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Errand of Mercy (Double Diamond Triangle Saga)
Errand of Mercy (Double Diamond Triangle Saga)
by Roger Moore
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
22 used & new from $0.49

5.0 out of 5 stars The Utter East!, May 22, 2011
Errand of Mercy is the fourth of a series of nine short books, known as the Double Diamond Triangle Saga, set in the Forgotten Realms. Roger E. Moore picks up where James M. Ward and David Wise left off with The Paladins, the second book in the series. The magical portal from Undermountain leads to Eldrinpar, the capital city of Doegan, one of the Five Kingdoms of the Utter East; a region of Toril unfamiliar to most.
Roger E. Moore introduces a new and very interesting character, Ikavi Garkim, who is the Doegan mage-king's right hand. Moreover, the author does a great job of providing the region's legend and lore throughout the book, especially in dealing with the arrival of the Ffolk, the Fallen Temple, and the bloodforges, while his exceptional descriptions help teleport the reader to the Forgotten Realms, among the characters described.
In short, Errand of Mercy may very well be the best book in the series thus far.
5 stars


The Mercenaries (The Double Diamond Triangle Saga , No 3)
The Mercenaries (The Double Diamond Triangle Saga , No 3)
by Ed Greenwood
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
19 used & new from $1.97

4.0 out of 5 stars "Cease, fishbrains, or I'll cut off one of your fingers and make you eat it!" (p.36), May 20, 2011
The Mercenaries is the third of a series of nine short books, known as the Double Diamond Triangle Saga, set in the Forgotten Realms. Ed Greenwood takes the plot in a different direction as he focuses on a group of pirates hired by a mysterious employer whose goal is to find Waterdhavian Open Lord Piergeiron Paladinson's bride-to-be... and kill her.
The story unfolds in the Utter East, in a part of Toril that is unfamiliar to most.
It is a sea adventure for the most part and highly recommended for those with a soft spot for all things pirate.
Ed Greenwood does a good job with The Mercenaries, though this would not be one of his best works. Of particular interest was the lore regarding Umberlee, where the author describes sacrificial ceremonies to the goddess of the seas: "Evil-smelling remnants of offerings to Umberlee, drowned rats and squirrels, floating in the seaweed-decorated bowls consecrated to the goddess, stood on plinths here and there, their presence guarding the building above against flooding and collapse." (p.19)
In short, The Mercenaries is well worth your while. 4 stars


The Paladins (The Double Diamond Triangle Saga , No 2)
The Paladins (The Double Diamond Triangle Saga , No 2)
by James M. Ward
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
21 used & new from $2.74

5.0 out of 5 stars The Forgotten Realms with a pinch of Planescape, May 20, 2011
The Paladins is the second of a series of nine short books, known as the Double Diamond Triangle Saga, set in the Forgotten Realms. The book starts off where The Abduction left off, namely in Waterdeep, the City of Splendors on Faerun's Sword Coast. Open Lord Piergeiron Paladinson, ruler of Waterdeep, charges Noph, the main character, and a group of paladins to travel to the Utter East via means of a magical portal deep within Undermountain on a search-and-rescue mission for the Lady Eidola, his bride-to-be.

James M. Ward and David Wise do a wonderful job of providing a feel for much of what lies within Undermountain with chapter 3 presenting a very nice portrayal of the underground port-city of Skullport.
Moreover, the authors' depiction of the Tanar'ri and their chaotic evil behavior/alignment along with their abilities is very realistic and accurate throughout the book.
Additionally, the confrontation on page 66 between fiends and paladins is very well done with dialogues that really bring the characters to life such as: "Tyr-slime, unloved by Tyr... [w]e shall eat you alive and take this man-boy back to the Abyss, where he will be turned into a larva!" and "No I say!... You shall not have him! If there is justice in this or any world, I shall have it, wherever I stand!... Your evil power is nothing before justice! NOTHING!"

My only reservation is in relation to how accurately the authors portrayed the paladins Miltiades and Kern since I have not read the Pools of Twilight yet, which is where they first appear, and thus cannot have an opinion.

Finally, the book does a great job of providing a breathtaking cliffhanger! This is definitely a significant improvement compared to the first book, though I have to laugh at how the book price went up by a dollar from one book to the other...
4.5 stars


The Abduction (The Double Diamond Triangle Saga , No 1)
The Abduction (The Double Diamond Triangle Saga , No 1)
by J. Robert King
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
49 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars The Bloodforge!, April 28, 2011
The Abduction is the first of a series of nine books, known as the Double Diamond Triangle Saga, set in the Forgotten Realms. The book starts off slowly with a weak prelude (there will be an equally weak interlude and postlude).
The book is set in Waterdeep, the City of Splendors, on Faerun's Sword Coast, where it deals with the multiple plots aimed against Piergeiron Paladinson, ruler of Waterdeep and Lady Eidola, his bride-to-be, on their wedding day. It is in the midst of such mayhem that the main character, Noph, gets embroiled in an adventure whose outcome might very well change the course of history.

