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Teckla by Steven Brust
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939129,275 (3.75)37
Member:GreyGhost
Title:Teckla
Authors:Steven Brust
Info:Ace (1987), Edition: First Edition, Mass Market Paperback, 214 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Epub, Taltos, fantasy

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Teckla by Steven Brust (1987)

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Originally posted at Fantasy Literature: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/reviews/teckla/

Teckla is the third novel in Steven Brust??s series about Vlad Taltos, a human assassin who lives in the empire of Dragaera which is populated mostly by a species of long-lived tall humanoids who were genetically engineered by sorcerers and divide themselves into clans depending on their specific traits. In the first VLAD TALTOS novel, Jhereg, we met Vlad, an Easterner whose father bought the family into the nobility of the lowly house of Jhereg. Vlad, like many of the Jhereg, is a crime boss and controls a portion of the city of Adrilankha. In the second book, Yendi, we learned how Vlad met his wife Cawti when she was sent to assassinate him. He died but was revivified by his minions and married Cawti.

The Teckla of the title of this third book are the peasant clan of Dragaera. For generations theyƒ??ve been the down-trodden masses. But now they have a charismatic leader who is stirring them up and fomenting revolution. The Easterners have joined them and so has Cawti, Vladƒ??s ultra-competent wife. The revolution is causing some difficulties for Herth, one of the other Jhereg bosses and Vlad learns that Herth plans to murder the leaders of the revolution, including Cawti. Vlad is being pulled in multiple directions. He wants to please and protect his wife, and his heritage is Easterner, but heƒ??s now a noble in one of the Dragaeran houses. What is a cold-hearted crime lord assassin to do? Kill people, of course.

For such a short book, thereƒ??s plenty of plot in Teckla ƒ?? assassinations, investigations, revolutionary rallies, break-ins, kidnapping, torture, rescues. To emphasize the action, Brust titles each chapter with a snippet from the laundry list that Vlad Taltos must have compiled at the end of the adventure ƒ?? ƒ??Chapter 3: And repair cut in right cuff,ƒ? ƒ??Chapter 4: One pair gray trousers: remove blood stain from upper right leg.ƒ? These cute chapter titles foreshadow the events in the chapter.

But the main focus of Teckla is Vladƒ??s insecurities about his own profession and lifestyle and his relationship with Cawti. Cawti wants to live her own life, but sheƒ??s heading into trouble. Vlad just wants to protect her, but she doesnƒ??t want his protection. Vlad also doesnƒ??t want to cause more tension between himself and the other nobility of Dragaera. The couple find themselves being pulled in opposite directions and starting to wonder how well they actually know and love each other.

I like the VLAD TALTOS series mainly because I like Vlad Taltos. I like his competence, his breezy but philosophical style, his thoughtful analysis of himself and others, and the amusing way he looks at life. In Teckla, Vlad is mostly feeling insecure and depressed, which is unusual for him (or so it seems to me after reading the previous two books). I enjoyed how he began to question his place in Dragaera and his thoughts about social status, the governmentƒ??s role in society, the worship of causes and ideas, and the need for revolution. But because of his failing marriage, Vlad does a lot of brooding in this book. While it makes him feel human and sensitive (which is kind of nice for an assassin, I suppose), itƒ??s not the Vlad Taltos we know and love and, frankly, it gets tiresome, and even annoying, after a while. I hope that Vlad will be back to himself in the next novel, Taltos.

Iƒ??m listening to Bernard Setaro Clarkƒ??s excellent narration of Audible Frontierƒ??s audio version. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
This picks up right after the first book Jhereg, I believe. After pulling off a successful assassination job, Vlad finds himself rolling in money, so he seeks to build his wife Cawti a castle...which sounds like a joke, but really isn't.

Anyway, recall how the second book Yendi took a break to go back in the past to the time where Vlad and Cawti first met. So though my time with this series has been quite brief so far, I've already come to feel connected and attached to these two characters. Which is probably why it was hard for me to read this book, seeing trouble brewing between Vlad and his wife.

