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The Adversary > The Adversary - The Final Chapters

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message 1: by Chad (new)

Chad Peek (mordrim) | 255 comments Mod
I had thought about doing this section as Chapters 20-23 but let's be perfectly honest with ourselves, nobody is going to be able to stop at Chapter 23. :) I have so many questions that I need answers to, and having to stop before the end will probably just give me a giant migraine and force me to behave in a manner that is unbecoming of ill tempered Goblins.

So without further ado, let's blow out the candles and dive into the yummy goodness that Erin has been baking right before our eyes!! And let's hope that Adolican Rhand gets the S*** slapped out of him by Farideh.


message 2: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Chad wrote: "I have so many questions that I need answers to..."

And some of them are going to have to wait for Fire in the Blood. Like the one (I think?) you were alluding to in the other thread: What's up with the sigil on the ghost?

Moreso, I think, than the other two books, The Adversary has a major case of the cliff-hangers. The main plot is wrapped, but the dangling mysteries that lead to the next book are a lot...danglier.

Sorry (not sorry). ;)

SO here's my traditional end-of-the book questions:
1. Anything make you want to game? Anything you're planning to snatch for your own game?

2. Did you feel like this book enhanced your interest or understanding of the Sundering and the current direction of the Realms?

3. I feel like, for better or worse, a lot of readers/reviewers bring up the ways that The Adversary and Farideh (and me) aren't what you expect from a Realms story. And now that we're finished, I feel like it's fair to bring up? Agree? Disagree? What felt Realmsy to you and what felt different?

4. We have dangling questions. SPECULATE AWAY!


message 3: by Chad (new)

Chad Peek (mordrim) | 255 comments Mod
I will jump in quickly on a couple of your questions because I really got excited to answer them...and forecasting is soooo boring and I don't want to do anymore of it today.

1. The Brimstone Angels series did inspire some of my gaming. My character that I am currently playing is a Tiefling named Fariday. Sorry I stole the name but I get a chuckle out of the fact that I mispronounced her name for the entirety of the first two novels. It wasn't until you told us that her name rhymes with "fajita" that I knew how to pronounce it correctly. So it's a bit of a "tip of the hat" to Farideh for inspiring me to take a chance on a Tiefling. I used to view the Tiefling as kind of a gimmicky race. It was something you threw in to a sourcebook to say "Look something new for you to buy". Once I read Brimstone Angels I realized that the race can have a very deep backstory and can really bring quite a bit of flavor to a story arc.

2. I definitely find that each novel in the series seems to help me understand the Sundering a little better. That was something that disappointed me with the first novel. I felt like it made The Sundering seem like something that was going on without anyone really noticing. The Godborn and The Adversary really started to show us that this event, while not immediately seeming cataclysmic, was having profound impacts on a lot of people's lives.

3. I agree that The Adversary, as well as the other Brimstone Angels novels, are not what I would expect from a Realms novels. That is why I love them!! I think I put in a couple of reviews that I wrote, that these characters are not the greatest heroes in all the Realms. They make a lot of mistakes, they make things more complicated than they need to be, and it reminds me of me and my brother if we had to battle evil. We would disagree about the best course of action, we would bicker about it, and say "I told you so" the entire time. If the world were in danger and you described Farideh, Havilar, Brin, Dahl, and Mehen as the party that is going to save us I would probably say "Oh S***, We are so doomed". I don't mean that to be disrespectful of the characters, but just to emphasize what I love about them. They are not going to storm the front gate of a castle and carve up their enemies by the dozens. They are going to struggle through their plan and you have that sense of drama because you are waiting for a misstep that is going to land them all in mortal peril....again.

4. This one will have to wait for now. I will dangle my questions while you dangle your answers, and maybe we can work out a quid pro quo arrangement. Just kidding. I need to finish the book first.


message 4: by Mik (new)

Mik Calow (Vobeskhan) | 19 comments I actually finished the book Sunday evening, like Chad says, couldnt put it down.

Really liked the way Rand got his comeuppence, nicely done.

My bank account is crying now, as its going to take a battering as I collect the back catalogue for Farideh and Erevis Cale. The Sundering novels have certainly reignited my interest in Realms novels.

As to Erin's questions, well.

1. Prior to reading this book I hadnt even considered playing a Tiefling (in any edition) but this week we began a new playtest adventure and so I needed a new pc - welcome Vo Besh the tiefling, to all intents and purposes a travelling minstrel, but with a dark secret.

2. With the novels and encounters adventures I'm enjoying taking a part in the Sundering and look forward to seeing the effect it has on the Realms as we enter the new edition later this year.

3. I think the Sundering has taken the novels back to what I originally liked about them. Flawed heroes, not godlike beings but more like the ones we run in our own games, findng their place in the world and the results of their actions having meaning beyond their own lives.

4. Whats next for Fari and Havi? Will they go to Cormyr with Brin and help him get out of the marriage? Will they seek out the remaining camps and free the other Chosen? or will they search for more of the descendants of the Thirteen? Whatever they do I know I'm going be glued to the pages.

Thanks Erin for a wonderful tale.


message 5: by Jonathan (last edited Feb 03, 2014 02:29PM) (new)

Jonathan | 12 comments 1. Anything make you want to game? Anything you're planning to snatch for your own game?
Yes, but I don't have a group with which to game right now, and I also am not so much a fan of the 4th edition rules, and am keeping my eye on how the new rules get flushed out before I jump back in.

2. Did you feel like this book enhanced your interest or understanding of the Sundering and the current direction of the Realms?
Yes and no. It answered some questions I had, and gave me great hopes that some of the deities that were dead under the 4th edition rules and novels might be coming back, but it also raised a lot more questions than it answered. So in terms of increasing my understanding of the Sundering, I would say the results are mixed. As far as raising my interest level, it did not, but only because it is usually impossible to make me more interested in something I am already this greatly interested in. That isn't a failing on the part of the book or the Author.

3. I feel like, for better or worse, a lot of readers/reviewers bring up the ways that The Adversary and Farideh (and me) aren't what you expect from a Realms story. And now that we're finished, I feel like it's fair to bring up? Agree? Disagree? What felt Realmsy to you and what felt different?

