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The Adversary > The Adversary - Chapters 7-10

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message 1: by Chad (new)

Chad Peek (mordrim) | 255 comments Mod
So we are starting to see Sairche's plan unfold, and poor Farideh is in a pretty tough spot.

The last section was a short one so we can add one extra chapter of "The Adversary goodness" to our reading list for this week.

Enjoy, and as always, I am looking forward to reading everyone's comments.


message 2: by Justin (new)

Justin (berliad) | 106 comments This was a really fun section.

It's fun to watch Dahl work.

Farideh's plight is getting really interesting. I'm fascinated by this ghost and the rituals it is enticing her to perform. Anyone (or anything) that is opposed to Rhand has to be worth supporting, right? I hope...

Somehow, I'm finding myself rooting for Lorcan. Not just in his wonderfully satisfying victory over Sairché, but even in his dealings with Havilar. As I've said before, I'm new to these characters, but I haven't really found much of a connection to Farideh's younger sister yet. She's mad, won't talk about it, and seems content (sort of) to just stay mad!


message 3: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Oh...here's where we get to Tharra. I have stories about Tharra. Only I think you might need a little more information before I share them...Just a bit. Next section.

But the Fountains of Memory! Initially, I didn't have a location in mind, aside from needing it to be near enough to Waterdeep to reach within one book and remote enough that it would be reasonable to say no one noticed yet. The Lost Peaks were offered up, but the Fountains were a major detail of the location. That was nearly enough to rule it right out...but then I realized it could work nicely with a lot of the themes and characters. (You can read about the Fountains' pre-Spellplague state in Ascendancy of the Last by Lisa Smedman.)

This section also has the introduction of the Wroth cards! When we were first getting around to titling the Sundering novels, we had the idea of making the titles pieces of the prophecy that appears in the beginning of the book. Which is a great idea, but Salvatore and Kemp had already decided on their titles, and they were too short and direct to be lines of prophecy. But I pointed out they sounded like tarot card names.

Which gave me the idea of using the cards in the book. Ed Greenwood pulled out a variety of tarot deck analogues from the Realms. Wroth was the one that fit the existing titles, so together with the titles Ed had already created (and a few more it turned out I needed), Wroth makes its appearance in the Sundering.

Now, lucky you, here's the description Ed sent me: "One sort of tarot is descended from ancient Netheril, and known as Wroth (for reasons lost to time). It’s still used among Sword Coast royalty, nobility and “oldblood” families (including farmers and the impoverished), for both fortune-telling and gaming purposes. Thought to be old, and a connection to the land and its deities deeper than priests and organized religion - - so cheating at cards is unthinkable. The fortunes are warnings, not absolutes, so you can change your fate if you heed the cards and act accordingly.
The 22 cards all have names and gorgeous illustrations, such as The Rising Dragon, The Masked Lady, and The Well. Four represent named characters (human males Draevus and Loskor, and human females Paeryl and Tethyla) about whom many folk tales have been told (Draevus is the handsome, saucy-tongued happy-go-lucky, clever, unlikely-successful ne’er-do-well; Loskor is the tall, thin, dark and gloomy, menacing hand of justice/doom/retribution whose face sometimes looks like a skull; Paeryl is a simple but good, just, and kind nurturing mother/cook figure; and Tethyla is a dancing-by-night temptress who dares anything and fearlessly consorts with undead and willingly undergoes shapechanges from fell spellcasters)."

I really wish Wizards had snapped up the notion of crafting Wroth cards for GenCon. ;)

The game Farideh plays (Dusty Deadknight) is a variant of Canfield.


message 4: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Berliad we must have posted at the same time. I never saw this.
Berliad wrote: " As I've said before, I'm new to these characters, but I haven't really found much of a connection to Farideh's younger sister yet. She's mad, won't talk about it, and seems content (sort of) to just stay mad!"

