter between Wren and Torin. It was pretty funny. I liked how the initial mystery was just the tip of a bigger mystery. And I liked Col, I guess.

Other than that.

Cutter was a completely forgetable and cliche character. Wren wasn't even a very good detective. Col was probably better. What the heck did Wren figure out anyways? To all the people who thought he was like Sherlock Holmes, ask yourself that. He didn't deduce anything correctly. Hell, Cutter and Col were far superior to Wren in terms of figuring stuff out. And I sooooo wanted Wren to be a good detective. And I also agree with one of the other reviewers, we needed to know a bit more about the villian. One page of motivation? ****SPOILER**** Basically, he said, I hate you guys.

The author is not bad, but it looks like he's never read a good mystery. Pick up some Agatha Christie or Doyle, it'll blow your mind. Imagine how cool the book would have been if Wren 'wrapped up' the case at the end like Poirot or Holmes and came to the correct conclusion USING CLUES THAT WERE AVAILABLE TO THE READER. That would have been awesome.

Don't buy this book.
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on June 27, 2007
I've only started reading Eberron books with "The Inquisitives" Series, and this was a very enjoyable read for me. I'm not really familiar with D&D, so a few elements had me asking around for clarification, but overall, I loved the pacing, the dialogue, and the action. While the dialogue flowed perfectly, I could have used a bit more description when it came to scenery, objects, and characters.

There were some laugh-out-loud moments, and I would love to see a series of books featuring Wren and Torin.

Looking forward to the rest of The Inquisitives books, and more from Paul Crilley as well.
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on September 1, 2010
Night of the Long Shadows by Paul Crilley- This is the second book in the stand-alone novel series titled The Inquisitives. It's also the first book in The Chronicles of Abraxis Wren. The series is set in the Eberron setting of the pen and paper role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons. The other novels in The Inquisitives are Bound by Iron by Edward Bolme, Legacy of Wolves by Marsheila Rockwell, and The Darkwood Mask by Jeff LaSala. The second book in The Chronicles of Abraxis Wren is the sequel to Night of the Long Shadows and is called Taint of the Black Brigade. Paul Crilley has written two other novels. His first he co-wrote with Tiffany Trent called Oracle of the Morrigan, which is the sixth book in the Hallowmere series. His other novel is to be released September 2010 and is the first book in the Invisible Order series titled Rise of the Darklings. Night of the Long Shadows was released in May 2007 and was published by Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

A professor at Morgrave University was found slain, with a man with dragon tattoos standing over his corpse. The witness, a dwarf named Torin, is thankfully a partner to an inquisitive named Abraxis Wren, who is called in to investigate the death. After Wren looks over the crime scene, he takes Torin and sets off to find the man with the dragon tattoos. As Wren and Torin uncover more about who this character is, the motives and reasoning doesn't sit right with the inquisitive. There must be more to this murder than it seems.

Criticisms:
1) Editing. This is the major problem I saw with the story, however, it doesn't impact the story too much. It was just bothersome. For example, within the first few chapters, we have a paragraph that was repeated. How does something like that happen? It did take me out of the moment and was a little frustrating to have to re-read what I've just read. Then later in the story, one of the last chapters to be exact, two names were mixed up. Now I could understand this mistake if the names were similar enough, but the only similarity was they both started with C. Also, I must note that neither Cutter or Col were in the scene together and on top of that, the chapter was focusing on Cutter. There were other, smaller mistakes, but nothing as bad as a paragraph being repeated or a name mix up. It was just sloppy editing.
2) Dialogue Flow. Now this is a very minor issue with the dialogue. There were times when a conversation was happening that I lost track of who was saying what. Now this only happened once, that I can recall, in the story, hence why it's not a big issue, but it does require mentioning.

Praises:
1) Characters. I really enjoyed the two main characters. Cutter and Wren were just interesting foils to each other. Cutter, the man with the dragon tattoos, was the more 'normal' fantasy character. The big tough guy of the story. However, he brought a little heart to the story with his love he shows towards Rowen. However, Abraxis Wren stole the story. To put it simply, I loved his character. Wren was the kind of character that is seen mostly as the comical sidekick character of the main hero. Here, the comedian is the hero. Almost everything Wren did in the story had a sense of humor to it. Sometimes it was a small little action he does or a clever quip he says, but it works in all the right ways. You hardly ever see a main character like that and it was refreshing to see it. The secondary characters were good as well, always filling their needed roles almost perfectly. However, the did little else. Torin was the best of the group, mostly due to the verbal sparing between Wren and him. All in all, the main characters really made this story a blast to read.
2) Humor. The story was funny, plain and simple. From the funny exchanges between Wren and Torin to some of the situations, the story had a humorous feel to it that you normally wouldn't place with a murder mystery. Instead of hampering the story in silly jokes, it made it easier to read. The interactions between Wren and Torin were funny enough that it seemed like something you'd see between two friends. It also made the more serious scenes, where no jokes were found all the more serious. The humor helped the story flow and not get caught on things that would slow it down.
3) Murder Mystery. The mystery itself was interesting and exciting. Things happened at a rapid pace that it was almost had to put down for too long. It also helped that it wasn't really predictable, for the most part. With as many twists and turns the story had, it would be hard for anyone to predict what was going to happen in the next chapter. There were times when the story almost felt like something you'd find on a good hour-long crime drama on television. It just was a fun mystery that kept me at the edge of my seat.

