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Assassin's Creed Books

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Has anyone else out there read the Assassin's Creed books by Oliver Bowden? I just finished Assassin's Creed: Renaissance and started Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood today. I think I actually liked the Renaissance book as much as the game. Bowden takes some creative liberties that get incorporated into the AC:B game as memories. It's interesting that he focuses solely on the Ezio story and neglects the modern day Assassins. I'm only 3 chapters into Brotherhood, but it's interesting how he changes up the into and adds details. I'm also kind of aggrevated that he decided to not write a book based on ACI.

Joey - if you haven't read these, I'd sugguest it since you're toying with writing your own account of the games. It would give you a good idea of what's been done, and possibly areas that can be built upon.

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Yeah I got them for Christmas and they're both great. I like picking out the little differences as its interesting to see the way Bowden interprets the story and adds little bits in about Ezio. Oddly enough, when a film makes changes to a book I get really annoyed *cough* Harry Potter *cough* but with this i quite liked the changes Bowden made.

Personally, I prefer the setting of the books in purely Renaissance Italy as it allows the story to be solely focused on Ezio and makes him seem more real, as opposed to 'just some ancestor of Desmond.' It also allows Ezio's feelings and thoughts to be portrayed more easily, rather than purely looking at the facts of his memories, IMO. Of course, in the game, cutscenes and dialogue help to portray what Ezio is thinking but I just think the book is better set in one time period. Jumping about from Ezio to Desmond would get confusing and would break up the story and realness of the characters, I think.

I definitely agree about ACI. As a game, it is far less cinematic than ACII and AC:B. There are less cutscenes and dramatic plot twists which make it a more simple game (although I still love it). Bowden could really have jumped on this as his imagination could have run wild. The repetitive investigations could have been changed to become individual missions in the book, and the information gathered by Altair could have been key to the story and main assassinations (compared to in the game where it was of little use). A book based on ACI would be so cool! Its so open to interpretation and could really be 'jazzed up' a bit (couldn't think of a better description Shy ) Glasses

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Are you sure that Bowden simply wasn't contracted to write an AC1 book, as opposing to him deciding not to? The first game was supposed to have tie-in books, like The Invisible Imam, but they were cancelled.

How can you say, though, that AC1 had "less dramatic twists" than, say, Brotherhood? Where Brotherhood really only pulls the rug out from you with Machiavelli, S16, and the ending, AC1 does it at every turn - and in much larger doses. The very existence of Desmond is a twist in and of itself - and let's not forget that the first thing we do with Altair is find the Ark of the Covenant, followed by the mere existence of the Piece of Eden, Al Mualim's true alliances, the shape of things to come, and the denial of all Western religion. Oh, yeah, and the writing on the wall.

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hewkii9 wrote:
Are you sure that Bowden simply wasn't contracted to write an AC1 book, as opposing to him deciding not to? The first game was supposed to have tie-in books, like The Invisible Imam, but they were cancelled.

Actually this is a good point which I meant to make (honestly!). ACII and AC:B are bigger games than the orignal so the books were probably commissioned or whatever to make it into more of a franchise and profit from the wider fanbase. The books are described as the official novels and the Ubisoft logo even appears on the back so clearly Bowden only wrote what he was asked to. ACI wasn't quite so popular and was released a while ago so I guess a book wasn't considered necessary/worthwhile.

hewkii9 wrote:
How can you say, though, that AC1 had "less dramatic twists" than, say, Brotherhood? Where Brotherhood really only pulls the rug out from you with Machiavelli, S16, and the ending, AC1 does it at every turn - and in much larger doses. The very existence of Desmond is a twist in and of itself - and let's not forget that the first thing we do with Altair is find the Ark of the Covenant, followed by the mere existence of the Piece of Eden, Al Mualim's true alliances, the shape of things to come, and the denial of all Western religion. Oh, yeah, and the writing on the wall.

Sorry, I didn't explain this too well either (I was aware of how long my post was becoming Tongue). In terms of general plot twists (the introduction of Desmond and the wider search for the Pieces of Eden in the modern day), ACI does have a lot as it introduces the main story which is later built upon in ACII and AC:B.

