The Orb of Xoriat, War-Torn #2 by Edward Bolme

The Orb of Xoriat - Edward Bolme

A partially-ruined monastery makes an oasis in the Crying Fields of Aundair, the site of so many battles during the Last War the land itself became corrupted and haunted by the many who died. At least, that is the conventional explanation. The truth lies buried and there are several parties looking to secure a powerful artifact for their own ends.


First there is Teron, the last monk of a secret order, who is charged with keeping the artifact out of the wrong hands after its theft. Used to working alone, except for his cat Flotsam, he must ally himself with Praxle d'Sivis a gnome from Korranberg University who travels with his half-orc body-servant/bodyguard "Jeffers" in order to reclaim the orb. Once they get the orb they'll decide who gets to keep it. The would-be thieves of the orb is a group of Cyrans led by Shadow Fox. They hope the powers of the orb can be harnessed to bring their nation back from the living nightmare that is the Mournland.


This was an excellent standalone novel set in the Eberron universe for Dungeons and Dragons. Bolme makes excellent use of locations within the game, but is not beholden to them. This is classic heist fantasy with well-shaded characters that fit into the noir sensibility of the setting. There were few clear villains, all of the characters did what they must for the good as they saw it. This was a relief after the disappointing 'Crimson Talisman'. I especially loved the hard-assed monk carrying his kitty around.


An ending that felt rushed which left a few supporting characters without closure is the only reason this didn't get full marks. You don't often find writing this good and this entertaining in licensed novels.


The War-Torn


Next: 'In the Claws of the Tiger'


Previous: 'The Crimson Talisman'