February 12, 2011

Tomb Raider Novels, Comics and Collectible Books

The games may be on halt, but the Tomb Raiding is far from over. Multiple Tomb Raider books have been written over the years. Official novels, comics, guides, and more! In this article, guest blogger Hunter Wolfe of Hunter's Tomb Raider Tales, takes you through each book, summarizes some of the plots, and hopefully persuades you to pick up a copy yourself somewhere along the line. Tomb Raider books are a great new way to experience Lara Croft.

BOOKS IN THIS ARTICLE:

Novels:
  • The Amulet of Power by Mike Resnick
  • The Lost Cult by E.E. Knight
  • The Man of Bronze by James Alan Gardner
  • Lara Croft Tomb Raider by Dave Stern
  • Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life by Dave Stern
Comics:
  • Tomb Raider Tankobon Series
  • The Tomb Raider Compendium
Other:
  • Lara's Book: Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider Phenomenon by Douglas Coupland
  • The Official Tomb Raider Files by Susie Hamilton
  • Lara Croft: The Art of Virtual Seduction by Mark Cohen

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Amulet of Power

In 1999, Eidos and Core led us to believe that Lara Croft was dead following the events in the Temple of Horus at the end of Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. And in Tomb Raider Chronicles, a bonus movie revealed Werner Von Croy declaring that he had found her. But in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Amulet of Power, Mick Resnick brings back Lara Croft in all her glory...beginning inside the ruined Temple of Horus. When a man rescues her from the ruins, it isn't long before Lara is thrust into her next great adventure: a war that rages between two sides, the Mahdists and the Silent Ones. These two opposing forces believed that the long lost Amulet of Mareish, an artifact that supposedly grants it's wearer invincibility, has been recovered by Lara from the Temple of Horus, and because she knows they won't stop sending their assassin's until they kill her, she must track down the Amulet of Power before them get to her first. Will Lara prevail? Will Lara recover the Amulet of Power before it is too late?

Hunter's Review: This is a great book with lots of puzzles, action, and twists. It really sheds light on the more archaeological side of Lara Croft. A must read!

Available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Lost Cult

The second official and published Tomb Raider novel opens with Lara on a mission to recover several stolen artifacts from her nemesis, Lancaster Urdman. Right off the bat, E.E. Knight was able to pull readers in for Lara Croft's next grand adventure. This time around, the stakes are higher. A certain Professor Frys is murdered and, after investigation, Lara believes it may have been the work of the Mene Cult, a group of cultists who are trying to revive what they call, the Deep Gods. But not only must Lara take down the Mene Cult, but also discover the truth about her old friend, and ex-Tomb Raider apprentice, Ajay. Years ago, a mission gone wrong in Mexico caused Lara to renounce Ajay as her protege for Ajay's own safety; now Lara believes she is mind-controlled by this dangerous cult. Will she prevent the Deep Gods' awakening? Will she rescue her friend Ajay? Will she, herself, prevail the encounter? The answers are all here in E.E. Knight's, The Lost Cult.

Hunter's Review: The Lost Cult was an amazing book and sets the stage for the follow-up novel, The Man of Bronze. I'd say this book is a must if you are a fan of Tomb Raider.

Available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Man of Bronze

The third and final officially published Tomb Raider novel, and my personal favorite, begins in blood. James Alan Gardner depicts the murder of Lara's friend, Reuben Baptiste who needed her help in resolving an age-old battle. To avenge his death, Lara signs on with his employer, the Order of the Bronze who protects a powerful secret inside their monastery: a bronze android with inhuman powers. But the android is crippled, his leg missing, spread across the world and in multiple fragments. Lara must find these pieces for the android's undisclosed motives. But it won't be all peaches and cream as she treks through the Sargasso Sea, Australia, Siberian caves, and many more locations. Lancaster Urdman, her nemesis from The Lost Cult is racing to find the pieces of the leg first. Whoever controls the leg controls the war between the two out-of-this-world forces. And blood will be shed....

Hunter's Review: Of the three Tomb Raider novels, The Man of Bronze was my personal favorite. Featuring many exotic locales, fun characters, high-stake action sequences, and a very indulging plot, James Alan Gardner was able to make me want to read it again and again.

Available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (The Official Movie Novelization)

This novel is David Stern's movie-to-book written adaptation of the 2001, hit blockbuster film, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. The story is still the same, following the adventures of Lara Croft as she tries to find the two pieces to the Triangle of Light, an ancient artifact that grants its possessor the power over time. It gets personal when she discovers that her father, Richard Croft, was working with the Illuminati, an opposing organization who also want the Triangle. Lara must find the artifacts before the impending eclipse, solving the clues her father left behind for her, all while trying to unravel the mystery behind his death.

Available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (The Official Movie Novelization)

In David Stern's movie-to-book adaptation, Lara is investigating the rumors behind the mythical Pandora's Box. Upon the death of her friend, Lara learns that a maniacal, and powerful scientist is trying to get his hands on it first, to use it as a biological weapon. Lara knows she cannot win this one herself, so she enlists the help of Terry Sheradon, a traitor to the country locked away in prison for his treachery, to help her out. Together, they traverse all over the world in search of Pandora's Box and its resting place, the Cradle of Life.