But in terms of gameplay and specific missions, I don't think ACI is as varied as the other games. The main assassinations are all very similar (in terms of investigations required, not the way they can be carried out [less scripting of course]) and you know from the start that each set of investigations will lead to a main target who will be one of nine to kill. In a novel, each of these assassinations could be approached in a number of ways because, although the basic outline of each is identical, the way each is assassinated by the player or, in this case, the writer, is open to imagination.

The ACII and AC:B novels obviously approach each assassination and plot twist in a very similar way to the game because they are structured like that and the plot twists are required for the twisting, turning story to make sense.

ACI has less of these scripted twists within the actual assassinations so the descriptions of Altair's actions in a novel could be almost anything. What I'm trying to say is that, in ACI, the plot twists/assassination methods are created by you (enabling any number of descriptions in a potential novel) whereas in ACII and AC:B the twists are already there in plain sight Smile

Also, Bowden ignores the existence of the modern world, writing entirely in the time of Ezio. That's not to say that another author wouldn't acknowledge the modern plight of the Assassins but for the sake of argument, the modern plot twists aren't completely relevant.

N.B. I'm aware that all of the above may make no sense whatsoever so I apologise in advance Shy

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Oh, yeah, of course AC1 was simpler gameplay-wise. I had assumed your post was entirely regarding its story.

Personally, I think that it's a good thing AC1 didn't have a book - since Bowden doesn't want to include Desmond in his adaptations, he'd have robbed the first game of its biggest 'nothing is true' aspect.

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I hadn't even thought of the fact that Bowden wasn't contracted to write an ACI book. Without the modern day Assassin story, there really is no need to tie in the first game as a book.

On another note, it's kind of odd that Oliver Bowden appears nowhere else as an author other than these two books. I find it hard to believe that he's written nothing else, but was contracted to dive into writing these two books that are trying to expand a franchise. I saw something claiming that it's strictly a pen name. Anyone have any insight into who is the man behind the curtain?

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It may well be a pen name but I don't find it that unusual that he's written nothing else. The books have probably taken up a lot of his time and I don't think he's a famous author in disguise. The books are great, storywise, as they provide a different way to enjoy Assassin's Creed, but they aren't exactly the most brilliant books ever written. The writing style is solid but simple, probably to appeal to that wider fanbase.

I suppose an ACI book would be a bit pointless without Desmond and the modern day plot included. It would also mean that there would be no link with the current books. Obviously Renaissance and Brotherhood are linked by the fact that they follow Ezio's life, but without the mention of a common ancestor (Desmond), an ACI book would be a little out of place. It would still be cool though Cool

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GopherBlaine wrote:
Joey - if you haven't read these, I'd sugguest it since you're toying with writing your own account of the games. It would give you a good idea of what's been done, and possibly areas that can be built upon.

Thanks for noticing! Actually, I had a scare this whole week. If anyone noticed that I wasn't online for a little while, it's because my laptop seemed to freeze on its startup. I thought I lost my script! Shock
Thank God I'm somehow a computer genius, because I got it working late last night and got everything back. Party

But I've been able to read a few pages taken from the Renaissance novel of the scene where Ezio meets Leonardo. The descriptions of his inner thoughts and reactions seemed much more personal than just looking at his facial expressions in-game.

This is what I'm attempting to achieve in the scripts with Altair. A lot of people who aren't hardcore AC fans tell me how flat and bland Altair's personality and voice are. I've recently included a few extra scenes to further explore his morals and how they grow as the story goes on.

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@Joey

Perhaps when Altair goes to the Jerusalem Bureau for the first time, you could give us his mixed feelings about seeing Malik for the first time since him yelling about in Masyaf.

