Redeemer! – Conclusion


This is a book that is extremely hard to judge objectively.

After Avenger was left sprawling in that web in the Rift for the better part of 30 years, any halfway plausible conclusion would have been (and was) eagerly accepted by the fanbase as being preferable to such an unsatisfactory cliffhanger.

So firstly, I want to make very clear that it is obvious (in a positive way) that this gamebook was a labour of love.  It was crafted quite clearly to be a love letter to those fans who had held onto their dissatisfaction with the previous cliffhanger ending to the extent that, in adulthood, they wished for a plausible continuation of the story.

With respect to the Smith / Thomson duo, this book stands in marked contrast to Inferno!. Whereas Inferno was (to be frank) the final product of a team that was running out of gas, Redeemer! was a carefully crafted creation (alliteration ahoy!) of someone who truly wished to craft a satisfactory conclusion to the saga.

This wish has carried through to the obvious desire to throw in a multitude of nods to previous ‘high points’ of the series.  Villains from the previous books all got their moment to shine, even to the point that it strained credulity.

That, to a degree, even reached the point where suspension of disbelief was endangered. While Tyutchev, Cassandra and Thaum were clearly placed in the Rift by the last book, running into opponents such as Everyman, Honoric, Foxglove and so forth began to feel forced.  Speaking purely personally, I probably would have rathered a couple of loose ends left hanging, rather than straining to such a degree that Avenger began to feel like Forrest Gump, running over the course of one adventure into pretty much every important person in the world of Orb.

In terms of difficulty, this book was crafted extremely well.  Although it only took your humble (!) author only two tries to complete, I get the feeling that this was partially the product of lucky choices / dice rolls, and that many would have been repeatedly frustrated by pitfalls scattered throughout the book.

In summary, I thought Redeemer! was a worthy continuation / conclusion to the series, and self-evidently the work someone who wrote it as a fan, for the fans.

And the Black Widow can stew, presumably furiously, in the Rift for a very, very long time.

Thank you, David Walters.

Next – Book 0, Ninja!


13 thoughts on “Redeemer! – Conclusion

  1. Many thanks Tim for playing it so well and writing about it so eloquently. Although book 7 is viewed as a wrap up of the series I had left quite a few threads for book 8, particularly in the parts that talked about the reordering of the gods. Freed from the shackles of a cliffhanger in a previous book, book 8 would have had a new game mechanic (trying to build on the innovation of 4 & 5 in particular) and led Avenger to the Kwon-dominated city of the redeemer Upanishad to try to save the Grandmaster of the Stars. It would also have dealt with the fall out from the Rift on the Black Widow, on those you saved from the Rift, on Csaky and Serakub.
    In book 7 the Honoric scene was meant to be a way of possibly killing the player after failing to get him in book 5, weak as you would be from escaping the Rift. It didn’t quite come off as I had intended, given time constraints. It was also another thread for book 8 in the absence of Sorcerak. I’d have also expanded on the Foxglove options. Perhaps I will address these should I release a Kindle version of book 7.
    Good luck in book 0, it should prove less deadly than the Rift!

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  2. Oh, and I hope one day you take your own time to explore some areas of book 7, such as journeying with Eris in The Rift, or infiltrating the Temple to Time or Nemesis, or taking the other route in the spirit realm towards the changing edifice. I for one always wondered what the Temple to Time held!

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    1. Think you’d need two books to fit all that in. The Honoric scene is strange as I always kill him in Warbringer. I liked the idea of a closing of his thread, as well as the reference to the fact Sorcerak had gone walkies (flyies?). Actually I always thought the Colossus at end took Sorcerak which was why Honoric wasn’t prepared to pay the price for it until all was lost. Personally I liked that you could see him again and also that you could choose to let him live, being a Ninja doesn’t mean you always have to kill as young Timothy will see in Ninja. The fact that he remains unrepentant in humiliating defeat was also very realistic.

      Now I want to know what effect your time in the Rift would have on Serakub 😡 .Thanks for the info.

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      1. I haven’t got the book in front of me, but I recall that if you run into Honoric in Usurper! the book specifically mentions something along the lines of “there is nothing you fear more than the failure of a mission, so you MUST kill Honoric or be dishonoured forever”.

        So while it is true, of course, that killing is not always (or even often) the answer, the mandate to kill Honoric is obviously strong.

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      2. One of my favourite ‘fighting to the last’ death scenes is in the wonderful ‘Legend’ by David Gemmell. A particular character (who won’t be named here – read the book) is about to die on the battlefield, when an enemy stands over him / her and says some quiet respectful words. The response?

        “If I just had ONE MORE OUNCE of strength, I would cut. you. down.”


