Author | teampreston

Jeff Preston has been a professional illustrator for nearly a decade. Jeff's illustrations have been featured by innumerable publishers including Atlas Games, Catalyst Game Labs, Crafty Games, Hero Games Game Trade Magazine, Rogue Games as well as here on Flames Rising. Jeff reviews largely historical fiction, game fiction and fantasy/ sci-fi novels and in his spare time is geeking out over miniatures of any sort, his Xbox 360, or actually rolling dice with other humans. Jeff is an Englishman accidentally born in the US and living in Wisconsin with his wife Kay, 2 cats and a black lab that doesn't quite realize SHE'S A DOG.

The Pirate King Fiction Review

Posted on October 1, 2009 by

The Pirate King is the second novel of the Transitions series by R.A. Salvatore. The hardcover edition was released in the US on July 2009.

“Captain Deudermont has sailed to the pirate city of Luskan on a mission–a mission to once and for all defeat the true power behind the corrupt city: a wicked lich and his cabal of evil wizards from the Host Tower of the Arcane. But the Host Tower has some tricks up its sleeve, as do the pirate captains who would like to see both sides fail.”

As many know, the Forgotten Realms is changing. With the advent of Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition the FR timeline is being advanced approximately 100 years. The various “Drizzt Novels” so far have been set earlier in the timeline (corresponding with 2nd Edition AD&D and D&D 3r/ 3.5 Editions). The “Transitions Series” is an attempt to reconcile the two converging timelines, bridging the gap between the setting we all know (and love) and the new setting which has MANY stark differences.


Courage and Honour Fiction Review

Posted on July 1, 2009 by

Courage and Honour is the fifth book in the hugely successful Ultramarines series featuring the Courageous Captain Uriel Ventris and his Veteran Sergeant Pasanius.

This book is in many ways like coming full circle in the series. Uriel Ventris’ first mission as captain was to put down a rebellion on the Imperial world, Pavonis and this novel has the 4th company returning to the same troubled planet.

Following shortly after the events of The Killing Ground, we are shown flashback scenes of the testing of Ventris and Pasanius. Testing them both for purity: Mind and Body. After all, these two Astartes have been alone and fighting their way back from the Eye of Terror, a mission which should have most likely claimed his life (and possibly his soul).

Review by Jeff Preston


Tales of Heresy Fiction Review

Posted on June 2, 2009 by

I usually shy away from anthologies. Not that anthologies are inherently “bad” or anything…but it seems to me that the stories either grab you and then drop you off at the next corner, anxiously wanting MORE…or really just fail to snag you in the first place. Anthologies tend to cater to a wider variety of subjects/ interests and I know my own tastes tend to be more focused.

In spite of this, Tales of Heresy is focused enough to be fun for anyone interested in delving more in to the extremely popular Horus Heresy series.

Since each of the stories is independent, not really tying to one another in any way, I’m going to break down each short story within independently as well.

Review by Jeff Preston


Horus Heresy: Mechanicum Review

Posted on May 22, 2009 by

This is Book Nine of the Black Library Horus Heresy series, the second novel of the series by Graham McNeill.

Thus far I have read the entire series. The series is overall exceptional; easily the best work but out by Black Library to date. There have been a few small “bumps” along the road. I point to Descent of Angels as the low point of the series as far as catching and holding my attention as well as staying true to the feel of the other books.

My favorites of the series so far are Flight of the Eisenstein by James Swallow and Legion by Dan Abnett. My reasons? The former is a standalone that neatly dove-tails in to the previous novels: the latter is a standalone that really challenged my own personal bias (I’ve always loathed the Alpha Legion).

Review by Jeff Preston


Shadowrealm Fiction Review

Posted on May 14, 2009 by

To start, this was my first exposure to the character of Erevis Cale. I took my time in getting to this novel because I generally avoid jumping in to the middle or end of a story, but with much game fiction and some writers you can get away with it. I took a gamble and started in on Shadowrealm last night.

