In this, the eighth book of the tale of Vlad Taltos, Brust once more steps back from the main narrative to fill in some of Vlad's history. Ever since Jhereg we've been hearing bits and pieces about the Battle at the Wall of Barrett's Tomb. We've also been told that Dragons are natural military commanders, though it's not always been clear who the enemies are supposed to be. In this book we find out about both of these things.
Barrett e'Lanya, a great and respected Dragonlord, dies suddenly, leaving behind a large collection of weapons. Our old friend Morrolan e'Drien is given the honor of safeguarding Barrett's estate, but another Dragonlord conspires to steal one of the weapons. This touches Morrolan's honor, of course, and the only thing that will do is a carefully planned and fought war--held away from settled lands, of course, so as not to be too destructive. Vlad comes along for the ride, mostly because Morrolan's opponent insults him grievously and he wants revenge. And thus, he finds out first hand what it's like to fight in a Dragon army. Just what he always wanted.
This is a fun book, having more of the happy-go-lucky flavor of Jhereg and Yendi, and yet it serves a serious purpose--it's providing background we need for the following volume, Issola, which will continue with Vlad's main narrative. To wit: where do Great Weapons like Morrolan's Blackwand and Aliera's Pathfinder come from? And what's with the golden chain, Spellbreaker, that Vlad's been carrying around for the whole series?
You won't find these things out from me, of course.Posted by Will Duquette at January 5, 2004 08:25 PM