This is not Havilar in her best form. Normally, Havilar is the cheerful one, the brash one, the one who's probably the closest thing to comic relief in these books. She's sort of oddly innocent and inclined to compartmentalize. Probably the most telling thing about her is that her biggest fears are simultaneously being trapped in Farideh's shadow and Farideh becoming her own person without Havilar. So this is kind of a mess for her, since it's BOTH of those, plus Farideh's choices have taken away everything Havilar was sure about (the glaive, Brin, that she could count on Farideh to be the responsible one). So I would say she's content to stay mad, because figuring out what comes next on her own is sort of terrifying (it's not a great strategy; Farideh usually handles the strategy).

I'm trying to think of another good analogy...Nothing's quite right. I think she's definitely the "younger" of the twins, regardless of who was born first.

Lately, I've been thinking about series fiction and catering to new readers and old. I put a lot of thought and effort into trying to manage both here, and it's really useful to see what's come through and what hasn't. So I very much appreciate comments like these!


message 5: by Justin (new)

Justin (berliad) | 106 comments To be fair, I'm sort of "doing it wrong" by reading this without reading the prior novels. Despite all of that, I feel very much up to date on what is going on with these characters, even if I've missed out on those^^ aspects to Havilar's pre-disaster character. I don't feel lost at all in the plot (well, beyond the points at which I think I'm supposed to be lost), and feel like I have a pretty good idea of the history between each of these characters. Something could always pop up later. But given that I had only passing familiarity with them at the start of the book (I listened to a Tome Show book club at one point on Brimstone Angels, and understood little!), I feel like it's been a very easy book to pick up and read without background knowledge!


message 6: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Please don't feel like you're doing it wrong! I wrote fully expecting a lot of new readers--the first two books were not widely publicized, the Sundering has been.

You do get a weird experience in that I'm here to fill in anything that you miss. :p

It's genuinely a tricky part of writing a series--moreso a series that jumps crossover series. You don't want to alienate new readers, but you cannot reasonably make every book a "first book." It's the first time I've had to think about it, so the feedback is appreciated--the good stuff too! (I'm glad you're getting into it).


message 7: by Erin (last edited Jan 07, 2014 01:09PM) (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
I also just noticed there's another Fountains interlude in here! Fortunately, now you know what the Fountains of Memory are, so it's a little less confusing.

This was one of the scenes that made me fight to keep the weird interludes. There is absolutely no tidy way to convey this event and make Farideh aware of it without the Fountains. I quite like it as well. I could pretend that there's no way to know who the man in armor is, but this is what Dahl was talking about when he said Oghma spoke to him, and I'm inclined to agree with him.

EDIT: And Daranna! Daranna is the first elf character I've ever written that I genuinely love. She, too, is a refugee from my original Sundering story pitch, although she had a few dramatic changes--including becoming an elf.

Ooh, and Magros. Man, I forgot a lot about this book...


message 8: by Mik (new)

Mik Calow (Vobeskhan) | 19 comments Although being "late to the party" and not starting the book till four days ago, I have now caught up and finished chapter 10 last night.

Sadly I haven't kept up with the fiction side of the Forgotten Realms apart from the Drizzt series, my last books being the Avatar trilogy and Pool of Darkness way back. That said, I am finding the new characters I'm being introduced to through the Sundering series are really interesting and I may well begin filling my Kobo with the back catalogue.

Back to the this book though. The scene with Mehen's reunion with his girls was brilliant and being a father myself I can totally see his view of his relief at seeing them outweighing any possible anger at them. I'm liking the interspersed Draconic cursing too, is this totally made up or is there a source for such things (my players would love to use such things in game)?.

When the ghost first appeared I thought perhaps it could be Farideh's ancestor, so I'm not totally convinced it has her best interests at heart.

Lorcan is an intersting character (I have a soft spot for Cambion's as one is the main villian in an ongoing tale I'm writing myself) and look forward to him working his charms on Havilar despite the reappearance of Brin.