In the review I wrote for Amazon, I touched on this a bit. You are far more focused on Character development and detail than many of the other authors. I believe that you have a certain vision of all of these characters and of certain events and you want us to see them as exactly the way you do as possible, whereas many of the other contract writers for the Forgotten Realms campaign are more just out to tell a good story and give a more general feel of the characters and settings.
I also believe that relationships drive your stories more so than some of the other writers. This sometimes means your rich plots sometimes get overshadowed by the characters and the relationships. In some cases, this even makes your stories sometimes feel a little more Romance-like than many of those by other Forgotten Realms authors, save perhaps Elaine Cunningham.
I also think in some ways you are still trying to discover your style and balance as an author, which makes it intriguing to read. I discovered you with Brimstone Angels, so I never had a chance to read anything you wrote before that, but in my opinion your style and balance have changed over the course between the first Brimstone Angels and Adversary. It feels, to me, like you grew increasingly more aware and more comfortable as a writer over the course of these three novels, and by the end of adversary it felt like you are just about to find that something that elevates an author from being someone that has a story to tell to someone that can really tell a story. And it is quite possible in your next four Forgotten Realms books you may come to be viewed as one of the authors who define what people "expect" from a "typical" forgotten realms book.
As far as what feels "Realmsy" and what doesn't, that is more complicated. I never felt like 4th edition itself was "Realmsy" so many of the blatantly 4th edition aspects sometimes chaffed a bit. Also as a huge fan of third and 3.5 edition world, it is a bit hard seeing so many of my favorite places in the Realms reduced to shadows of their former glory. Otherwise, while your stories are a bit less hack and slash, and a bit more intrigue and relationship driven than others I read, they do feel entirely like Forgotten Realms stories.
There is action, there is boredom, there is happiness, there is pain, there is love, there is hate, there is magic, there is mundane, there are monsters, and there are things far far worse than monsters... yep, all the things that make the Realms such an intriguing and homey place.


4. We have dangling questions. SPECULATE AWAY!
With your track record of plot twists, turns, knots, and pretzels? I dare not! I have learned from experience, anything I might speculate on or imagine has a better than average chance of being dashed or disproven the next time you pick up your pen (or keyboard or whatever).


message 6: by Chad (last edited Feb 04, 2014 07:57AM) (new)

Chad Peek (mordrim) | 255 comments Mod
So I finished up last night and Erin was not kidding about this book having a lot more cliff hangers than the other novels.

I loved the way that Erin handled Rhand. He got what he deserved but....it looks like we have not seen the last of him. I am going to dive into Monster Manual to see how much his new form may strengthen or weaken him. Rhand as an undead being really scares me, assuming that he isn't going to wander around moaining "brains" for the rest of eternity.

Having the ghost of Bryseis Kakistos lingering at the end of the book will have me counting the days until Fire in the Blood. I think I am more worried about her presence than I ever was about Sairche. What was Bryseis's relationship like with Asmodeus? Was it similar to Lorcan and Farideh's? Does she feel used and betrayed by him and is now out to get revenge? Erin, please tell us that perhaps there is a short story (or a spinoff novel) that will tell the story of the Toril Thirteen running around in your head. Pretty please? Or perhaps each chapter in the next novel can start with a few pages worth of a flashback to tell their story. :)

So Brin is engaged and forgot to tell Havilar? I hope he gets this one figured out real quick, or Havi may be naming her glaive something along the line of "Castrator". If hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, this poor S.O.B doesn't stand a chance with a scorned Brimstone Angel.


message 7: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 12 comments So Brin is engaged and forgot to tell Havilar? I hope he gets this one figured out real quick, or Havi may be naming her glaive something along the line of "Castrator". If hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, this poor S.O.B doesn't stand a chance with a scorned Brimstone Angel.

Yeah, I think part of why he held off is fear of how she will react. I am not so sure Brin is meant to be Havilar's HEA though. It really seems like he is much more likely to wind up in the throne now, and though if I remember correctly, Dragons held the throne for a good long time, I am not so sure they would allow a Brin to marry a tiefling especially one that is such a bad influence.
It seems to me that Havilar has much more an issue with impulse control and not thinking things out than Farideh (which in my mind made her anger with Farideh somewhat ironic). Also at times she comes across as much more selfish and self-centered. Farideh may make some questionable decisions and make them a bit too quickly, but still, I would far rather have Farideh at my side when the proverbial s**t hits the fan.
I am not so sure I would want Havilar unless I had someone I could spare to watch her.


message 8: by John (new)

John Hayes (jhayes27) | 159 comments I loved the end of this book. The follow up book cannot get here soon enough. The last few pages for me was a Holy shat moment.


message 9: by Chad (new)

Chad Peek (mordrim) | 255 comments Mod
I agree. If I had to choose Farideh or Havilar, I am taking Farideh. She is less likely to run off chasing a single enemy and leave me surrounded. :)

Of everyone in the group however, I think I would choose Mehen, and then probably Dahl, and then Farideh. They seem to be a little more grounded and less likely to make an impulsive decision which might complicate things more.


message 10: by Chad (new)

Chad Peek (mordrim) | 255 comments Mod
John, I agree. The last couple of pages really grab you. These are the questions that I have tumbling around in my head that I hope the next book covers.

1. What does the ghost of Bryseis want exactly?

2. Does Rhand becoming a Wight make him super bad-ass?

3. What is up with that saying that Farideh sees when she looks at Dahl? Why does he have a saying instead of a single rune? Is he some kind of Uber-chosen?

4. Will Oota and Phalar be back? I liked them and I could see them being really nice additions to this group of adventurers.

5. Why can't Erin write faster so we can all read the next book sooner? Everyone in the Sundering is jumping ahead in time so why can't I?


message 11: by John (new)

John Hayes (jhayes27) | 159 comments I agree, these are the same questions I was asking myself. Number 5 most of all.


message 12: by John (new)

John Hayes (jhayes27) | 159 comments I have to say none of the other authors of the sundering could have wrote this book. It needed the touch of a woman to portray the emotions Farideh and especially Havi was going through.


message 13: by Dreaming (new)

Dreaming Isis | 78 comments I completely agree John. And I have to say, I loved reading it as a gamer nerd girl. :)


message 14: by John (new)

John Hayes (jhayes27) | 159 comments I will admit it was refreshing to see a "softer" side of the realms opposed to the straight up nonstop fighting action badassness of the other books.


message 15: by Chad (last edited Feb 04, 2014 01:46PM) (new)

Chad Peek (mordrim) | 255 comments Mod
I read a few reviews that had the romantic aspect of the novels as detracting factors. It got me thinking about it and this was my take, and I am curious to hear other people's thoughts.

