The thirteenth book in one of my favorite fantasy series.

Publication year: 2011
Page count: 336
Format: print
Publisher: TOR

“Is this going to work?”
I considered that: “Almost certainly, probably, there’s a good chance, perhaps, and I very much hope so, depending on which part of it we’re discussing. Your end, almost certainly.”

Tiassa has three stories with different narrators. They are bound together by the hunt for a silver tiassa jewelery which is supposed to have mysterious powers. The book has several characters from the Khaavren Romances.

However, the book starts with a short prologue narrated in the first person by Vlad who is visiting Sethra Lavode, the Enchantress of the Dzur Mountain. Vlad tells Sethra how he got hold of a silver tiassa.

The Silver Tiassa part start with a short prologue narrated in the first person, in a rather breathless pace, by a young girl whom I strongly suspect is the mysterious Devera. She has the silver tiassa which one of the gods made, and is looking for someone to hold onto it for a while. Naturally, she turns to uncle Vlad. Most of Silver Tiassa is narrated by Vlad in the first person. It’s set in an earlier time when Vlad was engaged to Cawti. He’s setting up a heist with two non-Jhereg people who are familiar to those who have read the the Viscount of Adrilankha novels. The male person calls himself the Blue Fox which Vlad mocks mercilessly, although mostly in his thoughts.

Then we move on Whitecrest, where each chapter is written in the POV of a different character, in third person. The time moves several years forward: Vlad is on the run from the Jhereg and his son is a few years old. The court wizard has noticed that there’s a threat of Jenoine invasion and the Empress and her closest advisors are doing everything they can to stop it. Apparently, a silver tiassa should have the powers to prevent it.

Then there’s an interlude which tells a lot of Devera’s origin, or rather conforms some speculation about her.

The last part, Special Tasks, is written by Paarfi and centers on the Guard Captain Khaavren who turns out to be also the leader of the Empress’ Special Task force. Vlad has been beaten up and because he has an imperial title, Khaavren tries to find out as much as he can about Vlad’s situation.

Paarfi’s style is very distinctive: “We should note that the Khaavren of two hundred years before would have ridden a horse rather than a carriage; but we also note that the Khaavren of two hundred years before was younger; and younger, we should add, by the amount of two hundred years.”

There’s also an epilogue with current time from Vlad’s POV.

Well, well. This isn’t a light read. Each story is set in a different point in time with different narrators as well and that can be jarring, to say the least. However, I through enjoyed it. I have only two criticisms: 1, more Morrolan, please, and 2, the overall plot doesn’t seem to advance much. However, in the first story we get to see Kragar and Cawti which was great. I also greatly enjoy heist stories and it was very interesting to see it set up. I really enjoyed the little bits we got about Devera who has been a mystery for far too long.

In the second story we got to see Cawti’s POV for the first time and that was a treat. I also enjoyed the Khaavren romances so I’m familiar with Paarfi’s writing style and got several chuckles out of it. I’ve also enjoyed the characters in the Khaavren books so it was a real treat to see them again. (Hmm. I have a hankering to reread the books.)

However, for people who haven’t read the Khaavren books or, dare I say it? don’t like them, Tiassa is mostly likely a very frustrating book.

This time we got a lot of insight into how other people see Vlad. He’s an Easterner but also holds an Imperial Title, which is quite confusing to some Dragaerans. We also get to see a bit of the racism between Dragaerans and Easterners which we don’t really see much because Vlad’s Dragaeran friends don’t talk so, at least around him. Khaavren tells his underling in all earnestness to treat an Easterner like a Dragaeran; in other words like a human. Clearly, he doesn’t think much of Easterners.

I found it very interesting that the House of Tiassa makes such rigid boundaries with the performance of music: compositional music is okay but performing social music is not acceptable.