Side Notes:
1) Characters. There were a lot of characters that only showed up for one or two scenes and were never heard of again. Usually I'd be upset or angered by this, but for the type of story that Night of the Long Shadows was, it didn't bother me. In fact, it was almost like something out of a crime TV show like CSI or Law and Order, with all the characters and suspects.
2) Eberron. I'm still really new to the whole setting and there were somethings I weren't familiar with that I had to look up. Not a huge issue in the scheme of things, but it was something to keep in your mind while reading that you may have to look up things.
3) Cover Art. It's okay, but ultimately nothing special. The green hue everything has isn't really flattering and really doesn't work. Wren and Cutter do look really good, but they don't save it from the green blandness. They just balance it out to make it an okay cover.

Overall: 4/5
Final Thoughts:
Night of the Long Shadows is a really fun and exciting murder mystery. The biggest issue I had with the novel was the lack of editing. Having a huge mistake like repeating a paragraph again was lazy on the editors' part. I just hope that other copies of the book have this fixed. It's also worth mentioning that there were times when it was hard to pick out who was saying what, but it wasn't a huge issue. Those issues being said, they hardly impact the humorous experience I had while reading it. From the wonderfully witty dialogue to Abraxis Wren's clever quips and jokes, it was surprising to see how humorous an investigation of a murder can be. While the humor was great, it wouldn't have been as good without Abraxis Wren. Wren just made this story so much more enjoyable than it already was. His humor and attitude towards things aren't what you'd normally see in a main character, I say we need more Wren's in fantasy stories. When all is said and done, would I recommend Night of the Long Shadows? Yes, it's definitely worth a read.
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on March 23, 2010
This is another book where I went back and reread it and for the life of me, I couldn't remember the plot from the first time that I did so... and I see why that is... The book just isn't all the remarkable, dull and tedious.

One of the things that got me is why is this Khyber Dragonshard so important? Why steal it from the Morgrave University when there's other ways to get one? If it goes missing, just get another one. And surely Tiel with his connections in Boromar could have bought one, Diadus as an Artificer could have gotten one and even the Councilman Xavien could have gotten one without much notice being given. Crilley should have focused his story on this unique magical device being stolen and getting it back, not the power source.

Crilley also seems to have an obsession with Dwarves, every other secondary character, tertiary character, bit player and extra is a dwarf and most of them are female at that. From the Dwarf Sargeant, Kayla, Torin's Wife, a Dwarf Couple on the promenade, a Nurse Attendant...

There's only one typo in the book that caused me confusion for a brief moment where Col is mentioned and it's Cutter and Tiel who are in the scene doing all the action.

And the Warforged, his connection to the plot was just lame and stupid. Why are you doing this? Because I'm insane! I work for the Shadow! I want to die! Maybe if the Warforged had been a follower of the Mockery, that'd have made more sense. But to give insanity as an excuse was just boring.

Abraxis Wren - An annoying "Sherlock Holmes" type character that the Inquisitive Series seems to be enjoying using as the center for this series of books. Without him... or even the later addition of the Dark Lantern character, the plot would never have advanced.

Cutter - Thug for Hire with connections to Boromar clan. His name gave me an Elf Quest flashback and I almost asked where's Skywise and the others. With him, you have basically what's a standard story of revenge for the death of a loved one, Rowena. If she'd never stolen the package, thinking it was this Dream Lily, the story'd never had happened.

If you must, read this story once and then shelf it, it's easilly forgettable and there's better Eberron books out there that are more engaging versus tedious with flimsy plot devices.
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on July 14, 2008
this one is one of my favorite novel from the series... if u like murder/fantasy.. u must read this one and the darkwoodmask.. both of them are very good and the characters are great... must read,.
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on June 28, 2007
While this book is as action-packed as others in it's genre, it also has a quality that's missing from most WotC novels. The mystery presented in Night of the Long Shadows is deep enough to not be obvious (at least obvious to me) and the characters are all likeable and endearing. I was reminded of the interplay between Bruenor Battlehammer and Regis at some points. As an avid gamer I had my doubts about Eberron but books like these are helping to bring me around. I hope I get to read more of Paul's work in the future!
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