What are your thoughts on the current level of "romance" in the story? Is it too much? Too little? What if Erin told us that she is going to turn it up a little in the next novel? What would be your reaction?

For me I think Erin is right on the line of it adding depth to her characters and possibly detracting from the story. I don't have a problem with it as it was in this book, but if Erin talked about turning up the heat in the next novel, I would worry that I might be glancing over sections.

Do you react differently to the relationship between Brin and Havi than you do to the relationship between Lorcan and Farideh? Does one bother you more than the other?

For me, the relationship between Brin and Havilar does at times bore me a little. I definitely don't feel the same towards Lorcan and Farideh. Perhaps because theirs is more subtle and there is the element that Lorcan is just using her, so the romance presents it's own kind of tension and potential danger.

Is the amount of romance and tension between Havilar and Brin necessary for us to truly understand her as a character?

I am trying to figure out if what some people describe as "too much romance" is actually necessary in order for us to really understand her as a character. She is emotional, impulsive, and a bit reckless. Do we see these heavy doses of romance because Havilar really isn't good at controlling her emotions? Does Erin use the heavier doses of romance in order to give us this feel of emotional chaos that is swirling within Havilar, or does Erin secretly wish she could write chap books. :)


message 16: by Dreaming (new)

Dreaming Isis | 78 comments Though there is some definite badassness in this book.
For example, when Farideh comes into the fullness of being the Chosen of Asmodeus, the sudden fear that Dahl and Lorcan feel (at least I think those are all at the same time??), that was serious badassness. :D


message 17: by Chad (new)

Chad Peek (mordrim) | 255 comments Mod
Dreaming, I really liked that Lorcan seems genuinely afraid of Farideh developing her powers. I am very curious as to what drives his fear though. Is he afraid he will lose his precious Kakistos heir to a more powerful devil? Is he genuinely concerned about her destroying herself? Is he afraid that she could turn on him once her powers are fully realized?


message 18: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Okay, I'm going to try and catch up this evening. The kiddo took a little tumble and banged his arm up (doctor says he's fine, just feeling fragile), so I've only got a few minutes to spare before he finishes his nap! Fortunately, I don't think you need me here! Vibrant discussion!


message 19: by Dreaming (new)

Dreaming Isis | 78 comments Chad, or is he afraid he will have no way to control her? He has been decently good at steering her as he wishes. He is a devil after all. But, now will he be able to do the same?
And, is his non-devil side becoming more attached to her? I would think that would make him more afraid since it is not normal/natural for him to even think beyond lust.

Erin: I am glad he is ok.


message 20: by Chad (new)

Chad Peek (mordrim) | 255 comments Mod
Good point. Is his fear because he realizes that he might actually genuinely care about her?


message 21: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 12 comments Chad wrote: "Dreaming, I really liked that Lorcan seems genuinely afraid of Farideh developing her powers. I am very curious as to what drives his fear though. Is he afraid he will lose his precious Kakistos he...">

I think it is a bit of all of the above. The relationship is definitely not healthy, and his devil nature definitely seems to want him to be a very dangerously over-controlling dom, however, I do believe he genuinely cares about her, possibly is even as much in love with her as he is capable of being.
I do think there is a definite learning curve for him. He is used to being able to manipulate people certain ways that he cannot get away with with her. And in some cases I think having Farideh upset with him or even just the worry of possibly hurting her has definitely led him to make decisions he would not have other wise made. The scene in the store where Farideh is confronted with another of his warlocks is a great example. To me he came across as a bit embarrassed and more worried about having Farideh hurt physically or emotionally than anything.

Do you react differently to the relationship between Brin and Havi than you do to the relationship between Lorcan and Farideh? Does one bother you more than the other?
I think Brin and Havilar's honestly bothers me more. I don't see it working out and I can see it leading to feelings of anger and resentment that could have some very real political and even tactical ramifications for the group and possibly even parts of the Realms if things end badly.
For some reason, I am split on Farideh's relationship with Lorcan. I don't like how manipulative and abusive he is towards her, and I don't think the relationship is healthy for either, however I have seen some really positive growth in both come out of the relationship. I think I could be okay with them splitting up or with Lorcan being Farideh's (s)HAE.

What are your thoughts on the current level of "romance" in the story? Is it too much? Too little? What if Erin told us that she is going to turn it up a little in the next novel? What would be your reaction?
I happen to be one of the guys that actually likes the occasional romance, and it isn't as if romance is totally unheard of in the Forgotten Realm novels. Back when Elaine Cunningham wrote heavily for the DND universe, especially the Forgotten Realms, she dealt as heavily with romance as Erin does. The Songs & Swords quintet (which started off as part of the Harpers sub-series) dealt heavily with the romance of Danilo and Arilyn and her starlight and Shadows trilogy (still one of my favorites) held an even larger romantic focus with Liriel and Fyodor. (Erin, please try and end your series on a happier note than Elaine tended to do!)
Greenwood two has had stories that had more of a romance feel to them at times; Shandril's Saga and some of the Elminster books, for example.


message 22: by Michael (new)

Michael | 6 comments Hi, sorry I'm late to the party with the discussion. I started reading the first Brimstone Angel about the time the Adversary was released, it took a bit to catch up.

Not sure where to start, so I will answer some of the questions posted here first.

1. Anything make you want to game? Anything you're planning to snatch for your own game?

I actually got roped into DM'ing a campaign online for some friends with varying ranges of experience. The brand new player is playing a tiefling warlock and I fully plan on stealing some of the stuff about hell's politics, the visits like Locan does etc, to get his character some spotlight.

Did you feel like this book enhanced your interest or understanding of the Sundering and the current direction of the Realms?

I actually don't have much experience in the Realms (I usually play in Eberron, and never did read much of the side materials), but the series in general does have me interested in it. I 'think' that I have an idea of what the Sundering is about, but I feel like I'm still missing a lot. I am interested in this world now though, and curious how it will shape up.

