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Unholy: The Haunted Lands, Book III by [Byers, Richard Lee]
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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 933 KB
  • Print Length: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast; Original edition (13 Jan. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001NLKT06
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #206,445 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
If you bought the previous 2 books of the series, you will know if you like/are curious about the rest of the story- Go for it. If you have not read the previous 2 then do so and return to the first part of the review. Pretty good story and characters you care what happens to. Undead, magic and big battles nuff said.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
In this the final book of the trilogy, set about 100 years or so after the last book, the main duo discover the plot szass tam has made (turns out being burned by magic fire and singing to undead cloud are both valid paths to immortality...)

So the wizards go to try to stop Szass Tam by breaking his magic circle.

The first book had the betrayal by Szass Tam, the second had the betrayal that left everyone wondering why, and this book also has a betrayal. Although if you think about the characters a bit this one will be a bit obvious.

As the plot is revealed Szass Tam actually starts to seem like a good person and you begin wondering whether he might actually be doing the right thing.

The book ends with a fight between Szass Tam and the red wizards. Who will win? read the book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8fd9f660) out of 5 stars 22 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e893dd4) out of 5 stars Solid Realms novel 14 Feb. 2009
By Andy Gray - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Unholy by Richard Lee Byers is the third and final novel in The Haunted Lands trilogy. The first two books are; Unclean (Forgotten Realms: The Haunted Lands, Book 1) (Bk. 1)n, and Undead: Haunted Lands, Book II (The Haunted Lands) (Bk. 2). This novel takes place approximately 100 hundred years after book two. This time jumps brings this novel into the `modern' era of the Realms, post-Spellplague. I know some ardent Forgotten Realms fans will shun this book (and future Realms book) due to the Spellplague, but I don't understand how people can deride a novel or novels without ever reading them. Quite honestly, I noticed very little difference between this novel (and other 4th Edition novels) and the previous novels. After all, I read novels to be entertained, so if I am entertained the novel accomplished its goal. Here are my thoughts on this book.

The plot of this book, being that it takes place approximately 100 years after book 2, follows in the footsteps of the second novel but not as closely as one may expect for a third novel in a trilogy. There are a couple separate plot elements in this book such as a plan by Szass Tam that may have much larger ramifications than anyone could possibly guess, the Brotherhood of the Griffon seeking to expand on their reputation, and several elements of revenge that add a grittiness and harshness to the story. There are also a couple subplots sprinkled in to give the story an extra elements; things such as loyalties that are continually challenged, what will come of the power-hungry zulkirs, and lastly if Szass Tam's plan succeeds what will become of Thay. That is quite a lot to cram into one novel, however, I never felt like Mr. Byers lost control of the story or any plot point for that matter. It flowed well and the break up of the chapters, and sections within the chapters was spot on to allow the story unfold on its own. I have always enjoyed when a story is allowed to develop on its own, versus being dragged along by the characters. I will admit I was a little confused at the overall story line of this novel, mostly because it seemed so much different than the previous two plot wise. I would even go so far as to say that this novel could have been a standalone novel and it would have been just fine. In the end though, just basing this book on itself and not the entire trilogy, I enjoyed it. Plenty of action and more character development than I expected.

Even with the time jump, the majority of the characters in this book are the same as have been present in the first two. Characters such as; Bareris, Aoth, Mirror, Szass Tam, and the remaining zulkirs (Neveron, Samas, Lauzoril, and Lallara). Being that the plot is so chalk full, I was amazed at how many different characters Mr. Byers included in this book, most of which had some type of character development, which is always a plus for me. There are several things I enjoyed about the characters, some of which I can't really talk about due to spoiler potential, but even with half the characters being `undead' there was a certain realness to their emotions, decisions, and faults. I also appreciated that for the most part, each character spoke with a unique voice. Although, there were a couple times in the story where it as hard to discern just who was talking because there were three or more people in a scene and it was just a line of dialogue and no indication of who said it. There is a solid mix of characters, with some new additions as well such as Jhesrhi and Gaedynn who were able to steal several scenes. There are several memorable characters in this book that I hope to read more about in the future.

A couple criticisms about this novel:

1 - As I mentioned above with the dialogue and a couple times not knowing who said what. When it happened it simply stopped the flow of the book and forced me to reread the section (sometimes several times) to figure it out who said it. Granted it's a minor thing, but when it happened it was rather annoying.

2 - I know this book features a war, but the number of massive battles got redundant after awhile. If for no other reason than a traveling army has a finite number of people that can be killed. I liken it to movies where the actor never has to reload his gun, he just keeps shooting. After awhile I wanted to see a more intimate scenario just for a change of pace.

3 - This has no bearing on the author, but with the past couple of Wizard of the Coast novel there seems to be an exorbitant number of typos. It's disappointing to have to reread sections or sentences because of poor editing. I expect better from WotC.

Some things I liked about this novel:

1 - I have always enjoyed novels about Thay and this one is no different. It's a unique area in the Realms and to get an in-depth look at it is always a treat. The amount of undead and the variety made for interesting scenes. Mr. Byers certainly used the setting to his advantage with this one.

2 - The flow, pacing, and prose of this novel is top notch. The flow is just enough that the story moves forward at a good pace but doesn't seem to lose anything due to that. It is never a slow pace, there is always something happening on the next page that begs the reader to turn the page to find out.

