Radovan & the Count in Chronological Order

Recently I realized that the adventures of Radovan & the Count have exceeded half a million words and somewhere around 40% of my published fiction. Some of it has appeared in novels, some in Adventure Paths, some in Wayfinder magazine, and some on paizo.com. It’s no surprise that some folks have questions about where to start. The simple answer is “anywhere you like,” but I think the best entry points are “Hell’s Pawns,” Prince of Wolves, or Queen of Thorns. Here’s a list of all the stories in publication order, with notes indicating the two stories that occur in “the past.”

“Hell’s Pawns.” This novella originally appeared in the Council of Thieves Adventure Path. It’s distinct from the other stories in that it’s told only from Radovan’s point of view and in the present tense.

“The Lost Pathfinder,”* The first instalment of Paizo’s free web fiction feature is a bridge between the first novella and the first novel. It’s also the first appearance of Count Jeggare’s POV, even though I wrote it after Prince of Wolves.

 

Dan Scott pits the boys against the Sczarni werewolves.

Dan Scott pits the boys against the Sczarni werewolves.

Prince of Wolves was the first Pathfinder Tales novel. Months after I wrote it, I realized just how many elements it has in common with Black Wolf, my first full-length novel set in the Forgotten Realms. I won’t spoil them for you here, but if you dug one, you’ll probably dig the other, although I think Prince of Wolves benefits from ten years’ more writing experience.

“A Lesson in Taxonomy.”* While this is chronologically the first story, don’t read it first. Read it after Prince of Wolves, or at least after “the Lost Pathfinder.” Trust me on this. It’s told from Varian’s POV, and it introduces the character of Prince Kasiya.

“A Passage to Absalom”* is a mystery set aboard a sailing ship. It bridges the events of Prince of Wolves and “Husks.” This one is told from Varian’s POV, even though the boys are together during the entire story.

“Husks” is another novella, this time from the Jade Regent Adventure Path. It’s an homage to some of my favorite samurai and yakuza films. Once again, Radovan and the Count are together the whole time, but the story’s entirely in Radovan’s POV. Until Queen of Thorns, this was my editor’s favorite of the stories.

Master of Devils is my love letter to three types of kung fu movies: romantic intrigue, hard-hitting action, and high fantasy. In addition to Radovan and Count Jeggare, it features a third point-of-view character.

“Killing Time”* is a nasty little tale set in Absalom, just before the events of Queen of Thorns. This one is best enjoyed after reading “A Lesson in Taxonomy” and Master of Devils.

Queen of Thorns is the third Radovan & the Count novel, this time set in what Radovan calls “Elfland” and the count knows to be the elven nation of Kyonin. The boys work side-by-side almost the entire novel, along with an unusual assortment of gnome and elf companions.

 

Tyler Walpole sets Oparal and Bastiel against Radovan.

Tyler Walpole sets Oparal and Bastiel against Radovan.

King of Chaos follows soon after Queen of Thorns. The events of the story dovetail into the Wrath of the Righteous adventure path, which will become especially noticeable in the AP’s fourth instalment. Like Master of Devils, this one features a third POV character, this time one who receives equal time.

“The Fencing Master”* is the last web fiction story featuring Varian’s POV. It takes place decades after “Taxonomy” but decades before “Hell’s Pawns.” Despite its place in the chronology, you’ll probably enjoy it more if you read it after a few of the novels, especially Queen of Thorns.

Two years after the events of King of Chaos, Radovan & the Count arrive in the Varisian city of Korvosa. There Varian hopes to find out once and for all why the masters of the Acadamae never “diagnosed” him properly. Instead, he finds an unexpected bequest from an old colleague, one that leads to an even deeper mystery of the Count’s arcane origins and ultimately the Lord of Runes.

Alberto Dal Lago reveals Varian and ally

Have you read most or all of the stories? Which are your favorites? And where in Golarion would you most like to see the boys go in the future?

All illustrations ©Paizo Publishing, LLC®.

 

17 thoughts on “Radovan & the Count in Chronological Order

  1. Pingback: Pathfinder PDF Sale: 30% Off in October | Dave Gross

  2. Thank you for posting this as a ‘where to start’ guide. I’ve sampled some of the Radovan & the Count stories from your web fiction, and I find the voices of both characters delightful and intriguing. I’m looking forward to picking up the novels and winding my way through their stories forthwith. Thanks!

