- File Size: 1737 KB
- Print Length: 552 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Fantastic Books Publishing (June 21, 2018)
- Publication Date: June 21, 2018
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07DL88674
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,360,899 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Lords of Midnight (Chronicles of Midnight Book 1) Kindle Edition
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There are some small weaknesses that are, to my understanding, caused by adherence to the original game and its writer: many of the plot elements and some smaller details are rather clearly drawn from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. These include the overall aim of destroying an evil magical item, but also others that I'm not going to mention because they might spoil some of the twists and turns of the story - but you'll recognise them easily and they sometimes kick you out of the story for a moment. Also the beginning of the novel feels like a long introduction (many beginnings) before the story actually starts moving along, but I suspect this is also a feature of the original game - setting up the game board, so to say.
The author's language is a great fit for the style of the story, and the use of archaic spelling here and there strengthens the feel of fantasy nicely. It is obvious that the writer loves the original game and has done a great work to bring the story alive to others who want to revisit it - and also people like me who a drawn to the story for other reasons.
I was compelled, of course, to go back to the game to play it with all the context I had gathered. This time better understanding each decision, each move.
I had the starting point of having played the game to get my interest for the book. But did it stand on it’s own? I do firmly believe so as it is based on a pretty rich universe, one that draws you in with its epic and mystical setting. And it does help how Drew Wagar’s words weave a story that leaves me wanting to come back for more.
Thank you Drew and Chris for giving us this after so much time. Can’t wait for Doomdark’s Revenge next!!!
What we DO have is a fun piece of writing - along the lines of RR. Martin or Raymond Feist.
The preceding is a compliment.
I was surprised at the quality of the writing. The story was nothing fresh, yet, it was enjoyable. Cliques were used, but, used well. I look forward to the next book in this series, and, will take a look at his Shadeward work.
Best book purchase of my year so far.
What it is, though, is a perfectly entertaining and relaxing read, a happy distraction from more serious works. The course of the fighting is well described (it's the classic "good guys assemble to battle the dark lord" story) and the story hangs together well. My only real complaint is that very occasionally the mock-medieval language used in the book can start to grate.
I am very much looking forward to the next book in the story, not least because the plot in the game-series became much more original after the first episode, so this should be the case for the second game also.
Top international reviews
Originally released for the Sinclair Spectrum 48K in 1984, ‘The Lords of Midnight’ was a unique and innovative mix of roleplaying and strategy elements that involved exploring a vast free roaming landscape whilst attempting to enlist various characters to assist you in your objective of defeating the forces of the Witchking. A major reason for its lasting reputation is the uncanny ability it possesses to draw the player in and engross them in the characters and atmosphere of the world without providing huge amounts of information.
With a well-established world full of much-loved characters, ‘The Lords of Midnight’ provides a stronger foundation for a novelisation than most video/computer games. However, novelising such a cult game comes with obvious risks and a need to satisfy long term fans. As such this novelisation might easily have gone wrong. Fortunately, though, it doesn’t and it successfully manages to recreate the rich atmosphere and feel of the game.
It is clearly written by someone who has actually played the game extensively and who understands the characters and their motivations. Within the events of the novel most readers will probably recognise various tactics and stratagems that they themselves have employed. The author also manages to successfully dovetail the two different ways to complete the game, the roleplaying quest and the militaristic wargame campaign.
Several characters from ‘Doomdark’s Revenge’, the sequel to ‘The Lords of Midnight’, also make an appearance in the novel. Some of this is orientated at setting them up for a possible novelisation of ‘Doomdark’s Revenge’, but Tarithel rightly, as the daughter of the Lord of Dreams, plays a major role. The novel also makes use of some conceptual elements that never actually materialised in the game. The main one of these being the portrayal of Utarg.
The novelisation also manages to succeed in being an entertaining work of fantasy in its own right and can easily be enjoyed without the need to have played the original game.
I’m a lifelong Lords of Midnight fan and have been so pleased to read this. It satisfies both my own need for it to be fantastic, and the more noble desire that it should seem to me to be an accessible fantasy book that future generations might enjoy in its own right.
Drew satisfied the former and to me, at least, it seems has achieved the latter.
It is no mean feat to take the oh-so-familiar tale, replayed millions of times by the thousands of us in our misspent youths, and craft a story that captivated me from beginning to end. We are canny old campaigners, who know every corner of the Land of Midnight and have won and (more often) lost the War of the Solstice in every manner imaginable. We are hard to please. I am invigorated by his vision. The Wise chose well!
