Determined to drive a trade route through Anauroch, the Zhentarim have sent an army to enslave the fierce nomads of the great desert. As tribe after tribe fall to the intruders, only a single woman, Rhua, sees the true danger - but what sheik will heed the advice of an outcast witch?
Ruha finds help from an unexpected source. The Harpers, guardians of liberty throughout the Realms, have sent an agent to counter the Zhentarim. If she can help this stranger win the trust of the sheikhs, perhaps he can overcome the tribes' ancestral rivalries and drive the invaders from the desert.
©1991 TSR, Inc., c. 2011 Wizards of the Coast, Inc. (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I purchased the audio book to listen to at work and being a Dungeons & Dragons player and DM I wanted to fall into the realms, to listen and learn, of the Harper organisation and the nation of Calishman. Which is did to a point. The book was written in 1991 under TSR publications, a fantasy novel shouldn't age. The story is average, and there are the protagonists vs the enemies wishing to bring destruction of dominion over powerful, wise but disorganised tribes of the Anauroch desert. There is love, loss and small skirmishes to large battles. There is of course more to this story also, mainly the use of magic, but only just about.
This is the first novel in the Harpers Series, so for one it is a good book to read, but there is not a great amount of depth to the Harper involved. That being said, there are seventeen books in total for the series, including Ed Greenwood, so this could be a huge answer to my problem.
If I would have picked my narrator for the novel, The Parched Sea, about the deserts of Faerun, with tribes, and cut throats. I would have picked someone different. Unfortunately the narrator, you can listen to the sample to get an idea, good in his own right does not suit the themes of the story and this does at points of climatic situations, descriptions and voices get irritating having to hear a young American narrator, instead of the aged middle eastern woman we really wish to be listening to telling us the story.
In short, the book reminds me a lot of Wilbur Smiths 'Warlock' novel. Although a fantasy, TSR twist.
"Narrator was awful"
Story was great but the narrator was awful. If I hadn't returned the previous 3 books due to a bad narrator, I would have returned it also. I think Victor Bevine has spoilt me.
"Where's my epic fantasy?"
I was really hoping for some epic fantasy and some back-story on the Harpers. What I got was a war story about how a girl saves her people from an invading force. The reader was terrible and had unnatural pauses, poor voice differentiation between characters and a flat, unemotional sound. I don't know how anyone could have rated this piece 5 stars.
The story would have been better with more back-story on the Harpers and some epic fantasy adventure. By epic fantasy adventure I mean having a hero/heroine travel to strange new places, encounter new races or monsters, crawl through a few dungeons or ruins and save the world.
Hire a new reader.
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