Even though this is put in the Song and Swords series, it doesn’t contain Arilyn and has only a brief cameo of Danilo. The main character is Bronwyn, another agent of Harpers. She’s an orphan whose family was stolen by slavers when she as just a child. Some family members were brutally murdered and the rest were sold into slavery. For most of her life, Bronwyn was a slave. She learned some valuable skills in order to survive. She had to also learn to survive emotionally and she’s now a very independent and self-sufficient woman, and a professional finder of all weird and wonderful objects. She has her own shop in Waterdeep.

Fairly quickly it’s revealed that Bronwyn’s father is a paladin of Helm and her brother is also still alive. However, her brother is an evil priest of Cyric, the god of Stife and he doesn’t know about his sister. The other main characters are a dwarf Ebenezer Stoneshaft who likes horses and sunlight, and a young paladin Algorind who is on his first quest. All four characters adventure on their own for a large chunk of the book. However, they are all trying to find out the secrets of the Samular Knights so that their secrets don’t fall into the hands of wrong people – the other characters. 

Cunningham has a lot of paladin characters in this book and even one fallen paladin. She makes them more pious than the priests and clearly full of hubris and holier-than-thou-attitudes. They seem to work only as a reminder of blind faith and on as examples of a faithful warriors. This is underlinded by the other paladins’ blind faith to their fallen brother. Unfortunately, it seems that the paladins have different special abilities than they have in the rulebooks. Some of them can detect lies and some can detect evil all the time, except in the company of the fallen paladin. Also, I felt that the paladins’ constant grating behviour is in conflict with their suppsedly high Charisma. So, actually the book works better if you don’t know the rules system. The paladins’ also have very different moral code than rest of the Realms which seem to have fairly modern Western style morals.

This book also felt more role-playing book than the previous ones. Some of the main characters become friends awfully fast and they trust each other also really quickly. Also, they always travel together and even sleep in the same place.

Apparently, Cunningham also tries to bring some moral ambiguity to Realms. She even has the characters say that orcs would be peaceful if the “good” species wouldn’t constantly harass them. This is in direct conflict with other sources. On other worlds I would applaud this effort but here it just doesn’t fit.

Thornhold isn’t as good as the other books in the series.

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