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on 25 August 2006
I had no idea when I bought this book that not only was it a very early example of Hamilton's work but that the plot was based on a very popular boardgame of the time. There are two more books in the Ravenloft the Covenant trilogy and both of these are written by different authors.

Hamilton's writing in this book is not well polished like those who have become used to both the Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series and I think maybe this is also because she has tried to encompass part of a popular game the plot does not work as well as her own original storylines.

If you've nothing better to read then maybe get yourself a copy but don't bust a gut going out of your way.
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VINE VOICEon 18 September 1999
One of the worst Ravenloft novels that I have read. The main adventuring group don't reach Cortton until chapter 19 and what follows isn't worth the mammoth wait. One of the central characters Jonathan Ambrose just doesn't cut it for me. Furthermore,I didn't enjoy the way in which the party meet their demise. On the plus side you do get some insights on the domain lord - Harkon Lukas. However, this fails to save it as you will not feel compelled to read this book twice.
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on 11 August 1998
Having read this book shortly after finishing Heart of Midnight, I was very into Harkon Lukas, whom I thought played a prominent role in this novel. He does, but not until the near end. The story mostly focuses on a group of adventurers tied to a society that combats Evil in Kartakass. They are sent to the village of Cortton to cure the plague of undead that walks the streets. Along the way, they must contend with one of their own slowly becoming a wizard (their leader hates magic) and some newcomers to the land who seem to be able to raise the dead to true life, something unheard of in the domain.
The beginning (most of the book) was slow, and the travel seemed to take-up most of the story, but once they got to the village, Laurell K. Hamilton showed me that she could write a good tale. The ending was near-perfect in its setup, and leaves the reader wondering what happened to more than one of the characters (however, if they know anything about Kartakass and Luk as in general, they could figure it out) and if there will be a sequel (here's hoping).
In all, a good read.
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on 18 March 1998
Unless you are versed in the history of the land of the mists Ravenloft, you may not get as much enjoyment from this offering as you would expect.
This is a departure from the standard Laurell Hamilton offering, even though the supernatural theme is prevalent. If you like Harkon Lukas, the Domain Lord of Kartakass, this novel reads well, capturing somewhat the essense of the depths of which such an evil being will go to achieve his goals.
But unless you are grounded in the lore of Ravenloft, you may find some of the narrative in this novel a bit weak. It is not to par with some of her better efforts, such as GUILTY PLEASURES or THE KILLING DANCE. But to an avid gamer there is worth in this book from a resource background. The side story of the group transported to Ravenloft is most engaging, you do end up wondering what happens to them. The description of how wolfweres hunt and kill was eerily done and lingered in the mind long afterward. But as a whole, the story seemed unfocused and unfinished.
I would like to see a further effort by the author that focused more on the Dark Lord Harkon himself and not so much on the side stories.
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on 17 March 1998
According to the back cover of the book, the story is about Jonathan Ambrose, mage finder and mage hater, having to investigate a plague of undead in a village. Well, he does, but quite at the end of the book. Instead, Laurell K. Hamilton focuses more of the story on the teaching of his stepdaughter trying to learn the ways of magic. She swears she is not evil, and all people, even her teacher, another mage, do too. But Jonathan is not completely convinced, and he may be very right... I expected more of the book, rather than reading about a girl having visions becoming a mage. The end is very open, actually the book does not quite have an end, and I suspect, I even hope, that a follow-up comes.
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on 9 September 2013
When you read a Ravenloft novel you don't necessarily expect great literature (and I say this as a huge fan of both the Game and the Novels), they are after all a guilty pleasure and a bit of harmless creepy Gothic fun. Even given my realistic expectations I found this book to be truly awful!!!

I find it hard to believe this went through any form of editing process or even proof reading, and I'm even more shocked that TSR actually paid the author for her work!! Then again perhaps that's why they went out of business. I hope she used her pay cheque to buy a thesaurus as she is badly in need of one. I lost count of the number of times the same word was used in a sentence only to be repeated one or two lines later. The quality of the writing was something I would expect from a 13 or 14 year old not from an educated adult let alone a professional author!!

Not only is the book found wanting on a technical level the story is rotten. The opening sections drag on with loads of useless (and poorly executed) descriptions. Some interesting characters appear like the Wizard who takes on the protagonist as his student but their backgrounds are never explored instead the author prefers to repeated the same one dimensional feelings and reactions of the main character and her father figure.

Worst of all once the plot actually gets into gear the story suddenly stops. No resolution, no idea of what happens to the surviving characters, no explanation or even outcomes for the various relationships and arks explored in the novel, nothing. It just ends. You don't even know what becomes of the protagonist or any of the main characters. Instead you get a little prologue which explores the fate of the villain. Such a rubbish ending makes you question why you wasted your time wading through the terrible writing. Perhaps the author herself got so sick of the stinking pile of nonsense she'd written that she just gave up.

There are some quality Ravenloft books out there such as "the Enemy Within" and "Scholar of Decay". If you fancy a bit of Ravenloft guilty pleasure try those but please, please don;t waste your time or money on this abomination!
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on 2 August 1999
On the whole I felt a sense of being let down. Harkon Lukas was hardly in the novel. Why introduce the self doubt into Calum at the beginning of the book then leave him out until the end - why have this character in the book when he contributes nothing to the story or character development of others. The same can be said of the characters that are brought from another realm, why? They had nothing to do with the story, and didn't even help with the plague of undead, the story would have made just as much sense if they hadn't been in it - was this just padding out the book to get your money's worth. I know the story would have been very thin if Harkon had got his wishes straight away, but why would a character like Harkon arranged everything that was happening at Cortton so that he could have his meeting in a corridor - his life must be tedious, if he wants this excitement. I know some people will say I've missed the point of the novel, but I feel the opportunity was lost for a good story
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on 10 March 1999
I really enjoyed reading this book! A young girl discovers she has the ability to control magic. The novel describes excactly what she feels when working with magic and what the magic does to her. I experienced that whats on the backside of the book is not the core of the novel; the magic itself is! Another great thing of the book is the beginning and the ending. The start of the book has (almost) nothing to do with the core of the book. Only in the end everything falls in place. If you like reading Ravenloft, this is the one!
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on 22 June 2014
After reading , and loving, all of the 'Anita Blake' series, I found the characters in this book lacked depth and the settings were devoid of description.
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on 4 March 2008
As a Laurell K. Hamilton fan, I had expectations, which were not met in any way. This is in no way up to the same standards as Anita Blake or Merry Gentry novels (which, admittedly, is understandable if this is an early work). I do have to admit I know nothing about the Ravencroft series, but after reading this I'm not likely to read any others. Even if you ignore the author's name, I still think the story is disappointing. The characters and descriptions are brilliant, and show great promise as they story builds up to an assumed great adventure - but then you realise you're halfway through the book and nothing's happened. I also didn't enjoy the end part of the book which (without spoiling the ending) left me utterly depressed. Nothing had been achieved by the end of the book, and I felt that it had all been utterly pointless and that I'd wasted my time reading it.
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