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on 23 November 2010
As a hard core player of RuneScape, I have spent many many hours in front of the computer traveling the realm of Geilinor, sword in one hand, fishing rod or cooking pans in the other. I have to say from the very outset I was surprised at the quality of the novel. As a first time author I think Church has to be commended in bringing to life a world a player only ever partially inhabits. For example, he has altered the distances it takes to get from Falador to the Black Knights (or Kinshra) fortress: now it is a few days, in the game of course it is only scant minutes. However, it is this adjustment that adds a realistic aspect to the events and makes it a workable novel - if he had written it without this consideration, direct from the game, then any realism would have been lost in trying to mirror the game too closely.

The plot itself is intriguing and fast-moving. It starts as a riddle. Who is this near-dead girl who is teleported to our castle? What does this mean? Tasked with finding out, we follow the young Squire Theodore on an adventure to see the druids of Taverley, meeting on the adventure Doric (a dwarf), Ebenezer, a scientist/alchemist, the wizard Castimir, and the mysterious Gar'rth. Their journey all roll into one when they are reunited at the barbarian village, and from then on the onslaught of the Kinshra and the war that follows consumes the rest of the tale. The characters themselves are all well-drawn and I particularly liked Kara, the mysterious heroine who was realistically vulnerable under her hard edge. Without that, I think anyway, she would have been very unlikable.

I suppose it is a war story at heart, so I should say that action is part and parcel of the story, and the choices that each of the main characters must make under pressure are quite realistic which brings you closer to them. (I like the part when Theodore first kills someone in a battle and then immediately feels shocked about it - it's a welcome difference from other fantasy books where the heroes wade through ranks of the enemy without a thought or care for their actions). However, I did feel the action was at times too much. I would like to have seen more of the many skills that are available to players in game (although I suppose fishing does get a scene - and a very good one to be honest. Fire making to a less of a degree and magic of course.)

I am very glad I have read this and it has enlivened my sense of adventure when I play the game. Now, a trek that I once took for granted, say from Varrock to Falador, has been made far more interesting, one where my imagination is always at play, wondering, just what is over the horizon?
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on 6 October 2011
Picked this book up in Waterstones some time ago. I've read Gemmell in the past and a few more of the usual suspects and at first I was a bit worried about this being based on an existing game.

Fortunately this proved to be an invalid concern however - I've never played the game but you don't need to - I suspect you would get more from the novel if you had but these are subtle hints that are dropped in rarely and without disrupting the flow. The book starts quickly with the young and naive knight investigating the magical appearance of a beautiful young woman and moves quickly on from there. Monsters and goblins are included, a wizard too, and of course an old dwarf tutor and an elderly human friend known as the Alchemist. And, the mysterious Gar'rth (he reminds me of Heathcliffe out of Wuthering Heights in a certain way!!!!).

Kara-Meir and her actions and history make this book in my view. A strong female lead whose past is a total mystery (is she good or bad? After reading the book I think she could still turn given the right prompting....). Plus Gar'rth's past will no doubt not give up on chasing after him - there are a few unanswered questions here - though I will now pick up book 2, Return to Canifis, to follow them on their journey again.

Interestingly, I even had a quick play on the game after this and visited some of the supporting characters in the book. It was . . . weird, in a good way (felt I knew them slightly).
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on 13 July 2011
having read the likes of The Belgariad, The Magician, Thomas Covenant the unbeleiver, Lirael, Bathemaius and the obvious such as LOTR, His Dark Materials etc. I was struggling to find another book in the same genré. I do play Runescape every now and then and decided to take the plunge and give it a go. My verdict: I was expecting it to be rushed and just a money making excerise, however, I was quite surprised! I found it quite a good read. Also, the fact that I have played the game and new all of the places added to the pleasure. I usually know after about 50 pages if I hate/love a book so the fact that I read it all must mean that I liked it. I thought it was well written and will probably buy the next installment.
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VINE VOICEon 2 December 2010

Having never heard of the Game, this title meant absolutely nothing to me, but I was captured by the imaginative artwork, easy-on-the-eye print and short chapters. (I just hate long Chapters - apart from anything else, short chapters make convenient breaks and one does not feel 'overwhelmed' by a thicker than usual novel)

Hooked by the very first paragraph; 'atmosphere' is by far the key word that strongly comes to mind to describe this; it simply 'oozes' with the stuff and rises from the pages like smoke! Lots of 'night' and Woods, Forests and fantasy characters; Goblins, Witches, Dwarfs etc. I got worried shortly after starting the book, and having read other Reviews all over the Internet where people had put emphasis on the 'full of action' bit, and plenty of battle scenes, as these are not really up my street if there are too many of them, as the stories that surround many of them tend to lack substance and interesting narrative, however; the first hundred or so pages - none of this is at all apparent, and so I was suitably 'hooked'! But there is plenty of mystery and excitement throughout. This is also such a lovely time of year to read these kinds of books - November/December, and long dark nights. The best time to read this is during the dead of night and in bed with a bedside lamp - in the daytime, the marvellous atmosphere created in the this wonderful narrative would almost certainly be lost... I was SO thrilled to stumble upon this gem, as anyone will see from my last few Reviews that I have unfortunately come upon several books in succession which have not been good and made poor reads, and it now seems for the first time in such a long time I managed to start a really good book, and haven't yearned constantly for the end so that I could start something more interesting. Another pleasant surprise here were the easy and very pronounceable names. All too often in this genre, one is apt to be faced with countless long and clumsy inventions for words that make for difficult reading - particularly for the names of people and places.

