Brilliant books... City of thieves, deathtrap dungeon, caverns of the snow witch, trial of champions, crypt of the sorcerer... Weaker after books... Armies of death, return to firetop mountain, blood of zombies, port of peril... That makes me wonder of a more generic question... Why does a man loses his touch?
The man's done lots of things that aren't FF related so he's not committed to just one project. It's a different target audience as well now so the writing is much simpler than his early work. You might like Assassins of Allansia if you haven't read it yet.
Bad books are due to lazyness, i think. He follows the same recipe that worked in Deathtrap, again and again. And when he tries something different (like Armies of Death), he reaches his limits. Anyway, I found Port of Peril better than I thought at first sight, and hope a lot for Assassins.
He follows the same recipe that worked in Deathtrap, again and again.
That may well be at the heart of it. I think he should have had a look at what other FF writers or even his competitors were doing, like Jamie Thomson and Joe Dever, because he might have learned something from them.
The books of his that we think most highly of tend to be the earlier ones.
Perhaps he was doing more roleplaying in those days and it affected his books in a positive way?
Perhaps he got a bit complacent and, knowing all his books would be published, was content to not put in as much effort in the later ones. A workman who has been doing a job for a long time can become like this. Doing the 'bare minimum' he knows will be acceptable. Having said all this, I still enjoy most of his books.