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The Darkwood Mask: The Inquisitives Mass Market Paperback – March 4, 2008

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jeff(rey) Michael LoPrete LaSala is an Army brat, an Eagle Scout, and longtime DM all grown up. Three years ago he married an Argentine mermaid named Marisa in a gothic, military cathedral. He now lives in the Bronx, commutes to the day job in Manhattan, and doesn't yet own the mandatory authorial pet (but, oh, he will). At age 16, he received a very encouraging reply to a letter he wrote to R.A. Salvatore, and the inspiration seems to have paid off: The Darkwood Mask is his first novel.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Inquisitives (Book 4)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (March 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786949708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786949700
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,883,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joe Rixman on March 14, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The Darkwood Mask, by Jeff LaSala, is the fourth (and final?) book in The Inquisitive series, set in the world of Eberron. This is Mr. LaSala's first published novel, but you would never know it from the way he is able to expertly juggle various plotlines simultaneously while preserving the complexities of the story.

Eberron is considered a pulp-fantasy wonderland mixed with a dark nourish twist that creates wonderful opportunities for outlandish adventure plots, or sinister, complex mysteries. What we get in this novel is a little bit of both! The story, as with the previous three books, has as the main character, an Inquisitive, Eberron's version of the great detective. Soneste works for Thuranne d'Valderan's Investigative Services out of Sharn, city of Towers in the land of Breland. Soneste is coming into her own, as she has begun to garner fame for two recent high-profile jobs in which she was responsible for rescuing a royal aide and bringing to justice a serial killer. However, a request from her boss to travel to the neighboring country of Karnnath to help solve the murder of a Brelish aide visiting there leads to a plot that would certainly bring the two nations to war.

The story also involves Tallis, an ex-Karnnathi soldier-turned-renegade whose chief purpose in life is to bring down the enemies of Karnnath, but, at the same time, must hide from Karnnathi officials due to his "Robin-Hood-like" tactics. At first, we are led to believe that this is a straight-forward murder mystery, albeit with some interesting twists and turns. Soneste is a psionic, ability to use mental powers to assist her in her investigations, which doesn't take away from her innate ability to notice her surroundings. She would be a good inquisitive even without her mental talents.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andy Gray on March 19, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The Darkwood Mask, by Jeff LaSala is the fourth and final novel in the Inquisitives series set in the world of Eberron. The other three books are; Bound By Iron: Inquisitives, Book 1 (Inquisitives) by Ed Bolme, Night of Long Shadows: The Inquisitives, Book 2 (The Inquisitives) by Paul Crilley and Legacy Of Wolves: The Inquisitives, Book 3 (The Inquisitives) by Marsheila Rockwell. The Inquisitives series even though it is technically considered a series and all are set in Eberron are actually a series of stand-alone novels that the reader can read in any order or even skip one if they so desire. However, the four authors who worked on this series obviously spent some time together as there are a couple small scenes that directly tie-in to the other books. Perceptive readers find this hidden gem very interesting.

The plot of this novel is rather linear, on the surface anyway. It comes across as a very typical murder/mystery with a couple predictable elements, such as a young up and coming Inquisitor , a murder of a prominent dignitary with political ramifications, we also have a rogue who is a thorn in the local city guard's side who is promptly framed for the murder. As a fan of the fantasy genre, I have read this basic plot numerous times - some better than others. However, what Mr. LaSala does with the bones of this plot really makes it come to life. The added sub plots are near perfect.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven Wilber on March 17, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Darkwood Mask is an exciting mix of fantasy and mystery. The story revolves around two main characters. Tallis, an ex-soldier, who now lives as a renegade, has been framed for the murder of a foreign ambassador. Soneste, an up-and-coming inquisitive (i.e., a detective) from the ambassador's home country, has been sent to investigate. In addition the author gives us an interesting cast of side-characters who are all memorable in their own way. The characters are both well-written and interesting. As a reader I found myself truly caring about the characters and wanting to learn more about them. The "bad guys" were also well done. Their motivations and actions made sense, which lends a feeling of realism to the story.

While the book is, at its simplest, a murder mystery, it is so much more than that. The author does an excellent job of weaving together a number of interesting subplots. For example, there is a kind of fish-out-of-water storyline with Soneste being sent from her home country of Breland to the harsh and bureaucratic city of Korth, in the nation of Karrnath. The author does an excellent job of showing us Karrnathi society from the perspective of an outsider. A second storyline looks at what it means to be a patriot. Tallis, once a revered Major in the Karrnathi army, now lives his life as a rogue, working to change his country for the better. Though labeled a traitor, Tallis remains fiercely loyal to his country.

There were other storylines I found interesting, such as the fragile political situation between Karrnath and Breland. Another storyline (and perhaps the most important) I won't mention out of fear of giving too much away, but suffice it to say the plot is multi-layered and the mystery will keep you guessing to the end.
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