Richard Lee Byers and Stefan Petrucha

White Wolf Publishing / 288 pages / (March 18, 2002)

ISBN: 1588468127

If you are a Tribe gamer, chances are good that you already know all the lingo, the background, the ins-and-outs of the Garou who are apparently Earth’s last line of defence against the evil that is just itching to take over. If, by some chance, you aren’t familiar with the role-playing game, there is going to be a tremendous amount of information, and even over-information, thrown at you in very short order. Unless you have a gamer on-hand to answer your every question — which will pop up about every page — it’s best just to go with it and hope understanding will creep up on you.

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Richard Lee Byers’ novel is the first out of the gate. Cries Havoc, the lorekeeper of the Red Talon clan, has lost his powerful memory in the heart of the world’s upheavals in Serbia. Now, he and the rest of his clan must undertake an almost impossible journey to a sacred site for even a chance to restore his powers. Ranged against him are the dark forces of the Wyrm (the mention of that word alone has been enough to send me racing from some con suites…) and their forms are as varied and repulsive as the myriad human faces of evil.

But, the clan and the Tribe must overcome this darkness; they are the last defence between survival and chaos. Even if, at times, it seems the numbers of the Banes are endless and the wounds of the clan too much for even the Garous miraculous powers of healing to mend in time. Every moment is a race against time.

In Uktena, the sole survivor of a massacred clan is called to an audience with a local sept leader. What, exactly, she will have to answer for when she arrives, makes her more than a little reluctant to appear. To put off the inevitable, she and two companions set about their journey to the Lord’s enclave by the most circuitous route possible, meeting up with dark forces at virtually every step along the way.

The danger, Amy Hundred-Voices reasons, is preferable to what might be awaiting her at her command appearance. And it’s just possible she may figure out a few things about the massacre of her clan from what stalks her now.

For gamers, this double novel is no doubt a special treat to accompany their role-playing, but, for those of us who don’t fall into that category, Children of Gaia and Uktena offer equal charms. True, the many forms and guises of the Tribe may become one unfocussed blur, but there is great pleasure in the characters themselves. The array of backgrounds that come together to form a clan is a constant surprise, and the Garou are quite capable of catching readers off guard as well. Certainly, no creature in the book commands such intense speculation as Chottle — and I have no intention of telling you why.

So, give it a try. You know Byers’ and Stefan Petrucha’s work; you just might find that stepping into the middle of this battle of good-and-evil intrigues you. But, if it interests you enough to get involved in the role-playing aspect, please confine those Wyrm conversations to the gaming suites; keep it out of the Green Room, please.