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Author Topic: Dungeons and Dragons Novels  (Read 6770 times)
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Arkon
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« on: December 27, 2010, 05:14:09 PM »

So, I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I have never read a single D&D novel.  I used to be an avid reader, but for reasons beyond the intent of this post, I was not allowed as a kid to read anything D&D.

For Christmas, I used gift certificates and then quite a bit of my own money to buy an iPad and have been looking into the Kindle app.  The clarity of the eBooks is impressive.  So if I wanted to get started... where do I start?

From a settings perspective, I would guess Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms would be the best fit for me.
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2010, 11:02:36 AM »

I tried reading the chronologically first Drizzt novel and was bored to tears, so I wouldn't start there.

On the other hand, I've been reading several different Warhammer and Warhammer 40k novels recently, and they've all been excellent.
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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2010, 01:26:49 PM »

Yeah. The Crystal Shard is a bit of a dry read. The prequel series is a good place to start, or even better would be the Cleric Quintet. It's five R.A. Salvatore books that I absolutely loved ---- BEFORE reading anything Drizzt. If you want to start with Drizzt, start with Homeland. That trilogy is awesome. I stopped reading Drizzt books around the fifteenth or so.

Forgotten Realms - I read a lot of this world when I was in high school and college. I probably have about a hundred books. That said I read them when I was 13-20, and now being 32 it's a lot harder to drop recommendations here.  I did enjoy Pools of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds a lot (however, they are based off of video games and D&D modules). The original Avatar trilogy is extremely important to the timeline of the world as well.

Dragonlance - start with Weis and Hickman, and stick there. The original Chronicles trilogy is the ONLY starting point there. (Dragons of Autumn Twilight) then move onto Legends. If you still want more, there are some good books here (I really liked Defenders of Magic) but a lot that I didn't care for (Tales, Meetings).
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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2010, 01:27:29 PM »

Also, if you can FIND them, the Dark Sun "Prism Pentad" is completely amazing.
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2010, 09:19:15 PM »

Not really D&D but since Drizzt and The Crystal Shard were both mentioned . I cannot get enough RA Salvatore books read. At least i  used to love them. I did not read the last trilogy..yet. I lost time for reading a good while back frown Anyways I found all the series fun. The dark elf one was a little less so but still good. My favorite was The Icewind Dale Trilogy. It was the first one I read and it drew me into them. Even though it wasn't the first books it still did a great job introducing the characters. I had no idea who they were when I started. I guess I read it right after the first Icewind Dale game came out.
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2010, 09:33:06 PM »

Big plus to Chronicles.
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« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2010, 10:38:09 PM »

I LOVED the DragonLance books in high school. However I tried to re-read them a couple of years ago and they were so amateurishly written and juvenile I couldn't even get through the first book. I still love D&D but after that debacle I decided to keep DragonLance in my memory where it's still awesome. smile
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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2011, 01:02:39 AM »

Quote from: DragonFyre on December 28, 2010, 01:27:29 PM

Also, if you can FIND them, the Dark Sun "Prism Pentad" is completely amazing.

I read these back when they were first released and *loved* them, great stuff!  thumbsup

They went out of print for awhile but were finally reprinted in 2008/2009 so shouldn't be hard to find any more. I keep meaning to pick them up and read them again, after all this time they'll be like new.  icon_wink
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« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2011, 07:02:07 PM »

This doesn't sound like it's exactly what you're looking for, but the new D&D comic book has been surprisngly good.  

Here's a preview: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=6927&disp=table
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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2011, 08:26:28 PM »

The best D&D novels I've ever read are Don Bassingthwaite's trilogies set in Eberron -  The Dragon Below and Legacy of Dhakaan. I'm usuall a bigger fan of Forgotten Realms settings, but his books completely sucked me into the world of Eberron and it's continent of Khorvaire. He's an excellent writer and you'll find many positive comments on Amazon about his books. Quite honestly, those 2 trilogies are written well enough that even a non D&D fan would find them entertaining. I've brought them to the attention of at the staff at a local Chapters (Canuckistan equivalent of B&N) in my area and they've all agreed and even brought in some of his harder to source novels.
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2011, 04:35:13 PM »

Quote from: YellowKing on December 31, 2010, 10:38:09 PM

I LOVED the DragonLance books in high school. However I tried to re-read them a couple of years ago and they were so amateurishly written and juvenile I couldn't even get through the first book. I still love D&D but after that debacle I decided to keep DragonLance in my memory where it's still awesome. smile


I had pretty much the same experience.  They were my favorite novels when I was 16.  Two or three years ago I sat down to read them again and could barely choke down the horrible, cheesy dialog.  I think I got a third of the way through Autumn Twilight before I decided that it was just a lost cause.