By the end of the night…well, early morning I was finished and I was literally blown away. Put it this way, I have books I and II of the Twilight War on order right now…so I’ll be revisiting Cale, Riven, Magadon etc. again shortly.


Quintessential Wizard RPG Review

Posted on January 30, 2009 by

As I was currently playing a Wizard in a D&D 4E campaign, I figured that when the opportunity to review The Quintessential Wizard came up it was serendipity. When I created my character I was a little let down at the lack of options and flavor for building my arcanist. The choices available in comparison to the other classes seemed a bit…bland, or maybe un-unique. Same-ol, same-ol. The Quintessential Wizard goes a long way towards rectifying this.

One note: the book was designed by Italian studio Asterion Press, and there are a few instances where the translations show. Nothing major, the work they did was exceptional and I seriously doubt any of us could do better on an Italian published book. When reading, be a bit forgiving of a few awkwardly worded sentences.

Review by Jeff Preston


Dragora’s Dungeon RPG Review

Posted on January 14, 2009 by

The first half of the adventure is a straight up series of linear deadly encounters. By linear I mean that while there are a few options given, there is really only one path to succeed. By deadly I do indeed mean DEADLY. A party of 1st Level Adventurers needs to be balanced and smart. They need to be absolutely cautious or face mortality. True Dungeoneers only please! All other should stay on the porch. No real RP at all in the first half. It’s a series of combat encounters and traps only.

The second half of the adventure introduces some roleplaying opportunities. Actually, it’s a big opportunity for characters with social skills to shine because failure at this stage could almost certainly result in TPK as well. Poor rolls and accidentally insulting a faction can result in a massive attack or ambush by vastly overwhelming forces.

Review by Jeff Preston


Road of the Patriarch Review

Posted on January 10, 2009 by

The protagonists in this tale are the drow mercenary Jarlaxle and the assassin Artemis Enteri; characters whom were originally a part of the tales of the drow ranger Drizzt Do’Urden and Company. These characters were apparently popular enough to have a spinoff series starting with Servant of the Shard.

This spinoff series The Sellswords started with Jarlaxle and Enteri and their attempt to establish themselves in the surface world using The Crystal Shard: Crenshinibon, an intelligent artifact that plays upon it’s bearer’s own desires for power. I say “their” attempt but really it’s about Jarlaxle; Artemis Enteri is largely a pawn, caught in a delicate but deadly web of deception amongst the drow of Bregan D’aerthe.

Review by Jeff Preston


Promise of the Witch King Review

Posted on December 26, 2008 by

Human assassin Artemis Entreri and his dark elf companion Jarlaxle have come to the demon-haunted wastelands of the frozen north at the request of their dragon patron. It doesn’t take long for them to find themselves caught in the middle of a struggle between powerful forces that would like nothing more than to see them both dead . . . or worse.

But Entreri and Jarlaxle aren’t just any wandering sellswords, and the ancient evils and bitter blood-feuds of the wild Bloodstone Lands may have finally met their match.

The Sellswords Series has my attention. Largely because while it’s not Drizzt, Bruenor, Regis, Cattie-Brie and Wulfgar…but it’s set parallel to those stories.

Review by Jeff Preston


Orc King by R.A. Salvatore Review

Posted on December 4, 2008 by

The Drizzt books are a guilty pleasure for me, and this one was akin to the previous few. Enjoyable reads, but a bit cookie-cutter and the characters are just way too “uber” to relate to. Is this a new thing? No.

I appreciate that there is some character depth as far as seeing the internal struggles of the protagonists. That’s a good thing. That said, it seems that there was no real challenges besides those. Physically the protagonists FAR outclass any of the antagonists: they are veritable combat monsters. It seems that the only challenges left for these characters are emotional.

The setting is just a bit after the Hunter’s Blades Trilogy (not a hundred years afterward as one reviewer has posted).

Review by Jeff Preston


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