Prince of Lies (1993)

Prince of Lies is James Lowder’s D&D masterpiece and, perhaps, the best D&D novel ever written. The novel is a follow-up to the not very good Avatar trilogy (sorry) and deals with the divine fallout of the events in those books. It is primarily concerned with the machinations of two humans turned gods, with Cyric, the god of death and strife, attempting to visit revenge on Mystra, the goddess of magic. As befits divine politics, there’s a lot going on in the book, with many characters providing a number of perspectives, some of which verge on omniscience. In this, it is very similar to the grand narrative approach Lowder took with Spectre of the Black Rose.

Gods crop up a lot in D&D, but rarely are we provided, as both players and readers, a clear insight into how they think and operate. That’s the real magic of Prince of Lies – these gods seem to act in a way removed from the mortal characters in the novel, yet in a way that remains comprehensible to readers. Lowder’s attempt at portraying omniscience is particularly fascinating and perhaps the best I’ve encountered. And while Troy Denning’s Lady of Pain novel is also fascinating, I can think of no book that does justice to the themes of Planescape and the D&D cosmology as well as Prince of Lies.

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