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Darkwalker on Moonshae (Forgotten Realms: The Moonshae Trilogy #1)

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  2,197 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Tristan Kendrick, heir to the High Kings, must organize an alliance of dwarves, halflings, knights, bards, and druids against the evil creatures trying to invade Moonshae. Reprint.
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Wizards of the Coast (first published May 1987)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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No, it's not fine literature... but if you're reading Forgotten Realms novels, that's not what you're looking for anyway. Chances are you're looking for high fantasy set in a familiar setting, with characters who fill a designated role in an adventure where their very familiar abilities matter more than their motives. I'd wager that most people who read Forgotten Realms novels are gamers, either of the traditional tabletop variety where this campaign began, or of the videogamer sort who cut ...more
Jason Taylor
Apr 30, 2011 Jason Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book takes a lot of abuse from people I know who've read it. I think it's because I build it up too much. "Darkwalker" is a simple read with an uncomplicated plot and shallow character developments.

That said, it's a really good story. It has all of the elements of classic fantasy, and it moves very well. It has two of the great battle scenes in fantasy. Admittedly, the ending is kind of weak as it is anticlimactic. The climatic battle at the keep is much more interesting.

I think that Darkw
Nov 19, 2011 Brian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Darkwalker on Moonshae, although it is a D&D book in the Forgotten Realms world, stands out as a brilliant modern re-imagining of Celtic myth and legend.

The Moonshaes are an archipelago populated by two human civilizations: the Fflolk who resemble an amalgamation of ancient Irish, Scottish, and Welsh cultures; and the northmen, who are basically Vikings. The book focuses entirely on this region, specifically one country on one of the larger islands. As such, it reads much more like a stand-
Merric Blackman
Jan 05, 2016 Merric Blackman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In May 1987, the first novel set in the new Forgotten Realms world was published. Darkwalker on Moonshae by Douglas Niles was a tremendous book – at least, that’s what I thought when I read it – several times – as a teenager. Today, I finished reading it again for the first time in decades.

The book does not start well, with a fair bit of clumsy writing and very clunky dialogue. However, as I progressed through the book, the writing got better, and the story began to engage me. By the end, I reme
Aug 11, 2011 Silas rated it it was ok
This book definitely shows its age. It's much slower paced than I'm accustomed to, which made it hard to get invested in the characters at first. The plot was somewhat transparent, but well conceived. I particularly liked the celtic flavor of the setting, and druids are always a good time. It was good enough that I'll eventually pick up the next book, but I wouldn't rank it among the best books I've ever read.
Myrsini Falia
You'd think that after my misadventure of the Maztica trilogy, I would know better than to try more of Mr. Niles. But being the rather masohistic reader that I am, I picked another one. And I couldn't make it to the end. It follows the exact uncarved, unrefined trope laden path that Maztica followed (and given Maztica was written later, it seems as if the author saw if he could try and rewrite Moonshae on another setting and get away with it). The plot is the usual "rash swordsman boy, his super ...more
May 03, 2013 Dan rated it liked it
This was an exceedingly fun book to read the first time I read it *mumble* *cough* years ago. Rereading it now all these years later I have to admit: it's still a fun story. Sure it's loaded with all the typical high fantasy tropes and the plot is by and large formulaic... but, SFW, it's an entertaining read. I'm glad I reread it because I'd forgotten quite a few of the details, and I decided to give it another go because I never read the other two books in the trilogy and I'm going back to read ...more
This was a so-so trilogy, although it should be noted that that I never bothered to get book 3. The characters weren't very interesting - yes, there are some delving into their characters but it wasn't in a complex or interesting way that would make me relate better. They just feel very typical. The plot was a classic one about good versus evil, about an ancient corrupting evil. It was revolves around druids - I'm not entirely a fan of druids so that could've contributed to the lack of ...more
Jun 12, 2013 Chad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book. It was a fun and quick fantasy read. As other reviewers have noted, it is the first book written in the Forgotten Realms setting for Dungeons & Dragons. There were lots of good fight scenes and some pretty good action throughout the story. I'll say that if you are a fan of firbolgs, you won't be disappointed. The story and characters were interesting and there was also a good mix of different races, creatures and personalities.
May 28, 2014 Kathy rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
The plot is overly simplistic and predictable. The only thing that makes this book worth reading is that it is the first of the Forgotten Realms novels.
Feb 12, 2015 Rhonda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Very well written, easy to follow storyline. A treat.
Adam Sarton
Nov 20, 2016 Adam Sarton rated it liked it
this is one Darkwalker (on Moonshae). You wouldn't believe his legs. Actually, a terrible book, 3 stars for the ridiculous title. Really fun to say
David Sarkies
Jul 15, 2014 David Sarkies rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody really
Recommended to David by: Some guy at the State Library
Shelves: fantasy
The first of the Forgotten Realms novels
29 May 2012

