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Book Review: The Gossamer Plain by Thomas M. Reid

Genre: Forgotten Realms, Shared World, Media Tie-In
Mass Market Paperback: 308 pages
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast; First Edition edition
Publication Date: May 8, 2007
ISBN-10: 0786940247
ISBN-13: 978-0786940240
Author Website: Thomas M. Reid

What happens when the alu-fiend Aliisza gets a conscience? Will she turn to good? Will the justice of Tyr change a creature half-human, half-demon? Interesting questions, especially when you consider that demons are, by their nature wholly evil. Such a plot allows for discussions on the nature of good and evil, and how choices affect our lives.

Thomas M. Reid, best selling author of Insurrection, returns to the character he created for that story in his new series The Empyrean Odyssey. The first book in the trilogy, The Gossamer Plain, was released this month by Wizards of the Coast as part of the Forgotten Realms shared world.

The story follows Aliisza and her cambion lover Kaanyr Vhok on two separate journeys. Kaanyr’s takes him through the plane of Fire, assisted by a half dragon and a priest of Bane. Aliisza, meanwhile, must go on a journey through her soul as she finds herself trapped on Tyr’s (the god of Justice in the Forgotten Realms) home plane.

This novel is mostly lead in for the two books that follow. Kaanyr’s journey, while filled with a lot of action, develops the character only a little (he’s chaotic evil, I think) and leaves the priest of Bane in the background, although their camaraderie is interesting given their selfish natures. The half-dragon’s quest is known early on, and while it differs from Vhok’s, it is useful as a major plot changing device in the story.

The best part of the story is Aliisza. A tool for her lover’s plans, she finds herself being used by the astral deva, Tauran. Although he claims he is helping her, Aliisza feels he is using her. The debates about good and evil, especially the comment on page 229 about how the good we do is still done selfishly, make for some deeper reading than is usually found in a sword and sorcery novel.

Not to worry though, as there is still plenty of action. Some of the plot twists are surprising, although I was disappointed by one at the end.

This is not, however, Reid’s best work. Although good escapism, not a lot really happens, and by the end of the novel, I was wondering when the story would really develop. I can only assume it is in book 2 of The Empyrean Odyssey. If you like Forgotten Realms or want to continue the story of Aliisza and Kaanyr Vhok then you might enjoy this book. However, if you are new to the Realms, this is not a good book to begin with. It is written more for Forgotten Realms fans with a working knowledge of the shared world, and who read Insurrection.

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