Most of the D&D novels are pieces that were commissioned out to inexperienced short story writers with a short deadline in order to support other products TSR/WotC was planning on putting on the market.  Most of them are cheesy pulp quality, and many are just unreadable.  There are a few exceptions.  Some of Salvatore's stuff isn't too bad, but I find that more than a trilogy at once tends to burn you out.  His stuff is very formulaic.  I found the Icewind Dale trilogy to be decent, but the Dark Elf trilogy (the 'chronologically first' series) to be tedious and dry.  I liked Azure Bonds, but the rest of the trilogy they grew out of it was pretty poor.  Some of the Dragonlance Tales books had some decent stories in them. 

Of course, keep in mind that I haven't read any of these books in more than ten years, and haven't actively followed the various series since before that.
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MonkeyFinger
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2011, 08:24:29 PM »

Quote from: kronovan on January 07, 2011, 08:26:28 PM

The best D&D novels I've ever read are Don Bassingthwaite's trilogies set in Eberron -  The Dragon Below and Legacy of Dhakaan.

I do so hope you are right as, thanks to you, I just pulled all six down to my Kindle.  icon_wink
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kronovan
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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2011, 06:35:59 PM »

Quote from: MonkeyFinger on January 08, 2011, 08:24:29 PM

Quote from: kronovan on January 07, 2011, 08:26:28 PM

The best D&D novels I've ever read are Don Bassingthwaite's trilogies set in Eberron -  The Dragon Below and Legacy of Dhakaan.

I do so hope you are right as, thanks to you, I just pulled all six down to my Kindle.  icon_wink

If you like D&D I can't see you not enjoying them. They're that much better if you venture online into D&D Online. Even thought the MMO is set on a different Eberron continent -Xen'Drik- than the trilogies, the books give more depth into the back story. As I said earlier though, IMO they're good enough to stand on their own - D&D or not.
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Morgul
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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2011, 02:36:19 PM »

Go pick up the Crystal shard and Dragons of autumn twighlight...

Read them both and follow the books in order.

Jesus, you have never read about wulfgar or fizban?


Man, wish I was you...  You got some good reads coming your way.
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MonkeyFinger
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2011, 02:55:47 AM »

Quote from: Morgul on January 10, 2011, 02:36:19 PM

Go pick up the Crystal shard and Dragons of autumn twighlight...

Read them both and follow the books in order.

Jesus, you have never read about wulfgar or fizban?


Man, wish I was you...  You got some good reads coming your way.

 icon_cry Much shame at my never having read about wulfgar or fizban led me to The Google, which lead me here - quite the list:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Dragonlance_novels
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« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2011, 03:03:36 AM »

Quote from: MonkeyFinger on January 11, 2011, 02:55:47 AM

Quote from: Morgul on January 10, 2011, 02:36:19 PM

Go pick up the Crystal shard and Dragons of autumn twighlight...

Read them both and follow the books in order.

Jesus, you have never read about wulfgar or fizban?


Man, wish I was you...  You got some good reads coming your way.

 icon_cry Much shame at my never having read about wulfgar or fizban led me to The Google, which lead me here - quite the list:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Dragonlance_novels

Morgul must educate you!
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« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2011, 08:02:47 AM »

Skip the D&D Novels and go read Dream Park.
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« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2011, 03:47:31 PM »

Quote from: Blackhawk on January 08, 2011, 04:35:13 PM

Quote from: YellowKing on December 31, 2010, 10:38:09 PM

I LOVED the DragonLance books in high school. However I tried to re-read them a couple of years ago and they were so amateurishly written and juvenile I couldn't even get through the first book. I still love D&D but after that debacle I decided to keep DragonLance in my memory where it's still awesome. smile


I had pretty much the same experience.  They were my favorite novels when I was 16.  Two or three years ago I sat down to read them again and could barely choke down the horrible, cheesy dialog.  I think I got a third of the way through Autumn Twilight before I decided that it was just a lost cause.

