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: Scholar of Decay
Author: Tanya Huff
Publisher: TSR, Inc.
Format: Paperback
Copyright Date: 1995

Can there be anything worse than having an important problem to solve but being constantly interrupted along the way? Well, if the interruption happens to be a power struggle between two powerful rivals, yes. And that is exactly what has swept up Aurek Nuikin into its maelstrom: the struggle for dominance between the Jacqueline and Louise Renier, the ruler of Richemulot and her sister. How can he possibly search for the cure to his wife's condition when he's busy dodging the sister's attempts to wield him against the ruler? And though he isn't without power himself, what will the cost be to avoid taking sides and extricating himself from the situation? Will he lose someone close to him yet again while searching for his wife's cure?

Scholar of Decay, like most of the other Ravenloft books, has a decidedly oppressive and foreboding atmosphere throughout its body. Part of this is simply because of what the label "Ravenloft" on the cover implies. However, a sizable portion of the credit must definitely be given to the author, seeing as how it is she who, through her control of the flow of words and details, can draw the reader down into the sewers or through a garishly decorated ball room.

Probably the best part of this novel is the fact that it is the female characters that are so strong and ruthless rather than the males. Given the nature of those characters, and their closer connection to nature (despite their own unnatural state), it seems entirely appropriate. After all, in many cases it is the female that is the deadlier of the species (think black widow spiders, praying mantises, etc.). So with the particular attributes of the Renier family and all its branches, having the woman like Jacqueline and Louise sending their male relatives to their dooms, or clawing them across the face without fear of retaliation is entirely believable. That isn't to say that the men aren't as strong or's just that the women are more ruthless and more intelligent by far.

Scholar of Decay is one of those books whose intertwined plots feed and feed upon each other without running the characters into unbelievable or impossible situations. Then again, given that this is a TSR book, is anything really impossible? Nah!

Rating: Thumbs up! Between a power struggle and a desperate search, you won't be left wanting!

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