3. I feel like, for better or worse, a lot of readers/reviewers bring up the ways that...

Well I really didn't know what to expect from the story or the setting, so know that your version of the Realms is what I will compare all other stories about the Realms to.

What are your thoughts on the current level of "romance" in the story? Is it too much?...

I've been enjoying it. I like it as a more of an aside used for character development, and not a big focus. I feel if it became a much larger part of the story it will be a bit of a distraction, but as is I like the tension it adds and the problems that can arise from it.

Do you react differently to the relationship between Brin and Havi than you do to the relationship between Lorcan and Farideh? Does one bother you more than the other?

I might actually be in the minority here, but I actually liked the Havi/Brin relationship more then the Farideh/Locan. I think the main reason is, I like Locan more of a temptation than an actual partner for Farideh. I feel it is a bit of a trope for the evil but misunderstood character to learn to love and become redeemed. I prefer him to be an evil influence trying to corrupt Farideh, but still having a soft side for her. (That and I would love to see his reaction if she were to ever go on a date someone else). I find Brin/Havi interesting because they are both dealing with stuff. Havi is trying to become her own person, and Brin has to deal with being a prince and being in love with someone who the rest of the world sees as a near enough Devil. Where Farideh is pretty much just stuck with Locan because a)she made a pack with him, and who wants to flirt with someone who makes packs with devils, and b)he can pretty much show up whenever so the frequency of him is all the time.

As for some other final thoughts (sorry for this essay of a reply). I'm surprised on all the loose ends that show up at the end of the book, I mean it feels finished but there is a lot more left to explore. I also like on how all the horrible mistakes that Farideh makes, end up being good overall in all the books. They put her in the right place to help out a lot of people, but cause a lot of trouble for everyone she travels with.


message 23: by Jonn (last edited Feb 04, 2014 04:33PM) (new)

Jonn (sleypy) | 48 comments 1. Anything make you want to game? Anything you're planning to snatch for your own game?

Well after reading the second book it made me post complaints about ritual casting in every D&D Next survey. Dahl needs to be a character that I can play. He can't exists using what they have shown in the playtest thus far.

Oota is going to exist in every campaign I ever run. If she has her way Obould is going to gain divinity of sheer confidence on Oota's part.

2. Did you feel like this book enhanced your interest or understanding of the Sundering and the current direction of the Realms?

I think that the Adversary has peeked my interest far more then either of the two previous books. The The Companions just felt like it was there to push units while hashing out that the Sundering was a thing. Goodborn was a dark story, but I felt like I learned much more about the sundering. I didn't feel like I learn enough about the characters (I definitely wanted to though). The Adversary introducing so many Chosen and most of them are just regular people instead of super heroes, that put a face on the sundering that makes it easier for me to connect/care about it at all.

3. I feel like, for better or worse, a lot of readers/reviewers bring up the ways that The Adversary and Farideh (and me) aren't what you expect from a Realms story. And now that we're finished, I feel like it's fair to bring up? Agree? Disagree? What felt Realmsy to you and what felt different?

I don't really think I can answer this. I have been reading the Realms for 25 or so years, but I have a 10 year gap. My Realms cred is beyond suspect.

4. We have dangling questions. SPECULATE AWAY!
Rampant unfounded speculation engaged.

I think Dahl is going to pull himself together and makes peace with no longer being a paladin anymore. After that he will acquire Azuth divine spark. This makes things really awkward since it will means that Farideh is the Chosen of Dahl.

Unreturn Abeir will cause the remaining Dragonborn to join Mehen who will either form is own clan/mercenary army (or join one that happens to have griffins in it.)

Finally something will involve Clytemorrenestrix because “REASONS”.


message 24: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Jonn wrote: "I think Dahl is going to pull himself together and makes peace with no longer being a paladin anymore. After that he will acquire Azuth divine spark. This makes things really awkward since it will means that Farideh is the Chosen of Dahl.

Unreturn Abeir will cause the remaining Dragonborn to join Mehen who will either form is own clan/mercenary army (or join one that happens to have griffins in it.)

Finally something will involve Clytemorrenestrix because “REASONS”.


...'Kay, guys, I have to go rewrite Fire in the Blood, because this is EPIC! :D


message 25: by Erin (last edited Feb 04, 2014 10:09PM) (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
This thread was hopping! Here are some answers for you.

Rhand: As a wight, he's not particularly powerful. And he's tied to Zahnya. Sucks to be him!

But here's what I love best about this final result: He's absolutely accessible to players now. You can kick the s**t out of him yourself without being ultra-high level!

Moreover, the plan going forward is that characters from the novels will be picked up in digital games, like Neverwinter. And Zahnya and Rhand are two that I know for sure my editor passed along--so video gamers everywhere may be able to beat the s**t out of him!

SATISFYING.

Romance: Honestly, I think it seems more prevalent because I take it from the woman's perspective--or possibly because it's usually from both points of view. Often in fantasy, I feel like romances are kind of like "prizes." You succeed at heroing/heroineing and so here's your partner! (Not always, but often). To me, the most interesting part of a story, the thing that elevates it, is the interplay of characters. I write a wide array of relationships--parent-child, siblings, friends, rivals, enemies, and yeah, romances. And for all of those some are healthy, some are toxic. But the shapes of those interactions are what describe the characters.

Going forward, the relationships are still the heart of this series. The next book, yes, the romantic ones are more core--sorting out Brin and Havilar (and Raedra), figuring out where Farideh and Lorcan stand now (the kiss, the betrayal, the shift of power) are kind of at the forefront of things.

BUT Fire in the Blood also deals with a succession crisis, the chaos of war, and the question of what makes Cormyr what it is--what fires forge us and what impurities break or strengthen us? There are ghosts and gods and really schemey nobles, Shades and assassins and spies. And some sex.(Becuase, come on, it's Cormyr.)

Toril Thirteen: I can promise at the least that you get some more information. I definitely have more.

Romance and Havilar: The complaints I've seen, to me, seem like a knee-jerk reaction to that first scene with them. It is pretty damned romancey. But if you haven't read Brimstone Angels and Lesser Evils, you don't know what Brin and Havi lose with the time jump. If they're just "a teenaged couple," I don't think it would be as powerful when Brin comes back as it is if you see them in this very close, vulnerable place. The drawback is that, yeah, for some people it plants the wrong tone.