I still really enjoy the Dragonlance Chronicles, and typically read them every couple years.  They're certainly not going to win any prizes for the writing, but it's still a fun, epic story that is well told.  However, I have yet to find another D&D book that I've enjoyed.  All the other DL books are awful, the Drizzt series (and anything from Salvatore, frankly) is one of the most boring things I've ever read, and the smattering of others I've tried have been dreadful.  There's so much better fantasy out there, that I'd have a hard time recommending anything outside the DL Chronicles to anyone.

I'd be very interested to see how someone without the benefit of rose colored glasses likes the Chronicles.
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« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2011, 04:20:29 PM »

Quote from: Pyperkub on January 11, 2011, 08:02:47 AM

Skip the D&D Novels and go read Dream Park.

I loved Dream Park - read it a second time when Barsoon Project came out.  Barsoon Project was ok, but not as good as Dream Park.  Haven't read the third book in the series yet The California Voodoo Game.  Unfortunately the latest book is not available on Kindle frown
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« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2011, 05:23:37 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on January 16, 2011, 03:47:31 PM

Quote from: Blackhawk on January 08, 2011, 04:35:13 PM

Quote from: YellowKing on December 31, 2010, 10:38:09 PM

I LOVED the DragonLance books in high school. However I tried to re-read them a couple of years ago and they were so amateurishly written and juvenile I couldn't even get through the first book. I still love D&D but after that debacle I decided to keep DragonLance in my memory where it's still awesome. smile


I had pretty much the same experience.  They were my favorite novels when I was 16.  Two or three years ago I sat down to read them again and could barely choke down the horrible, cheesy dialog.  I think I got a third of the way through Autumn Twilight before I decided that it was just a lost cause.

I still really enjoy the Dragonlance Chronicles, and typically read them every couple years.  They're certainly not going to win any prizes for the writing, but it's still a fun, epic story that is well told.  However, I have yet to find another D&D book that I've enjoyed.  All the other DL books are awful, the Drizzt series (and anything from Salvatore, frankly) is one of the most boring things I've ever read, and the smattering of others I've tried have been dreadful.  There's so much better fantasy out there, that I'd have a hard time recommending anything outside the DL Chronicles to anyone.

I'd be very interested to see how someone without the benefit of rose colored glasses likes the Chronicles.

Well, I just read through Salvatore's Cleric Quintet, as it routinely got high marks from some of the local D&D players that I game with.  The books kept my interest, but I would certainly say they fall below the Weis and Hickman writing in Dragonlance.  Dragonlance at least has more of that "epic" feel, while the Cleric Quintet reminded me of some of those fantasy choose-your-own-adventure novels I've read in as a child.  Definitely more teenage reading.
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« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2011, 05:34:18 PM »

Quote from: Cragmyre on January 16, 2011, 04:20:29 PM

Quote from: Pyperkub on January 11, 2011, 08:02:47 AM

Skip the D&D Novels and go read Dream Park.

I loved Dream Park - read it a second time when Barsoon Project came out.  Barsoon Project was ok, but not as good as Dream Park.  Haven't read the third book in the series yet The California Voodoo Game.  Unfortunately the latest book is not available on Kindle frown

California Voodoo is better than the Barsoom Project, but not quite up to Dream Park.

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« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2011, 12:03:53 AM »

Slightly off topic..Just today at Walmart i was looking in the $5 section for a movie called Radio and came across a DVD for Dungeons and Dragons..NOT the lame movies but the early 1980's cartoon! $5 for 9 episodes. Man the memories. That is all.
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« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2011, 12:15:37 AM »

I loved the Cleric Quintet, i need to get that on kindle soon.
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« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2011, 12:46:36 AM »

dangit, they only have books 4 and 5 of the quintet available for kindle.
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« Reply #24 on: March 02, 2011, 09:44:31 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on January 28, 2011, 12:15:37 AM

I loved the Cleric Quintet, i need to get that on kindle soon.

