This is the fourth of Brust's tales of Vlad Taltos, and it's probably my favorite of the nine he's written to date.
Having pulled us through the wringer in Teckla, Brust now steps back and gives us a tale of Vlad's earliest days. The main plot concerns Vlad's first meetings with Morrolan e'Drien, Sethra Lavode, and (eventually) Aliera e'Kieron, as well as such divinities as Verra, the Demon-Goddess. As such, it's as close to a straightforward heroic fantasy as we've yet seen in this series. But in addition to the main plot, we're also given a series of vignettes about Vlad's childhood and young adulthood. We hear how he regularly got beaten up by groups of punks from the House of the Orca until he got strong enough and quick enough to start picking them off one by one. We hear about how he joined the business side of House Jhereg, and how he became an assassin.
Truly, when we first meet Vlad he isn't a nice guy. In this book we learn how he got to be what he is when we first meet him--and we also see the seeds of the person he can become when (not if) he eventually overcomes them.Posted by Will Duquette at December 28, 2003 07:43 PM