So many thanks to Erin for not just inviting me to these forums but also for writing such entertaining and enjoyable tales.


message 9: by Dreaming (new)

Dreaming Isis | 78 comments The fountains interlude with Dahl was perfect. I wondered what brought him to where he mentally is, besides the botched task. Oghma straight up tells him to get his head out if his butt , but I get a feeling Dahl being Dahl, he misinterpreted it. :( poor guy.


I am fascinated by Farideh's new ability and why she has it. The description of her standing there looking at their souls and being almost mesmerized by the beauty of the lights and runes was exactly how I would expect it to effect most people. :)
But, what he he'll is Rhand doing? I have a bad feeling about it.

Havi and Lorcan: they are making me laugh. They are both so confused and repressed in what they really want/feel.


message 10: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Mik wrote: " I'm liking the interspersed Draconic cursing too, is this totally made up or is there a source for such things (my players would love to use such things in game)?"

The Draconic I use is partly established (the not-swearing) and made up (the swearing), but I do put a lot of work into making the made up words fit.

Here's a blog post I did which translates all the Draconic from the series (as well as my first book, The God Catcher): http://slushlush.com/2013/04/a-dracon...

There's a link in there to the Dragon article that I started with, too.

(...I'm not 100% sure that there's any non-cursing Draconic in this book. Also, I can tell your players, since I did the Extra Life event as Havi, "karshoji" is actually kind of hard to say in the middle of a bunch of English)


message 11: by Mik (new)

Mik Calow (Vobeskhan) | 19 comments Thanks Erin :-)


message 12: by Steve (new)

Steve Mumford | 16 comments It's interesting reading through the book a second time - certain moments leap out as having fresh significance (which of course I won't mention for fear of spoiling anything!) It's very satisfying to read something that reveals greater depth the more time you spend with it.

I thought the Fountains of Memory were a great addition - they fit well with the overall story and allow flashbacks to be used in a rather more lighthanded way; and I thought Dahl's vision, as spied on by Farideh, was particularly moving. I'm definitely interested to see what the future has in store for Dahl.

The dialogue (and the cursing) is entertaining and inventive; I loved Lorcan having to bite his tongue at Havilar's horse-naming thoughts, and his attempts at manipulation - and turning the tables on his sister? I didn't see that coming! It's great to see Mehen get some action, too, after being out of the frame for the majority of the last book.

There's plenty of momentum here which makes The Adversary particularly readable, but it's the subtlety and variety of the developments that give the story an extra spark. I think it was in this section during my first read through that I realised I didn't have much chance of putting it down :)


message 13: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
I keep trying to think of some clever question to get discussion going...so of course it comes to me on a Sunday night. Oh well, I'll post it here, and then I'll repeat it in the next thread.

The trouble with the Fountain scenes is that they are set outside the narrative--the tense changes and the narrative distance shifts. They became a point of discussion with my editor because a) I was WAY over word count and something had to go and b) that change in the narrative can be off-putting for readers.

I've always maintained that fantasy/science fiction readers are primed for that kind of narrative trickery. I don't know, for example, many SF/F readers who were baffled by Inception--it's weird, but it's our bread and butter.

However, my editor is right--the audience who likes things straightforward and linear is much bigger. It's hard to pull stuff like this off.

What are some examples of shifting tense/ weird flashbacks/ other "narrative trickery" that worked for you as a reader?

Recently I was re-reading The Privilege of the Sword and the way the author shifts tense and POV from scene to scene might look a bit haphazard from a distance, but it really adds another layer to the scenes. Places where the main character is sort of "watched" from a distant third person perspective, for example, emphasize a sort of lack of control or disconnected feeling. It's totally "against the rules" and I love it. :)


message 14: by Steve (new)

Steve Mumford | 16 comments One example springs to mind immediately - in Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks, he interleaves two sets of chapters; one tells the main story and works forward through time, whereas the other is numbered in reverse and stretches backwards. Although you get the impression that the threads are moving away from each other, they tie up at the conclusion. There's a bit more information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use_of_W....

