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Keep on the Borderlands (Greyhawk Classics) [Mass Market Paperback]

Ru Emerson

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (Oct 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786918810
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786918812
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 10.8 x 2.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,306,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


As ruthless raiders, murderous hordes of goblins and orcs, and mysterious priests threaten the keep and the surrounding countryside, an inexperienced band of adventures journeys to the Caves of Chaos to stop the evil once and for all. Original.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.4 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than Emerson's Other Grayhawk effort, but still weak 27 May 2003
By Steven Sammons - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found that this book was better than Ru Emerson's first Grayhawk book, Against the Giants, but had some of the same problems. While the characters are more fleshed out in this book, and the pace is a little more subdued (there are actually are some down times), I still found the overall plot to be thin and weak. Two groups of caravan guards meet up at an old Keep in the hinterlands and decide to team up and go after some bandits that are terrorizing the Keep. Why? Well, for treasure of course! For glory! Because they are bored with being caravan guards! Those are at least three of the reasons given. So off they go, bumbling around until they actually find and destroy the bandit camp.
Next the Castellan wants them to go off into the wilds and defeat a bunch of monsters living in some caves. So off they go! Why? See above. While the characters do have some depth and interact with each other in a believable manner, the plot tends to be thin because the reasons for these adventures are thin. The best parts of this book concern the swordswoman Eddis and the little girl first known to us as simply Blot. There are some truly touching moments when Eddis realizes what she gave up for the adventuring life (family, kids) and whether or not it was a good choice for her. She also realizes that she actually likes kids and maybe would like to raise this little girl. The worst parts of the book occur anytime Jers appears, which is unfortunately a lot, since he is a main character. Jers is a cardboard alpha male, consisting of so many testosterone-laden stereotypes that it is hard to imagine that he can walk around, much less fight. He is impulsive. He has little thought for his life or anyone else's. He seeks after glory and treasure. He has no social skills whatsoever. He is a 12-year old in a 25-year old's body. I found this character to be particularly unbelievable. He's like Howard Stern with a sword.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this book is the hastily contrived ending, which was a little too abrupt for my taste. This is a similar problem to Emerson's other book, Against the Giants. If you do read it, don't expect much out of the ending, 'cause it's not there.
Anyway, if you are into the game and like to read, you will enjoy this book, particularly if you have gone through the module. If you are just a fantasy fan, move on- there are way better books for you to spend time over than this one.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars She lost me at 'Blot' 11 Jan 2008
By Clint L. Werner - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Wow, how the devil did somebody let Ms. Emerson turn this in as a final draft, much less actually publish it this way? The fight scenes are terrible, characters are terrible for the most part, the descriptive text is non-existant. It does have some elements from the module tacked on, but for the most part, we get a generic 'hunt the bandits' storyline for half the novel, with the Caves of Chaos putting in a cameo toward the end. Monsters are strictly name-drops, calling them briefly described would be over-stating the matter. That ruins any sort of menace or atmosphere if you ask me. Don't just tell me it's an orc, describe the blasted thing! Have the characters react to it with more than a 'yeah, we ran over and killed some' attitude. What's with tacking on dozens of expedable red shirts? Oh, that's right, to try and create a sense of menace by killing some of them off. A more polished story would do the same by exploiting atmosphere and a dose of horror in evoking the monsters - both how they look and what they do. This is just terrible. 'Keep on the Borderlands' was one of my favorite modules, I get more kids played that one than anything else over the years. It deserved a decent novelization, not this feeble effort. It takes alot to be worse than a Roland Green 'Conan' novel, but this one manages it in spades.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No real characterization, thin plot 28 April 2003
By Michael J. Ainslie - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
So very little happens in this book. The whole thing is just "fight a bunch of monsters, make camp, fight some more monsters, go back to town, fight some more monsters". Seriously, it's a book version of the game Baldur's Gate. I know that it is a book written off of a D&D module, but, to me, there ought to at least be a story outside of [fight] & slash, rest, [fight] & slash. There is just the tiniest hinting at developing the characters and even then, it is just to define them as a certain ...type. The only reason I even bothered to give it 2 stars was because the combat is decently written. It was a fast read and not entirely unenjoyable, but I would not recommend this book to anyone who had not played the module.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A so-so book based on the adventure 18 Jun 2002
By snowy - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Reading Keep on the Borderlands appeared to be like going through a rather impersonal memoirs of "How I tamed the Borderlands", written by Eddis and Blorys, mercenaries inc.
Eddis and Blorys came from 2 different armed escort companies protecting convoys into the Keep at Borderlands. As a reward for their thwarting attempted raids, the castellan tasked them with hunting down bandits and what-nots that threatened the security of the region.
This novel is obviously not about high-level adventurers, which was fine in itself 'cos I get bored with high-level fancy stuff like Elminster casting a spell to detect all but the most powerful enemies from the safety of his lair. Eddis and Blorys had to get down and dirty, going through hostile wilderness to search out the lairs of the raiders, and wipe them out.
But the boring part was that for most of the book, they did not encounter anything that posed serious threats, and they could go on fight after fight against superior numbers.
There was a little attempt made to characterisation and PC interaction, but the basic simplicity of the plot (to rid the raiders) sort of made it rather unexciting.
What could have made the book much better was instead of finishing abruptly, an analysis of the impact of the clean-up on the Borderlands to be presented.
On the whole, fine for beginners, yawners for others.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK for a quick read 9 Sep 2002
By Aaron G. Rhoads - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Well, I haven't played the original module, but I have enjoyed the other Greyhawk books, so I did pick this one up. As everyone else has pointed out the story is pretty simple. Basically a couple of caravan guard groups get together to wipe out bandits and monsters. That's really the whole book. It is simply a quick forest/dungeon crawl. There are no real surprises or twists and honestly I found the end a bit anticlimatic and just a little silly. It is an ok read for and afternoon or evening, but you might think about picking up something else first. On the other hand, I did enjoy Ru Emerson's other Greyhawk book, Against the Giants, a bit more, the characters and story are just a bit more interesting, though it reads much the same way.
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