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How Xena Changed Our Lives: True Stories by Fans for Fans edited by Nikki Stafford

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Xena, the warrior princess, and her loyal companion, Gabrielle, have battled the airwaves for love, peace, and forgiveness and become modern icons for fervent devotees. These stories, written by fans, describe the impact the show has had on their lives, from people they've met, relationships cultivated with other viewers, and special encounters with the stars of the show in times of need. Other stories illustrate lessons learned and achievements gained, inspired by Xena's physical strength or Gabrielle's intellect.


The Further Adventures of Xena by Martin H Greenburgh (editor)


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The ultimate collection for Xena-philes, with new, original stories by bestselling authors Jennifer Roberson, Josepha Sherman, Diane Duane, series screenwriter Melissa Good and Greg Cox and many others

There have been seven official Xena:Warrior Princess novels published by Boulevard Books, mainly by Ru Emerson. The first four came out some time ago, and the Quest trilogy in the last year or so.

The Quest Trilogy

Earlier Novels

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Go Quest, Young Man

by Ru Emerson.

Calling All Questors!
Draco, ex-lover of the Warrior Princess, rejected suitor of Gabrielle heeds the call. So does the pure-of-heart young hero Bellerophon. Rumored to be the son of Poseidon, he's determined to live up to his lineage.
And so does Joxer. he goes to seek fortune, fame - and Gabrielle's approval.
But Xena soon discovers that the voice behind the summons belongs to an old enemy - Menelaus, the King of Sparta. If he is involved, Joxer could be headed into dire danger. So the Warrior Princess and Gabrielle follow the hapless hero into the Spartan palace, where she sees another unpleasantly familiar face:a venal priest of Apollo named Avicus. King and priest are up to no good. But what is their plan? And can Xena stop them before the ship of foolish questors sets sail?

More recognisable as the characters from the tv series, this book is reminiscent of series 2 of the show in the extreme arrogance and annoyance factor of Joxer! Was he ever this bad? Joxer probably divides fans more than any other character, and his presence in this book might put a few off, however, I found it about the most enjoyable to read of Ru Emerson's novels. She has tried hard to capture some of the fun and humour of the show and even the subtext! However the story is the first of a planned trilogy, so inevitably the ending is unsatisfying as we don't discover what is going on. Also, much of the book has Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer working independently - chasing each other to Sparta. Xena's has a rather pointless diversion to see Hercules and Ioluas - not sure why they were there. Draco is also written rather oddly. Intended to follow Comedy of Eros, he is still smitten with Gabrielle, and far less fun than he is in the show. Still far less original than much of the best fan fiction on the web, but about the best book so far. Not that THAT is saying much!

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Questward Ho!

by Ru Emerson

Paperback - 304 pages (February 2000)
Ace Books; ISBN: 0441006590

The Quest is on!
From all over Greece, heroes have gathered, drawn by the lies of King Menalaus. Brave men one and all, they have been dispatched on what the King promised would be a glorious quest. But Xena knows the truth - Menalaus is using the questors to hunt down Helen, the wife who fled from him years ago. Now the Warrrior Princess must risk the wrath of her sworn enemy Poseidon, as she takes to the sea to warn Helen. The journey to Crete is a long one and the vengeful god is waiting. The sea is hos domain - and he has many deadly surprises planned for Xena and her companions...

The second book of the trilogy is out now. It continues directly on from the previous book as Joxer is on his quest for the sly King Menalaus of Sparta. I am only on chapter 3 so I'll write more as I read it...

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How the Quest Was Won

by Ru Emerson

Paperback - 274 pages (Sept 2000)
Ace Books; ISBN:0441006744

Conclusion to the Quest trilogy


For years, the beautiful Helen has hidden from her brutal husband Menelaus on the island of Crete. But now, despite the best efforts of the Warrior Princess, his plan to find his runaway wife through the trickery of a false quest has succeeded. The heroes who set out in search of fame and glory have led him directly to her! Desperate, Helen flees to the labyrinth deep beneath the Cretan palace, where Xena and her friends will be better able to protect her. Yet there are many twists and turns in the darkness below. Xena knows the enemy could be lurking around any corner. What she doesn`t know is that he could be right at her side...

