I’ve been a fan of Drizzt ever since I read the Dark Elf trilogy and I’ve read Salvatore’s series faithfully for years. Alas, I’ve come to the conclusion that he doesn’t really write anything new and I’ve also come to loath some of the main characters such as Wulfgar and even Bruenor for being such stereotypes. On the other hand, I’ve rather liked Drizzt, been fascinated by drow culture, and I’ve like Jarlaxle a lot even though he’s character and his band doesn’t really make sense in the supposedly matriarchal drow culture. I rather enjoyed The Servant of the Shard and was looking forward to its continuation. Alas…
This is continuation of The Servant of the Shard published in 2000. It’s the second in the Sellswords series. If you’re familiar with the main characters, you should probably read the Servant of the Shard first so that you know how they ended up together here. However, if you don’t know them you might as well start with this book. Although, Servant of the Shard is better.
The black elf Jarlaxle used to be the leader of the drow mercenary band Bregan D’aerthe but he has now taken a leave of absence for his own reasons. Artemis Entreri is one of Forgotten Realms’ best assassins and Drizzt Do’Urden’s nemesis. In this book they are working for a couple of dragons who are also sisters. The dragons hire the duo to find magic items which the legendary Witch King has left behind. Apparently he had power over dragons.
The duo travels to north to the city of Vaasa where they fight and cheat their way to the top of the local mercenaries. Meanwhile one the Witch King’s powerful grimoires finds its way to a village of half-orcs, near Vaasa. A wizard reads the grimoire and it starts to drain her life force which it uses to grow a Castle around itself. This attracts local nobles’ attention and they send a group to investigate. In addition to Jarlaxle and Entreri, the mercenary group includes a wizard, a cleric, dwarfs, and a female commander. At the same time, the local guild of assassins wants to get rid of the duo.
The plot is very typical for Salvatore with schemes, traitors, and detailed fights. Unfortunately, the characters are quite stereotypical: a dwarf who lusts for battle, a human-like (in other words, pretty) half-orc wizardess, and a stupid, ugly, but loyal half-orc fighter. Entreri and Jarlaxle talk a little about the essence of friendship and the meaning of feelings, but not nearly as much as Drizzt. Readers who are bored with Drizzt’s philosophical musings might like this book more. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t give anything new.