Oh! I had forgotten all about these! Cadderly was the man!

I'm re-reading the Dragonlance Chronicles right now. Yes, they are juvenile. Yes, the writing is hackneyed and cliche. But you have to remember, when they were written, the D&D cliches didn't exist! Besides, I have to read deep and convoluted academic writing for my work, it is nice to turn off the brain during the fun reading.

And they were a good thing to read after the Song of Fire and Ice books.

Next up, I might read my physical copies of the Avatar Trilogy (Forgotten Realms). They were REALLY good and extremely epic! Their titles are Shadowdale, Tantras, and Waterdeep.

I have never read the Drizzt books, but I could be persuaded.
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« Reply #25 on: April 06, 2011, 09:30:41 PM »

I also agree that the Dragonlance Chronicles are a good read.  Or at least they were 20 years ago!  I have also tried other D&D series and I could not finish any of the others.
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« Reply #26 on: July 20, 2011, 01:28:09 PM »

Quote from: kronovan on January 07, 2011, 08:26:28 PM

The best D&D novels I've ever read are Don Bassingthwaite's trilogies set in Eberron -  The Dragon Below and Legacy of Dhakaan. I'm usuall a bigger fan of Forgotten Realms settings, but his books completely sucked me into the world of Eberron and it's continent of Khorvaire. He's an excellent writer and you'll find many positive comments on Amazon about his books. Quite honestly, those 2 trilogies are written well enough that even a non D&D fan would find them entertaining. I've brought them to the attention of at the staff at a local Chapters (Canuckistan equivalent of B&N) in my area and they've all agreed and even brought in some of his harder to source novels.

I've read most D&D novels, but never heard of this one. Going to pick it up.
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« Reply #27 on: September 02, 2011, 10:55:14 PM »

I'm about 1/3 of the way into Bassingthwaite's latest D&D novel - The Temple of Yellow Skulls. This one's a real departure for him, as it isn't set in the Eberron or Forgotten realms settings of his previous novels. Instead it's part of the Abyssmal Plague series and set in one of the Empires from the original D&D setting; typically referrred to as just the Known or Default Worlds. Ineresting enough the Empire is Nerath -the same setting featured in the D&D boardgame Graham recently posted a review for- and specifically within that Empire's Vale of Nentir. The Abyssal Plague is a world-spanning series, so there's some potential cross-over with other settings like Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk. Nothing I've encountered so far suggests a link other than the mention of a few Gods which IIRC are present in multiple worlds.

Nerath, like much of the rest of the Known Worlds, is a collapsed empire in which adventuring is restricted to only the hardiest and boldest of adventurers - suffice it to say this book has all the trappnings of dark fantasy. The vale of Nentir is a very interesting place with some truly formidable and dangerous locations. Considering I'm only a 3rd of the way in, there's a surprisingly healthy divesity of races. So far this is proving to be another great Bassigthwaite novel, which I'm having a hard time putting down. The best thing about this is it's book 1 of a trilogy. The not-so-good thing about that is that the 2nd book, which is just out, was penned by James Wyatt, who IMO doesn't quite have the talent of Bassingthwaite. He's currently writing the 3rd book though, so the series should end on a strong note. slywink

[Edit] Finished it and it was every bit as excellent through to the end. I loved the setting and even recalled a few locations, races and beasts from my early AD&D PnP days. The book doesn't end on a negative note, but as I thoguht a 3rd of the way in, it's definitely dark fantasy. The final page is a bit of a cliff hanger, so I'm picking up book 2 today.
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« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2011, 07:35:51 PM »

I just finished Oath of Vigilance; book 2 in the Abyssal Plague trilogy and sequel to The Temple of the Yellow Skulls. I wasnít expecting much from it, but Iíve been pleasantly surprised and itís turned out to be a very entertaining read and worthy entry in this series. Book 1 started with a real dark fantasy vibe and this book continues that trend further Ė racial discrimination, abuse of the arcane and turning from oneís path of alignment are all here. Not to mention that there's some awesome D&D magic combat featuring Wizards, Clerics and Warlocks. While James Wyatt doesnít quite continue the story with the skill of Bassingthwaite, itís still well written and after a 3rd of the way in it became a page turner for me Ė albeit a bit slow up until that point. That the last book (due out in April) is being written by Bassignthwaite IMO seals this as a great D&D trilogy. Since the trilogy is set in Fallcrest and the surrounding Vale of Nentir, IMO this and the 1st book are a must reads for anyone who wants to expand on the adventures detailed in the back of the D&D 4e DM Guide.
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« Reply #29 on: April 05, 2012, 05:32:45 PM »

