This book follows the plotting of Cyric who along with Midnight/Mystra was elevated to God hood at the end of the Avatar trilogy, (Shadowdale, Tantras and Waterdeep - by Richard Awlinson). This book is best off thought of as a pre cursor to the final book to the unofficial quintet of books, Crucible: the trial of Cyric the mad. This book explains the story of where Kelemvor, Midnights lover killed by Cyric in Waterdeep, is being hidden. Now that Cyric is god of the dead, lies, decay etc.., he should be able to locate the soul of Kelemvor, but someone or something is hiding him. Whilst he schemes to take revenge for this act upon the rest of the 'council' of gods in the pantheon, you see the reactions and counter plots of the other 'goodly' gods when it suits them. The finally of this story comes with a suprising twist, although the twist fizzles out in the predictable last couple of pages. If you liked the Avatar trilogy, read this along with Crucible. A great set of books. NB: The Avatar trilogy was written under the psudonym Richard Awlinson, Prince of Lies was written by James Lowder. This was loved by the original author and prompted him to write Crucible as himself, Troy Denning. Happy reading.
Cyric was written as he was meant to be in this book. I found my old Forgotten Realms novels recently and re-read the Avatar series, and Cyric was written as a cartoonish villain or a person with minor anti-social mental problems, but not as a real villain that you feared and thought "yeah, he's totally evil". This book, Cyric was evil to the core. The things he did to Rinda, the people in the Realm of the Dead, Gwydion in particular (cutting out various body parts, nailing him into a suit of armor? Sick, vile, evil, everything an evil god should be) showed that Cyric was the right choice for the ultimate god of evil. Cyric doesn't just sit and plot (and fail) like Bane did. He plots, he plans, he succeeds (for the most part). Without magic, or the assistance of other gods, Cyric creates a book so powerful it can warp even the minds of gods, and unleashes a hellhound capable of destroying the worshippers of other gods. All of this is part of his plan to be THE deity of the realms. It would have succeeded too, if it weren't for Mystra. Even though his ultimate plan failed, the Cyrinishad was still created, the hound still unleashed, and ultimately, Kelemvor and Mystra's love destroyed. Cyric owned this novel. The other characters were just window dressing and filler/deus ex machina. Cyric should have succeeded, and this is the first time I've ever rooted for a villain. My hatred of Mystra grew even stronger. I don't normally feel such emotions from Forgotten Realms books (they're an amusing way to pass the time, mostly). I loved this book. One of my all time favorite realms novels.
It's not very often that a writer can take someone else's trilogy ande expand on it. James Lowder has done Richard Awlinson proud. If you liked the Avatar trilogy, then I would suggest, nay, implore you to buy this book. I am convinced you will not be disappointed. See what happened to your favourite characters after Waterdeep. Including a surprise at the end. If you want to know what the surprise is, you will have to read the book.