  3. I’ve finally managed to read all of the boys’ adventures, including novels, short stories and novellas. I only read the novels in publication order, for the short stories and novellas it was pretty much whatever came up to my kindle list first. So, I can tell for a fact that the order doesn’t really matter as long as the novels are read as published so that one can avoid spoilers. “Prince of Wolves” would be the definite starting point – and I’m so pleased to have recommended it to at least two people who read it and loved it; however, if someone was reluctant to spend money for a novel they didn’t know, I’d recommend either “Husks” (which was my favourite of the short stories & novellas) or “Killing Time” which is both free and has the two points of view and is, therefore, more like the books.

    • Thanks so much for the exhaustive and dizzying read of all the stories, not to mention the wonderful reviews.

      If you enjoyed Husks (also my favorite of the shorter works), you’ll probably dig The Sea is Watching (Kurosawa’s last screenplay collaboration) and Yôji Yamada’s samurai trilogy (2002-2006). Along with half a dozen Yakuza films and, as you noticed, Agatha Christie, the most prominent influences of which I was aware at the time.

  4. A few weeks ago I was in the mood for a fantasy book, and since I play Pathfinder, I figured I’d give the novels a try, since I also used to play D&D and enjoyed some of the books they put out. I decided to give Prince of Wolves a try, but I first read “The Lost Pathfinder” since I thought that was their first appearance. I enjoyed PoW, so I went straight to Master of Devils, and now I’ve just finished Queen of Thorns.

    Now that I’ve seen this post, I’m going to go back and read all the other short stories and novellas before moving on to King of Chaos.

    My favorite is Master of Devils, which was pure fun. I read the whole book practically in one sitting, which I almost never do. I love this series!

    • Don’t feel like it’s absolutely necessary to read them in order. Yes, if you read the novels in sequence, there’s more going on in the backstory. And it can be nice to read the web fiction that precedes a novel first, for the same reason. The one oddity is that it’s definitely best not to read “A Lesson in Taxonomy” first, even though it has (so far) been the first chronologically.

  5. I’ve read them all now. So sad 🙁 When’s the next story coming out?

    While Master of Devils is my definite favorite, it’s really difficult to list which other ones I liked as favorites, as there are elements that I really liked about each one. I like the gothic intrigue of Wolves; Thorns reminded me of animes such as Nausicaa and Castle in the Sky, which I really love; Chaos has an amusing antagonist that made me lol a lot; Husks has a really cool samurai/ninja/anime feel to it; Hell’s Pawns made me go HOLYSHITOMGWTF.

    Basically, give me more, please!!!

    • It might be a while before another Radovan & the count story appears, but I’ll try to make it worth the wait.

      So glad to hear you felt the completely intentional Miyazaki vibe in Queen!

  6. So, I am about to post telling an author his timeline is wrong lol. Im confused! Here is the timeline I had been using

    1) Hell’s Pawns novella
    2) The Lost Pathfinder
    3) Prince of Wolves, 1st full novel
    4) A Lesson in Taxonomy
    5) A Passage to Absalom
    6) Husks ePub
    7) Master of Devils, 2nd novel
    8) Killing Time
    9) Queen of Thorns, 3rd novel
    10) king of chaos novel

    and was about to try and find where to place The Fencing Master i somehow missed, when i googled and saw this very conflicting post by you. Now i have only read 1-3 so far, so if page 1 of taxonomy has a date of like 14 AR clearly i am mistaken. but my source was also you =) http://frabjousdave.blogspot.com/2012/04/where-am-i-going-where-have-i-been.html

    ahh i see the problem, i had forgotten i followed your advice and listed Taxonomy to read after Prince, even though this technically breaks the chronology.

    Can you advise me a) where The Fencing Master is chonologically, and b) if it needs to be read out of order like Taxonomy?

    thanks!

    • “The Fencing Master” takes place after “A Lesson in Taxonomy” but several decades before “Hell’s Pawns.”

      It doesn’t need to be read in any particular order to make sense, although it might be nice to read it before next year’s Lord of Runes, for reasons.

      • wow thanks for the fast reply! I am about to dive headlong into my traditional reading Spree for every day of December (sacred tradition when you are a nerd in Buffalo and theres 7 feet of snow out), so i wanted to have all of my ducks in a row. i adore the works so far and just picked up King of Chaos earlier – lets see if i can read everything on this list by Jan 1!!

  7. I blazed through both Prince of Wolves and, most recently,Queen of Thorns (both of which I found both fun and intriguing. I struggled a bit through Master of Devils, which I felt didn’t progress at a comparable pace. I must say that the inclusion of the third POV character was my favorite feature (Varian’s discovery of a way to cheat his way through his condition was a close second). As an RPG fan, this series has soothed my itch for good fantasy and game fodder in a way Drizzt never could. The main characters are interesting and relatable. I can’t wait to dive into book four!

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