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Death of a Darklord: The Ravenloft Covenant [Mass Market Paperback]

Laurell K. Hamilton
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 28 2007 The Ravenloft Covenant
Laurell K. Hamilton's Ravenloft(R) classic!

Death of a Darklord focuses on a young woman who finds that she has a talent for magic in a land and a family unforgiving of such abilities. Her tragic attempts to redeem herself in the eyes of her family by aiding them on their quest to end the dark magic that has destroyed a neighboring town, makes for a gripping, terrifying read.

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About the Author

LAURELL K. HAMILTON has spent over a decade in the dark world of vampires, penning the best-selling Anita Blake series.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Laurell K.Hamilton at her best May 8 2013
By Conteur
Format:Paperback
Wow! This novel is marvellously written, capturing all the feelings of the Ravenloft Setting. The characters are superbly displayed, with all their weaknesses and characteristic. Harkon Lukas is also very well portrayed. As a master of gothic romance, Laurell K.Hamilton is, as always, astounding. She played with the rules and created some twist to the Mist that were very interresting. A must read, even for people unfamiliar with the Ravenloft Setting.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The worst Ravenloft book in the series... April 10 2004
Format:Paperback
I've read the majority of this series and this one is by far the worst. It's painfully obvious that Laurell K. Hamilton has never played D&D and has little to no idea how Ravenloft has been portrayed by her fellow authors. The first Ravenloft book that I read concerning Harkon Lukas was "Heart of Midnight," which was excellent. In that book, Lukas was suave, sophisticated and subtle in his evil. Here, he's just plain bloodthirty and cruel, not at all how I pictured him after reading HOM. Maybe LKH is a decent author. I don't know, since this is the only novel of hers I've ever read. All I know is that she has no clue how to write for D&D.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.5 out of 5 stars  79 reviews
73 of 81 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars False Advertising... Aug. 31 2006
By CN - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A lesson from this book is to look closely at the original copyright date - as in this one being 1995. This is a very early work by Ms. Hamilton and it shows. It's also an excellent lesson in greed and book publishers. The book was not particularly good and verges on amatuerish. The story line is not strong, in fact motivations of certain characters don't really makes sense.

In the beginning of the story one character, Tereza, agrees to take along another, our heroine Elaine, who is dangerously weakened. Doing so doesn't make sense (especially since Tereza's character is suppose to be chock full of common sense).

A main story line is the antagonist persuades an ill, but noble character to lure another into a trap. From the other action in the book it really isn't clear why our antagonist even needs to do this.

Even in fantasy books, the "rules" must be consistent - whatever they are. Here things happen and you have absolutely no clue as to why. For instance, the main character Elaine heals others, toward the end of the book we find this 'healing' goes wrong. Why? To what end? This is never explained and needs to be because it is an important aspect of the story.

This book was a nice second draft and should never have been reprinted. However, with Ms. Hamiltons current popularity the publisher went with it - too bad for Ms. Hamilton.

Other than the nice cover artwork by Jon Foster and Matt Adelsperger - don't bother buying this book. If you feel compelled to check it out, do so from the library! Save your money.
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to Ravenloft. Oct. 19 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Laurell K. Hamilton (of Anita Blake fame) does a superb job with this foray into the Ravenloft world. The book is "about" a party of adventurers and their journey to save a village tormented by a plague of walking dead. But Hamilton chooses the right story, the self-discovery and slow spiral into evil of a would-be mage. She does a wonderful job of describing magic, much better than the typical TSR work, and her action sequences are about the best I've seen in this type of novel. The end is a bit weak, the young mage's story needs more closure than it has, but I truly enjoyed this book.
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Started strong, but... Feb. 14 2007
By Erich Krueger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
ended too quickly and with too much left unsaid.

The first 200 pages or so were very interesting with great plot and character development. The characters were really well done, and their interaction with each other was very enjoyable.

Then everything abruptly changed. The author dedicated the book to a pet she lost during the book, and I have to wonder if that happened around page 200. In the last 100 pages, suddenly, the rug gets pulled out from underneath the reader and everything is tied up very fast and messily.

It really feels like this book should have been at least another 100 pages in length, with more in depth exploration of the characters and slower resolution to the conflicts that she'd developed. Instead, everything goes to hell in the course of 4 chapters or so.

There is also no closure to the story of the main character. After things go to hell, before there is any attempt at recovery or damage control by the main character, we pick up with a couple of minor characters and the book then ends.

All in all it started out as a very good read, but ended off leaving me feeling like I needed to read the last 100 pages again in a desperate attempt to try and glean some meaning from the car wreck it turned into.
83 of 106 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Curiously anemic. Dec 28 2005
By Robert Beveridge - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Laurell K. Hamilton, Death of a Darklord (TSR, 1995)

Laurell K. Hamilton's Ravenloft novel, Death of a Darklord, has achieved an almost mythic status in Hamilton fandom (which is legion, of course), mostly because it's next to impossible to find. At least, I assume that's the reason it fetches outrageous prices on ebay and required librarians to dig into storage cabinets in back rooms to come up with a copy for me to borrow (it took them nigh on a year to locate even a single copy out of circulation but still owned by the system-- it's no longer in circulation because so many copes walked away, never to return). It's not because the book stands head and shoulders, stylistically, narratively, or any other way over any of the other Ravenloft novels.

Of all the lines of fiction put out by TSR (now Wizards of the Coast) in the eighties and nineties, only the original run of Dragonlance-- the first ten or twenty novels set in the Dragonlance world-- rivalled the quality of the Ravenloft books. This was, of course, because TSR didn't go to the stock authors for these. They recruited names-- Hamilton, Gene DeWeese, Tanya Huff, Elaine Bergstrom, P. N. Elrod, Chet Williamson, etc. Sure, like everything else TSR, they were formulaic; after all, if you wanted a TSR contract, you played by their rules. But it's possible to do all sorts of things within formula, and good writers adapt. Williamson's novel, Mordenheim, is a standout in this regard. Hamilton's, however, is not.

Some of the blame for the novel's predictability and lack of pace in its first half don't have at least something to do with a moronic copywriter, who left all the first half's suspense for dead after writing a couple of sentences. Yet, still, when one picks up a book by an author whose name is rapidly approaching the state where you have to put "hallowed" before it, you start expecting something roughly akin to what you'd get from an Elrod, a Williamson, etc., rather than a tale which sticks quite closely to formula.

None of this is to say that the book isn't readable; it's just more reminiscent of the later Dragonlance novels, on the continuum of quality, than the earlier ones. Still, if you're a Hamilton fan, or a Ravenloft collector, you'll probably find the outrageous prices this goes for worth paying. Don't let me stop you. ***
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What is this?!? Jan. 8 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I generally avoid book series based on consumer goods, but I made an exception for Laurel Hamilton. I was extremely disappointed! I don't think I'm simply spoiled by the rich character development in her Anita Blake books. Hamilton does action & tension well enough, but the plot...where was it going? Why introduce the reader to characters, then sloppily kill them off? It was like a really bad made-for-TV movie on paper. I finished the book only because I though Hamilton would redeem herself. She failed.
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