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Pathfinder: Beyond the Pool of Stars by Howard Andrew Jones: Guest Post and Giveaway!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Pathfinder is the most popular roleplaying game in the world, outselling the classic game, Dungeons and Dragons, since 2011. Now you can join the thousands of players who have already discovered the lands of The Inner Sea with the latest novel to be jointly published by Paizo Inc. and Tor Books,PATHFINDER TALES: BEYOND THE POOL OF STARS (A Tor Trade Paperback; October 6, 2015; $14.99) by Howard Andrew Jones.
Mirian Raas comes from a long line of salvagers—adventurers who use magic to dive for sunken ships off the coast of tropical Sargava. When her father dies, Mirian has to take over his last job: a dangerous expedition into deep jungle pools, helping a tribe of lizardfolk reclaim the lost treasures of their people. Yet this isn’t any ordinary job, as the same colonial government that looks down on Mirian for her half-native heritage has an interest in the treasure, and the survival of the entire nation may depend on the outcome.

Tabletop gamers as well as fans of adventure fantasy will be swept up in this brand new installment set in the highly acclaimed and legendary world of the Pathfinder roleplaying game.

When not writing novels, HOWARD ANDREW JONES is the managing editor of Black Gate, a quarterly fantasy lit magazine. He’s worked variously as a TV cameraman, a book editor, a recycling consultant, and most recently, as a writing instructor at a mid-western college.

It wasn’t so long ago that my daughter got old enough to read the grand fantasy adventures I have on my shelves. Like a lot of readers, I have a great book collection. It’s chock full of adventure classics, some of which are widely known and some of which are sadly obscure. I have historical fiction, space opera, fantasy – particularly sword-and-sorcery -- even some westerns and mysteries.

I grew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and, as I stood looking over my treasures and thinking about what I could pull down for her to enjoy it was brought home to me just how few of the books written then and in decades prior had female main characters.

Today you can find them, thank heaven, but when I was a young man there weren’t too many women characters who were something apart from rewards. Even the capable ones usually weren’t much more than glorified sidekicks.

I scratched my head for only a while, then decided I’d write some stories with female leads so my daughter would have some heroes to identify with. And so I have. This book marks the third of my Pathfinder Tales novels, and while it may have a whole new batch of characters from the first two, I hope it’s clear from the cover there’s some butt-kicking ladies involved in the tale. Not that I have anything against men – I happen to be one, and if you want to read about some as lead characters you can go check out my Arabian fantasy series, starting with The Desert of Souls.  But Beyond the Pool of Stars has a leading lady: Mirian Raas, explorer, adventurer, diver and sea captain.

She doesn’t head off into adventure by herself, of course. With her is a trio of lizardfolk, among them the grim warrior Jekka and the curious huntress, Kalina, but the most important secondary character is the young would-be playwrite, Ivrian Galanor. He’s dragged into the expedition on a lark, but keeps rising to the challenge and thrusting himself into danger to aid his friends. He’s brave, loyal, intelligent, and he happens to be gay.

I don’t want to sound like I’ve created a new character to be politically correct for the sake of correctness (the new Star Trek officer, Commander Gaybob). I strove instead to create a hero, a fully-fledged person with all sorts of attributes, only one of which is his sexuality. His sexual preference is far from the central focus of his story arc though it’s a source of contention between him and his mother, just as the prejudice against Mirian’s mixed race heritage is a recurring challenge without being a plot point.

I’ve always contended that heroes – people who stand up to do the right thing against all odds even when no one is watching – can be found in any culture. I intend to write about them no matter gender, sexual orientation, race, creed, or color.

I don’t write message fiction, where I hit my readers over the head with the point I want them to get, because I aim to tell a grand adventure, not stand on a soapbox. But I don’t see any reason why tales of adventure can only feature white, heterosexual males.

Howard Andrew Jones is the critically acclaimed author of The Desert of Souls, The Bones of the Old Ones, and Pathfinder novels Plague of Shadows, Stalking the Beast and the hot off the presses Beyond the Pool of Stars. A former Black Gate Editor, he also assembled and edited 8 collections of historical fiction writer Harold Lamb’s work for the University of Nebraska Press. He can be found lurking at Follow him on Twitter @howardandrewjon


Leave a comment with your email for an opportunity to win a paperback copy of the above book!  Thank you for stopping by!

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ


  1. miki said...:

    I do hope this is an international giveaway because my brother is a very strong fan of the pathfinders roleplyaing game and he has been interested in teh novels as well so if i could win him this oen he would be super happy


  1. So glad you saw a need for strong, take charge females. I love adventure stories.

  1. Misty said...:

    Howard,I am so excited for you and your latest book. Such accomplishments. Best of luck and I can't wait to read this latest one. Good job. (

  1. Thank you. I am a big fan of PathFinder.

  1. Khazidhea said...:

    I too hope this is an international giveaway. I've highly enjoyed your Chronicles of Sword and Sand books, and I'm looking forward to reading this series of yours as well.

  1. bison61 said...:

    thanks my son would enjoy this

    tiramisu392 (at)

  1. Mick Gall said...:

    Very cool, looking forward to finding this!
    Fan of other pathfinder works, and exciting to see what HAJ does with a seafaring, swashbuckling setting!

  1. I'm a fan of Howard's other books, and would love to read this one, too!

  1. This looks like a great read. I like that he has female characters as the lead character.