This has to be the most exciting and greatest book I have ever read! It's indeed a credit to the author who can write a book based upon a game someone has never played or heard of, yet is able to so enjoy! I kept dreading the battle scenes in case this spoilt things and made me lose interest - but even those were good! I thoroughly enjoyed the battle between the Lady Kara and 'Marius' - talk about a page turner! Okay; so the last hundred or so pages were basically nothing but un-diluted fighting, but the author has to consider those that love that type of thing. I tolerated it, and it was still very well-written. There were a few twists and surprises that made for good finales and all worthwhile

I cannot recommend this book too highly - it will be a long time before I read another so atmospheric!

Simply magic!
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VINE VOICEon 12 August 2011
At first I thought this would be a rip off of another almost identically named book (Betrayal at Krondor), but thankfully I was wrong. I have played many online and single player computer RPGs, but am not familiar with the Runescape universe and never played the game so cant comment on that side of things.

This has very much of a Dragonlance feel to it, but that is not a bad thing at all. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, as it is not too heavy and doesnt over burden you with hundreds of characters and personalities. I liked the story , the characters are likeable and the plot has plenty of interesting twists and turns. It may not be overley original,but if you like fantasy books then give this a go!
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on 18 April 2013
Currently looking at my Kindle and it shows me that I've read 25% of this book. It is truly great that i'm actually writing a review before finishing it. The way it reads is perfect, it really brings the reader into the realm, makes me feel as-if i'm a Knight in Falador. I'm still not sure at the age the book has been written for, obviously RuneScape players cover a wide demographic it would be silly to make one target audience. My concern before buying this book was it would be targeting the younger audience of the game, encouraging them to read. I'm actually pleasantly surprised to say that is not the case, although i would not go in stopping any younger players to read it. The vast vocabulary the author uses appeals to the older audience but will help the younger audience learn new words.

You could take RuneScape away from this book and it would still be a great read. Although, when the author mentions items, skills or places from the game it does bring a smile because i also have that knowledge, therefore making me feel like i'm actually in the world. It really changes the game in my perspective, how they talk about adamant swords with such a high order but, in-game i simply skipped through to Rune. It will make me appreciate the game a lot more.
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on 26 October 2011
a great book i felt truly in touch with every character! I have played runescape for 5 years but even without playing you can pick the book up and enjoy it because the author makes a great connection with each of the main characters
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on 22 September 2011
Bought this for my son ( age 12) who is really into the online version of Rune Scape. It has been difficult to get him interested in reading, but this has really caught his imagination. He can't wait to get his teeth in to book two!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 31 October 2010
I'm an adult who has enjoyed playing Runescape for many years. I assume that this book is primarily aimed at teens/young adults but couldn't resist seeing Runescape brought to life in the pages and hoped some familiar faces got a mention. I wasn't disappointed - Sir Amik Varse (Ceramic Vase), Sir Vyvin (surviving), Doric and Sir Tiffy (to name a few) played big roles and some new characters were introduced too.

For anyone who has played Runescape, the book's appeal will be that you are familar with the landscape and characters mentioned, however, this can also be enjoyed even without prior knowledge of the game.

If you like the Fantasy/Military genre then this may be the book for you. For me however, the fantasy was too little and the military too much. It started well and promised to be an interesting 'page turner', but as soon as the 'monster's' story was revealed (about a third of the way through) it just seemed to be one battle after another between warring knights. Perhaps I'm left with feelings of disappointment because whilst the fight scenes were well written, there just wasn't enough focus on Runescape's fantasy element. Pitched battles for page after page made it hard to keep going at points and I'm not sure that the character side stories went far enough to hold interest.

For me, it read as if the authour ran out of ideas half way through and relied on swordplay and military strategy to see things to the end. The last chapter in particular was disappointing as so much was left unanswered in those pages.......unless they're answered in the sequel?

As Runescape's first work of fiction though, I'm glad I read it. Despite my misgivings, I hope there will be more to follow........
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on 2 May 2014
As a player of the game Runescape for 10 years, and a person who isn't keen on reading (only finished 3-4 books in my life) I loved this book! It was gripping from the very beginning and very well written. If you like fantasy, adventure or a runescape player I would definitely read this book! 10/10, I have since ordered the following two books!
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