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I still like the idea of keeping Altair mysterious, but a little awkward confrontations wont hurt...especially with the guy whose arm was amputated for your arrogance. Wink

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I wasn't that crazy about the books, personally. They're nowhere near the worst I've read, but certainly not the best.
I heard that Oliver Bowden is a Renaissance historian as his day job, which may make him knowledgable of the period, but it doesn't make him a good author. Writing scientific essays isn't the same as writing a decent novel and the AC books by him prove it. I have to point out that he also did stuff right: I liked the fact that he mentioned the other Assassins from ACII and what they were doing, since I had been wondering about this the entire game and the writing certainly improved from the previous novel. Also, he fleshed out some of the interesting side characters way better than the game did.
Still, it isn't all that great. The writing is repetitive and inconsistent, some of the characters are completely, well, out-of-character from the original game and the way he makes Ezio wail over a woman (first Cristina in Renaissance, now Caterina) every other page got annoying really quick and seemed incredibly insincere (and it's a shame Ubisoft incorperated those rather badly written "romance" scenes with Cristina in Brotherhood: they were kind of pointless there and rather annoying).
Like I said, it's not horrendous and did a lot of things pretty well too, but the writing feels more like reading a semi-decent fanfic and I don't really wanna pay money to read books of a level that can be found by fanfiction.net. And it hurts me to say this since I'm a fanfic writer who knows her stuff is nowhere near level of publishing either.

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I agree that they aren't the best things written but it seems like they were produced quickly and simply to make more money off the hype over AC. Thats fair enough really as they're at least readable. To me, the writing seems very simple which, with the large font, suggests these books were written to encourage more (younger) people to read them, and so make more money. Still, I got them for Christmas from my parents so I'm not going to complain Smile

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@Joey
I see what you did there... xD

I only read the brotherhood book, not the 2nd. I was up visiting my old town during xmas break, and my best friend went on vacation so i was a bit bored sometimes, so I went up to the bookstore to browse...and 'Theres a book for brotherhood? Eh why not'

Read it in about a day and a half, its pretty bland for the most part. Towards the end it starts to get in detail, which I liked. What i especially liked is it filled in the gap of what Ezio did from Rome to Spain. (Since in the game you see Cesare get arrested, and 5minutes later your 5 years in the future with Cesare again), its nice to know Ezio didn't just chill with his recruits in the hideout

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If anyone is interested, there is a new AC book coming out sometime later this month. It's called "Assassin's Creed: The Secret Crusade" and will tell the story of Altair. Here is what Wikipedia had on it.

"Assassin's Creed: The Secret Crusade is the third Assassin's Creed book by Oliver Bowden and published by Penguin Books. The story will be told by Niccolo Polo, father of Marco Polo, and will be about the life of Altaïr ibn la-Ahad. It is to be released in late June 2011. "

I'm excited about it.

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Sounds cool. I quite enjoyed the first two based on Ezio. This should be great. Thanks for the heads up Smile

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So this one is going to be the first of Oliver Bowden's books to tell a story outside the games', correct?
Renaissance and Brotherhood are basically ACII and ACB's counterparts, but since The Secret Crusade is Altaïr's life told by an exterior point of view (Niccolo Polo here), I'm guessing it won't be an "AC1 book". I just hope it won't be a spoiler for Revelations. It should be a matter of days now before it comes out.

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Sync wrote:
So this one is going to be the first of Oliver Bowden's books to tell a story outside the games', correct?
Renaissance and Brotherhood are basically ACII and ACB's counterparts, but since The Secret Crusade is Altaïr's life told by an exterior point of view (Niccolo Polo here), I'm guessing it won't be an "AC1 book". I just hope it won't be a spoiler for Revelations. It should be a matter of days now before it comes out.

I'm not sure how closely the book will follow AC1. The previous books (if you haven't read them) followed the games, but also added some original content (as far as I know, but it could have been stuff that didn't make the final cut for the games and the developers thought it would be good in the books). I would assume that there is some stuff from AC1 in the book, but it does seem that we'll get to see new sides of Altair.

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Joey - Are you still working on this? Haven't heard anything about it in awhile.

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Here's the synopsis on the Penguin Books website :

Niccolò Polo, father of Marco, will finally reveal the story he has kept secret all his life - the story of Altaïr, one of the brotherhood's most extraordinary Assassins.