Iain (M.) Banks' work seemed to be wilfully obtuse or self-knowing at times (Feersum Endjinn is another book that seems at first glance to be deliberately trying to alienate readers), but there was a playfulness to them that set them apart - and I guess if you can shake the reader up a bit, grab their attention and give them something unexpected, it can be a risk worth taking.


message 15: by Jonn (new)

Jonn (sleypy) | 48 comments Sorry I haven't had as much time to contribute, honestly Steve pretty much says what I want to say before I get a chance to :p

What are some examples of shifting tense/ weird flashbacks/ other "narrative trickery" that worked for you as a reader?

I have never really consider it. I have gotten accustomed to some D&D authors who date chapters, and write them but of sequence. It makes me more diligent when a chapter starts.

I guess I'm one of the many boring straightforward people that limit your creativity. I like dream sequences, but I really dislike the narrative trick of "surprise! It is a dream sequences." I hate to be unwittingly placed in the midst of a dream sequence, having something happen that gets me interested, and then have the rug pulled. It is sometimes a little disappointing, and I usually give a audible "boo" (I'll be honest, the language would be a little more colorful than that.)


message 16: by Chad (new)

Chad Peek (mordrim) | 255 comments Mod
I have never really given much thought to different forms of shifting tense in a novel. It doesn't bother me at all, and I can't think of any examples where an author used a flashback of some kind and I found it awkward. Admittedly, I read books because it is fun, and I almost never say things like "I love the way the author used that shift in tense."

I guess this probably puts me in to the category of a reader who enjoys the creative aspects of a story, and takes little notice of the technical side. I think the painting is beautiful but never notice the different brush strokes. This is part of the reason that I enjoy the interaction with authors in the book club because I get a little better understanding of their processes and techniques. So now I get to enjoy the Brimstone Angels books as fun and exciting novels, as well as getting to appreciate some of the crafty tricks Erin uses to keep us all happy. :)


message 17: by Erin (last edited Jan 13, 2014 10:11AM) (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Jonn wrote: "I guess I'm one of the many boring straightforward people that limit your creativity. I like dream sequences, but I really dislike the narrative trick of "surprise! It is a dream sequences." I hate to be unwittingly placed in the midst of a dream sequence, having something happen that gets me interested, and then have the rug pulled. It is sometimes a little disappointing, and I usually give a audible "boo" (I'll be honest, the language would be a little more colorful than that.)"

It's not a limit--either I do what I want or I get inspired by the limit, so it doesn't really count. :p

I am loudly picky about how dreams ought to be done. They'd better be weird, they'd better evoke clear emotions in the dreamer, and they'd better not go on too long or explicitly predict the narrative. And unless you have a very good reason, they'd better be in present tense, because there isn't really a past tense in dreams. Which if history holds, means I'm either primed to be proven wrong...or I'm about to break all those rules myself. :p

EDIT: Ha! Just figured out how to do mutiple replies!

Chad wrote: "This is part of the reason that I enjoy the interaction with authors in the book club because I get a little better understanding of their processes and techniques. So now I get to enjoy the Brimstone Angels books as fun and exciting novels, as well as getting to appreciate some of the crafty tricks Erin uses to keep us all happy. :) "

I'm glad this kind of talk "adds." My repetoire is mostly this and diaper tips these days. (And Cormyr. My brain is filling up with Cormyr.) ;)


message 18: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Steve wrote: "Iain (M.) Banks' work seemed to be wilfully obtuse or self-knowing at times (Feersum Endjinn is another book that seems at first glance to be deliberately trying to alienate readers), but there was a playfulness to them that set them apart - and I guess if you can shake the reader up a bit, grab their attention and give them something unexpected, it can be a risk worth taking."