Before this book, I would have said that the relationship is necessary to make Brin clearer. In Brimstone Angels, I really never felt like he was as complete as the other characters. But Havilar describes this thing he wants and feels like he can't have: she's free, she's light, she's unabashedly herself. She's NOT SUITABLE. She doesn't mind that he's not some big muscly macho guy--she likes him for him. And I feel like with that in mind, you get a fuller picture of Brin, of his fears and hopes and desires.

If you're coming in on Adversary without that background, however, I think you're right--it flips. This romance is like the top-level of Havilar's identity in some ways. This is her Grown Up Self, being Brin's girlfriend--she wouldn't have thought or said that before, but then everything changed and she has to basically build herself back into Havilarness. So this relationship, this self, this potential hangs there in front of her--and all the while the thing that will make her herself again is just SAYING something. In a lot of ways, Brin does bring up her worse aspects--down deep, she's worried she's not good enough, and then what? When she gets pulled into Brin's way of doing things (like in Lesser Evils) things go sideways, until Havilar cracks and JUST SAYS SOMETHING.

Do I want to write romance chapbooks?: Oh GODS, no. I seriously have to write the romance scenes without reading them. It feels weird and voyeuristic. I don't blush easily, but whenever I see I have notes on those scenes, I'm a mess.


message 26: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Also, before I forget, if you have not done so yet, please consider leaving a review here on Goodreads (and Amazon too if you are inclined). Word of mouth is what sells books, and book sales mean I can keep writing, which means you can find out what's happening next!


message 27: by Jonathan (last edited Feb 04, 2014 10:23PM) (new)

Jonathan | 12 comments A few quick questions.
1) Will Blood and Fire have ties to or build upon any of the history of Cormyr that previous writers have built upon. For instance, will we see an appearance of a certain court wizard and or his semi-nemesis and his oft-present companion/babysitter who was one of the original Harpers?
2) If not, how will it reconcile with Greenwood's novels?
3) Can we at some point have a scene with Farideh litterally pinning Lorcan to the wall? Please?
4) If we already left a review on Amazon do you want us to write a completely new review for Goodreads or just copy it over?


message 28: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 12 comments (As an aside, I really would love to see Farideh face off with Vangerdahast in either words or spells.... just saying...)


message 29: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
These questions make me laugh, because I don't know if there's a way to write about the royals and nobles of Cormyr without acknowledging and building on what's come before! Believe me when I say that I have been bugging the beards off of Ed Greenwood and Brian Cortijo to check things and find neat ways to tie things up.

A tidbit: Today (with Brian's input) I finished off a massive family tree outlining Brin's descent and the Crownsilvers back to 2E era. There are 55 people on this dang tree.

Keep in mind, Ed's characters are off saving more than just Cormyr in The Herald: The Sundering, Book VI. Which means I could not make an El cameo happen. *Sigh*

When you say "literally pinning" what are we talking about? Hat pins? Specimen pins?


message 30: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 12 comments Specimen pins, daggers, or even just whatever the DnD equivalent of rebar is...
I'd say the sly devil definitely deserves it... if not for the things he's already done, for something in the future he will do or say...


message 31: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 12 comments Oh, and another question... considering the history of Cormyr's royalty, does Brin have any dragon blood in him? Obviously, he wouldn't have enough to be a true dragonkin of any kind, but just wondering if he might have a touch that might have an effect on his powers.


message 32: by Jonn (new)

Jonn (sleypy) | 48 comments ...'Kay, guys, I have to go rewrite Fire in the Blood, because this is EPIC! :D

Screen shot taken!


message 33: by Chad (new)

Chad Peek (mordrim) | 255 comments Mod
I know we touched on this briefly already but I am a little curious how Farideh's newly acquired powers and knowledge will change her relationship with Lorcan. Will it make Farideh a little bolder? It seemed like she was making decent progress of balancing the relationship in the last two books, but does this tip the scales her way? Could we see a situation where Lorcan ends up at Farideh's beck and call? Is she now the most coveted warlock in all the Realms since Bryseis Kakistos?

I love all of the possible scenarios this book has created.


message 34: by Dreaming (new)

Dreaming Isis | 78 comments OKay, catching up not from my phone. :)
1. Anything make you want to game? Anything you're planning to snatch for your own game?

I already made a tiefling wizard in Neverwinter (the online game) and was talking to my husband/DM about playing a tiefling warlock in the future. We have been discussing devils a lot, and I am refining an idea off of said discussions and the way that Erin portrays devils for another character that I came up with years ago. :D I also played a tiefling monk in the D&DNext playtest games we did. Butt kicking for goodness!

2. Did you feel like this book enhanced your interest or understanding of the Sundering and the current direction of the Realms?

Most definitely. Each novel that has come out has added to my understanding of the Sundering. And this was the first one that the weight was more readily evident. The pieces are moving more aggressively. It’s like things are picking up speed from this novel (and onward). I admit that I was already in love with the Sundering and had complete faith in all the authors to portray the pieces in an exciting light. And the novels are living up to it for me.

3.I feel like, for better or worse, a lot of readers/reviewers bring up the ways that The Adversary and Farideh (and me) aren't what you expect from a Realms story. And now that we're finished, I feel like it's fair to bring up? Agree? Disagree? What felt Realmsy to you and what felt different?

I disagree. You have your own style that is not the same as Bob, Ed, Paul, etc. I can draw correlations between Farideh and Drizzt pretty readily if I wanted to. They are not the same character, but they both fit in the Realms. Both stories fit and belong in the Realms. There is not a moment that I don’t think that I am reading a character driven story set in the Realms. The people that are saying this might thinking this way because of the shift of the Realms in 4e, and to them, that was not the Realms. So, they decide that anything that is set in that time, is not Realmsy to them. But, your novels are all character driven. Which is at its heart, why we love Realms novels (or at least I do). It is about people living in this highly detailed and elaborate world that just happens to also be a D&D setting. But first, it was a fantasy world full of unique characters. How can Farideh not be Realmsy is that is exactly what she is?