This was, I believe, the first Forgotten Realms novel that I read, but I guess the reason for that was that it was the first Forgotten Realms novel that was released. I remember a guy from the State Library of South Australia lending it to me because he simply surrounded himself with everything Dungeons & Dragons, and was regularly promoting the Forgotten Realms. Whenever something new came out, he would have already pre-ordered it, and own
Fco. Salvador
La serie nos sitúa en unas islas con claro trasfondo céltico (nombres, aspecto, cultura), donde los aspectos mágicos y clericales típicos de D&D parecen no haberse desarrollado, siendo en cierta forma amalgamados en una religión druídica de veneración a la Madre Tierra. Todo eso está destinado a cambiar a lo largo de la serie de novelas, aunque la trama central se aleja de ello para mostrarnos los avances de un noble de una de las islas y de una aprendiz de druida, junto con un bardo y ...more
Sep 09, 2016 Duane rated it liked it
It's been many years since I've read this book... I was going through my bookshelf and trying to help my 12 yr old son pick out something to read when I recommended this book. I was probably 4-5 yrs older than him when I read it for the first time but thought he'd enjoy it. After recommending it to him I thought that maybe I'd revisit it as well. It was one of the first roleplaying books I read and it still holds up today. Mind you it's not a deep or riveting book but has elements of fantasy and ...more
Aug 23, 2013 Karmakosmik rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
"Darkwalker On Moonshae", scritto da uno dei papa di Dungeons & Dragons, è il primo romanzo scritto ed ambientato nella fortunata ambientazione di D&D "Forgotten Realms". In particolare, questa prima trilogia viene ambientata nell'arcipelago delle isole Moonshae, che vede contrapposti i tranquilli e bucolici Ffolk ai più esagitati e combattivi Northmen, i quali vivono nelle isole più a nord. Le altre razze sono invece per lo più limitate all'interno di una vallata, Myrloch Vale, nel ...more
Aug 15, 2013 Scott rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnd, forgotten-realms
It was a quick D&D book. I did not hate it, and found some fun parts, lots of battles and interesting adventures, but for the relative length not a lot of character development or world building. What I mean is that I did not get a feel for any history of this world or what had caused these events to occur. I found it hard to root for the main character, and felt the revolving door of secondary characters pulled me through the book more so than any of the main group.

There are parts in the b
Roman Kurys
Jun 23, 2016 Roman Kurys rated it really liked it
Not knowing what to expect from this book, I figured why not try and explore where "Forgotten Realms" books started, so gave this a shot.
It was actually a quite good read. I enjoyed the authors approach to frequent point of view changes and telling the story from multiple perspectives. Lots of fantasies either move non stop (DragonLance Weiss works for ex.) which at some point becomes boring or you get Terry Brooks style where it's a loooon travelogue where you also get bored in the middle.
For m
Aug 23, 2012 secondwomn rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, reread, sff, 2012
read this oh-so-long ago and reread now. i never knew before that this was the very first forgotten realms series but can't say i'm surprised. niles writes here in an odd mishmashy style that isn't quite oral nor quite textual storytelling. he heavily prioritizes action and world-building over character and story development. nothing particularly earthshatteringly interesting here, but it's solid. if you know what to expect from these d&d sorts of books, it's satisfying enough. if you're ...more
Mar 19, 2015 Vali rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
In between more serious reading I enjoy a good dose of junk food fiction. This is the first Forgotten Realms book I read since I was a kid, and the first Forgotten Realms novel ever. I wish I could give the book more stars but I just can't. I wasn't expecting Tolkien here, or even David Eddings, but the writing is terrible. It's as if the publisher gave the author a week to bang out a book because the pacing is furious. This results in poor character development and clunky transitions between ...more
Aug 13, 2012 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not surprised that this was the first in a new line of rpg novels by a first time novelist. It's full of interesting ideas that never seem to develop beyong the point of ”oh, that could have been a good idea.”

