Ghosts Of Ascalon
Matt Forbeck and Jeff Grubb
Pocket, Aug 2010, $7.99
Two and a half centuries ago, the bestial charr invaded Ascalon. Desperate King Adelbern, knowing his monarchy was about to be overrun by the evil charr, called forth the magical Foefire to burn the malevolent assailants. He succeeded in killing the enemy, but the magic did not differentiate between friend and foe so many humans died too. Upset and perhaps insane with grief, the dead Ascalonians became spirit protectors of the burnt remains of a destroyed kingdom. The few survivors left for neighboring Kryta.
In the present Queen Jennah hopes to sign a peace treaty with the charr abominations, as a war would devastate the humans. However, before negotiating the charr demand the return of the Claw of the Khan-Ur, perhaps the holiest of artifacts that they lost in the Foefire of Ascalon. The monarch orders adventurer Dougal Keane to lead a team of misfits into the ruins of Ascalon, a place he considers worse than hell. Not only is he unsure what awaits him in the shadows though he has heard of the legend of the Ghosts of Ascalon, but is positive many charr and humans prefer war for various motives and will kill a band seeking a peace trophy.
This is an entertaining quest fantasy with an obvious tie to the game. The story line is fast-paced with exciting action-packed combat scenes and a strong cast especially Dougal and his comrades. Although the plot ebbs (in between the hostilities) and flows (vivid battle scenes), fans of the GuildWars video game will want to join Dougal and his team that he despises as they venture on a journey with little hope of retuning.