Return to Quag Keep

~ 2nd Novel in the Quag Keep Series by Andre Norton

Written by Jean Rabe


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Synopsis ~

Write-up from an old Amazon.com posting ~

Many people might not know that Andre Norton wrote the first novel based in the Dungeons and Dragons Universe.  That book was Quag Keep.  Now Andre with role-playing icon Jean Rabe has returned to tell a new tale of those magically transported gamers in the fantasy realm that has become all too real for them.
In The Return to Quag Keep these brave adventurers try to unlock the secrets of this magical world and maybe even return home to ours.  Filled with classic dungeon crawls, mysterious wizards, and attacking dragons The Return to Quag Keep is a must for all role-playing fans as well as seminal Andre Norton fans.

 

Write-up from the back of the TOR paperback edition ~

“Believable characters, plenty of action, and storytelling of the highest quality.” – Library Journal
They were role-playing gamers from different places and backgrounds. Summoned together by an unknown magical force, they found themselves swept into the heart of the very game that they were playing.
Thirty years ago Andre Norton wrote the first novel based in the now-bestselling Dungeons & Dragons universe. In Return to Quag Keep, her intrepid adventures must once again band together to unlock the secret of their summoning. They must revisit the legendary Quag Keep to rescue someone who may be able, in turn, rescue them. They could be returned safely home…
But even having the strength of a mighty warrior of the craft of a cunning thief may not be enough to save them. There are dark forces plotting their deaths, and not everyone seems to be playing by the rules.
 

Write-ups from fans ~

After winning through to the end and destroying the evil presence, the gamers in Quag Keep discover that they cannot return to their own world. But while playing Dungeons and Dragons was fun, living it isn't nearly as much fun. So they have to set off on a new adventure to find their way out of this world and back into their own. But there's a new Game Master who would rather see them dead than let them return to their own world. ~ SL

 

Thirty years after Andre' novel Quag Keep became the first book based of E. Gary Gygax's Dungeons and Dragons game we now have a sequel. The gamers from the first book, trapped in the world of Greyhawk have fallen on hard times. Gulth, the lizard man is dying. He and the priest Deav Dyne leave the group to go to the swamps and revive Gulth. The fighter, Milo and the berserker were-boar Naile get into a brawl in a tavern and are promptly arrested and thrown into the nastiest jail imaginable. They are bailed out by the leader of a merchant's caravan who hires them. He has paid for the damages the two caused and they will work to pay him back by becoming guards. Also hired were Yevele the Swordswoman and Ingrge the elf. The bard/minstrel Wymarc stays in town to earn money. After the caravan has departed, Wymarc is murdered by Fisk Lockwood an assassin working for an evil entity (Pobe) who has ordered him to kill all of the outworlders. When the caravan is attacked by an undead army, our heroes barely survive. They meet up with a thief , the lone survivor from another D&D group tells them that they have to return to Quag Keep to rescue a powerful wizard (ironically, the same one who summoned them from Earth) who is being held prisoner by the Evil entity who is sucking the magic from Earth to feed on. Yevele and Ingrge make the classic D&D blunder; Yep, they split the party. They go with the thief toward Quag Keep, leaving Milo and Naile with the caravan which then gets attacked. The three get sucked down into a cave by three baby dragons (hey this is D&D--you gotta have dragons somewhere). The dragons' mother lets them go on to Quag Keep. There are booby traps ogres and giants guarding the keep. Somebody loses an arm, Milo and Naile are magically teleported into the wizard's cell the other two must fight a roomful of Were-rats to get to the cell to free the wizard who tells them that they must locate the device the that Pobe is using to siphon the Earth's magic. Action, loyalty, friendship, betrayal, treachery and a final plot twist keeps you turning the pages to see what happens next. ~ PG

 

KIRKUS REVIEW ~ Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2005
Unimpressive sequel to Quag Keep, the first novel based on the Dungeons & Dragons game franchise, published 27 years after the original.
In Quag Keep, a number of Dungeons & Dragons gamers were transported to the fantasy world of Greyhawk (the setting of their game) after encountering some mysterious tabletop miniatures. The magical miniatures dictated what sort of “character” they became in Greyhawk—e.g., the gamer who picks up a thief miniature finds himself in the body of a thief, but with all his memories of the real world intact. Now those stalwart adventurers are still trapped in Greyhawk, though a stranger they meet leads them back to Quag Keep, with a plan that could help them find their way back to the real world. Action and conflict ensue, with the characters collecting plot coupons and plodding through the motions of the formula. The concept might have been fresh and exciting in the original, but in the 21st century feels trite and clichéd. Moreover, the market for the book is questionable—the hardcore gamers will find it antithetical to everything they like about gaming, and readers of heroic fantasy will simply sneer.
Derivative, stale rubbish. 

 

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Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

For Don and Linda

 

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Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (2005) Published by TOR, HC, 0-765-31298-0, $24.95, 304pg ~ cover by Justin Sweet
  • (2008) Published by TOR, PB, 0-765-35152-8, $6.99, 304pg ~ cover by Justin Sweet
  • (2017) Published by Worldbuilders Press, DM, no isbn, $3.99, ~ cover by Matt Forsyth

 

 

 

 

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