4. We have dangling questions. SPECULATE AWAY!

I remembered something this morning, and I do not have a copy of the book in front of me (though I do have my Kindle in my bag..wonder if the boss would notice??) There is a point when Farideh is fully a Chosen of Asmodeus, and a calming sense moves into her and feels like moonlight. I might be inclined to think this might relate to a rest she took in a temple in a previous book? Which would play well into fighting against the servants of Shar.
Possibly the Glyph and colors we saw on Asmodeus, as well as the joke, might fortell how Azuth will be returning to the Realms (since all the gods are returning). Maybe he is going to pull a Bane and burst out of Asmodeus? Though, I don’t think this will mean that The King of the Hells is no longer a god either. Who knows what will be on the Tablets of Fate (except the authors and WoTC, and they ain’t talking…yet).
I think Dahl is a priest, and just has not allowed himself to feel it yet. He has been stuck in this “paladin only” mindset, but has not seen the other door that is open to him with his god, and that Ogham is beckoning him through if he would only think to look. I have thought this about Dahl as we have gotten to know him, and that what Farideh read on his soul kinda confirmed it for me. Of course, I might be completely wrong.

Questions: How is writing Fire in the Blood going for you as compared to The Adversary?

Phew, that was long.


message 35: by Justin (new)

Justin (berliad) | 106 comments Wow, only Wednesday, and we're already in the mid-30's of comments! I just finished last night, and wanted to throw my two copper pieces in, so here we go!

1. Anything make you want to game? Anything you're planning to snatch for your own game?

With the caveat that this novel can stand on its own without the gaming connection(!), yep! I'm running a game right now in which several of my players have connections to Harpers. It wasn't part of the original plan, but I'm going to be adding some major involvement with Harpers that plays off the themes and feel of that organization as presented in your book.

I'm considering even having a cameo from some Adversary characters, even if I'm the only one who would notice it. Erin, any suggestions for a Harper or two of yours who conceivably could have been in the Baldur's Gate area immediately before or after this novel? :)

2. Did you feel like this book enhanced your interest or understanding of the Sundering and the current direction of the Realms?

Yes, definitely. Granted, like the prior two books in the Sundering series, perhaps there's not a lot of grand Sundering revelations that happen. Basically, plans get thwarted. Godborn (SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN'T READ GODBORN!) did crash a major Netherese city, but arguably the biggest thing that happened is that Shar didn't destroy the world. In the Adversary, we see something similar: both Shar and Asmodeus have a major plan thwarted to improve their lot as the Sundering approaches. We got lots of hints about grand schemes, and the concentration of huge numbers of Chosen gives an indication of the extent to which this is influencing mortals.

One of the things I liked most about The Adversary is that, while the Gods are off-stage (mostly--it's hard to say what was going on with Asmodeus in the dream sequence), we have a lot of interaction with their divine agents in Lorcan, Sariche, and Magros. So, while there's still this sense of disconnect that I think is important when presenting gods in this setting, you still have a sense of intimacy with them because we are dealing with those, who almost by definition, are more intimately connected to the Gods than any mortal really can be. It's a neat middle-ground, and I thought it was used to great effect.

3. I feel like, for better or worse, a lot of readers/reviewers bring up the ways that The Adversary and Farideh (and me) aren't what you expect from a Realms story. And now that we're finished, I feel like it's fair to bring up? Agree? Disagree? What felt Realmsy to you and what felt different?

So, maybe I'm not qualified to answer this, as this is "only" the 7th Realms book I've read. And most of those others were Salvadore books...

But I think that this is a load of hooey. A Realms story, in my mind, is one that takes place in this vast fantasy world of the Forgoten Realms and presents it in a manner consistent with its general history. I think that different authors SHOULD each have their own, distinct angle and approach to how they present the Realms. It's a huge place with a huge population and a huge pantheon. Trying to determine whether a book is a "Realms" story beyond the fact that it's set in a shared world seems kind of...narrow to me.

4. We have dangling questions. SPECULATE AWAY!

Well, I can't compete with Jonn's speculations, but I had a few questions/comments:

* From the "I probably missed it" category: how did Rhand find and abduct all of the Chosen in the first place? He couldn't really be sure who was Chosen & not (or at least manifesting chosen powers) until Farideh showed up. But he must have had some way to identify them.

* I thought that Tharra was one of the more interesting characters. I know she was ultimately a devil's agent, but you can make an argument that she never really acted in a way that was clearly endangering the Chosen camp. A reasonable person could very reasonably believe that attacking the tower (as Dahl & Oota wanted to do) might be a suicide mission that will lead to even more death than just trying to keep surviving. And then, she single-handedly (and rather heroically) saved hundreds of lives, including those of all of the Harpers, as well as the captive chosen, by managing to get that scroll.

There was some discussion to this effect with Farideh before Tharra escaped, but I think she stood a pretty good chance of being cleared of most (if not all) charges. She's a very sympathetic (and sort of badass) character in my view. I'll be interested to see if she reappears in the future...and if so, if she gets the good shake that she probably deserves. She could probably be the focus of her own novel, imo.

* Aside from Tharra, Mehen and Dahl turned out to be pretty neat characters. I loved the fact that Mehen could fight through the feelings of hopelessness eminating from the Shar Chosen simply because that's what he's lived with for so long. Really gave some meaning to his suffering. As others have talked about in other threads for this book, it'd be neat to read more about what he's been up to in the 7 years that his girls were "away."

And Dahl...I don't have a complete history on him having not read the other novels. But it seems like this can be the thing that helps him turn the corner on his life. Whether or not he is ever a paladin or not, I think he can have a fulfilling life. It'll be frustrating if he goes back to the bottle.



What are your thoughts on the current level of "romance" in the story? Is it too much? Too little? What if Erin told us that she is going to turn it up a little in the next novel? What would be your reaction?

I thought it was just fine. I don't go looking for romance in my pleasure reading, but I don't mind when it shows up here and there. I don't know that I'd want MORE of it...but I'm definitely going to be reading Erin's next book, and I trust her to not let it obliterate everything else.


Do you react differently to the relationship between Brin and Havi than you do to the relationship between Lorcan and Farideh? Does one bother you more than the other?

Is the amount of romance and tension between Havilar and Brin necessary for us to truly understand her as a character?


Well, yeah, since Lorcan is sort of a scumbag, I'm not a fan of Farideh's attraction to him. But she's mastering that, I think, and it results in a really interesting dynamic between the moving forward. I'm intrigued by the idea that Lorcan is apparently starting to think differently about her too, especially since he doesn't seem to really comprehend it. Love, or even friendship, just seems beyond anything he can even grasp, even if it's happening to him.