The plot as a whole is average as is J. Robert King's writing style in this book. On the down side, security seems very lax in Waterdeep for a royal wedding and there is no mention or sign of the city's other lords or high-level heroes/inhabitants/champions/protectors/adventurers with the exception of Khelben Blackstaff (naturally enough).
Moreover, Chapter 3, which included the Boarskyr brothers meeting with Piergeiron Paladinson was an insult to human intelligence!
In addition, the way Paladinson is portrayed points to Piergeiron the Meek... while Eidola is just strange and unwell in her behavior as seems to be their relationship as well; clearly not well thought out.
Finally, the book's title is a dead giveaway, not to mention the back cover's summary/description.

On the other hand, the author provides for some very interesting lore on page 54: "The Eye of Ao was supposed to have an empty pupil. The hole symbolized the place of dark mysteries through which all mortals flew after death."
Moreover, the exchange between father and son on pages 43-44 is quite powerful with the following quote standing out: "Speak, and I will empty my stomach on you, I swear it. You nauseate me. I nauseate me-the very fact that I am your son makes me sick. Let it be punishment enough that I have inherited your looks..." (Page 44)
In addition, J. Robert King does a very good job of presenting Khelben Blackstaff's awesome power as in his ability to slow down time on page 80, not to mention his dominating (and quite amusing) demeanor as seen on pages 53-54.
Finally, the graphic description of battle on page 64 was worthwhile: "His head split down the middle and fountained red upon all those around. The Open Lord reeled back in surprise and revulsion, and the body slumped to the floor. Eidola pulled back from the slain form, the sword in her hand dripping gore..."
The book successfully sets the stage vis-à-vis the storyline for the books that are to follow, while the cliffhanger at the very end makes the reader want to pick up the next book in line.

In short, Part 1 The Abduction is worth your while mostly for Part 2 The Paladins, that follows (and which is a great improvement at that) 3.3 Stars.


Cars Mack Hauler
Cars Mack Hauler
Offered by Farfan Entertainment
Price: $39.99
11 used & new from $28.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Mack Hauler-Great Fun, April 12, 2011
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Cars Mack Hauler (Toy)
My older son is big into Pixar Cars; he loves the movie, the short clips, the story books, the calendars, and all things with Pixar Cars. Subsequently, after asking for Mack Hauler over and over again we bought it for him and he sure is a happy camper; the great quality and great fun that this toy provides make it well worth it. 5 Stars!


Woody Classic Costume - X-Small
Woody Classic Costume - X-Small
Offered by Past Generation Toys
Price: $31.64
6 used & new from $25.99

5.0 out of 5 stars It's a winner!, April 12, 2011
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
We bought this Halloween Woody outfit for my older son (was nearing three at the time) who is big into Toy Story and he loved it, as did we, as did those that laid eyes on him. It both feels and looks good; in short, it's a winner! 5 Stars


Schleich Smurfs Cottage, Red
Schleich Smurfs Cottage, Red
Offered by Acme Comics Peoria
Price: $14.99
2 used & new from $14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the novice as well as the old collector, April 11, 2011
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Schleich Smurfs Cottage, Red (Toy)
Having been a Smurf collector myself (some 30 years ago) and having now passed my collection over to my older son (he turned three last January), I just had to get him this red Smurf's Cottage (along with Smurfette's Cottage as well). Even though the colors are a much darker shade than what ones seen in the picture, and the roof does not seem to click into place, while the actual mushroom house can only fit one Smurf at a time, it does look great and feel great, and most importantly my son likes it, not to mention that sense of nostalgia that it brings out in me... It has even turned my wife into a Smurf enthusiast! In short, it's a smurfy buy. 4.5 Stars


Schleich Smurfette's Cottage
Schleich Smurfette's Cottage
Offered by Bargains Direct
Price: $11.98
63 used & new from $8.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the novice as well as the old collector, April 11, 2011
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Schleich Smurfette's Cottage (Toy)
Having been a Smurf collector myself (some 30 years ago) and having now passed my collection over to my older son (he turned three last January), I just had to get him Smurfette's Cottage (along with a Smurf's Cottage as well). Even though the colors are a much darker shade than what ones seen in the picture, and the roof does not seem to click into place, while the actual mushroom house can only fit one Smurf at a time, it does look great and feel great, and most importantly my son likes it, not to mention that sense of nostalgia that it brings out in me... It has even turned my wife into a Smurf enthusiast! In short, it's a smurfy buy. 4.5 Stars