3 - Even with the fast paced plot, the interesting and memorable characters make this novel. Mr. Byers takes his characters through many things in this novel. A couple of the characters end the novel in places I certainly wasn't expecting so that was a bonus for me. This is far from a clichéd novel.

I was expecting a continuation of the story from the first two books, so I was a little surprised at just where this story went yet once I finished it I am okay with it. It is hard to classify this as the final novel of the trilogy based on that, but for a single book I quite enjoyed it. As I said at the start there are some fans of the Forgotten Realms who, because of the new 4th Edition rules, will shun this book. Being that I am not a gamer those new rules really don't have that big of an impact on me. I just read the novels. Thus far I have seen nothing in the `new' Realms that will make me stop reading, in fact I think the changes may be a positive things and am looking forward to see where it goes. I truly believe that fans of the Forgotten Realms should read this as I believe they will enjoy it. I know I did and will be sure to recommend the series to fans.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e896048) out of 5 stars Not as good as the first two, but still a fine series. 27 Jun. 2009
By Robert Beveridge - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Richard Lee Byers, Unholy (Wizards of the Coast, 2009)

Finally, the end of the Haunted Lands trilogy, the books that were going to make Advanced Dungeons and Dragons cool again. The first two books did a darned good job, now all that remains is for the third to finish the job. Did it work?

We open long after the events of the first two books. Aoth and company have become a band of sellswords, the Brotherhood of the Griffon. Both they and the remaining zulkirs of Thay (save, of course, Szass Tam) have fled to the Reach, where they live in exile, realizing there's not much hope of ever going home again but always trying to find some chink in the armor. This becomes something of a priority when it is discovered that Szass Tam has also been plotting, but while the others are focused on taking back Thay, Szass Tam is focused on obliterating the entire planet. Aoth and friends are forced into an unholy alliance with the zulkirs in order to try and take down Szass Tam. But things are not always as they seem...

I have to say that this one just didn't grab me the same way the first two books in the series did, but if you've read this far, that's not going to be a problem for you; you know these characters, you understand their motivations, you're already two-thirds of the way through this story. You gotta know how it ends, so you're going to read this book. And don't get me wrong, it's not bad, it's just not as good as its predecessors. Byers does know how to throw a curveball, though, and the end is satisfying enough. A must-read if you've already invested in the series. If you're new to it, go back and start with the first one first. *** ½
HASH(0x8e896288) out of 5 stars Great series, ok last book. 19 May 2010
By Aaron Chenoweth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The first two books were great and I give them both at least 4 Stars. In fact I found myself reading far into the night with both these books and then looking at the clock and saying "Where did the last 2 hours go?". However, this book just didn't have that same feel to it.

On the good side: there are some plot changes I didn't see coming. I enjoyed the ending, the overall story and found the characters interesting.

I had 3 big problems with this book. First: Szass Tam, I think he was the most interesting character in this series and yet he is just a small part in this book. And, mostly relegated to the last few chapters. Second: To many battles, I like a good battle scene but this book was one fight or battle scene after another (I think I counted 4 major battles and at least 5 minor battles). Third: To many new undead monsters, I felt like I was reading a Monster Manual at one point. I know the series is about the undead but after introducing dozens and dozens of new undead monsters one book at a time it's get a little repetitive by the third.

My final review: If you're a fan of the Forgotten Realm's books I think you will greatly enjoy this series. The last book just doesn't have that great pacing and character development the first two had, but I think you will be pleased with the overall story and conclusion.
HASH(0x8e89642c) out of 5 stars Epic Final Battle 21 May 2013
By D. Call - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great conclusion to the series, if only for the rousing final battle. I'm generally a rather harsh critic, indifferent at best, especially when it comes to endings, but the final battle in this book had me gripped for the 45 minutes or hour that it took me to read it. Quite frankly, it's one of the best concluding battle sequences I've read in quite some time. Yes, it is very DnD-ish, but shines brightly in spite of it. I can honestly say that all of the character - Bareris, Mirror, Aoth, Szass Tam, and Malark - are all given outstanding moments of valor or villainy. Well done.

The rest of the book leading up to the final battle is good, if only slightly less engaging than the previous two books. Still, the way in which the author fits in the 90 year time gap between Books 2 and 3 and the way he quickly brings the primary characters back together and introduces the overarching plot is done in a way that gets the story off to a sprinting start.

Byers has proved to me that he's an adept writer, and I certainly won't shy away from his other Realms novels. Likewise, I'd be happy to recommend this series to others - not just to DnD players, but also to any general fantasy enthusiast.

This is the stuff of great Sword and Sorcery.
HASH(0x8e896300) out of 5 stars Story line layout 3 July 2013
By Thomas Lau - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Instead of giving an additional review on how good or bad this book is, which we already have enough reviews for, here is a quick list f all the books that relate to the main characters.

The Haunted Lands (series)
- Unclean
- Undead
- Unholy

Brotherhood of the Griffon (series)
- The Captive Flame
- Whisper of Venom
- The Spectral Blaze
- The Masked Witches
- Prophet of the Dead

I hope this helps. If the series continues, I will try to update the list (but I prefer buying paperbacks, so please be patient).
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