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The Steel Throne [Mass Market Paperback]

Edward Bolme
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1 2002 The Four Winds Saga
The prelude to an upcoming Legend of the Five Rings series. This novel introduces new characters and settings based on the events in the Legend of the Five Rings: The Spirit Wars(tm) card set. This book also sets up the story for future novels in the upcoming series The Four Winds Saga.

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About the Author

Edward bolme has been involved in Origins(tm) award-winning game design and fiction for 14 years. This is his first novel for Wizards of the Coast, Inc., but he has contributed short stories to various anthologies, including The Dragons of Magic, A Magic: The Gathering(r) anthology, and Neverwinter Nights, a Forgotten Realms(r) anthology. He lives in Washington.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A most satisfying entry in the L5R series Aug. 25 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Having read them all, I'd rate The Steel Throne in the Top 3, along with The Crane, and The Dragon, in no particular order.
While the previous 7 books in the series deal with the doings of one main character within a short timespan (a few months, at most), this one spans the decades long conflict known The War Against Spirits and there is no main character. Instead, each chapter centers on one character, then jumps forward one month, or several years, to the next. This, far from being confusing, makes for an entertaining and dynamic read.
When dealing with game-based fiction, or shared-world fiction in general, one must thread carefully the narrow line between fulfilling reader expectations and crafting a compelling read, with a few surprises to boot. In my opinion, Mr. Bolme has succeded. Most bases are covered, questions long raised are finally answered, and a plot and characters only hinted at in one-liners on a piece of cardboard are made alive in this most satysfing novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I Agree--the Best in this series!!! July 2 2002
By A. Lee
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is another book set in the world of Rokugan, from the Legend of the Five Rings game which has a Fantasy Japan/Asian setting. The previous books smacked of your usual game-based fiction weaknesses (usually just average writers working with someone else's world--which is ok for fan-fic, but not as satisfying usually, as good writers working in their own world). Ed Bolme is another gaming insider. This is good, since he actually knows the world of L5R. The best of the previous books was written by the one other author who also knew the material well. But I was impressed by Ed's writing. This is easily the best of the 8 books that have been published so far. The book starts when the Emperor Toturi is in the grips of possession by some dark power. The only way to save the Empire is by committing seppuku while he still has enough control. So Toturi finds himself in Jigoku, the world of the dead. The dark power threatens to shut the Gate between the living and the dead, so the living can no longer commune with dead ancestors (something very important to all of Rokugan)... The story is told with a lot of energy, strong characterization and a deft feel for the Asian/Samurai/Fantasy setting of the world. I enjoyed this. Although, I'm biased, since I've been following the story and the game for many years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Lot April 8 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
House fiction for roleplaying games tends to be lukewarm and lackluster. The Clan War series for Legend of the Five Rings had been better than expected, with only one exception ("The Unicorn"). "The Steel Throne" surpasses the rest overall.
This is the story of the Spirit Wars, in which the spirits of the dead return to the world of the living in the (more or less mortal) flesh. The people of Rokugan (a fantasy empire based heavily on feudal Japan) revere their ancestors, and so are in turmoil over the return of those ancestors. Among the spirits that returned were Hantei XVI, paranoid megalomaniac Emperor from long ago, and Hida Tsuneo, aka The Stone Crab, his loyal (if not loving) servant and general.
The schism between the mortals of the present age, sworn to the service of Emperor Toturi I, and the returned spirits, whose loyalties still lie with the Hantei dynasty, grows ever greater throughout the book. This one has sword fights, hopeless battles, true love, tests of courage, human weakness, and more Machiavellian plots than you can shake a stick at.
Fans of the Legend of the Five Rings CCG and RPG will be delighted, as will any reader of good fantasy fiction. This sets the groundwork for the Winds saga, in which the heirs of Toturi contend for the Steel Throne of Rokugan. Read on, MacDuff!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A really great intro to the Four Winds April 4 2002
By P. Timm
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This introduction to the Four Winds Saga takes the daunting task of covering almost 30 years of events that chronicle the growth and fate of 5 main characters. The astounding part is that this feat is pulled off with style and skill. Each of the characters gets his or her crowning moments and yet they all still contribute to the main arc for the book: the spirit wars.
On it's own, this book is a fabulous introduction to the world of Rokugan (from the game, "Legend of the Five Rings.") it's a great place for anyone to use as a jumping on point for this richly detailed world. And for those that have been following the Four Winds arc in the game, this story fills in many of the details - giving us a great background for why the characters are the way they are. The observant reader may also discern hints about these characters' destinies...
Overall, I'd have to say this is the best book in the L5R series to date. A great read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting beginning to an incredible story! May 1 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Steel Throne is easily at the top of all the fantasy books I've read. And don't expect it to live up to the low standards of other games turned to books, because TST is a boo based on a game that was designed to be played like a book! Confused? Don't be. Even if you are COMPLETELY unfamiliar with L5R, you can pick up this book (or any of the others) and not be confused in the slightest. Ed was given the extremely difficult task of summing up two HUGE story arcs with enough fiction and story to it to take up an entire book series, and asked to put it all in one conice novel, and beleive me, he more then lived up to the task! I say if you've ever been slightly interested in samurai, ninja or high adventure (and who hasn't) pick it up! But let the buyer beware!!! YOU WILL GET HOOKED!!!... Eternal glory to the Dragon Clan!
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