The Ring of Winter (1992)

And now we get into the Dungeons & Dragons novels of James Lowder. He’s far and away the best novelist to write for TSR (Troy Denning is probably the runner up, Salvatore third. Fight me.), mostly because he simply refused to write standard D&D fantasy novels. Lowder’s books are damn strange in terms of construction and packed with bizarre characters. I love them. You should read them.

Wizards of the Coast recognized the creative excitement Lowder’s writing inspires. For evidence, you need look no further than Tomb of Annihilation. The latest 5th Edition campaign book, set in the jungles of Chult, draws deeply from the well that is The Ring of Winter. Less a fantasy novel in its construction than it is a fantasy deconstruction of a pulp adventure yarn, we follow treasure hunter Artus Cimber on his quest to secure the titular ring before it falls into the hands of a cold-worshipping madman intent on bringing about an apocalyptic ice age. Pulpy enough for you? I can totally see this same plot transposed to the 1920s and involving The Shadow or Doc Savage.

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