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Literature / Adventure Hunters

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The debut novel of Cody Martinnote .

Artorius, Regina, and Lisa are three adventurers exploring ruins and ancient buildings looking for treasures. When they come across a collection of war machines, they race to find the Lambda Driver, the key to restoring the machines. They must find it before their ruler, King Ryvas, does. If Ryvas finds it first, he will unleash their destructive power on the neighboring kingdom.

Adventure Hunters has these tropes

  • Abusive Parents: Lisa's parents were truly awful. First they abandoned her in the woods because she was The Runt at the End and when she miraculously finds her way home and cries in happiness to see them again, her dad punches her because he believes crying is weakness. Her mother doesn't acknowledge that she came home at all. She runs away from home afterwards.
  • Achilles' Heel: No matter how powerful the gargoyle, light will turn him to stone.
  • The Alcatraz: There is an infamous prison reserved for the worst of criminals that is located at the bottom of an ocean. The only way in or out is a ship that leaves once it delivers the newest inmate. This is the ultmate fate of Ryvas; life imprisonment for breaking the Nuclear Weapons Taboo.
  • Always Lawful Good: All the war golems were given life by Nicoli and so his personality imprinted on all of them. He was a pacifist which makes every single one of them pacifist. Once they realized they were sentient and didn't have to fight if they didn't want to, they only fought in self-defense. In the end their only request of the humans is to be left alone forever.
  • Anti-Hero: All three adventurers are mild Disney anti heroes.
    • Artorius is marked with the Sigil of Disgrace, the highest punishment a palladin can recieve, yet he is a Friend to All Children.
    • Lisa is a thief but prefers a slightly more legal profession; treasure hunting.
    • Regina is the Black Sheep of Info Mages because she's an Adventurer Archaeologist instead of a historian or book preserver; she is labeled a 'grave robber' by them.
  • Artifact of Doom: The war golems found underneath the town are so powerful and caused so much damage the last time they were used that they have become the local Nuclear Weapons Taboo and everyone who knows anything about them will insist they are a myth to discourage anyone from using them again.
  • Badass in Distress: Regina is a veteran adventurer but, due to the plot, her badass moments are after she is kidnapped and coerced into aiding the bad guys.
  • The Big Guy: Played with; Artorius is a big and broad man in armor but he delegates all the heavy lifting to short and slender Lisa because she has Super-Strength.
  • Bigger Stick: The driving force of the story is that Ryvas lacks both the funds and the manpower to defend his territory against Jerrod so he needs a game changer. The war golems are his only hope.
  • Bitter Sweet Ending: On the sweet side, the war is over, Ryvas' kingdom gets its land back, and the heroes made it out okay. On the sour side, Ryvas is sentenced to life imprisonment, Jerrod is unpunished and still wants the land in question (thus the possibility of more conflict) and Regina still possesses the knowledge of golem crafting (thus the possibility someone else will want to capture her).
  • Call to Adventure: Rushing to a town's aid to fight off a goblin raid leads to the main event.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: When a booby trap in a tomb activates, Artorius and Lisa take a moment to make a bet: rushing water or giant boulder?
  • Character Death: Claude by suicide and Marcus by Regina's attack.
  • Chekhov's Gun: While visiting the Gargoyle Library, one of the gargoyles explains that they don't use magic light spheres for illumination because such things will turn them to stone. Marcus does just this later on to capture someone that knows too much.
  • Cultured Badass: Lisa knows more about antiques than a guy running an antique shop. This is justified as she is a treasure hunter so she has to know what she has in order to make a living.
  • The Dragon: Marcus becomes this for Ryvas; his second in command and the enforcer of his Evil Plan.
  • Driven to Suicide: When Claude discovers his family died in the goblin raid, he falls on his sword.
  • Evil Plan: In a classic case of turning a trope on its head, so does this book do to this trope. The evil king, Jerrod, is more of a Jerkass king only interested in holding control of both banks of a river that divides his kingdom from his neighbor, Ryvas. It is Ryvas, The Good King, who engages in devious scheming to awaken an Artifact of Doom but only because Jerrod is infringing on his land and economically strangling his people.
