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Taltos by Steven Brust
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The chronological beginning of the series. Explained some things. Other things made more sense having read later books. So, I’d say read this series in whatever order you like. [Sept. 2011] ( )
  maureene87 | Apr 4, 2013 |
Book 4 of the ongoing Vlad saga. This one is more of an adventure story than the previous ones, as Vlad heads to the Paths of the Dead, which is supposed to be impossible, unless you are already dead. Vlad is really involved with some of the powers of the world now, including the gods. A bit different from the previous books, but it is clearly still a Vlad book. ( )
  Karlstar | Sep 2, 2009 |
A Dragon A Day: While Yendi examines Vlad's life shortly following the time when he had begun to establish himself as a serious player in the Jehreg mini-Empire, Taltos reaches even further back, weaving three separate plots - the beginning of his come to power, his expedition with Morrolan, and one mysterious spellweaving heading each chapter - into the fullest picture yet of his early life.
Beginning innoculously with a delivery theft by one of Vlad's henchmen, the story quickly involves Dzur Mountain - and its infamous undead inhabitant Sethra Lavode - along with Morrolan in Castle Black. It shortly becomes apparent this was a setup to get him to Sethra's quarters, to ask him to steal a very important crystal from a high wizard. Insane as it sounds, he has little choice, and when things go wrong at the last second, only a serendipitous find and Morrolan's quick entrance save him. But the ordeal is far from over, when an even more important ordeal awaits Vlad: A perilous journey with Morrolan into the Paths of the Dead to wake the soul trapped in the staff he took.
This is undoubtedly Burst's most mature work in the series to this point, giving up some of the manic energy and cockiness of the first in exchange for a much deeper look into the lives and souls of his heroes. Vlad never loses his snide sarcasm, but he does start to tone it down and put more thought into his dealings with powerful Dragaerans. Most of all, he finally begins to grudginly respect a few. The transition is both bumpy and natural, never plainly stated but obvious again his otherwise cavalier attitudes.
The book is also his finest technically, for while Yendi was an editorial mess, this continues Teckla's themes of emotional confict and redevelopment, in a more subtle way, while simultaneously mixing in a complicated and potentially disastrous device of interleaving two distinct yet connected stories, and a third above them all. And the last is how he succeeds, by leaving them independant yet somehow with relevance to each other; many passages will serve to shed an otherwise unseen corner of light on the other story immediately behind or following, and sometimes farther back, leading the reader to page back or ponder some old assumptions, some deliberately encouraged by the author.
The layers are what make the book memorable after its pages have been turned, thoughtful and roundaboutly organic just as Vlad's witchcraft is. As each chapter opens, a few paragraphs are excepted from the meticulously chaotic preparation casting of one final spell, the final climax that pulls threads from throughout the book into a single whole. The portions of the backstory that handle ground already trod in another book are often skimmed to concentrate on exposing more relevant details.
The book is most certainly a worthwhile read as long as a character-driven story with smooth pacing and imaginative action appeals to you.
2 vote iayork | Aug 9, 2009 |
I liked the main story of Morrolan and Vlad getting to know each other in the Paths of the Dead. It explained why Morrolan and Aliera are always ready to help Vlad without question. I had know idea how much he had helped them. I'm still not sure what made Vlad decide to help them in the first place. It was kind of weird throughout the book not knowing when or where the spell sequences were taking place. This book didn't really change my opinion about Sethra being strange. ( )
  hannah.aviva | Feb 26, 2009 |
Fourth in the series. It's an odd series--it's all out of chronological order. In fact, this one, if I'm not mistaken, takes place before any of the previous books in the series. Yet, if I'd read it before the others, I probably wouldn't have liked it.

As it is, I liked it a little less, because the rapid bouncing back and forth between 3 timelines kept me from really getting involved in any of the stories. Still, since I'd already met Vlad and the other characters, I did find it interesting to find out how he met and hired his right-hand man, Kragar; how he met Morrolan and Aliera and Sethra Lavode; and what really happened in the Paths of the Dead. ( )
  Darla | Dec 3, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steven Brustprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clark, Bernard SetaroNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Some two hundred miles to the north and east of Adrilankha there lies a mountain, shaped as if by the hand of a megalomaniacal sculptor into the form of a crouching grey dzur.
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"Vlad Taltos is an assassin unlike any other. Not only is he quick with a sword, but he also possesses a gift for witchcraft conjuring. The latest addition to his already formidable arsenal is a leathery-winged jhereg who shares a telepathic link with Vlad - making him twice as deadly." "The adventures chronicled in Taltos and Phoenix find Vlad accepting a job in the Land of the Dead, but a living human being cannot walk the paths of the dead and return, alive, to the land of men. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view), the Demon Goddess is willing to rescue him - if Vlad is willing to grant her a favor in return."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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