The last of a dying breed, a holy warrior must rise up against a growing darkness in Evelium.
The most unlikely of heroes, a lowly itinerant mercenary, Umhra the Peacebreaker is shunned by society for his mongrel half-Orc blood. Desperate to find work for himself and his band of fighters, Umhra agrees to help solve a rash of mysterious disappearances, but uncovers a larger, more insidious plot to overthrow the natural order of Evelium in the process.
As Umhra journeys into the depths of Telsidor’s Keep to search for the missing, he confronts an ancient evil and, after suffering a great loss, turns to the god he disavowed for help.
Compelled to save the kingdom he loves, can he defeat the enemy while protecting his true identity, or must he risk everything?
There’s this meme you may have seen which states that a single player Dungeons and Dragons campaign is basically writing a fantasy book, and Jeffrey Speight has certainly taken this to heart by translating his own Dungeons and Dragons adventures into a fantasy adventure in Paladin Unbound. I’ve played many role playing video games in my time, but have only just begun to embrace Dungeons and Dragons, the original fantasy game that inspired the genre. So much of Paladin Unbound feels instantly familiar and relatable to me as a gamer and as a new player of D&D. It’s a charming classic fantasy tale which hits all those tropes in an almost Lord of the Rings-style whimsical way. If you’re a fan of Dungeons and Dragons, or just classic fantasy in general, then Paladin Unbound may be the perfect read for you!
What I’ll whine about:
I describe Paladin Unbound as whimsical as the world is full of honourable and polite characters that really fit the noble bright subgenre of fantasy, despite the somewhat bloody battles throughout and macabre quest line. My biggest problem with this is I don’t feel the characters struggle enough. Maybe I’m just mean, but I do like to see characters challenged, and in Paladin Unbound I feel there is a lack of emotional depth which could definitely be improved with higher stakes and more suffering. Don’t get me wrong, the ensemble cast of adventurers are rather charming, especially Shadow the rogue, but I’d love to see more development with these characters in future.
I’m also rather sad we didn’t get more Orc action in the book, as I was sold on the premise of an Orc-band of warriors! Give me more Orcs!
What I’ll gush about:
As I said above, Paladin Unbound really does hit all of the classic fantasy adventure tropes as the main character of Umhra, a half-Orc, brings together a party of adventurers ranging across the main fantasy races and classes to complete a mighty quest and save the world from evil. What this entails is a journey across the world of Evelium with some side quests along the way and fantastic world-building to keep the journey fresh and interesting. It really did remind me of playing an old school RPG. I look forward to seeing where the Barrow’s Pact crew end up next!
Paladin Unbound is a classic fantasy adventure that will feel at home for fans of Dungeons and Dragons.
About the Author
Jeffrey Speight’s love of fantasy goes back to an early childhood viewing of the cartoon version of The Hobbit, when he first met an unsuspecting halfling that would change Middle Earth forever. Finding his own adventuring party in middle school, Jeff became an avid Dungeons & Dragons player and found a passion for worldbuilding and character creation. While he went on to a successful career as an investor, stories grew in his mind until he could no longer keep them inside. So began his passion for writing. Today, he lives in Connecticut with his wife, three boys (his current adventuring party), three dogs, and a bearded dragon. He has a firmly held belief that elves are cool, but half-orcs are cooler. While he once preferred rangers, he nearly always plays a paladin at the gaming table.