  • Eye Scream: Part of the tortue Marcus inflicts on Golon to force Regina into helping him with the golems is taping the victim's eye with a chisel as the first step in gouging it out if his second victim does not cooperate.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Artorius is a former paladin, Regina is a Squishy Wizard and Lisa is a small and quick thief. However, there is one deviation; Lisa is both super strong and nigh invulnerable.
  • Friend to All Children: When Artorius isn't working, he hangs out at an elementary school and tells the children about his adventures.
  • Forced to Watch: This is how Marcus secures Regina's cooperation chaining her to a wall so she has to watch him tortue Golon.
  • Heel Realization: When Ryvas discovers the golems are just as alive and sentient as himself, he surrenders and peacefully goes to jail.
  • The Herald: Claude arrives at the capital, sleep deprived, panicky, and begging for help against a goblin raid. This leads to the trio discovering the golems nearby.
  • Genetic Memory: Despite its Nuclear Weapons Taboo, Nicholi didn't want his knowledge of golem crafting to go to waste so he implanted it into the genetics of his family line. Regina is the latest link in this chain.
  • The Good King: Because he shares the narrative, the reader can see that King truly cares about his people and is simply driven to extreme measures to provide for them, thus making him a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Both Ryvas and Marcus are fully aware of the villness of their actions but believe them to be necessary to save the kingdom.
  • Immune to Bullets: When a gun is pointed at her, Lisa is not afraid that the bullets will hurt her; she's afraid they'll bounce off her and hurt someone else.
  • It Belongs in a Museum: This is how Regina justifies her treasure hunting; "we can better learn about and appreciate a culture if its relics are in a museum instead of collecting dust in a tomb". Her teammates are Only in It for the Money.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Jerrod is not punished for starting the initial conflict. His Captain of the Guard had to twist his arm to make him give back the lands he took.
    • Zambwe disappears after he is paid.
  • Just a Machine: King Reyvas plans to replace human armies with war golems and thereby forever end death-by-war for living creatures. He feels justified in this because the golems are nothing more than walking weapons. The golems develop sentience shortly after activation because their creator gave them a spark of life. When he realizes this, he realizes at the same time that his plan will end in failure and gives up.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Gargoyles live for a very long time, and since many of them are historians, they find this very helpful.
  • Love Interest: Lisa's feelings for Artorius are complicated to say the least. The age difference is great enough for him to be her father but they work more like siblings. Regina thinks she's genuinely in love with him.
  • Macguffin Super Person: Regina is sought after because her ancestor turned all of his descendents into human-shaped instruction manuals for building war golems. She is also the 'ignition key', so to speak, because she needs to step into the Lampda Driver to activate the golems.
  • Mauve Shirt: Claude has enough characterization to be the fourth member of the hero team. This is why his suicide is a shock.
  • Mysterious Past: Regina and Lisa have brief backstories but Artorius is a blank. All that is revealed is that he was branded with the Sigil of Disgrace at some point in the past.
  • Naytheist: Regina has lost respect for Runa because she never helps anyone. Her fellow Info Mages think she doesn't believe the goddess exists but Regina doesn't go this far.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Lisa is sixteen and strong enough to knock down stone walls.
  • Proud Scholar Race: Many gargoyles in this Verse are historians and regarded as the greatest in their field.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Zambwe is hired to capture the adventurers. He has no grudge against them nor any stake in the Evil Plan. Once he has been paid for this job he disappears from the narrative.
  • Squishy Wizard: Regina has neither Lisa's Super-Strength nor Artorius' warrior skill so she's powerless without her device. This comes up more often than she'd like.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The original war golems stopped following orders and attacked everyone. What really happened was the humans were afraid of their power and decomissioning them. The golems fought back in self-defense.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Ryvas wants to provide for his people and make sure no one dies in war ever again. His solution is to break the Nuclear Weapons Taboo and replace human soldiers with golems.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Lisa is terrified of gargoyles because of a bad encounter with them in her childhood.