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- Author: Alexey Pehov
- Publisher: Tor Publishing
- Book Genre: Fantasy
- Format: Hardback, 400 pages
Book Review: Chasers of the Wind
Epic Adventure Party Fantasy
By Chuck Francisco
July 22, 2014
Chasers of the Wind by Alexey Pehov
© Tor Publishing
With a new edition of Dungeons & Dragons set to swoop down breathing fire upon the nerdy masses, it's shockingly fitting that the English language version of Alexey Pehov's Chasers of the Wind came across my desk. Set within the same universe as his popular Chronicles of Siala, Chasers of the Wind takes place centuries after the cataclysmic War of the Necromancers. While the large scale conflict unfolds on an unfathomable epic scale, the story told in this novel is related on an adventuring party level. The 80's role playing nostalgia vibe here gives off a heady aromatic cascade reminiscent of Cheetos and Mountain Dew. Truly old school Dungeons & Dragons fans will reach for phantom D20's as they follow the misadventures of a motley band of warriors questing across a war torn country.
The tale kicks off with a surprise invasion of the Empire by an aligned force of evil Necromancers (as if there are any other kind!) and armies of Nabatorians. Barely escaping the disastrous fall of their watchtower fortress to the evil forces' vanguard, Luk (a lazy but decent hearted guardsman with a penchant for gambling) and Ga-Nor (a northern barbarian tracker-ranger to whom Luk owes money) set out across the deeply forested country to warn the Capitol city. As envoys of the dead give chase, they are joined by Grey and Layan, husband and wife assassins who have been in hiding for the past seven years following a high profile job. Their party is filled out with a revolving door of colorful characters as this group of very divergent peoples escape harrowing situations and deadly ambushes, not completely unscathed.
Chasers of the Wind is seriously epic adventure the likes of which any D&D player will instantly be familiar...if they had a great dungeon master at the helm. Pehov has solid control of the danger, combat flow, and narrative. He breathes life into unique and interesting characters, and continues to build upon a vivid world full of cool creatures. If there is a fault hiding in the shadows, it has to do with the issues inherent in translation from another language. Early on there are verbal snags which don't flow easily, and English readers will feel the bur of phrases which don't feel natural outside of their native Russian. But much like subtitles, after a few chapters your notice of these things will likely fade away.
Chasers of the Wind is an immediate "must read" for players of D&D, and remains something to seriously consider for anyone interested in a classic adventure party epic. Chasers of the Wind by Alexey Pehov is out now from Tor Books as a hardcover for $27.99. Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Shock-O-Rama, which looks into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a co-curator of several repertoire film series at the world famous Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA. You can hear him drop nerd knowledge on weekly podcast You've Got Geek or think him a fool of a Took on Twitter.