Azure Bonds is a fantasy novel written by Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb and was originally published in 1988. It is the opening novel of the Finder’s Stone Trilogy which is set within the world of the Forgotten Realms. The novel marks the initial appearances of an ensemble of enduring characters, the foremost amongst which being Alias and Dragonbait.
The story begins with the main character, an adventuress named Alias, awakening in a disoriented and amnesic state. She quickly discovers that she has newly acquired a florid, azure colored tattoo imprinted on the inside of her sword arm in the space between her wrist and elbow. At first she attributes her memory loss to inebriation and the tattoo as a drunken prank by companions. She soon finds that the tattoo is magical in origin, resists attempts to remove it and most worryingly, exerts a power to compel her actions.
Before long, Alias becomes the nucleus of a disparate party of adventurers namely; Dragonbait, Akabar Bel Akash and Olive Ruskettle. The novel’s plot follows the actions of the party which are combinations of the group’s investigations and interruptions caused by the compulsions of the tattoo.
By the novel’s end, it is revealed that Alias herself is in fact a complicated, magically created, artificial being intended by her creators to be their proxy in various nefarious purposes. The tattoo was to be a means of control as well as a branding of ownership by each of the collaborating parties involved in her creation. Her long term memories were actually granted to her by her sole benign (but misled) creator and her short term memory loss is due in part to the gap between the end of her artificial memories and her premature awakening.
Alias eventually wins the freedom to control her actions and is able to embark on a life of her own. Events towards the end of the novel result in Giogioni Wyvernspur (a recurring supporting character), inadvertently acquiring the finder’s stone forming the back-story of the next novel in the trilogy, The Wyvern’s Spur.
||It has been suggested that Akabar Bel Akash be merged into this article or section. (Discuss)|
- Alias: A female warrior and the protagonist of the novel. At the onset of the story she is portrayed as an archetypal adventuress, being a seasoned traveler and veteran hired guard. She is depicted on the cover artwork in ceremonial (and gratuitous) armour.
- Dragonbait: Dragonbait is the first of the companions encountered by Alias. He has the most unusual appearance of the party and physically resembles a greenish, lizardman-like creature. Incapable of normal speech, his early behavior is often clownish and servile but obedient. It is eventually learned that he is in fact a highly accomplished member of his race that are known as saurials. His name is actually an acquired nickname courtesy of Alias.
- Akabar Bel Akash: A native from the southern lands of Turmish — a region of the Forgotten Realms roughly comparable in style and culture to the medieval middle-east. Initially, Akabar is conducting his affairs as a merchant but he also has training as a mage and inwardly yearns to prove himself as an adventurer.
- Olive Ruskettle: Olive is a female Halfling and the final member of the party to be encountered. She is a self-styled bard but displays the duplicity and skill at thievery and pilfering characteristically associated with Halflings; in the course of the book, it is revealed that she has taken on the identity of a true bard, one Olaf Ruskettle, and feminized his given name for her purposes.
Other Notable CharactersEdit
During the course of the story, several prominent characters of the larger fantasy world of the Forgotten Realms are featured. These include: Azoun IV and Vangerdahast, Elminster, Moander, and The Nameless Bard (Finder Wyvernspur).
- The trilogy’s titular “finder’s stone” plays a relatively limited role and has an essentially introductory presence in the novel.
- Main article: Curse of the Azure Bonds
In 1989, SSI published a computer game titled “Curse of the Azure Bonds”. The game’s plot follows a similar premise to the novel but is set sometime after the events of the novel instead of being a direct adaptation.
- Novak, Kate; Jeff Grubb (1988). Azure Bonds. TSR. pp. 380 pages. ISBN 0-88038-612-6.