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Mass Market Paperback Depths of Madness Book

ISBN: 0786943149

ISBN13: 9780786943142

The last thing she remembers is seeing her friends die... Now it's her turn. Eldritch and forgotten arcana wait within its vaults. Twisted accidents of magic prowl its halls. Sinister forces lure the unsuspecting deeper into death or madness. Its victims don't remember how they got there. No one remembers how to get out...


Format: Mass Market Paperback

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Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Depths of Madness should be given a fair shake

I've read a lot of fantasy novels (shared world and not, and not just fantasy either, but everything from high literature to mainstream to genre fiction) but not until this one have I written and posted a review. I'd wouldn't do it, but I saw the sorts of unfair things being said about Depths of Madness and thought: are we reading the same book? Depths of Madness. Erik Scott de Bie's second novel. March 2007. Wizards of the Coast. (Just making sure.) I think maybe it's because this book requires a certain amount of brainpower: more than your run-of-the-mill, cobbled-together-to-meet-a-deadline fantasy, yet less than a literary masterpiece. De Bie gives us some credit--he assumes that we're going to be able to make mental connections about the characters, that we're going to be able to look for hints as to motivations we don't immediately understand. He doesn't spell everything out like he's writing to a child. He RESPECTS his readers' brainpower and writes accordingly. The result is a mature, smart fantasy book for mature, smart fantasy readers. (Though I suppose I should say "horror" readers, since this is closer to a fantasy-horror story.) This book is very entertaining and surprisingly deep. A thrill ride from start to finish that never lets up. A wrenching and beautiful young romance. A haunting and maddening mystery that keeps twisting all the way to the last sentence. (And the best character wins--there, I spoiled it.) The plot is complex. Sure, it can be confusing, but that's the idea (note: MADNESS) the characters are trapped in a dungeon, with no idea how or why they got there or how they might escape, and they have to put the pieces together with very little to go on. They have to try to stay calm and alert, watching their backs and those of others. They have to fight both the monsters for survival and amongst themselves for domination. It's like Survivor, only instead of going home, you get stabbed/eaten/rent/squished/strangled/eyes exploded/drowned in blood/etc. when you get voted off the island. The plot moves faster than the heroes are prepared for, and they have to scramble to keep up . . . and keep their heads and lives. The characters are the real strength of this novel. (Again, I wonder what book the critics who say "bad characterization" and "flat characters" are reading.) The tendency in a fantasy novel is to spend all of your creative energy on two or three characters, to the exclusion of others. Not the case here. The author gives each and every character life and breath; each one has desires and fears and, above all, secrets. The characterization is nuanced and subtle and exceedingly accurate. The character motivations are deeper and more complicated than the standard: "food," "sex," "gold," and "sex." Don't get me wrong: there's plenty of all that good stuff in these pages, but the characters have deeper dimensions. They've all got mysteries, too! Here are a few examples: - Twilight (the main heroine) pushes

Dark fantasy, with a twist!

Depths of Madness stands out as one of the more engaging fantasy books I've read. Once I picked the novel up, I found that several aspects of its style made it very hard to stop reading...... The characters in Depths of Madness are more developed than I would expect to find in a Forgotten Realms setting. It's hard to figure out who the "good guys" are in this story, and sometimes I found myself rooting for the bad guys. In other words, there are no knights in shining armor here - the characters are multi-dimensional and struggle with their own weaknesses just as much as they struggle with the monsters in the dungeon. Occasionally, the author's emphasis on characterization works against the reader. For example, the novel gives intriguing - and sometimes confusing - hints about Twilight's past. I was waiting for these to be explained or to become important to the storyline, but that didn't always happen. Overall, however, the detailed characterizations in Depths of Madness drew me into the story and made me care about what happened to the protagonists. One of the aspects of Depths of Madness that I liked best was its sharp sense of humor and irony. For instance, Twilight's witty dialogue made me laugh and also made her character more compelling. Moreover, it seems like the author isn't afraid to play with the stereotypical aspects of a fantasy adventure story: the virtuous heroine isn't particularly virtuous, the young hero seems anything but heroic, the faithful companion might (or might not) be a murderer... The author's willingness to take humdrum character types to unexpected places made Depths of Madness engaging and gave it a touch of comedy. Reading Depths of Madness was like trying to solve a murder mystery. The complex storyline was at times hard to follow, but it made for a very enjoyable game of "whodunnit?" The intricate plot echoes the twists and turns of the dungeon the characters must explore and reflects their continually unraveling sanity. Having some knowledge of the Realms or of D & D gaming does make the book easier to follow, but I think it could be enjoyed by non-gamers/Realms fans. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for dark fantasy adventure - with a twist!