Brin & Havi...I'm missing some of the background on it. But while I can't say I enjoyed the "won't talk about it" thing (not that this has ever happened in *my* marriage...ummm....), it set up a wonderful reunion. As for the whole Cormyrian engagement thing, I sort of like that it happened simply because it makes Brin's story a little more human. Of *course* he tried to move on during their 7-year absence. And if he couldn't do so emotionally, a political marriage is sort of a perfect solution for someone who has had their heart crushed beyond repair, right?

As far as understanding Havi's character, I'm not sure if it was necessary, but seeing Havi get her act together and become a total rockin' badass over the last third of the book was incredibly gratifying. I'm also feeling rather proud of Farideh for agreeing to share what's going on with her and Havi.

(Also, I missed it, but what specifically was the clue that Havi is also a chosen of Asmodeus?)


...Yikes, sorry for the long post. My two cp turned into at least 2 platinum!


message 36: by Jonn (last edited Feb 05, 2014 11:50AM) (new)

Jonn (sleypy) | 48 comments 4. We have dangling questions. SPECULATE AWAY!

I remembered something this morning, and I do not have a copy of the book in front of me (though I do have my Kindle in my bag..wonder if the boss would notice??) There is a point when Farideh is fully a Chosen of Asmodeus, and a calming sense moves into her and feels like moonlight. I might be inclined to think this might relate to a rest she took in a temple in a previous book? Which would play well into fighting against the servants of Shar.
Possibly the Glyph and colors we saw on Asmodeus, as well as the joke, might fortell how Azuth will be returning to the Realms (since all the gods are returning). Maybe he is going to pull a Bane and burst out of Asmodeus? Though, I don’t think this will mean that The King of the Hells is no longer a god either. Who knows what will be on the Tablets of Fate (except the authors and WoTC, and they ain’t talking…yet).
I think Dahl is a priest, and just has not allowed himself to feel it yet. He has been stuck in this “paladin only” mindset, but has not seen the other door that is open to him with his god, and that Ogham is beckoning him through if he would only think to look. I have thought this about Dahl as we have gotten to know him, and that what Farideh read on his soul kinda confirmed it for me. Of course, I might be completely wrong.


I hadn't thought about that possibility. Interesting.

I would guess that in Dahl's case farmer, archmage or Grand Patriarch mean very little compared to being a paladin.


message 37: by Dreaming (new)

Dreaming Isis | 78 comments And now for a little romance question.

What are your thoughts on the current level of "romance" in the story? Is it too much? Too little? What if Erin told us that she is going to turn it up a little in the next novel? What would be your reaction?

I would be okay with it. I like romance in my novels from time to time. But it is honestly expected in character driven stories. Love, sex, lust are all normal adult things and to completely ignore them, it would flatten the characters of the novels for me. And when you have a character whose first description is that he “looks like want” come on! Gimme.


Do you react differently to the relationship between Brin and Havi than you do to the relationship between Lorcan and Farideh? Does one bother you more than the other?

The relationship between Havi and Brin is more innocent/young and sweet (minus the part that he is engaged obviously). The literally fell into it. It was also greatly relates to something I notice in a lot of girls (and some women) who truly lose their sense of self and wholey identify with their relationship with a male. This drives me bat shit crazy and I could not help that Havi’s lack of speaking of her feelings for Brin were tied to her feeling like she lost the glaive and vice versus. For her, they were both pieces of how she saw her self, and so the effected each other. And as can often be the case, a life or death situation put the world into perspective. 

I am loving watching the relationship between Lorcan and Farideh grow/change/intensify. It really is showing the growth of the two characters and that they are changing. Plus, again “looks like want”. This relationship appears to be far from Havi and Brin’s, but it has it’s own innocence to it. Lorcan has no clue what is actually happening within himself in regards to Farideh. And Farideh is learning a lot about herself in her actions and reactions to Lorcan. This relationship started purely off as lustful and using that desire to control Farideh. But I don’t think that can be said now. When she looked back to him and he held her hand as she walked out of the portal after the tower blew up. There are little signs that more is going on with Lorcan than even he gets. He is still so very bad (and please, let him always be bad with the rest of the world outside Farideh’s circle!). But something is shifting in his head/heart. Where that goes, only Erin knows. I almost think this relationship is actually good for Farideh, she is learning to be strong and aware of even subtle manipulation. And I love the second kiss scene. I am a girl, sue me. ;)

Is the amount of romance and tension between Havilar and Brin necessary for us to truly understand her as a character?

I think it is helpful to see how they see themselves and where they are mentally and emotionally. Especially in this story.


message 38: by Dreaming (new)

Dreaming Isis | 78 comments Jonn wrote: I would guess that in Dahl's case farmer, archmage or Grand Patriarch mean very little compared to being a paladin./i>

And I think this might be a reason that his god is waiting and still with him.



message 39: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Reviews: If you merely duplicate it, that's perfectly find!

Brin's blood: Brin is the grandnephew of the current king on his father's side. Whatever he has, it's pretty thin.

Fire in the Blood vs. The Adversary: FitB definitely requires more research! And I'll admit, for some of the characters what comes next has been tricky. It's definitely getting complicated.

Harpers for Berliad: If you have a DDi subscription, I wrote an article about various Harpers in Dragon. http://www.wizards.com/dnd/TOC.aspx?x...

Khochen and Vescaras were off in the north before this. Vescaras heads to Cormyr shortly thereafter, but there's a month or two where he might have been down in Baldur's Gate. It's out of Khochen's range, but she might go there too. Daranna doesn't tend to leave the High Forest and Everlund, so not her. Sheera or Ebros might leave though.

Rhand and the Chosen: This is what the waters were for. The NEtherese have ways of searching, Rhand was using the Waters to check out those early results.

