Welcome to the Jungle!
Tethyrian colonists sent to the jungle island of Chult have vanished and only their celebrated leader has returned. The story he tells of disease and monsters rings false to his enemies - a former mutineer is sent to discover what really happened to the Lost Colony and what the Hero of Tethyr is hiding.
The first book in a series designed to showcase the uncivilized areas that are iconic to the Dungeons & Dragons® game, The Fanged Crown is an easy way for unfamiliar listeners to pick up the Forgotten Realms®. With plenty of action, intrigue, and adventure, this is a book that will appeal to new listeners and familiar fans alike. The Fanged Crown and the rest of the Wilds series may be read in any order.
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One of the two best D&D novels I've found
It starts out with a small crew battling off pirates at sea. Quirky, gritty, realistic characters make up the small crew. Some are generous, ungenerous and suspicious, young and timid, older and cantankerous, with a constant sarcastically joking banter, and fiercely loyal to each other. Flashbacks help fill them and their story out. The flashbacks also help explain the overall plot. The story also covers characters in other locations that relate to and eventually meet up with the plotline. None are stereotypes, few are very powerful, but most are complex and realistic characters so it was easier to identify with, take seriously, and care about them the challenges they face.
When things turn out to not be what they were supposed to the mission changes. Shipboard, slogging and fighting through the jungle and creatures, discovering unforeseen plot angles, ancient ruins, and a little castle conniving. It had great action scenes, mystery, some political intrigue, and surprising plot twists. At various points it had the tone or flavor of Serenity, old jungle exploring adventure movies, Indiana Jones, and The Mummy. It doesn’t end in a cliff hanger but a character has decides to start a new a new effort that could be a next novel. I immediately got the next novel in the series but it is a different thing altogether. A great writer, I can’t wait for her next stand-alone novel.
The narration was really good with a variety of voices that fit the characters but spoken too fast, without enough (sometimes any) pause between phrases and sentences. Not so fast that I couldn’t enjoy the story but in many places it made it hard to follow and I had to rewind and this detracted.