Great novel, keeps you guessing

The Depths of Madness is the first book in the new stand-alone Dungeons series, and Mr. De Bie really sets a high standard here for the three other authors to follow. Fans who liked his previous works will certainly not be disappointed. It's different from Ghostwalker, his first full-length novel, but just as dark. The story centers around 7 adventurers stuck in the Depths. To find their way out, past cunning traps and vicious monsters, they all have to work together to survive, which is easier said than done. Once again De Bie serves up truly fascinating characters, which is what made this reader hooked on Ghostwalker. To not spoil it overly much, I'll just say that while they each look to be archetypes on the surface, e.g. the evil warlock, the jovial halfling, and the big strong, but silent fighter, they all have their secrets. These are revealed bit by bit as the novel continues, and it''s never what you expected. All in all, a really great read, highly recommended. Also, those who wish to learn more about Twilight should pick up Realms of the Elves, where she's in a short story (The Greater Treasure).

Depths of Madness

Depths of Madness, by Erik Scott de Bie, is the first book of the Forgotten Realms' new series called The Dungeons and is a deranged tale of seven strangers awaking to find themselves trapped in an ancient ruin. The strangers do not recall how they arrived in the dungeon, and worse none of them can be trusted. Erik brings back the mysterious thief Twilight, a character introduced in an earlier short story (a story this book is not dependant upon), and throws her in with six other intriguing personalities. Among the group is a power hungry, devil worshipping warlock; an eccentric halfling whose mysteries may even rival Twilight's; a noble elven priestess and her aged human husband, a wizard of no small measure; a quiet, brooding goliath; and an enigmatic swordsman. The group must band together despite all the personality friction in order to escape a dungeon whose very walls shift, closing and opening passages in chaotic fashion. Dangers lurk in front of and behind the strangers as two competing entities vie for control over the oblivious group. Evil fiends, an unrelenting troll, magical constructs, and even simple hunger remain constant obstacles to the small band, but the deadliest obstacle of all is themselves. Erik has thrown together a terrific tale that has the reader turning each page in hopes of acquiring small measure of release from the tension. Bits of comedy keep the pace from getting too strained though it provides very little reprieve from the character's engaging situation. Characters reveal themselves little by little, enlightening the reader with tidbits of information to keep them guessing at what's really happening. Erik's style is not fluffy with involving descriptions, it's fast paced and hard edged with the focus on the interactions of the characters and their environment. His handling of tension and stress do not falter even as the characters walk the fine line between the rational and the irrational. The story is very engrossing, even when the mundane issues of being lost in a labyrinthine ruin come to play. I would prefer to have seen more of the characters reactions to just being underground along with having little resources than the myriad of encounters they experience. The problems of being underground, in the dark with walls pressing in everywhere, as well as the severe distrust and need for each other is more than most personalities can bare, but throw in the issue of depleted resources and the strength of self-preservation and that is one dangerous story. Aside from the more in depth psychological aspects that aren't well fleshed out, the story is very enjoyable. The tale is well done and carries the reader through to the surprising end. The reader will, of course, make their own judgments and opinions of the characters but no matter they will still be caught unaware when the story unfolds. I recommend picking this up for good read and interesting conversation afterward.

Another Great One

Depths of Madness easily lives up to the high expectations I had for Erik de Bie's second novel. It is an even darker novel than Ghostwalker and is just as well written. This book pushes the limits usually constraining the Forgotten Realms series, which I think is refreshing. It has new ideas and uncommon characters, rather than relying on stereotypical, tried-and-true formulas. Characters are not invincible; they have their weaknesses and so they seem realistic. There is an array of both heroes and enemies, and the distinction between the two is not always obvious. Uncertainty is a common motif throughout. The story line is exciting and gripping, and sometimes even horrifying. Overall, this is an awesome book, and I can't wait to see what Erik de Bie creates next.
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