It began as just another evening of fantasy gaming…
What is the Guardians of the Flame series about?
Written by American author Joel Rosenberg, Guardians of the Flame is a fantasy series about a group of college students who participate in a fantasy role-playing game, and are magically transported to the world of the game by their gamemaster.
The story follows, at first, Karl Cullinane, a theater student, and his friends, history student Jason Parker, football hero Walter Slovotsky, engineering student Lou Riccetti, English major Andrea “Andy-Andy” Andropolous, disabled computer science major James Michael Finnegan, and Doria Perlstein; the gamemaster is a philosophy professor at the university.
As the series progresses, the friends become embroiled in a larger conflict to overthrow a tyrant and establish a just society. They also struggle to reconcile their real-world values with the morality of the new world they inhabit, as they confront issues such as slavery and the use of magic.
How to read the Guardians of the Flame Books in Order?
- The Sleeping Dragon – Seven college students meet for another night of role-playing games, where they will be cast as wizard, warrior, cleric, or thief. However, their conniving gamemaster has something entirely new planned for them. The seven gamers are cast into an alternate world of magic, fire-breathing dragons – and a quasi-medieval culture with slavery. The only way back to Earth is through a dragon-guarded Gate Between Worlds, about which little is known.
- The Sword and the Chain – Having passed through the Gate back to Earth, Karl Cullinane, Walter Slovotsky and other surviving fellow fantasy gamers now return to the Other Side, a place of mystery, magic, dragons — and slavery. Courage, ingenuity, and sharp fighting skills are required as these former college gamers make this wondrous but dangerous land their new home.
- The Silver Crown – Karl Cullinaine, Walter Slovotsky and several companions leave Home – the town they’ve built in this world of dragons and magicians to which they have been transported – to continue their fight against slavery. Fierce fighting and surprises are in store for Karl and his friends, as they fight to defend the kingdom under siege.
- The Heir Apparent – In an ambush by the Slave Traders, young Jason Cullinane’s friend and mentor Valeran is killed. In panic, Jason runs away. While Jason’s friends and family don’t blame him, Jason feels overwhelming shame. In an attempt to prove to himself and others that he is no longer a “coward”, he sets out to kill the leader of the Slaver’s Guild, who has been seeking revenge on Jason’s famous father, Karl Cullinane.
- The Warrior Lives – Jason Cullinane’s famous father Karl is thought to have died fighting members of the Slavers Guild, and Jason must now assume the full weight of the Crown. However, rumors come in that slavers have been found dead with notes pinned to the corpses proclaiming “The Warrior Lives” … Is Karl Cullinane still alive? Jason set out in search of Karl Cullinance while continuing his father’s mission to end slavery.
- The Road to Ehvenor – Walter Slovotsky is a warrior, and he leads his veteran allies on a mission to Ehvenor, a town where the strange and often dangerous world of the Faerie are leaking from their space into this world. Their encounters and battles along the way lead up to a final confrontation, with some unexpected results.
- The Road Home – Hoping to intercept his bitter best friend’s crusade to kill off all the slave masters in the land and keep the legend of the Warrior alive, baron Jason Cullinane is unaware that his search will force him into a dangerous pact.
- Not Exactly the Three Musketeers – A trip to the Guardians of the Flame universe finds three faithful servants of the Castle Cullinane – Soldiers Kethol, Pirojil, and Durine – sent on a difficult diplomatic mission to the Dowager Empress. Athos, Porthos, and Aramis they’re not.
- Not Quite Scaramouche – Kethol, Pirojil and Erenor are friends and part of the Cullinane retinue, sworn to protect the Cullinane manse and the sometimes-heroic Jason Cullinane and they have their hands full. Because no one likes a vacuum–or one too many contenders for power, Jason’s soldiers are going to have to do some fast adventuring to make it all turn out all right.
- Not Really the Prisoner of Zenda – Kethol, Pirojil and Erenor ‘s lives aren’t very easy, what with keeping Jason from getting killed by yet another conspiracy, rescuing some damsel or whatnot in distress, and squirreling away something for the ever-diminishing prospect of retirement. And now it looks like our heroes might wind up succeeding in none of their schemes. There is magic aplenty in the air (and on the ground), and in order to save a kingdom, they may have to pull off a complicated scheme that could kill them all–or land them in positions of supreme power.