Havi the Chosen: Lorcan speclulates that Farideh was made a Chosen because she's a Brimstone Angel--that all of Bryseis Kakistos's descendents have been so endowed.


message 40: by Jonathan (last edited Feb 05, 2014 05:16PM) (new)

Jonathan | 12 comments So... Am I the only one that would get a perverse pleasure if Dahl wound up falling the rest of the way and turning blackguard?


message 41: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 12 comments For that matter I would laugh my head off if lorcan ever went paladin...


message 42: by Dreaming (new)

Dreaming Isis | 78 comments Another question for Erin: are you laughing/giggling/chuckling at all of our speculations? :)


message 43: by Justin (last edited Feb 05, 2014 04:07PM) (new)

Justin (berliad) | 106 comments Thanks Erin! I saw that Harper article come out, but then it slipped my mind before I was able to read it! Will take a look tonight.

Waters: Ahh, yes, of course, that makes sense. Obvious, now, in hindsight. That also explains why it was such a laborious, time-consuming process before Farideh.

Havi: Ok! Now that you mention it, I do remember the thing about Lorcan speculating that's why Fari was a Chosen. I was thinking that maybe there were other hints and I just missed them!

I think it's definitely the case that this is the book that I'd stand to gain the most from re-reading. I have a feeling that there was a lot of subtle stuff in there that I just missed.


message 44: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Dreaming wrote: "Another question for Erin: are you laughing/giggling/chuckling at all of our speculations? :)"

Not all of them! :)

Speaking of all the speculation I've seen (so as not to call out specifics), I love that some of it is spot on, far more than I was expecting; and some of it is plausible, but not what I'm planning; some of it is so good I wish I were planning it; and some of it definitely belies some strong personal feelings. If everyone were guessing exactly right, I'd be a little bummed it was so obvious actually.

So...giggling with delight!


message 45: by Jonathan (last edited Feb 05, 2014 05:48PM) (new)

Jonathan | 12 comments >.> Dahl would make an awesome blackguard... just saying... Though, yes, I do see him more of a priest than a paladin and up till the point where we got a glimpse of the back story of his fall him being a paladin had been one thing that had made no sense to me. I don't know if that's because I still haven't gone back and read anything Erin wrote before Brimstone Angels.
I do kinda hope that we see more of Zahnya in the novels at some point or that if we see her in a video-game it is something better than Neverwinter. (That game was a HUGE letdown for me.)
So... I am kinda looking forward to seeing how both Brin and Lorcan manage to screw up things next. The girls each had their turn, and though Brin had one right toward the end, I got the feeling that he was only telling part of the story...
One thing not directly related to this band, and I really hope to see done if it hasn't already, is that I would love love love love to see Eilistraee make a reappearance.

Ps: I ported over a slightly modified version of my review. And tacked it onto my favorite "bookshelf"


message 46: by Jonn (new)

Jonn (sleypy) | 48 comments Dreaming wrote: Jonn wrote: I would guess that in Dahl's case farmer, archmage or Grand Patriarch mean very little compared to being a paladin./i>

And I think this might be a reason that his god is waiting and still with him.


In the very few books I have read involving Oghma, he has struck me as a bit of a douche. I would not be surprised if Dahl was never meant to be a paladin, and that his fall was part of some convoluted plan by Oghma.


message 47: by David (new)

David Schwarm (davidschwarm) | 94 comments Mod
Did you feel like this book enhanced your interest or understanding of the Sundering and the current direction of the Realms?
Oh for sure--the concept of the Chosen which has been in the last two seasons of D&D Encounters makes sense after this book. I am one of the guys that did not learn my realms lore when I was 13 so I still struggle with all of the different Gods the Ed has thrown in here & this really helped to clarify some of that. Specifically, that kids who trailed flowers when he walked was an awesome representation of what it means to be Chosen that I can really understand.

Current Direction of the Realms is a much different topic. It seems like the direction is still 'erase 4E' which I am not that big of a fan of--I liked a LOT of what happened during the 4E years--the Spell Plague, the Abyssal Plague, etc.--all of that seemed fine by me & I would be a lot more interested in the Realms move foreword with some of that still making a difference.


I feel like, for better or worse, a lot of readers/reviewers bring up the ways that The Adversary and Farideh (and me) aren't what you expect
from a Realms story. And now that we're finished, I feel like it's fair to bring up? Agree? Disagree? What felt Realmsy to you and what felt different?

I agree that you feel that way & that it is fair to bring up. I agree that people's expectation of the Realms is all over the map & that trying to make all of the people happy is next to impossible. However, to me, you are definitely one of the strongest & most enjoyable writers working in the Realms currently. You do a fantastic job of capturing the Fantasy of the Realms, the Power Level inherent in the system, and most importantly to me the playfulness which is so important to the setting.

I also really like the focus on relationships that you bring to the FR--I think Ed & Bob do this really well on an almost instinctive level--with your characters the relationships are definitely defined from the start to be difficult and challenging & the fact that you do not back away from that makes the Brimstone books clearly some of the best the realms have seen in a very long time.


message 48: by Dreaming (new)

Dreaming Isis | 78 comments All the gods can be asses at times. It's part of being a god. :)

I was thinking about the relationship between Lorcan and Farideh, oh what a web that is going to be. So very much manipulations all around.


message 49: by David (new)

David Schwarm (davidschwarm) | 94 comments Mod
To some of the newer members of the Book Club [BOOK! BOOK! BOOK!] I wanted to make sure that you know about a fun resource--Kindlegraph!

https://www.authorgraph.com/books?sea...

This website allows you to request Erin send you a signed image--it is just another cool thing she does to support the community.


message 50: by Chad (new)

Chad Peek (mordrim) | 255 comments Mod
So it has been a couple of days since the last post. We had some really good discussions about The Adversary, but I am not really surprised by that. In my experience we usually have some very entertaining discussions, and a lot of fun, when it is time for a Brimstone Angels novel.

Erin, Thank you so much for being an awesome guest...again. I think I speak for the whole group when I say that we can't wait for Fire in the Blood so we can do this again. If you are one of the GOH at Gencon I hope to get the opportunity to attend the panel or meet and greet. Or you can surprise us and stop by our Sundered Book Club meetup....whenever I actually work out details for it.

Thank you to everyone in the group for some really great participation. Please remember to take the time (that includes me) to go out and post reviews for The Adversary on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Goodreads, etc. We can show these authors how much we appreciate their hard work and creativity, plus send the message to the publishing companies that we want more of these great novels.

By all means please continue to speculate away in this thread, but it is time for me to begin to open threads for the next novel.


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