Mortal Consequences Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jan 1998
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As the Netherese empire collapses, Sunbright the shaman strives to create a future for his tribe as an enemy returns in search of revenge, armed with hellish magic.
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While the first two were mainly action-oriented, there was little heart-to-heart involvement between the characters. In this one, the main hero, Sunbright, searches for his lost tribe. Even though he was forced from his tribe in the past, he feels it's his destiny to find his tribe and return them to their prior glory. Not only does he find resistance within the tribe, but he and his companion encounter a number of obstacles outside the tribe.
A character from the first book returns, but in a new, more powerful form. After resolving the issues with his tribe, Sunbright has the ultimate showdown with the enemy. While the ending is rather abrupt, it is satisfying. The revelation about his companion is a little "out there", but most readers will probably see it coming. Overall the trilogy is better than average with an excellent conclusion.
Clayton Emery continues to do a wonderful job of presenting essential knowledge relevant to Faerun, including customs, religion, and the history of the peoples of Toril.
Specifically, he mentions ancient gods such as Tyche, Lady Doom (pp.83, 119), Kozah the Destroyer, lord of storm and wildfire and rage, along with Vaprak the Destroyer, god of ogres (p.83), Amaunator, Keeper of Law, Keeper of the Sun (p.119), Jergal (p.136), Moander (p.193), Jannath the Golden Goddess, Grain Goddess, She Who Shapes All (pp.133, 135), Mystryl, Mother of Magic (p.135), and
Shar, the Shadowy Seductress, the God of Thieves, the Greater Power of the Gray Waste, Lady of Loss and Anger (pp.9, 139). Clayton Emery's graphic description of the battle with the gulguthhydra on page 20 was breathtaking, while the description of torture on page 102 was superb: "Slapping her face brought her around. Her hands felt afire. Glancing up she saw the monster had bent open an iron hook that held herbs and impaled her hands over the hook before crushing it shut! Writhing only ripped flesh and ground the bones, so she hung still. Her world was pain." Moreover, on page 217 the author mentions Seventon, as the birthplace of the Netheril Empire, though some more relevant information would have been much appreciated. In addition, Clayton Emery provides some fascinating information on orcs: "He hoped a female gave birth soon. Baby orcs made excellent stew, and he could keep it all to himself. That was one good reason for dragging along females. They were always pregnant." (p.161) On pages 79-80 and 176 respectively, the author provides more exceptional descriptions that help plane shift the reader to Faerun, beside Sunbright and his companions: "Blistering, killing winds roared over the dwarf, tearing away her eyes, ripping loose hair, then the scalp from her skull," and "Trapping an orc in a pocket, the war chief flicked his heavy broadsword over his shoulder and cleaved the enemy's arm from its shoulder." The battle scenes found throughout the book, and especially Chapters 10 and 16 involving "the flint monster" were extraordinary indeed: "Candlemas watched in horror as the bolts overtook his assistants, enfolded all three in brown carapaces like insects... First to drop off were their fingers, ears, noses. Their flesh split into thousands of long, wriggling tubes, like maggots or earthworms. The skin of their faces followed, leaving their skulls bare. Their brains boiled into writhing pink nests of worms, as did their organs. Within a minute, the humans were reduced to heaps of insect-like obscenities wriggling and boring through fresh white bones." (pp. 136-137) Chapter 17 provides for great battle scenes versus orcs: "The middle orc froze in fear, and Sunbright pierced its breadbasket, the twisted the hook to carve a hole that spilled guts," (p.235) as for the author's description of the laraken (pp.229-230), it was extraordinary indeed.
On the down side, there is almost nonstop mention of towns and landmarks, but there is no map (!), which in turn is frustrating and takes away from the overall enjoyment. Moreover, as in the case with the battle against the beetles with which Dangerous Games started and which was not that interesting and should not have been at all challenging, Mortal Consequences begins with a battle against an ice cloaker, which is equally uninteresting and unfitting.
In addition, the notion of reincarnation for a soul that has died in the Nine Hells, apart from forming a bodak, is not in line with Forgotten Realms and/or Planescape canon. Additionally, Sunbright's final battle seemed a little forced, and unrealistic considering how his adversary had grown so enormously and disproportionally powerful.
Overall the plot is not as enticing as in Sword Play or even Dangerous Games, however, it is still a good book and it is definitely worth a read. Moreover, the author purposefully provides room for a sequel, though I am not sure there is a demand, or a need for it (at this point it's been years since the book was published and I do not believe the sequel ever materialized). In the end, I find Clayton Emery's best work to be the Star of Cursrah, however, it is a shame he has only written a total of four Forgotten Reams novels! He should definitely write more! I for one will be keeping an eye out.