the guardians of the flame

by joel rosenberg

2.5 avg rating
Book 115 of 121 in the Worst Fantasy Books Ever
27 votes 3 comments

Professor Deighton smiled from around the stem of his pipe. ''You have a vague, unexplainable feeling that what you are looking for is something called the Gate Between Worlds.''

''... although we all share a vague suspicion that we're looking for the Gate Between Worlds, whatever that is. Would you care to join us ''

''Sure. Un—what are you going to do about those boxes on the hillside ''

Doria's voice was almost a whine. ''Open them, silly.''

''Okay, fine, I'll open them.''

''No, don't—''. He gripped the rims of his wheelchair.

''As the first box is opened,'' Deighton said, ''You are overwhelmed by a rush of—''

James Michael couldn't hear the rest; a rush of sound like that of an impossibly loud, impossibly near jet buffeted his ears, acrid smoke clawing at his eyes and nostrils until he found himself tumbling out of his wheelchair and falling to his knees in a coughing spasm, his tearing eyes clenched shut.

He bounced to his feet on the damp grass, reflexively reaching for the axe strapped to his chest, loosening the straps with two quick jerks and taking the axe in his gnarled, well-muscled hands.

Well-muscled hands

He opened his eyes.

He was a dwarf standing on the side of a grassy hill, with an axe in his hands.


At the publisher's request, this title is sold without DRM (DRM Rights Management).


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Chris L | 2016-05-19 01:47:01
Your review is dead on. I read the first one when I was about 13. At the time, I thought The Belgariad was pretty good stuff, which goes to show that my tastes had not evolved beyond primeval ooze. But even I, at that tender age, thought this was horrendously bad. I remember seriously considering not finishing it, which I had never, ever done with a fantasy book before. In the end, I did finish it -- and I still regret it. I wouldn't touch the sequels unless someone paid me a fair chunk of change.
Anonymous | 2016-09-06 06:06:45
I happen to like Rosenberg's dialogue and characters. It's fantasy, so the idea of college kids wandering into their own game shouldn't come as a shock or become a turnoff, and they get a significant welcome to the new world when one of the characters winds up bleeding out at the end of a spear in the first town they find. Is it epic fantasy? No. But it has held up after years of reading and Rosenberg's decision to kill off his main character is admirable. As for Joel tweaking the comments, I would be extremely impressed given that he's dead.
Anonymous | 2018-03-27 12:14:12
Not defending a book I haven't read, but I know plenty of women who play D
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