The Fan Version.
I’ll be honest, I loved this book. Having played the original game since it was released on the ZX spectrum, this took the bare bones of the story that was in my head and fleshed it out to make the Land of Midnight come alive. It also did so without ruining the memories of those original playthroughs.
The main issue with the game is the ‘Lords’ of Midnight themselves. Due to limitations of the game at the time, they were just stats on a character sheet. What the Author has done is manage to bring these stats to life as believable characters, in addition to adding a couple of extra characters who are more sympathetic to modern sensibilities.
What I also liked is that characters from the game’s sequel, ‘Doomdark’s Revenge’, have been weaved into this story, (as well as parts of the original novellas included in the game) thus setting up the story to flow into the sequel. I’m sure that I didn’t loose that many Lords in the game that fall in the novel but it did set up some nice twists that I was not expecting in the story myself.
It manages to hit everyone of my nostalgic needs in a story I’ve been waiting for since the novelisation was ‘promised’ over 30 years. So, if you loved the original games, this is a story that can be considered the ‘Cannon’ without it ruining your own experiences and I thoroughly recommend it.
(If you want a bad example of a book of a video game, then look up the Baulder Gate’s novels which felt that destroyed the characters that were beloved in the game).
The Non Fan version.
The main problem with this novel is not the novel itself but Lord of the Rings. The original game was created as a pastiche / tribute to Tolkien’s work and so had a very similar themes. Although the author makes a valiant effort to give it a separate twist, you do have the feeling that you’ve read this story before.
Coming at it from the point of view of a player who has roved over the lands of Midnight in the game that this is based on I would say this really brought the place to life. Bits of the lore being added in based on landmarks from the map from the game for example really helped give a depth to the story for example.
There's not much more I can add that hasn't been said already. This nostalgic forty something was very happy when a book of one of his all time favourite games was announced that it was going to be written and I'm pleased to say it turned out really well. Go buy it!
The book is based in the land of Midnight, and is a captivating tale of good verses evil. It contains a good balance of characters, a well written plot line and some excellent scene setting. The book took me back to the Land of Midnight that I enjoyed all those years ago when playing the game.
I plan on purchasing one of the first physical copies as soon as it is available in September, as this is a must for my bookcase.
I've waited 34 years for this book and it certainly doesn't disappoint - Drew has proved himself a wordsmith of the highest calibre once again. All I need to add is a personal comment to Drew and tell him to:
"Crack on with the next instalment of Doomdark's Revenge, I don't want to have to wait another 34 years!"
Having read several of Drew's previous books, I continue to find his prose writing style engaging and can't wait to finish work and get back to finishing the book!
The land of Midnight has been under the control of Doomdark for many years. Thanks to him, the land endures an unending winter, its people only managing to eke out an existance. His powers are wrapped up on his Ice Crown, an item that no ordinary man may hold, and the Ice Fear he sends out sees the bravest warrior quail. Now, with the Winter Solstice approaching, his powers are at theirgreatest. Divisions have grown between the two races that live there, the Fey and the Free, and nowadays they keep pretty much to themselves. Luxor, a minor Lord of the Free, had fought bravely in the last war against Doomdark, a victory that weakened the Witchking somewhat. However, the Free are well aware it's only a matter of time before Doomdark regroups and tries once more to crush all resistance.
Early in the book, Luxor is summoned to the Tower of the Moon for a meeting with Rothrorn the Wise. It's a summons he cannot really ignore - none of the Wise have been seen in many years, all of them hiding locked within their Towers. The Wise are powerful, respected, possibly feared a little - but they're not popular, having failed to provide any assistance in the fight against Doomdark. The messenger who brought news of the meeting was Corleth the Fey, who'd fought alongside Luxor in the last war against Doomdark. They'd clearly been close once, although things have cooled somewhat since as the Fey and the Free have drifted apart. Luxor, his squire Morkin and Corleth travel together to the Tower of the Moon, none of them knowing what to expect.
