Game: The Elder Scrolls Online
Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: April 29, 2015

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The Skyrim Fansite reviews the recently released The Elder Scrolls Online Tales of Tamriel, Book I: The Land.

Last week, Titan Books released The Elder Scrolls Online Tales of Tamriel, Book I: The Land, the first in a series of two hardcover volumes exploring the lore and artistry of our favorite MMORPG. I had originally placed my pre-order on Amazon last Christmas, and the book was faithfully delivered to my office on its launch date, April 21, 2015.

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The Elder Scrolls Online Tales of Tamriel, Book I: The Land

As a huge fan of The Elder Scrolls, I’m always excited to see new products and merchandise that helps collectors celebrate the franchise. Whether it’s statues, jewelry, or toys, I’m always up for anything related to the game.

Needless to say, when I first heard that Bethesda was teaming up with Titan Books to release a new series of hardcover books (two for ESO, and three for Skyrim) I was psyched. Titan Books, as you may know, is the industry leader in collectible fandom books and graphic novels. The company delivers a wide range of products — everything from mass market paperbacks to museum quality collector art, like The Art of Assassin’s Creed Unity limited edition.

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but in the case of The Elder Scrolls Online Tales Of Tamriel, Book I: The Land, I’d beg to differ. The book not only looks gorgeous, with its embossed ESO logo and gilded lettering, the volume feels heavy in the hand, promising substance beneath it’s heavy duty binding.

When you first open the book, the inlay is a printed map of Tamriel during the time period of The Elder Scrolls Online, complete with territories and Factions. The faux aging of the map is a brilliant touch, and is pleasantly carried on throughout all 232 pages. Yes, the book was printed only a few months ago to be sure, but the thick paper, water marks and other antiquing touches give the tome an ancient feel that mimics the spirit of in-game texts found within ESO. Just the tactile feel of the book alone and a quick page through left me with an immediate impression of quality and attention to detail.

The Elder Scrolls Online Tales of Tamriel Map
The book’s inlay, featuring a map of Tamriel.

The Elder Scrolls Online Tales Of Tamriel, Book I: The Land  is a collection of anecdotes, text and lore already found in-game — there are no new stories or tales to add to the narrative of The Elder Scrolls Online. Seeing as how I haven’t read everything in the game, this didn’t bother me at all. And in regards to stories that I was already familiar with, it was nice to re-read the tales in book-form and have a well-thought out collection beneath my fingertips.

The stories aren’t simply jumbled together mind you, but are arranged logically by Faction, starting first with the Aldmeri Dominion, and then followed by The Daggerfall Covenant and Ebonheart Pact. At the tail end is a section called “Creatures,” which serves as a compendium of monsters, covering everything from Alits to Vampires. Taken as a whole, the book gives an in-depth look at the world of ESO, and I found myself learning things about the lore that I hadn’t known before.

The Elder Scrolls Online Tales of Tamriel text
The book’s stories are reprints from in-game texts.

As good as the writing is, it’s the artwork of The Elder Scrolls Online Tales Of Tamriel, Book I: The Land that I found most compelling. There are some images ESO fans are all familiar with, but a lot of the artwork is exclusive — commissioned by Titan Books to illustrate the printed text. There are sketches, full colored paintings, and detailed drawings all helping to build interest in and further enhance the stories. The artwork itself is beautiful to look at, and it’s placed in such a way to help break apart the blocks of text, giving the volume a well-designed look.

The Elder Scrolls Online Tales of Tamriel art
An example of the book’s amazing artwork.

MUST READ: The Elder Scrolls Online: The Poster Collection

Overall, I was extremely impressed with The Elder Scrolls Online Tales Of Tamriel, Book I: The Land — not only as a collectible, but as a book to read. I appreciated the care that went into the book’s design, and loved the arrangement and presentation of the stories and tales. The book is part historical narrative, part journal, and part guidebook — a wonderful companion to the game I love and a real treat for fans of The Elder Scrolls Online like me.

I purchased my copy of The Elder Scrolls Online Tales Of Tamriel, Book I: The Land on Amazon.com here. The book can also be purchased direct from either Titan Books or the Bethesda Store.

The other upcoming books in the series include:

  • The Elder Scrolls Online Tales of Tamriel, Book II: The Lore (September 15, 2015)
  • The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, Volume I: The Histories (June 23, 2015)
  • The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, Volume II: Man, Mer, and Beast (September 15, 2015)
  • The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, Volume III: The Arcane (release date to-be-announced)

Here’s an example of the some of the book’s original artwork, posted with permission from the publisher. Enjoy!

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