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Azure Bonds (Forgotten Realms: Finder's Stone, #1)
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Azure Bonds

(Forgotten Realms: Finder's Stone #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  4,516 ratings  ·  114 reviews
Alias ​is an excellent warrior but she is in serious difficulties. One day she wakes up with blue, twisting and magical runes inscribed on her right arm, and with total amnesia about the circumstances that surround the tattoo. Ready to unveil the impenetrable mystery, Alias ​​forms a group that integrates a series of heterogeneous characters. Ruskettle, halfling troubadour ...more
Paperback, 380 pages
Published October 1st 1988 by TSR (first published 1988)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,516 ratings  ·  114 reviews

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Mike (the Paladin)
I'm including this on my "Epic Fantasy" shelf even though it really isn't in the same class as The Lord of the Rings, The Deed of Paksenarrion and other epic fantasies it's more brain candy-ish than those.... Still it does fit into the "epic" template.

Our protagonist/heroine here wakes one morning with an amazing tattoo on her arm. It almost glows and seems to actually be under the skin.

And there are strange holes in her memory.

From there in the best Dungeons and Dragons style we put together a
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read a lot. And when it comes to my reading in the Forgotten Realms, I want to be immersed in story and the rich setting that is Faerun. To my pleasant surprise, reading Azure Bonds was akin to sitting down at a gaming table and rolling dice through the story. Not in any way 'railroading' through the story, mind you, but an immersive journey through Cormyr, Shadowdale and Westgate.

Thanks Kate and Jeff... looking forward to The Wyvern's Spur!
Feb 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: forgotten-realms


So I was totally dreading this book, and it turned out to be way better than I thought! Perhaps this is the point when the FR novels started to get good (early-mid ninties).

The characters were good and intriguing, the bad guys were not minor characters that were just there to kill everybody. The plot was maybe the most surprising...there was a mystery that I really couldn't figure out for more than half the book.

The biggest problem with this book, I thought, was that there were 5 villians
Apr 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, games
Pretty good old school fantasy novel. Be warned, however, that this is a very dense book. It feels like an entire trilogy crammed into one volume because there is just so much going on.
Luke Scull
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
The adventuress Alias awakens one morning having lost her memory. The only clue as to what has befallen her is the glowing blue tattoo on her arm: a series of sigils that react violently to magic. Determined to unravel the mystery of the azure bonds, Alias joins forces with a mute lizard warrior, an exotic mage and a greedy halfling bard on an adventure that pits her against assassins, dragons, and worse.

The first Forgotten Realms novel by married writer duo Jeff Grubb and Kate Novak was certain
Jukka Särkijärvi
Why do I keep reading these?

Azure Bonds is not a bad book, as such. It's just not a very good book either, and has little to distinguish itself. It has something of a classic's position in the canon of the Forgotten Realms, being one of the first Forgotten Realms novels (fourth, unless I miss my mark, being preceded by Darkwalker on Moonshae, The Crystal Shard and Spellfire) and one of the few among the initial rush that was not aggressively bad. It is also one of the few that made it in during
Charlie George
Oct 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people wondering about forgotten realms fantasy
Excellent popcorn fantasy. Alias discovers blue markings on her arm that give her unpredictable power. But she can't remember how they got there. In fact, she can't remember much about her recent past, and comes to wonder if her more distant memories are even real. Who or what is she?

Various entities of evil vie for control over her and all come together in a rather exciting apex of carnage and mayhem. I do love to watch the fireworks when great powers collide.

As a Forgotten Realms book, it is p
Ranting Dragon
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dan

Azure Bonds, written by Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb, was published in 1988 and tells the story of a sell-sword named Alias who awakens one morning to find a mysterious tattoo on her arm with no memory of how it came to be there. Her quest to uncover information about the symbols inscribed thereon leads to battles against powerful magic users, assassins, undead Liches, and even a God, all of which leaves her questioning her very existence.

You awake in a taver
Elijah Meeks
Feb 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Probably the best AD&D adventure story. That's not ringing praise, I know, but I enjoyed this book as a child and found deeper than any other book of the style, as evidenced by it being the only such book I remember. ...more
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
A short take:

This book is so much friggin fun! As compared to some contemporary fantasy I have read, the density of this book's plot is ridiculous: you get dragons, demons, the undead, assassinations, gods, rites, swordplay, magical duels, mystery, prophesy, characters that win your sympathy, and a story that *actually ends at the close of the book*. That's it; finite; I have reached the end and I don't have to find another handful of books to reach the conclusion. Hot damn!

More thoughts:

I remem
Nov 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
So the thought process was to widen my love for the Forgotten Realms by going back to the infancy of the realms and reading as many of the books, that I can. The task I've started is going to be rough if there are more books out there as tedious as Azure Bonds was to read. I appreciate the humble beginnings and I've probably become spoiled as most of my experience is from reading classics from Salvatore and Kemp, among others. This isn't an attack on Jeff Grubb, because I don't think it's as muc ...more
Jordan Steinhoff
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
This holds up surprisingly well.

I first read this as a teen and checked it out again after explaining the SSI Gold Box games to a friend. Story is still engaging. Characters are still fun. One word: Dragonbait.
Hector Ibarraran
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I just reread this at age 33... having read it a few times as an adolescent. [At this point I will confess that the cover played a pretty big part in me selecting book initially.] But it is a truly great read and a classic D&D/fantasy book filled with a really interesting group of characters grappling with a very interesting dilemma - someone waking up with no memory and a strange tattoo.. who starts to behave strangely and has to get to the bottom of it. I only hope that the authors got some ro ...more
Shannon Appelcline
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, rpgs
Shockingly good for gaming fiction, especially of such an early vintage. Grubb & Novak do a great job of creating interesting characters and laying out a compelling mystery as well. They're also rather masterful at the way they evoke the feeling (and details) of the Realms, without ever feeling like those details are unnecessary clutter.