The meeting brings news that was was both unexpected and unwelcome. It appears that Rorthrorn, alone out of of all the Wise, is willing to help on this occasion. Doomdark is ready to bring Midnight to heel, and his armies are already moving outwards - worryingly this is much sooner than the Lords of the Free had expected and they're not properly prepared. There is, however, a litle good news. Luxor, to his own surprise, is the last in line of the House of the Moon - one of the great houses of Midnigt from days of old. He will therefore be able to use the Moonring, one of the Midnight's ancient War Rings. It gives him the power of command over those loyal to him, allowing him to see what they see and to communicate with them, no matter what distance between them. More than that, he learns that Morkin is actually his son, the product of a liasion with a Fey lady. Part free, part Fey, the Ice Crown therefore has no power over Morkin and, as a result, he will be able to destroy it. The War of the Solstice has begun, and Luxor, Morkin, Rorthron and Corleth will each play a key role.
This is a book I enjoyed hugely, though part of that probably springs from the affection I had for the game and the nostalgia it inspired. I suspect that the majority of people who pick up the book will be like me, people who enjoyed playing the game at a younger age. (Reading the book, though, did give me a few hints on general game-play too; I haven't actually played it in quite some time, but I'd be tempted to re-visit it now). I'd imagine, though, that your average fan of the fantasy genre will also enjoy it. The game originally came with a short novella, setting up the scene before starting to play. It's been a while since I read it, but I suspect there were a few tweaks for the book. (There seemed to be a certain level of distrust between Luxor, Rothrorn and Corleth at the start of this book that I don't remember picking up on in the novella. Morkin's first meeting with Fawkrin also came much later here than it did there). Beyond that, there were a few surprises. I'd always taken a simple, straightforward view of the characters - I'd pictured all of the Fey and the Free as being brave, honourable, noble and good. The Utarg, meanwhile, I'd seen as being proud and independent, but essentially a decent sort. That isn't necessarily how they're all portrayed in the book. There's a new character for the book too, one who wasn't in the game : the Lady of Silence, who was a great addition. Wagar has pictured things a little differently to how I did as a teenager - for example, physically, the Utarg is very different to how I pictured. Farflame, meanwhile, has now become my favourite character. Absolutely recommended for fans of the game.
Best of all for me, it portrays the war and the quest in a realistic manner, in a way that the game couldn't. Once you'd played the game through a few times, it became far too easy and the quest was necessarily possible by just finding the correct route. The book reads more like my first attempt, a desperate rush to defend against hugely superior forces.
The quest is far more complicated than the game and features all of the characters from the book, e.g Lorgrim, Fawkrin and Farflame. Unlike the game, the quest in the book requires ALL of them, along with Lake Mirrow, rather than just one. It makes for great reading.
If you're not a fan of the game, I'm not sure how this would read. The enjoyment for me came from seeing the game characters and places brought to life. Great work, can't wait for the Icemark installment!
The story follows very closely the plot of the computer game (it's a surreal experience finding the story so closely following the routes that I used to take), adding character to the Lords, a depth to the locations and brining in an interesting political overlay. Most, if not all, of the computer game Lords and supporting cast get a look-in and there are a few surprises with how their characters turn out.
Really well written book, steering away from the typical fantasy style of speech and writing which can sometimes make novels hard to follow whist keeping it appropriate for the setting.
Well worth the 34 year wait, victory has certainly gone to The Free.
Similarities to Lord of the Ring can not go unnoticed however, this is a story that flows constantly forward unlike Lord of the Rings and it's never ending side stories.
Drew has a writing style that is like the story, flowing, and also very descriptive. I felt the cold of the frozen landscape of Midnight just from his choice of words.
This book can be enjoyed by all ages and is highly recommended. It is fun to read and I constantly had that, just one more chapter voice in my head when I tried to put it down.
I cannot wait for the next installment to arrive, Doomdark's Revenge.
I purchased nearly all of the books by Drew Wagar on the strength of this one. I have now read 3 of his books and all have been fantastic, I am about to start his Shadeward Saga.
Thanks for the great stories Drew, see you in the black o7
This book is a wonderful novelisation of the game, but really works as a stand-alone novel. Characters from the game who you'd know as just a little sprite and some derived statistics are brought to life by Drew's writing. There are subtle references to the game in the text which are welcome nods to the game, but not intrusive if you haven't played.
The true test is this: just finished it... and now I want to read the sequel!
So it was a great relief and pleasant surprise to pick up very quickly that Drew Wagar was painting the world and the characters very much as I remembered them and imagined them to be. The book added more and more detail to the world of Midnight and its inhabitants that was illuminating, new, and yet to me felt just so 'right' for the world that even the new aspects and depth almost seemed familiar at the same time.
All this made the book a sheer joy to read and did get me breaking the game out again, albeit not from a cassette on an 8-bit machine!