Available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Tomb Raider Tankobon Series

You have the games, and the novels, and now you're getting the comic books! The Tomb Raider Tankobon series, produced from 1999-2005, features Lara Croft in a series of journeys and adventures that takes her all around the world. All fifty issues of the Tomb Raider comic series were separated into five Tankobon books (Tankobon basically means "collection of"). These five books, in black and white, are superb, even if they are not new, and will keep you awaiting the final issue, "Finale".

Hunter's Review: I got the Tankobon books from a contest over the summer and I loved every moment of reading them. I couldn't put them down. They changed Lara's origins story, and Winston the butler was replaced with Compton, the one responsible for Lara's mother's, father's and fiancées deaths. New, creative artifacts were the highlight for me, and crossovers will keep some fans re-reading, like the epic Witchblade crossover. I loved these books and I think they are a must for the Tomb Raider fan who loves a good read or is looking for a new way to experience Lara Croft.

Available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.


Tomb Raider Compendium

If you've read the Tomb Raider Tankobon comic series, then you'll want this book, despite its costly nature...All issues of the Tankobon series are included, for the first time, in full-color print. It's the same stories as you've never seen them before.

The price for this book ranges over various online sites. The average price is $100-$200 for a new copy, less for used. You can usually find both on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and eBay.

Lara's Book: Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider Phenomenon

Douglas Coupland provides us with an all-around Tomb Raider book entitled Lara's Book: Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider Phenomenon. Its contents entail a unique walkthrough guide for the first two Tomb Raider games (Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider II) complete with screenshots and bonus sections for Unfinished Business and Golden Mask bonus levels, respectively. Aside from the handy guide, it also contains a large "article" of sorts that explains why Lara Croft is such a famous worldwide figure; why we have come to know and love her! The third and final part of Lara's Book is an original "comic"/fanfiction adventure called Air Tibet, written by Douglas Coupland himself. It's a great read which takes Lara on an adventure though a Hollywood set with her eyes set upon, naturally, another lovely artifact.

[Note: The walkthrough section was contributed by Prima strategy guide writer Kip Ward. —Stella]

Hunter's Review: After a contest last year, I just had to get Lara's Book. I picked it up and it was great reading the article on Lara's popularity, which included some comical segments along the way as well as dazzlingly well-designed pages. The story was original and I encourage you all to read it. And although the walkthroughs are handy, and contain the location of all secrets, it is really hard to follow at points due to the fact that sentences are jumbled, directed on all sides of the pictures, written in different fonts and colors, and typed vertically at some points along the paper. You can read it, but not suggested for someone who likes simple and easy to follow.

Available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

The Official Tomb Raider Files

The Official Tomb Raider Files, written by S. Hamilton, is the ultimate guide to the adventure behind the classic, CORE Tomb Raider games. As you can see on the cover shot to the right, this guidebook offers detailed character profiles, 150+ screenshots, puzzles and brainteasers, and much, much more! This book is perfect fore the avid Tomb Raider searching for their daily Tomb Raider fix on the go.

[Note: During the writing of this book, author Susie Hamilton worked for Tomb Raider's developer, Core Design. She was our fan liaison before they had official community managers. —Stella]

Available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Lara Croft: The Art of Virtual Seduction

"Everyone knows how to make Lara Croft jump, shimmy, and swim. But do you know what makes her tick? Following in the footsteps of Lara's Book, Lara Croft: The Art of Virtual Seduction provides exclusive information about Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider series. Interviews with AI experts and Tomb Raider Programmers, Level Designers, Sound Specialists, and Game Testers provide insight into the game creation process. Pages of revealing artwork inspired by artists of various mediums let you get to know Lara in a different light. Articles and photos of the official Lara Croft models introduce you to the seductress in the flesh. Do you wonder what's behind Lara's amazing popularity? Learn what Eidos, the British company responsible for the Tomb Raider series, considers the keys to her success and discover their plans for her in the future. Lara's stardom extends far beyond the gaming world—the woman has cult appeal! The book presents the best of the thousands of Lara web pages and details her comic book, advertising, music, and film ventures. Lara Croft: The Art of Virtual Seduction is a must have for all who adore Miss Croft." From the book description on Amazon.com.

Out of print so can be difficult to find. Good used copies occasionally turn up on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and eBay.

This article originally appeared on Hunter's Tomb Raider Tales and has been reprinted here with the author's permission.

February 6, 2011

World Croft Interview with Toby Gard

Toby Gard
Toby Gard
Tomb Raider fan Richard Bentham recently recorded a podcast with Toby Gard for the Brazilian fan site World Croft. In the first installment of their interview, Gard, who was the lead designer of the original Tomb Raider as well as writer, designer and consultant for the Crystal Dynamics Tomb Raider games, discusses how he got started as an artist, some design inspirations and the challenges facing game designers today.

The interview is in English with Portuguese subtitles. Listen below or on the World Croft site.

Also, be sure to check out Toby's new web comic, Otherworld, at www.tobygard.com or www.otherworldcomic.com and Richard's Tomb Raider fiction in the Extras section at World Croft.


UPDATE - February 12: Part 2 is now available.

Tomb Raider Archives - Collecting all the classic Top Cow Comics
Tomb Raider Archives 4-volume set collects 50 issues of the best-selling Top Cow comic. Order from TFAW, Amazon, or Amazon UK.