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The Empty Throne

by Ru Emerson

based on the Universal television series created by John Schulian and Robert Tapert

"In a small remote village, Xena and her protege, Gabrielle, make a stunning discovery: All of the men in town have disappeared without a trace. Meanwhile, armed bands are running rampant in the streets. What mysterious and malevolent force is at work? Strange magic? Godly might? Xena and Gabrielle must uncover the truth before it is their turn to disappear..."

This is the first of the novels, and the first one I read. Avid fans of the show and fans of the fanfiction that is very common on the web will probably be disappointed by the lack of authenticity in the portrayals of Xena and Gabrielle. They are barely recognisable as our Xena and Gabrielle. For some reason Gabrielle is endowed with prophetic powers in this book. This doesn't help the plot much and isn't a feature of the tv show. The shocking misspelling of the chakram as 'shakra' and Xena's horse being descibed as a he are likely to grate aswell.
The story precis from the back cover(see above) is not all that accurate as it only covers the first part of the book. From investigating the disappearances, Xena and Gabrielle are lead into an story elements from The Odyssey. They meet the sorceress Circe and then go to Ithaca, the absent King Odysseus' island home, where they help out Queen Penelope and the young prince Telemachus who are being threatened by Draco.
This is not a book for the part time fan- you need stamina for this one! I am a devoted XWP watcher and reader of fanfic, but I found it tough going as this book is simply dull. It appears that author, Emerson is unfamiliar with the characters and so sticks to traditional Greek Myth, Gabrielle being chatty and the bad guy from the series premiere Draco. This combines to make a rather rambling and unexciting story. Of course Xena and Gabrielle's meeting with Ulysses- otherwise known as Odysseus- and Penelope, makes much of this story invalid, but there isn't much the author could have done about that.
The one highlight was Gabrielle talking the sorceress Circe into reversing her spell and trying again with men instead of bewitching them. If the rest of the book had this part's wit and originality it would have been a much more enjoyable read. For readers of fan fiction, one blessed relief is to see a properly punctuated and grammatical Xena story! I do wish someone would get a dictionary and some grammar lessons to some fanfic authors out there.

First Boulevard edition, October 1996. 231 pages

Whoosh have an interview with Ru Emerson that is a bit over reverential, but interesting.

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The Huntress and the Sphinx

by Ru Emerson

based on the Universal television series created by John Schulian and Robert Tapert

"No one is braver or faster than the legendary huntress Atalanta. Or so she says. And when Xena and Gabrielle are asked to rescue a group of kidnapped children, Atalanta is the first to volunteer. After all, she is the only one who could possibly be strong enough to succeed.
But when they find the kidnapper, Xena realizes that no one is strong enough to defeat it. For who can challenge the power and knowledge of the almighty Sphinx?"

