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Shattered Chains is a novel based off of the Collectible Card Game Magic: The Gathering. It was published in 1995 and was written by Clayton Emery.

I've read a great many works based on licensed properties, and as could be expected, the quality ranges widely, with most of them being somewhat trite but entertaining. Of course, Magic: The Gathering is an exceptional thing to novelize, since the two things that go into a novel, character and plot, are absent from the source material.

The book, which was just one of many novels written about Magic: The Gathering, actually makes the random nature of the game a plot point. Apparently, in the world of Magic: The Gathering, wizards are egotistical to the point of insanity, and randomly collect and compel soldiers and creatures from all over "The Domains" to fight in pointless battles, often leading to the destruction and enslavement of whoever gets in the way. The protagonists of the novel, Greensleeves the Druid and her brother Gull the Woodcutter, are trying to organize an army to resist these wizardly depredations. Greensleeves is herself a wizard, and has a magic object of incredible power that may help her realize her goal. Also, her army, a ragtag group of misfits, is whipped into shape by a triple agent hot barbarian woman. All interspersed with fight scenes and some melodrama.

The author deserves credit for taking something that really doesn't lend itself to novelization, and writing a passable novel anyway. Overall, however, while it might be entertaining if I could portray this work as either an unexpected work of genius, or as a laughably inept attempt to cash in on a license, the truth is, this novel is about exactly the type of entertaining fantasy novel that could be expected to come out of Magic: The Gathering.

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