The Enemy Within
Author: Christie Golden
A novel chronicling Nova Vaasa's Darklord's history. Sir Tristan Higeraad is cursed by a Vistani woman, despite being innocent of any crime. Brought into Ravenloft by the vileness of her spell, Sir Tristan must contend with the rise of the evil Malken and the horrors he brings to his family.
The Enemy Within has been widely lambasted because it contradicts a great deal in the 'cannon' sourcebook regarding Sir Tristan Higeraad. The problem is, well, Sir Tristan Higeraad's curse is boring. That is, unless you're a member of his bloodline and in which case it's great. I won't say that the author shouldn't have stuck to the guidelines but the work here is still one that is excellent for working through Nova Vaasa.
Game source material wise, the Enemy Within is a wealth of details with the entire domain absolutely reeking of criminal tresspasses and urban decay. If Port-A-Lucine is the home of Alanik Ray, he probably should be better here because the Moriarty feel of Malken is a wonderful use for a character who otherwise seems a tad out of place. The idea of Sir Tristan Higeraard being out of place as a champion of law and order despite his station is also a wonderful way to set up shock value.
The storyline works well with the nature of Sir Tristan's origin, the unfair curse upon him, his relationship with his wife, and his poor misguided son are all wonderfully handled. The end of the story also justifies the odd question as to why Sir Tristan is a Dark Lord when he really seems to be largely an innocent victim here. Even if he is, he's made his own damnation.
Nevertheless, because of the gross violation of cannon. Sir Tristan is a wizard, five moons, and the new origin...the storyline can't be given a perfect score. It's hardly I, Strahd or even Vampire of the Mists honestly either. It is an amusing bit of Dark Fantasy though and one that I heartily recommend.
4 out of 5 blood drops
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