Overall, a fine fantasy story, both when I read it as a teenager and when I reread it recently.
A classic Dungeons & Dragons adventure story with a mystery element that slowly unravels as more and pieces are uncovered. The characters are interesting and not stereotypical at all, with complex relationships that get more complex as the plot goes on.
Apr 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this one 20-25 years ago, but its probably the only Forgotten Realms book I remember anything about, and still occasionally think of. I highly recommend it for any Swords and Sorcery /fantasy fans.
David Parsons
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
So many Forgotten Realms trilogies were being written and printed during this period.... I enjoyed them all and since AD&D was popular I played it alot. These books helped with the playing experience. Great book though.
Feb 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I loved this book when it first came out and have re read it several times since. For a forgotten realms book, this is topflight, a fun enjoyable read with very good characters.
Mar 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in early high school. It was a favourite and one of the few books I've re-read more than 5 times. Fantasy nerd! ...more
Oct 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rpg-fiction, fantasy
Fun book, great characters, entertaining adventure, and an honest to goodness ENDING, all in less than 400 pages. The exception to the "all D&D fiction is boring, amateurish garbage" rule. :) ...more
Jamie Walker
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Forgot how awesome this was - from dragon flight battles, to rogue gods, halfling bards and tattoos that just don't want to leave you alone. ...more
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book. Definitely a step up from the Douglas Niles's "Moonshae" trilogy. The characters are interesting and the banter between them is always good for a laugh. ...more
Jun 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
So, I learned a few things from Azure Bonds. The first is that Dragonbait is the best boy, and the second is that Olive Ruskettle is a trash panda. Bards really are the herpes of any D&D session, don't @ me.

The only other Forgotten Realms novel I've read is The Crystal Shard and although I ultimately enjoyed it a little more, this one is still plenty of fun. It gets a little convoluted, but it still has the edge of a decently compelling mystery at it's core. Plus, there are female characters! Ev
Don Brown
I read the 2012 Kindle version of Azure Bonds of this 1988 work originally published by TSR. This book has a potentially interesting story to tell. Sadly, the idea is executed poorly and has too many flaws to be a noteworthy book. It is not Ed Greenwood bad, as Grubb and Novak present their own bevy of problems in this novel. Azure Bonds is a predictable sword-and-sorcery tale tied directly to D&D. It also harbors overwrought an mystery trying to be a story of personal discovery. Despite this hi ...more
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
You can never go back, except when you can. This really isn't that bad. I've been lugged this book through 4 or 5 moves in the expectation of reading it again, for the first time since I was 14 or 15. I realised last month that it was probably a lot of shit and I should charity shop it...but I started reading it first. And it's really not a bad story at all.

Alias, a mercenary and adventure, who appears on the cover of the only addition in ridiculous nearly naked armour, wakes up in an inn with
MorteTorment(Unofficial World's Fastest Reader)
Earlier today I tried to post a review, judging this book much more harshly, complaining about how the main character is only in the first part of the trilogy, but the site borked on me, and well, I've been given more time to think about this book.

First of all, like I tried to say before, this book is really really good. It gave me exactly what I was looking for. A very entertaining fantasy adventure about self discovery, featuring a very likable female protagonist.

This book is about a female sw
Hurst Gannon
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the first fantasy book I ever read; I picked it off the shelf at Coles when I was around 10 years old. After reading it, I was hooked on the Forgotten Realms series and have been ever since. It was cheesy, with names like "Moulder" - a god who infects victims with spores that turn into flowers growing out of their ears (as a kind of mind control); a character who communicates with smells; creatures from multiple dimensions; etc. All that aside, the Finder's Stone series is well written, ...more
Mar 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a solid 3.5 stars that I've rounded up to 4.

The novel concerns Alias, a swordswoman with a fuzzy memory and a set of mysterious tattoos. She forms an adventuring party with Dragonbait (a sword-weilding lizardman), Akabar (a merchant and mage), and Olive (a sticky-fingered bard), in order to figure out what's happened to her.

While the plot of this book is a bit predictable, it's a solid adventure with some great characters, Dragonbait being my favorite. He's a bit mysterious at first but
Jason Jorgenson
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly Good

I am replaying the old Gold Box classics. I decided to read this book before I got to Curse of the Azure Bonds. Admittedly, I was worried, these sorts of books can be either trash or treasures, with little in between. I'm pleased to say it is more treasure than trash. It has one of the best representations of the Paladin archetype without hitting the reader over the head. The characters develop, learning as they go. The hing I'd say that was a minor negative was having the villa
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Kate Novak graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BS in Chemistry. She is a fantasy author primarily published in the Forgotten Realms and Ravenloft shared worlds. She is married to Jeff Grubb. Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb are co-authors of the best-selling Finder's Stone Trilogy, and collaborated on the book Azure Bonds. The success of the book resulted in the creation of the computer ga ...more

Other books in the series

Forgotten Realms: Finder's Stone (3 books)
  • The Wyvern's Spur (Forgotten Realms: Finder's Stone, #2)
  • Song Of The Saurials (Forgotten Realms: Finder's Stone, #3)

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