Welcome to our 2016 52 in 52 series. This year I will be reading 52 Magic: the Gathering novels spanning two decades of Vorthos lore. Each week I’ll share my review of the book along with a synopsis for those of you who are just interested in the core of the story.

52 in 52

Here’s something you may be able to relate to as a fellow Vorthos: I loved Fallen Empires. I loved the flavor and the tribal themes and the illustrations and of course I loved the fact that I could buy dozens of packs with my allowance. I was 11 years old when Fallen Empires came out; a ripe time for falling in love with just about anything (also when I became a Devils fan). So getting to read a novel all about the Sarpadian Empires was really fantastic.

Quick aside: The artwork at the top of this post is Icatian Moneychanger which is by Drew Tucker who only illustrated 30 or 40 cards from Magic’s early days but had an amazing style that I really enjoyed. The art was one of the big things that drew me to Fallen Empires and Tucker’s was no exception. You can check out more of his work at http://drewtuckerillustration.com/.

And Peace Shall Sleep
by Sonia Orin Lyris

The story contained within this novel is chock full of lore about the Sarpadian Empires which fell just before the onset of the Ice Age (hence the name Fallen Empires). There were several main forces at play: the humans of Icatia and the Ebon Hand were the two human empires, aligned with the colors white and black, the elves of Havenwood aligned with green, the merfolk of Vodalia aligned with blue, and the loose-knit dwarves, goblins, and orcs who were all aligned with red.

Fallen Empires was, essentially, the first tribal set in Magic’s history. And Peace Shall Sleep features almost all of the major players except for the Vodalian merfolk (who are mentioned in passing). Our anti-hero of sorts is a human from Icatia named Reod Dai who is never mentioned in the cards. He serves as a vessel to bring the reader to each corner of the empires, beginning in the far southern mountains of the dwarves.

Reod is a mercenary who abandoned the Icatians and turned to the Ebon Hand. After fleeing the Ebon Hand he took up employ from Havenwood who asked him to start a war between Icatia and the Orcs and Goblins. Reod was good at his job, perhaps too good. He has been procuring dragon eggs from a dwarven family and using them as weapons to impress the Orcs and Goblins and helping them to build an army to fight (but not defeat) Icatia. When the funding from Havenwood dries up, Reod informs the dwarven family that he doesn’t want their eggs anymore. They accompany him to Havenwood to try to convince the elves to reconsider and thus our adventure begins.

And Peace Shall Sleep is a very fast-paced book that centers around Reod and the dwarven women he travels with: a mother and two daughters. Each character has emotional depth and shows some growth as the story progresses and their lives are turned upside down. From one empire to another we are given glimpses of a world falling apart as the land grows colder and colder, no one understanding what is going to happen to their climate.

Overall Rating: 5.0 — The implication of the book, of course, is that Reod is somehow responsible for the fall of the Sarpadian Empires. The notion seems absurd but by the end of the novel you may think otherwise. The story is memorable as are the characters. And of course the Vorthos content abounds. There are Thallids, Goblin War Drums, and even an Orgg to satisfy even the most reluctant Vorthos fans. I couldn’t help but give this book a perfect score. It has great lore, great characters, and a great story. Go pick it up today!

Next Week’s Book—Dark Legacy by Robert Vardeman

War rages under the double moons of Dominia. It is Minotaur vs. Elf in a bloody conflict of dirty politics and foul magics.

The human orphan Yunnie brings two formidable weapons to the battle. One is the Living Armor, which turns its wearer into a berserk killing machine. The other is the stone idol, Tiyint, which once awakened, slaughters with grim abandon.

But Yunnie soon finds there is even more at stake than a kingdom. There is a third relentless enemy, under the ground–keeping the war going, and dining on the dead of both armies!

Full Disclosure: The images of books in this review will take you to Amazon.com where you can purchase these books (and many more items, so I’m told). If you do so, Hipsters of the Coast will receive a small percentage of your money which will be used to ensure columns like this and many others can continue to exist. Please note that if you click the link then anything you purchase from Amazon in the next 24 hours (even if it isn’t this book) will provide us with a small percentage, so if you want to help support Hipsters of the Coast and need to buy a new vacuum cleaner then click away!

52 in 52 is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. Each week we will take a look at the past seven days of major events, big news items, and community happenings so that you can keep up-to-date on all the latest and greatest Magic: the Gathering community news.


Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.