Disney Lightning McQueen Shower Curtain
Disney Lightning McQueen Shower Curtain

2.0 out of 5 stars Looks good, great price, but the stench is overwhelming!, September 17, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Our 2 and a half-year old son is big into Pixar Cars (and so are we) so when we saw this plastic bath curtain on Amazon we knew it would be something that would make our son's bath more enjoyable. What was also great was the price: a total of 8.50 US dollars, which included S&H (the price has since gone up, more than doubling)! Boy, were we surprised when we took it out the wrapping and put it in place. It reeked and continues to reek (10 days on) of chemicals; it's this unnatural stench of plastic that is overwhelming, highly unpleasant, and surely unsuitable to be anywhere near children. We are now using our other bathtub as we wait for the stench to subside. If it's not gone in a few days, the bath curtain (which otherwise looks great) is going straight to the recycling bin! A shame really...


Scream of Stone (Forgotten Realms: The Watercourse Trilogy, Book 3)
Scream of Stone (Forgotten Realms: The Watercourse Trilogy, Book 3)
by Philip Athans
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
16 used & new from $7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars "The war has begun. You will serve now as you have before." (p.248), May 23, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Scream of Stone is the third and last (thank goodness) instalment in the Watercourse Trilogy. The book is definitely an improvement compared to Whisper of Waves and Lies of Light, nevertheless it is too little too late.
To start with, the characters are burned out and there is not much one can do with them. In addition, as in the previous two books, there continue to be inconceivable spelling mistakes throughout the book, which is simply unacceptable, such as on the second to last line on page 151 where it should read "from" not "form," on page 211 it should read "heard" instead of "head," on page 279 "Rainwater and spittle `flew' (not few) from the man's lips," while a word is missing altogether from "The naga yanked back hard and came out with the still-beating, black heart of the firedrake [in] its clawed fist." (p.163)
On the positive side, Chapter 39 introduces the reader to the Tanar'ri Maurezhi (details found on page 110-111 of the AD&D Second Edition Planescape Monstrous Compedium II) through a well described summon monster spell. Additionally, Chapter 62 tells of the fate that befell Phyrea's ancestors that later came to haunt her. Moreover, Philip Athans provides on pages 157 and 219 wonderful descriptions of a wizard casting a polymorph other spell and of a cleric using her turning undead ability respectively. Furthermore, the author provides for some extraordinary descriptions of undead at work: "He smashed her face against the floor and the scream was momentarily combined with a wet crack, then she quieted to a moaning, sickly sound that made Willem's dead flesh crawl, so he smashed her face down again. Her body convulsed and her legs kicked out. He drove her face once more into the ever-increasing puddle of hot, sticky blood and broken teeth. She kicked one more time then was still" (p.213), "The ghoul staggered backward, clawing at its face and tearing free great strips of flesh, revealing the bone beneath. It had no skin on its face at all when it finally fell still" (p.165), "Surero's head exploded from the force of Willem's blow. The dry-skinned fist shattered teeth, drove the alchemist's mouth open, and continued on through flesh, bone, brain, and sinew to burst out the other side drenched in blood and saliva" (p.204), "The undead barrel-makers poured water into a barrel they'd finished. It was bad enough that the thing sprung leaks in a dozen places or more, but as they poured the water in, strips of their own rotting flesh fell into the barrel, fouling it" (p.289), and finally "Willem Korvan ate his mother's corpse, little by little, over the course of seventeen days not because he required sustenance, but out of some dimly-felt sense of necessity. Marek Rymut could feel the undead thing's need and confusion the second he stepped into the house. It hit him just as squarely, though not quite as hard, as the stench. The smell of the rotting carcass of Thurene Korvan mixed with the dried-meat and spice smell of her son. Throughout was the tang of disease." (p.246) In addition, Philip Athans provides for vivid descriptions that facilitate the reader to better visualize the scenes e.g. "Willem could smell the urine that drenched his already rain-soaked trousers" (p.92), "When the mist hit her, her skin blistered. She opened her mouth to scream again and inhaled a deep breath of acid. Instead of another scream, what came out was a white and pink froth. Her eyes melted into her skull and were gone entirely in less than a single heartbeat. The girl lived too long, dissolving away while trying to breath and scream, but succeeding only in sizzling," (pp.134-135), and "Marek snapped his fingers and the demon's forearm snapped. The creature howled in agony and grabbed the twisted limb. Its clawed hand hung limp at the end of it." (p.156) Finally, the author speaks truthfully when stating that: "You can only use people that allow themselves to be used... and anyone who would allow that is not worthy of your shame." (p.191)
In conclusion, despite several shining moments the Watercourse Trilogy was such a disappointment, especially after reading Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, and Philip Athans' story ("The Lady and the Shadow") from the Realms of the Arcane anthology, which were amazing. Hopefully the author's future work will be more in line with his better earlier novels. 3.5 Stars


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