First Boulevard edition, January 1997. 226 pages

This second novel by Ru Emerson is much more fun! Pacier and funnier than the first, it begins well with Xena and Gabrielle visiting Athens and the women's races to see the legendary Atalanta. Now forget about that body builder lady who appeared in Hercules:TLJ, this Atalanta is much different. Xena and Gabrielle join with the bard, Homer and the huntress to find the group of kidnapped girls, and finally confront the mythical Sphinx herself.
This book was more enjoyable in my opinion for a number of reasons: Firstly, Emerson is more accurate in her depiction of Xena and Gabrielle, although their relationship is very early season one-like. Xena tells Gabrielle hardly any thing, leaves her a lot, and doesn't talk to her much. Gabrielle is given Homer as her main companion for much of this story. Gabrielle is also VERY chatty! However, the scenes of her verbal encounters work quite well as they are reminiscent of that nice scene between Gab and the dumb cyclops in Sins of the Past.(Incidentally, that cyclops also pops up here in a little cameo.) She outwits her opponents well. Gabrielle is the main focus in this book really. Thankfully most of the visionary stuff from the first book has been dumped apart from one bit near the end.
Another strength is that Emerson has injected a good deal of humour here, after the rather stodgy first book. Some good one liners, and of course Gabrielle and Homer's riddles. The Sphinx as a character, is written in a similarly amusing way to Circe in the first book- vain and capricious, but I would have liked to have more scenes with her.
There are several references to the first book, particularly in the opening chapter or two, and yes, Argo IS still a boy. Hopefully she'll be herself again soon! Emerson seems to be getting into her stride with this book. While again using well known Greek myths and legends (the Sphinx, Atalanta, Arachne), and XWP characters (Homer, the cyclops), Emerson has produced a more enjoyable story, even if it was a bit predictable.

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The Thief of Hermes

by Ru Emerson

based on the Universal television series created by John Schulian and Robert Tapert

"His name is Helarion, fleet of foot, full of charm, and a thief like no other. He claims to be the son of Hermes, the Sun god and divine trickster. When he frames Xena and Gabrielle for one of his crimes, they must plan a daring jailbreak- and suddenly they are living like true cutpurses.
Is Helarion good or evil? A god's child or a liar? Xena and Gabrielle don't have time to find out. For they're about to be drawn into an adventure only the son of Hermes could survive..."

Still yawning my way through it!

First Boulevard edition, March 1997. 229 pages

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Prophecy of Darkness

by Stella Howard

based on the Universal television series created by John Schulian and Robert Tapert

"Traveling the countryside, Xena and Gabrielle encounter a twelve year old seer with a startling prophecy. She warns them about a mage whose well-intentioned spell will lead to disaster. The spell will unleash Cerberus, the fearsome guardian of Hades' gates. The mage seeks relief for those who suffer in the underworld. But his spell will set free many evildoers- as well as Cerberus himself- to terrorize the earth.
Xena and Gabrielle must help the seer break the spell- before all Hades breaks loose. But more danger awaits. Because according to the prophecy, one of them will not return...."

According to the Whoosh Ru Emerson interview(see above), this was supposed to be a young adult novel originally. That would explain the change of author and clearly shorter book.

However, sometimes brevity is good, and despite a certain lack of depth, I found this book to be quite enjoyable. While still plodding through The Thief of Hermes- about 6 months so far- I read Prophecy of darkness in about two days. There are the usual inconsistancies that Ru Emerson also uses, so I guess it was their source that was dodgy. Gabrielle's character is very much early season one, young and innocent. The biggest inconsistancy though is the depiction of the Gods and the belief system. Hades is a place, Tartarus and the Elysian Fields not really believed in.
The story itself it nice and pacy. The young seer is likeable, and the well meaning but foolish young man who is about to unleash Cerberus is a well drawn character also. There is a nice degree of tension and what it lacks in details, the book makes up for in plot. OK, so not that many bad guys to fight, but this was a well written and lively book. No masterpiece and pretty light weight, but as a TV tie in, its quite good. I did a quick calculation, and this book has about 50,000 words compared to about 85,000 for Ru Emerson's books. Wonder who got paid more?

First Boulevard edition, May 1997. 215 pages (bigger writing too!)

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Xena and the Magic Arrow of Myx

Hunter Kennedy

Berkley Publishing Group

The series Xena:Warrior Princess is great fun. Lively and humourous, it has captured the imagination of young and old alike. Sadly this book does not do the same. Aimed at younger readers, it is fast moving, but lacks any of the style or wit of the tv show. The characters of Xena and Gabrielle are barely recognisable as our tv heroes, and the book commits the unforgivable sin of being condescending - every place and character name is one syllable and has an "x" in it!! On the plus side it is short, but younger Xena fans would be advised to hang onto their pocket money and buy one of the other book or the video.

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