The conclusion to the Abyssal Plague trilogy, The Eye of the Chained God, was released this week. I'm only about a 1/4 of the way in, but its turning out to be 1 heckuva  novel. Its definitely up to Bassingthwaite's high writing standards. The other 2 books in the series touched on aspects of the D&D cosmology, but its looking like this book delves much deeper into it  - might very well turn out to be one of the most religious D&D books to date. And as per the other 2 this is dark fantasy, but as it continues the forboding thread found in the other 2 books, the darkness is that much dimmer. I'll update when I've completed it, which shouldn't be long as it's caused me to temporarily kick the other 3 novels I've been reading to the curbside. slywink

[Edit]BTW I probably should mention there's a fairly significant blunder on page 30, where the author names the wrong character - something very rare for Bassingthwaite. If you've read the previous book the error is immediately apparent, but it could throw a person breaking into the series with this book. After a few chapters that error is cleared up though.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2012, 08:08:25 PM by kronovan » Logged
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« Reply #30 on: April 05, 2012, 06:57:36 PM »

I actually want to get most of the FR books at some point.

I've been slowly picking them up, starting with the Drizzt and Elminster stuff.  Is there a list somewhere of all of them in (world) chronological order?
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« Reply #31 on: April 05, 2012, 07:00:34 PM »

Quote from: Zarkon on April 05, 2012, 06:57:36 PM

Is there a list somewhere of all of them in (world) chronological order?

this might be what you're looking for.  it's got them by author, release date, series, title or chronological order in Realm years which also breaks it down into when a particular novel starts and ends (if it spans several years) and when short stories take place.
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« Reply #32 on: April 11, 2012, 07:16:54 PM »

I completed The Eye of the Chained God this past weekend and as expected it more than lived up to my expectations. It didn't quite dive as deep into the D&D cosmology as I thought it might, but it still had quite a bit of content touching on it. Unlike the other 2, this book pretty much hit the ground running, as you're barely 40 pages in before a sizable battle begins. The action is nicely paced from there on and by the time you're at the climax you've seen more than you share of heroic battles and fearsome fights. There's also some facinating side exploration by a character from the previous books, who's adventures parallel the main story. I'm admittedly far from the most read D&D reader, but I've never encountered any other D&D book or adventure module that delve into some of the realms and concepts explored here.

This novel features all of the protagonists from the previous 2, but unlike those books they're together throughout much the story. What's most impressive is that despite that number of characters (7 in all), not a single one was wasted. There's good character development with some of it critical to what transpires at the climax. And then there's the climax - whoah does this feature one heckuva world shaking ending for a series. It's nice that Bassingthwaite left a small door open for possible future books. It's barely a halfling sized door though, so we'll see... slywink
 
Probably worth mentioning; those who've played the Dragon Age games and read the novels may note some similiarity with that theme and this trilogy. Its a subtle similarity though, and the machinations of that underpinning theme is handled quite differently in both. Something that should be kept in mind as well, is that the concepts and theme explored in these novels were conceived decades ago by the early writers/creators of AD&D. Were Gaider and the other writers of Dragon Age partially inspired by that early AD&D tale? I can only speculate, but I'm thinking it's possible.

Overall a very good D&D read and I recommend the whole trilogy.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 07:40:58 PM by kronovan » Logged
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« Reply #33 on: April 11, 2012, 11:19:22 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on April 05, 2012, 07:00:34 PM

Quote from: Zarkon on April 05, 2012, 06:57:36 PM

Is there a list somewhere of all of them in (world) chronological order?

this might be what you're looking for.  it's got them by author, release date, series, title or chronological order in Realm years which also breaks it down into when a particular novel starts and ends (if it spans several years) and when short stories take place.

Thanks.  I'm almost done with the Netherim trilogy right now.
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