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Title: The Parched Sea
Series: Forgotten Realms: The Harpers #1
Author: Troy Denning
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
The Zentarim, followers of the god Cyric, are trying to forge a path through the desert to establish a lock on future trade routes. This “forging” includes the pacification of the tribes of the desert, whether by bribery or coercian, the Zentarim don't particularly care. The tribes must either support the Zentarim or perish tribe by tribe at the hands of the lizard mercenaries hired by the Zentarim.
Into this situation comes Lander, a relatively new Harper. He has been chosen to oversee the situation and do what he can to unite the tribes against the Zentarim. He comes across a lone survivor of one of the tribes, an outcast young woman named Ruha, who has been outcast for her magical powers. Now it is up to these 2 to convince children in the guise of tribesmen to confront a force that only promises riches.
With the help of a god, Ruha and Lander can do it. But the victories that the Harpers win are not without cost, as Lander finds out.
I've read enough Forgotten Realms books to know when I've hit a good one or a bad one pretty soon from the get go. Unfortunately, this was a typical Troy Denning book, which means it was mediocre pablum, even given the context of the universe he was writing in. So this was not a good book.
The Harpers sub-series is written by enough various authors that I'm not giving up on it just from the first book, but I have to say, this does not bode well.
Lander was not a very engaging main character and when he dies near the end, it was more of a “meh” moment than anything else. Ruha is more of token “woman” than anything even while becoming more central to the story than Lander. For a Harpers novel, they certainly didn't play much of a part. The little bit I did see of them makes me wonder if I'm going to enjoy their adventures or not. They seem to be meddlers and instead of taking direct action, manipulate others to do their work [dirty or otherwise] for them. While they claim to be proponents of freedom, etc, they sure don't act like it.