- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 492 KB
- Print Length: 116 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: The Arron of the Black Forest Partnership; Kindle Edition edition (23 Sept. 2011)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005P3AMUU
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,627,022 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Haunting of Dragon's Cliff (Arron of the Black Forest Book 1) Kindle Edition
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Then, awhile later, I was at my local library, and I discovered the original Tarzan novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs on a dusty shelf. I grabbed a Tarzan book , I believe it was titled "Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar". I devoured it in one day. After that I wanted more Sword & Sorcery!
In my quest for more S&S, I read Michael Moorcock, Robert E. Howard, David Gemmell, and many other fine authors of S&S. All these S&S books were great works of Fantasy.
So, I had huge expectations for "The Haunting of Dragon's Cliff" by Philip Athans (Baldur's Gate) & Mel Odom (The Left Behind Apocalypse Series).
"The Haunting of Dragon's Cliff" starts off with our hero (a barbarian called Arron of the Black Forest) leaving his homeland, after all of his tribe is frozen in a glacier. He is the last of his kind. Arron goes on a journey, to the colonies of the empire he hates. called The Heteronomy.
Arron tries to fit in with these foreigners, and they all hate him, and call him a savage, and try to kill him. When he kills a man attacking him, he runs out of town, chased by blood thirsty Bounty Hunters......
And that is all I'm going to say about the book's story. No spoilers for you! :)
The plot is fast. Action is realistic and brutal. The villains are wonderfully devious. The characters are fully realized. Overall, "The Haunting of Dragon's Cliff" ,is an excellent piece of work.
I give the book 5 out of 5 stars! I highly recommend it for fans of old school Sword & Sorcery!
Available in ebook formats only.
Arron of the Black Forest, Book 1: The Haunting of Dragon's Cliff, written by Philip Athans and Mel Odom, is the first volume in just such a series. Although there's no word count, my guesstimate is the work clocks in somewhere around 30,000 words, or 116 pages as estimated by Amazon. Our protagonist is - wait for it - Arron of the Black Forest, last of his people, a wandering adventurer and barbarian without a home. Arron's people were all killed when the magicians of the more civilized lands to the south conjured up an enormous glacier right on top of them, instantly encasing the entire population in a thousand-foot tall block of ice. Arron is the only one who wasn't caught in this icy apocalypse, and now he wanders the lands, really pissed off.
In The Haunting of Dragon's Cliff, Arron has been spending the last month fleeing from a posse / band of bounty hunters tracking him down for killing a man in a bar fight. Arron is eventually driven to seek shelter within Dragon's Cliff, an enormous, abandoned mansion (on the edge of a cliff) shunned by all the locals because it is haunted. However, Arron isn't a local and even if he was, he's desperate enough to flee anywhere. So into the Mansion he goes, and soon, the posse / band of bounty hunters follows him inside. I won't give away any spoilers, but let's just say that Arron & Co. have a terrifying adventure that's a whole lot weirder than anyone was expecting.
The Haunting of Dragon's Cliff was pretty entertaining. There's some good action and adventure, the Mansion and its "residents" are pretty cool, and I think this has definite promise as a new adventure series. The fights are pretty gory and the description of the Mansion itself, along with it's "special properties" was nicely done as well.
My biggest quibble, and it's really just a quibble, is with the character of Arron. Philip Athans speaks about his interpretation of the various sub-genres of fantasy in an article on his blog. I agree with a lot of what he says, but I don't really agree with the Barbarian Hero as an "everyman". In some ways yes, the BH is the protagonist that the reader "relates" to in that we see the strange, exotic fantasy world more or less through their eyes, confronted with the strange and wonderful, the magical and the dangerous. But historically, the BH is in no way an "everyman".
In practically every depiction of a Barbarian Hero - and this has its roots deeply seated in Robert E. Howard's Conan and his other savage protagonists - the BH is a primordial ubermensch. The BH's life has been one of unceasing danger and hardship, Darwinism at its finest, and as a result the BH is stronger, faster, and capable of enduring more punishment than any "civilized" man. Their senses are sharper, their survival instincts more keenly honed, and their will utterly indomitable. We cheer for the Barbarian Hero, and we might react the same way he does to the exotic, degenerate world around him, but let's face it; we've got more in common with the soft, decadent, civilized folk the BH sneers at than we do with the Hero himself.
That having been said, I don't find Arron either an "everyman" hero or a primordial ubermensch. He's more of a hearty yokel with an angsty chip on his shoulder and a capacity for absorbing a lot of punishment, and much of that capacity (mini spoiler here) is granted seemingly by the Mansion itself. I feel like the writers wanted Arron to be more badass than your typical home town hero, but not as over-the-top as a Conan or Thongor. I'm not really sure if the result works for me. This is compounded by the fact that although Arron is repeatedly referred to as a "barbarian" by the more "civilized" folk, the world itself doesn't seem exotic and ancient enough to have classical barbarians a la Conan or Kull. The setting seems to fall into a mid 1700's Western civilization time period; no one wears armor, swords seem more saber-like than a classic broadsword and battleaxe era, and the look and feel of the Mansion itself is very 18th century colonial mansion. If Arron were described more as a sort of wild, Scottish Highlander-esque sort of fellow, coming down into the civilized lands from the "glens" or the "moors" (the Black Forest is described as a "bogland" but that's about it), I think the reader could comfortably attach cultural and historical analogues here and there, which is, I feel, rather important to facilitate immersing oneself in the story when there's not much world-building to be done.
Hmmm, all the above seems far more negative than I intended. Like I said at the beginning, the story is a fast, fun, entertaining read well worth the price of admission, and I encourage everyone to give it a try. When the second issue comes out I'll be sure to snap it up and review it as well. Perhaps as time goes on, the issues I have with Arron and the world he lives in will iron themselves out.
I bought it for a quick an entertaining read, and in that regard, it didn't disappoint. The price is very reasonable. Given it's self-published and available by e-book only, I found it to be very well polished...I did not notice a single spelling or grammatical error here. It's as well put together as anything a big name publisher could do.
As for the story, if you want fast paced, non-stop, well written action, you'll find it here. It's hard to put down.
Where it falls short, in my opinion, is the characters. I didn't find the main character (Arron of the Black Forest) to be particularly unique or likeable... he's a big strong barbarian who solves problems with his axe, which is a good thing, but there's not much more than that. The antagonist (The Hound) showed more promise, but there were times when I thought his actions didn't seem plausible but instead served to spice up the story.
I understand there may be more books coming about Arron of the Black Forest. I would read the next one, only because I know these authors are capable of doing even better.
3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.