Tomes of Other Realms

Welcome to the lands of swords and sorcery, where people live and die by the sword and only the bravest of souls stand between the common folk and the forces of darkness. Join me as I wander different planes and hear the stories of their greatest defenders and the sagas of their worthiest warriors.

W A R N I N G !

This review does not represent the opinions of the general public. It reflects my personal thoughts and opinions on the book.

That said, on to the review!

Title: Mordenheim
Author: Chet Williamson
Publisher: TSR, Inc.
Format: Paperback
Copyright Date: 1994

When two young would-be necromancers journey into the duchy of Lamordia, they have no idea of what they're employer, Victor Mordenheim, expects of them except that it will have something to do with the dead. It isn't until their arrival that they discover the truth: that their task will involve the living! Or, rather, the transference of a living soul into a dead body instead of the other way around. But to complicate matters, there is a "creation" of Doctor Mordenheim's who has no desire to see them succeed. For Adam has decided to exact a terrible revenge upon Mordenheim, and that is to see that he, who has consigned his dead body to everlasting life, will never enjoy true happiness ever again. Now it's a race to the finish. Will Adam succeed in thwarting Mordenheim's plans again, will Mordenheim attain all the tools he needs to realize his long-thwarted dreams, or will the true inexperience of the necromancers reveal itself to one and all?

Mordenheim is, at worst, a retelling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. At best, however, it is a compelling tale that delves into the ambition, obsession, and madness of a driven man to conquer death itself by granting immortality to all. Unlike the other Ravenloft books, there is a minimal involvement of magic...excepting the incorporation of the necromancers' background, the priestly connections to lycanthropes, or the Vistani curse. After all, what would you expect from a story about a doctor who doesn't believe in magic except as a previously unstudied, unexplained science?

Perhaps the best part of this story is that we get to see both sides of the conflict (Adam versus Mordenheim) as we don't in Frankenstein. In that book, we only see Victor Frankenstein's perspective and the monster's story is told after being filtered through Frankenstein's eyes. This time we have a neutral (supposedly) listener hearing both sides of the story from both parties. This makes for a considerably more interesting tale. It doesn't necessarily paint either party in a better light--Adam is still inherently evil and Mordenheim is still inherently mad and obsessed--but it does make for more a better story and a more compelling plot.

Mordenheim isn't the most captivating mad scientist story I've read, but it's close to it! Once you get past the minor details--the necromancers' past, their arrival in Lamordia, etc.--you get to the heart of the story, and it's well worth the effort of reading through. So just pick up the book, set yourself up comfortably, and read!

Rating: Thumbs up! Medical research takes a vastly different bent, so heads up, grave robbers!

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