It does pick up quite a bit at about the halfway mark, though the main characters remain rather dull and flat throughout. It's saving grace is the constant introduction of secondary characters who manage to be more entertaining than the main trio, which isn't saying a whole lot, but at
Rafael Yaocoyotl
Un ejemplo clásico del género de espada y hechicería, o más formal, fantasía épica. El argumento no es malo: el poder del "mal" corrompe la naturaleza, aunque la trama tiene momentos buenos, en general es algo lenta, y no porque la historia sea aburrida, sino por que los personajes son algo planos y estereotipos. Lo que en sí me causó problema fue que la narración de cosas como la caminata por un bosque, fuera más densa que de algo que sí necesitaba ser mejor descrito, como las batallas. Los ...more
Chris Conley
Jul 25, 2014 Chris Conley rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
More than anything, this book made me nostalgic for the time I spent years ago playing on a Neverwinter Nights server based on the trilogy. Overall, the writing didn't impress me all that much, but it's a good story, even if I found the execution a little slower than I'd have liked. It did pick up during the last third of the book, so I'll definitely read the rest of the trilogy.

I found the book's habit of retelling recent events through different viewpoints both jarring and annoying. The setti
Peter Greenwell
Jul 27, 2015 Peter Greenwell rated it liked it
More of a 2.5/5 but I'm in a generous mood. Well, this is about as common or garden a fantasy story can get. Wooden characterisations, trite plotting, overwrought dialogue, no surprises anywhere. The hero (and heroine) save the day...but wait, who's this?

Yes, you get it, I'm sure. Yet, it's pulled off with a good deal of verve and enthusiasm which makes it a compelling page turner. Plus, I love the Forgotten Realms milieu so my forgiveness level for creaky writing has been elevated.

Sure, I'll re
Scott Taylor
Jun 26, 2013 Scott Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will say, that although Douglas Niles came out of the TSR staff writers room, that doesn't mean he didn't deserve to headline the release of the first Forgotten Realms fiction. Darkwalker on Moonshae [covered with an incredible work by Keith Parkinson] is a very solid read in the genre of adventure fiction. Even strapped with the mechanics of the D&D system, the story content, character relationships, and setting are extremely well done, and I give Niles great props for being able to grab ...more
Jul 11, 2012 Lenny rated it really liked it
Read these 20 years ago. Frickin' loved them.

Sweet ass bad guy.
Druids and all they conjure up for you (it should be good).
Straight up Legendary creatures that are lovely and awesome.
at some point, a giant panther monster with hook laden tentacles...and he is a BASTARD!

If you are 18 and dig fantasy and 16,342 other Forgotten Realms books haven't been written yet and you can find a copy, then I would say:

Read this/these books.
Greg Strandberg
Jun 30, 2014 Greg Strandberg rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I don't remember this book that well since I read it way back in high school or something.

I'm pretty sure I didn't much care for it, however, and that's because I didn't read Books 2 and 3. I was reading a lot of Forgotten Realms back then, especially trilogies, so this one must not have been too memorable, as I've said.

Still, I don't think it warrants 1-star, which I had it as. I'm going to bump it up to 2-stars because I think it was just OK.
Nov 02, 2014 Peter rated it liked it
This was my first venture into D&D fiction, having resolved to read the Forgotten Realms in publication order. I have to admit, it was better than I anticipated. Granted, it is not a perfect story and the writing isn't particularly strong in some areas, but the story in general was entertaining and some of the characters were complex enough to keep the story engaging. It's all entertainment, so I'm not looking for anything deep. Fun read all in all.
Shannon Appelcline
My biggest problem with this book was that I found it painfully slow. It really drags, especially in the numerous villain viewpoints, which rarely moved the plot. I also found it to be very generic fantasy. I remember when it came out there was a lot of attention to its Celtic influences — the hounds, druids, bards, Firbolg, and such. 25 years later, that just hasn't aged well, and it no longer seems that unique.
Chad Hoblitz
Feb 17, 2015 Chad Hoblitz rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
I have read quite a bit of D&D fiction but not sure what to think of this one. I was bored a 100 pages in and it felt like Scandinavian and Celtic overlay in a Forgotten realms setting. I knew what I was getting into just didn't expect it to be so jilted, slow and boring. Put it down and didn't finish it.
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Douglas Niles is a fantasy author and game designer. Niles was one of the creators of the Dragonlance world and the author of the first three Forgotten Realms novels, and the Top Secret S/I espionage role-playing game. He currently resides in Delavan, Wisconsin with his wife, Christine, and two Bouviets, Reggie and Stella. He enjoys playing his guitar, cooking, and visiting with family.

More about Douglas Niles...

Other Books in the Series

Forgotten Realms: The Moonshae Trilogy (4 books)
  • Black Wizards (Forgotten Realms: The Moonshae Trilogy, #2)
  • Darkwell (Forgotten Realms: The Moonshae Trilogy, #3)
  • Winterheim (Dragonlance: Icewall, #3)

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