I like this description of it very much. I think that gets down to the heart of whether something works or doesn't: Are you trying to create a particular experience for the reader, a better more complex experience, and therefore write with them in mind? Or are you trying to get away with something--get some information out faster, show off a tricky flourish or trip the reader up?

(Yeah, okay, in my case it's both. But in general. :) )


message 19: by John (new)

John Prichard | 16 comments Swooping in from lurking because I enjoyed the fountains sequences greatly. Once I figured out what they were, that is. My first "read through" was with the audio book and the transition was a little jarring - one of the 2 complaints I have with the otherwise excellent audiobook.

As for the technique, I loved how they presented subtext in a very real, urgent way. What a person experiences in the moment is much more moving and lends more insight into the characters than having them recount the story themselves. Especially when the characters aren't reliable narrators (is anyone?).

The sequences also let us get outside of the bottles the characters are in , explore the world - the connection to the broader realms made this book much more "realmsy" if that's a word.

This book has a lot of characters hiding an aspect of their feelings, or goals, or abilities, and the fountains, or any dream/vision sequence can peel back the curtain.

On a second read through, on paper so far, the memory scenes make me long for the theoretical pagecount-heavy version of the story. I found myself eyeing the book with suspicion sometimes: "I bet something else awesome is here". Maybe it's just because I flew through the book!


message 20: by Jonn (new)

Jonn (sleypy) | 48 comments Erin wrote: "Jonn wrote: "I guess I'm one of the many boring straightforward people that limit your creativity. I like dream sequences, but I really dislike the narrative trick of "surprise! It is a dream seque..."

I probably didn't explain the tense thing very well. What I mean to say is that I don't want to become aware that I'm reading a dream sequence at the end.

I share your opinions on how dreams ought to be done (at least the ones listed).

When I DM sometimes like to throw in random elements like a person that doesn't exist at all, but they have a name in the dream. I have had that occur once or twice in my actual dreams (probably cause I'm crazy.) It would cause the wheels to spin as I tried to figure out how/should I knew this person.


message 21: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
John wrote: "On a second read through, on paper so far, the memory scenes make me long for the theoretical pagecount-heavy version of the story. I found myself eyeing the book with suspicion sometimes: "I bet something else awesome is here". Maybe it's just because I flew through the book! "

Tell me if and where that strikes you, and I'll see if there's anything I can add!

There are two complete scenes (or significant chunks. of scenes, really) that were cut, and one of the plotlines was drastically changed because I couldn't do it justice. But mostly, what you lost was extra words. A line here, half a scene there (I developed the bad habit in this book of making a scene move from point A to point D in one character's point of view, then switching to a second character who enters the scene at D, but their scene goes from B to D (if that makes sense). Those were cut, and so you lose a little more puzzling on some of the big problems, but gain chapters that don't start "Wait...what? Where'd they go?" :p

I was told at the start to keep it under 150k words. It came in at 172k. Then I cut it down to 160k, and my editor successfully argued for more pages, because at that point we'd pared it down as much as possible. So I had room to add, for example, the Fountain interludes back in. :)


message 22: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Jonn wrote: "I probably didn't explain the tense thing very well. What I mean to say is that I don't want to become aware that I'm reading a dream sequence at the end."

Oh, I got it! I just leapt over a couple of points. You wouldn't get that experience unless the writer maintained the tense--if it looks like everything else, there's nothing to signal that things have changed.

I love that addition! It's the right balance of "dreamlike" and "not too weird to follow."

(I always dream about people I know who look like complete strangers. Like, once i had a dream where my husband and I were looking for something in a park? And while in life my husband is a skinny, white, thirtysomething, in my dream he was a Black tween boy who came to my shoulder. Which didn't confuse me at all in the dream, except that he was also into skateboarding, which he kept trying to do while we searched. I don't think I could pull that off in a narrative...Although now I want to try.)


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