Erin M. Evans

The God Catcher


Ladies and gentlesirs, welcome to The God Catcher. You heard me a-right: the God Catcher.

No, it's not a bigger, better mousetrap.

Nor is it some gigantic, age-old weapon or mightier-than-all-other spell.

It's… an apartment building.

Catchy name, huh? Cool idea, too, and the way in which one of the famous Walking Statues of Waterdeep- that haven't taken a single step in years-has been used is so… so Waterdeep.

First-time Realms author Erin Evans 'gets' my city; she understands colorful, crowded, reeking, bustling Waterdeep, from glittering highlights to its stenches and warts.

Yes, we get to see more nobles-and yes, the sewers, too.

This is the fifth in a series of stand-alone novels set in the busy, cosmopolitan, increasingly corrupt city of Waterdeep, the famous mercantile port on the Sword Coast of Faerun in the FORGOTTEN REALMS© fantasy setting.

Like its predecessors (no, you don't have to read them all, or any of them, in any order, to enjoy this book), The God Catcher takes us on a wild adventure through Waterdeep.

And once again we're reminded that the best adventures are enjoyed alongside friends. In this case, our friend is Tennora, a young woman trying to make a life for herself in Waterdeep, stepping out of the clutches of her aunt and uncle to become her own person in a decidedly seedier part of the City of Splendors.

Tennora has a rather mysterious past, no living parents on the scene, and hopes to master magic by studying at the House of Wonders. Her creator draws us right in close to see and feel what it's like to try to make ends meet in Waterdeep when coins are few, you're young and have more determination and energy than anything else, and lots of things go wrong-which is what things in Waterdeep have an all too well-established and enthusiastic habit of doing.

There's something juicy and intensely satisfying about 'look behind the scenes' novels, wherein not just dark villainy and conspiracy is uncovered, but glimpses of the daily lives of citizens high and low.

Not to mention dragons.

And bounty hunters who doggedly pursue a living target halfway across Faerun…

Oops; mentioned them after all, didn't I? Sorry. Well, now, I'll just take another alley before I skulk another step along this one, so I won't ruin the great story ahead of you.

The God Catcher brings you Waterdeep from a fresh angle, showing and explaining all sorts of things about the city without ever stopping for a moment to do so. (Yes, things even I didn't know, so I know they'll be new to you.)

Tennora grows before our eyes, her life gets a whole lot more interesting than I suspect she ever wanted it to be-and in a hurry-and we get treated to a dandy adventure that starts innocently enough, eases us through speculation and slowly gathering menace, then picks up speed fast.

Near the end of this book, matters are hurtling along, an increasingly impressive tally of crimes is being committed before your eyes by lots of people (some of whom you know, and others who come as surprises-boy, I'd hate to be a member of the City Watch in this town!), and… well, I eventually had to surface just to breathe, looked at the slender handful of pages remaining, and wondered aloud just how Erin was going to bring it all home in the rapidly dwindling space she had left.

She managed it, and I love the result.

You will, too, and I have only one regret: she introduced us to so many interesting characters of Waterdeep that I want to read a row of more books about each one of them!

Ed Greenwood February 2010


Over the surface of the dragon's scrying pool, the shiver of waves reflected a band of men and women in borrowed armor, the last handful of whom were trying to fight off an unusually well-equipped group of orcs. At least a score of the humans lay on the ground, their blood seeping into the early frost.

Andareunarthex lashed his tail. He waved a claw over the water and the image vanished. A waste, he thought, an utter waste.

A ringing interrupted his thoughts, followed by the whistling roar of another dragon's voice.

Your army has fallen, said Magaolonereth, the clutchmate of Andareunarthex's sire. Dareun growled a warning trill.

I do not know what you mean, he sent back.

Don't pretend to be stupid, Magaoloriereth said. The claw test. Those humans were yours. Everyone suspects.

Dareun drummed his claws on the stone floor of his cave. It was a magnificent cave-even if it weren't decorated by the goodly amount of treasure he'd amassed at his young age it would be a cave to marvel at. The walls were scalloped and sparkling with mosaics of crystals, their exposed edges polished with time. The ceiling was high and dramatic, a cathedral of earth spangled with stalactites. A wyrm twice Dareun's age would be lucky to have the cavern for a lair, he thought. Not that Magaolonereth and the others would admit it.

I know the move was yours, Magaolonereth went on, and Dareun could picture the old green dragon sneering down at his own scrying glass, watching the orcs tear the last of the humans apart.

No one else would be so forward.

You see forwardness, I see an aggressive move.

You forget yourself and play another game. Xorvintaal is not for the rash.

I was not rash! Dareun snapped. The silence that followed was full of his father's clutchmate's smugness.

I was careful, he amended in calmer tones. The humans thought they were helping a village at the base of the mountains, who in turn thought they were avoiding the fate some travelers convinced them would fall upon them in a few tendays. I was ready for Karshinevin's orcs.

Magaolonereth snorted. Not near ready enough. Everyone knew you had sent your pieces out in rags to play as travelers. Do you wonder that no one staked any treasure on your winning? Everyone knew your move and knew you would fail.

But only Dareun had known Karshinevin had maneuvered through her minions to put a band of orcs into play. No one would mention that. They would only say what a clever move Karshinevin had made. Dareun would be forced to agree. He had grudgingly staked a casket of gold on the bronze dragon's success-but thrice that on his own. The orcs were a clever move, but he'd been hoping Karshinevin would pull back when she realized the orcs were going to attack hurnans. Knowing Karshinevin, she'd managed to find an extraordinary tribe of orcs who had a good reason to raid the village.

It is not about winning every encounter, Dareun said.

Magaolonereth fell silent for a moment, and Dareun suspected he'd caught the old green off-guard. He lashed his tail against the ledge of the scrying pool. They all assumed he was too young to be patient, too young to play the game. But with every loss, he was learning, gaining on their graying hides, finding holes in the restrictive rules of xorvintaal.

He turned his attention briefly to the other voice that whispered in his mind-a dark, distant voice. Cold and alien and full of magic, the voice he'd lured to him by painstaking ritual and tricked into imbuing him with the magic

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