Altaïr embarks on a formidable mission - one that takes him throughout the Holy Land and shows him the true meaning of the Assassin's Creed. To demonstrate his commitment, Altaïr must defeat nine deadly enemies, including Templar leader, Robert de Sable.

Altaïr's life story is told here for the first time: a journey that will change the course of history; his ongoing battle with the Templar conspiracy; a family life that is as tragic as it is shocking; and the ultimate betrayal of an old friend.

So it will indeed include AC1's story, but it looks like the parts that are not covered in the game will have a bigger place in this book than those in Renaissance and Brotherhood.

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Sync wrote:
Here's the synopsis on the Penguin Books website :

Niccolò Polo, father of Marco, will finally reveal the story he has kept secret all his life - the story of Altaïr, one of the brotherhood's most extraordinary Assassins.

Altaïr embarks on a formidable mission - one that takes him throughout the Holy Land and shows him the true meaning of the Assassin's Creed. To demonstrate his commitment, Altaïr must defeat nine deadly enemies, including Templar leader, Robert de Sable.

Altaïr's life story is told here for the first time: a journey that will change the course of history; his ongoing battle with the Templar conspiracy; a family life that is as tragic as it is shocking; and the ultimate betrayal of an old friend.

So it will indeed include AC1's story, but it looks like the parts that are not covered in the game will have a bigger place in this book than those in Renaissance and Brotherhood.

It's also due to go on sale on Tuesday, 6/27/11 in the U.S.

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Seems to already be on sale on Amazon.co.uk. Just bought it for £3.99! Laughing out loud

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PatrickDeneny wrote:
Seems to already be on sale on Amazon.co.uk. Just bought it for £3.99! Laughing out loud

It was released a week earlier in Europe.

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GopherBlaine wrote:
Joey - Are you still working on this? Haven't heard anything about it in awhile.

Not really. I continued a little bit after the last time I mentioned it, but then I found out an actual film was being made, so I figured there's no point. lol

I was thinking of doing some short stories, though.

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Don't like the books. They screw with the story too much. :/


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1001Human wrote:
Don't like the books. They screw with the story too much. :/

That's kind of why I like them. It's a very slightly different take on what we already know, but removing the modern day piece.

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Secret Crusade was legit at the end. As for the rest, I much preferred the modern storyline in both AC1 and ACB.

the posts a bit guy

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Assassin's Creed: Revelations available from the 24th November! Smile

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PatrickDeneny wrote:
Assassin's Creed: Revelations available from the 24th November! Smile

I just saw that yesterday. I don't want to read it until I've finished the game.

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GopherBlaine wrote:
PatrickDeneny wrote:
Assassin's Creed: Revelations available from the 24th November! Smile

I just saw that yesterday. I don't want to read it until I've finished the game.

Yeah, me too. I'm going to ask for the book for Christmas to give me time to finish the game! Smile

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It'll take me a couple of months to get through the game. It sucks when I can only get an hour or two at a time to play. I've also found that as I get older I need to be in the right frame of mind to sit down and play. When I got ACII I could play for two or three hourse every night, but now I can't get into every night. It doesn't help that all my favorite shows are in season right now, so I'm watching more stuff that I've DVRed, as well as college basketball.

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GopherBlaine wrote:
It'll take me a couple of months to get through the game. It sucks when I can only get an hour or two at a time to play. I've also found that as I get older I need to be in the right frame of mind to sit down and play. When I got ACII I could play for two or three hourse every night, but now I can't get into every night. It doesn't help that all my favorite shows are in season right now, so I'm watching more stuff that I've DVRed, as well as college basketball.

I know what you mean. I probably won't have actually finished the game by Christmas either as I'm quite busy (what with exams coming up, school work to do, learning to drive, the list is endless). I often struggle to find the time to play games and when I do have time I can never be bothered to actually start playing, even if it's a great game. Once I do play I enjoy it but get bored after an hour or two! Tongue