Sunday, October 10, 2010

Beyond the Moons

Beyond the Moons (Spelljammer: The Cloakmaster Cycle, #1)Beyond the Moons by David Zeb Cook

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Poor Krynnish farmer Telden Moore has a space ship crash land in his field. The dying captain gives him a magical cloak and soon every miscreant in Wildspace is on the trail of Telden and his cloak. Will Telden's life ever be the same?

Even though I played a fair amount of D&D when I was a lad, I was never compelled to read any of the related novels. Fifteen years later, I was in a haze of nostalgia when I decided to give the Cloakmaster cycle a try. While I wasn't wowed, I was quite entertained.

Sure, the plot isn't overly unique. Hell, the summary above looks like the origin of the Hal Jordan version of Green Lantern. Still, it was a fun read. You've got hippo-headed mercenaries, octopus-faced aliens, mysterious blue-skinned merchants, sailing ships that ply the spaceways, and, in later books, Giant Space Hamsters. The Spelljammer itself, a manta-ray shaped ship with a city on it's back, remains the goal of the series throughout.

Without giving too much away, Telden does a lot of running and getting betrayed on his quest for the Spelljammer, exposing the reader to the wonders of Wildspace (and hopefully enticing him to buy the Spelljammer boxed sets.) Those TSR guys were sneaky.

Any flaws? Sure. The writing. Each of the six books is written by someone else and the quality varies. This is one of the better ones. Also, the plot is pretty linear and predictable. Still, for gaming fiction, it's not bad. By the end, Telden is in space and firmly entrenched in his quest.

Not a bad read but you probably should already be a Spelljammer fan before reading it.

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