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      1. I will of course have another look at Redeemer! on my own time, but probably won’t do another formal playthrough on this blog. Happy for others to take my ninja baton from me and post their own experiences!

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  3. Lets say the Black Widow will stew for the next twenty eight years. Your review is succinct and to the point, a worthy summing of the evidence to acquit or find guilty (acquit). As you said regarding gamebalance, on my second playthrough the dice weren’t so friendly and I had a rough ride of it.

    Regarding Inferno being by “a team that was running out of gas” I do think that was more a temporary condition than a permanent one, but for 28 years it was permanent. Look forward to Ninja. I’ve only played it through twice but died many times in it (damned David Walters for ruining the series and making me have to play it again and again).

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  4. This was an excellent book. I agree with most of our nice host’s thoughts on the book, but I was happy enough with the book to overlook the slightly contrived feel of meeting all the old names in a very short span. I guess it would have been difficult to include more without shortening the Rift experience, which would have been a loss as well. Some nods to the past were clever, though, especially the attack by Everyman, as it was already alluded to once in Warbringer!, making this golem the ultimate Chekov’s gun.

    There is something that I am very glad the author did as I had hoped it would, it’s the treatment of Foxglove. During my initial reading of Overlord!, I was totally convinced having either the Lord High Steward or her as advisor would be an error since they were obviously “bad guys” (sue me, I was a child back then, I was allowed to have a simplistic worldview). In subsquent readings, I realized that she was actually helpful (in avoiding Mandrake) while she could have done nothing. I wondered why she actually acted in this specific situation as an ally, while obviously betraying whenever it was convenient for her to do so. In the Inferno! book, I noticed the original authors had taken a lot of effort to make the player bring Foxglove into the rift… with many opportunities for her to betray but not all of them (leading to the obvious choice made by our host NOT to travel with her). But I think the original authors tried to make her an ambiguous character (disloyal but not an overt enemy, still warning you of deathtraps) and I was pleased to see this trend is continued in Redeemer! where you could have some doubt about her story about being victim of a geas after having to flea Irsmuncast or if she was just the traitress Gwyneth says she is.

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    1. Many thanks, I always remember reading book 5 when young and being gutted there was no Foxglove in it. It always seemed at odds to me she was helpful in book 4 and treacherous in book 6.

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      1. Her return in Inferno would have been different if she’d been in Warbringer but yeah… I missed her going as well. Especially as its implied (well, stated by Gwyneth) that she and the Order of the Yellow Lotus had let in the Rift Spawn (which is never confirmed or denied. Lackland (who you kindly allow to kill) is purely waiting to betray us in Warbringer. Would have been a different book with Foxglove in it.

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  5. I am pretty sure Gwyneth wanted to kill her since the Usurper time. Her opinion on the Yellow Lotus was stated clearly in book 4, and she added that Foxglove was the worst of their lot. Foxglove being younger and prettier may have factored in that opinion. Her disappearance at the beginning of book 5 is suspicious but you’re told about it as soon as you retake control of the city, along mentions of other disparitions that happened before your departure (Parsifal, for example). Therefore we can’t really get a good timing of her departure.

    With Gwyneth in charge, it is reasonable for Foxglove to leave if she has some semblance of sense of self-preservation. Her position was weak at the beginning of Overlord, with the Order nearly disbanded, but reinforced by her removing some opponents and helping foil Mandrake’s plans. She probably decided to act on the Avenger’s behalf because it was her best interest: with him out of the picture, it’s quite possible that Gwyneth would ascend to power (people trust her more than you if you give her too many responsabilities) and it would spell doom for Foxglove. So she probably decided to use you as her life insurance. Smart and selfish, in line with what we know, at least until you’re no longer useful (for example, in book 4, a Nemesis-led counter-revolution happens).

    Then you suddently disappear, leaving Gwyneth head of the martial law. Her position is suddenly greatly jeopardized.

    Foxglove maintain she fled at that time, couldn’t get back into the city, and wandered until she was captured by Cassandra. Not a great excuse, but possible.

    If she had actually helped Shadazar to get into the city, she would have had no reason to hide. Until you unexpected return, the victory of the Rift’s forces was at hand. Just helping them to enter and go in hiding among the forces of the Temple of Nemesis, which mostly remained loyal or at least neutral to their city, would make less sense that cashing in on her treason and openly siding with Shadazar (which could have helped turning the followers of Nemesis led by Lackland openly against their own city, leading to the Rift’s victory and less destruction in the city, hence more taxes for the temple of Nemesis in the long run… so if she opened the gate, she had to get a quick and massive victory… not a simple pillaging of the city).

    If only there was a Ninja skill for reading into people’s mind!

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