Published by Ace (US)
Fantasy novel in the "Adventures of Vlad Taltos" Series. The main character is Vlad Taltos, a freelance assassin and noble in the House of Jhereg. Set in the DragaeranEmpire, which is peopled by "elves", Vlad is a Easterner (human) who are looked down upon by Dragaerans as inferior. Conflicts are resolved by swords and sorcery, both of which Vlad is skilled in but less powerful than most Dragarans. Vlad's house, Jhereg, is a organised crime type noble house.
Other characters include Loiosh, Vlad's familiar, a small flying lizard called a "Jhereg".Also introduces the Dragaeran characters Morrolan, the powerful sorcerer/fighter, Sethra Lavode, the undead vampire sorceress, and Aleira, the swordswoman with a Great Weapon.
The plot jumps between three different points every chapter, which turns out not to be as confusing as it sounds. At the beginning of each chapter is a short section that mostly occurs at the end of the story. Then the rest of the chapter alternate between Vlad's journey on the Paths of the Dead, and the major points of Vlad's early life and how he became an assassin.
I was very pleased to finally read the story of how Vlad met Morrolan and rescued Aleira from the "Paths of the Dead", which is mentioned in the other books in the series but never gone into detail. The other plot about Vlad's early life is very well integrated into the other plot and provide an interesting balance to the main plot.
Overall very, very good, but a bit short. I am looking forward to getting hold of Orca, the next book, if I can find it.
P.F. 16th June 1997
Paul Farris 1997