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    The Desert of Souls

    Monday, August 13, 1066

    In 8th century Baghdad, a stranger pleads with the vizier to safeguard the bejeweled tablet he carries, but he is murdered before he can explain. Charged with solving…

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    The Bones of the Old Ones

    Monday, August 13, 1066

    As a snowfall blankets 8th century Mosul, a Persian noblewoman arrives at the home of the scholar Dabir and his friend the swordsman Captain Asim. Najya has escaped…

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    The Waters of Eternity

    Monday, August 13, 1066

    Venture into the time of the Arabian Nights with stalwart Captain Asim and the brilliant Dabir as they hunt an unseen killer that craves only the eyes of…

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    Plague of Shadows

    Monday, August 13, 1066

    In the third official novel in Paizo’s Pathfinder Tales line, the race is on to free Lord Stelan from the grip of a wasting curse, and only Elyana,…

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    Stalking the Beast

    Monday, August 13, 1066

      When a mysterious monster carves a path of destruction across the southern River Kingdoms, desperate townsfolk look to the famed elven ranger Elyana and her half-orc companion…

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Nov
24

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Hardboiled Monday

badfingerHardboiled Monday will return next week.

For now, here is “Icicles,” a great and little known cut from Badfinger, off of their fourth album.

Nov
21

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Lord Dunsany Re-Read: A Dreamer’s Tales, Part 5

dreamer's talesThis Friday brings us the fifth installment of our read through of a Lord Dunsany short story collection, A Dreamer’s Tales. My friends Bill Ward and C.S.E. Cooney have joined me once again to share thoughts. You can join in too — this book’s stories not only are quite short, they’re freely available as a Kindle download or through Project Gutenberg. It won’t take very long to catch up if you haven’t read them yet, so you might want to do so before you read any further.

This week we tackled the three final stories of the collection, “The Field,” “The Day of the Poll,” and “The Unhappy Body.” We have a pretty simple review scale. One star is a standout and two stars is truly great.

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Nov
17

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Hardboiled Monday: The Last Good Kiss

last good kissAs with preceding Hardboiled Mondays, Chris Hocking and I are working our way down the master list in alphabetical order. Details and the list are here. And earlier discussions are here.

Today we’re looking at James Crumley’s The Last Good Kiss.

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Nov
13

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Dunsany Friday

saundersI’ve been dispatched down the river Yann on a secret mission, so our re-read of A Dreamer’s Tales will have to conclude NEXT Friday.

For now, here are two items of interest.

First, one of the greatest sword-and-sorcery writers of the ’70s (and one that by all rights should be a household name) has a new book out. Charles Saunders’ newest novel has been covered in glowing detail by Fletcher Vredenburgh at Black Gate. Go check out the review, and buy the book.

Second, if you’re any kind of fan of Barbarian Prince you need to look into a phone app titled The Road of Kings, which was very clearly inspired by the old board game and is great fun, so long as you keep in mind the game experience it’s trying to emulate. I’ll write a longer review, probably at Black Gate, when I get back from my sojourn on the Yann.

Nov
12

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The Return of The Barbarian Prince

barbarian-prince-256If you’ve spent much time on the Black Gate website you’ve probably seen Barbarian Prince get mentioned at least once.

A solo board game from the ’80s designed by Arnold Hendrick, Barbarian Prince is a little like one of those old “choose your own” adventure books, except that the order of events is far more random, for they’re generated by rolling on a number of tables depending upon your location on the map and are partly affected by choices you have made and gear and allies you may have accumulated in your travels.

It never plays the same way twice, and a lot of us find it glorious fun — although it is difficult to win. John O’Neill is a huge fan of the game, and he got me interested some years back when he gave me an extra copy he had lying around.

When I heard rumors of an unofficial redesign over at BoardGameGeek, I dropped by to take a look and was incredibly impressed. Someone — Todd Sanders, as it turns out — had gotten permission to create a new game board, pieces, and redesign the layout of the rule and event books.

The result was brilliant, beautiful, and a completely professional product.

It’s available, free, for anyone who wants to download the files and create their own version of the game (the original version of Barbarian Prince is also available for free download, courtesy of Reaper Miniatures and Dwarfstar Games).

I contacted Todd to learn more about his redesign and what had inspired it, and discovered he was responsible for a number of stunning games of his own creation.

We talked  about game design, Print and Play games, and, naturally, Barbarian Prince. Larger versions of the lovely game boards can be seen by clicking on their pictures.

Note: This article is reposted from the Black Gate web site, where it appeared in 2012.

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Hardboiled Monday

Hardboiled Monday: The Last Good Kiss

Monday, November 17, 2014

As with preceding Hardboiled Mondays, Chris Hocking and I are working our way down the master list in alphabetical order. Details and the list are here. And earlier discussions are here….

Hardboiled Monday: Quarry

Monday, November 3, 2014

As with preceding Hardboiled Mondays, Chris Hocking and I are working our way down the master list in alphabetical order. Details and the list are here. And earlier discussions are here….

Hardboiled Monday: Raymond Chandler

Monday, October 27, 2014

As with preceding Hardboiled Mondays, Chris Hocking and I are working our way down the master list in alphabetical order. Details and the list are here. And earlier discussions are here….

Hardboiled Monday: Fast One

Monday, October 20, 2014

As with preceding Hardboiled Mondays, Chris Hocking and I are working our way down the master list in alphabetical order. Details and the list are here. And earlier discussions are here….

Hardboiled Monday: Howard Browne

Monday, October 13, 2014

As with preceding Hardboiled Mondays, Chris Hocking and I are working our way down the master list in alphabetical order. Details here. And earlier discussions are here. Chris Hocking…