In this world where Easterners (humans) and the servant class Teckla are treated as second-class citizens by the lordly Dragaeron houses, a grassroots resistance movement starts to grow and Vlad is shocked when he discovers Cawti is involved in it. That she kept it a secret from him becomes a wedge driven into their marriage, along with the fact she doesn't seem to care that she's putting herself in danger because of it. Vlad then decides to handle matters his own way, which makes the conflict worse. The two of them begin to drift further apart, both emotionally and physically. So much for that castle.

I like Cawti, I really do. Which is why it annoyed me to see her react so flippantly to Vlad's concerns for her safety. I can understand her passion for a good cause, but the way she reacted towards him just came off as overly insensitive. Vlad's methods aren't always the most subtle or the best, I admit, but she could at least stop thinking only of herself just a second and try to understand. I confess my opinion of her fell a couple notches after this book.

Anyway, this was still pretty good, but even though it's told in a very easygoing style like the last couple of books, its subject matter and themes felt a lot heavier to me. The story just wasn't as light-hearted as the previous two, and deals with some ethical matters and subjects that in a couple of dialogue sequences bordered on the philosophical. Definitely the most subdued of the three books in the series I've read so far. ( )
  stefferoo | Jun 14, 2013 |
The third book in the continuing story of Vlad Taltos. This is intended to be a long (19?) book cycle representing the same cycle as the Dragaeran Houses, one book for each house, plus one for Vlad. Because these books are 'relatively' short, this will still end up being shorter than The Wheel of Time.
This book does not drop off much, if at all, from the first two. Vlad and his tale are still interesting, its well written, and the plot is always good. ( )
  Karlstar | Sep 1, 2009 |
I simply could not relate to Taltos' unwillingness to adapt his personal code of honour to his wife's political and personal interests: as far as I could suspend my disbelief, it made him a deeply unattractive character whose fate I could barely bring myself to care about. ( )
  nwhyte | Aug 27, 2009 |
Definitely a different sort of story than the first two: "Teckla" is almost a complete 180-degree turn from the sort of books the first two in this series were; it is a dark, introspective, thoroughly angst-ridden journey through very personal areas of Vlad's soul. I was expecting a light-hearted romp much like the first two stories, and was thusly surprised and disappointed by this book. My mind wandered as I plodded through the paragraphs, and I found myself thinking of other subjects; my attention just refused to be held by this story.Vlad and Cawti are completely at odds through most of the book, and Vlad is forced to confront his deepest fears, insecurities, and questions, right down to whether or not he can live with himself and with Cawti. He must face the huge question of being an assassin, or doing what might be The Right Thing...or not. There is quite a deep examination of social inequities, politics, and grass roots movement vs. The Way Things Have Always Been, which isn't my favorite sort of story, but if you like a political/social study, then you may love it. It's a very dark journey that's rather uncomfortable, and Brust puts us right there in the center of Vlad's soul, pressed up close to the discomfort itself - Vlad's inner turmoil is our constant companion, and it's not pleasant company. It's darned depressing, in fact, which is perhaps why I didn't enjoy it as much as the first two. There are, of course, the usual intra-organizational intrigues, multiple assassination attemps, and Vlad is naturally right smack in the middle. Still, there is very little spark to this story, no inner glow, no feel-good bits to keep us going; it almost felt to me like Brust had lost his enthusiasm for the series, or had run out of steam, or perhaps he was just trying something new that I wasn't as wild about. One thing, however, is developed more thoroughly here, and that is the relationship between Loiosh and Vlad, which had been fairly superficial in the first two. They gain depth and dimension, and we understand the bond between them more clearly after reading "Teckla." Loiosh actually offers opinions that go beyond snide one-liners, and we can see more affection between them. Still, honestly? I didn't enjoy this book a great deal. It's not a bad book, and it's well-written, but it was an uncomfortable, fidgety read - or at least it was for me. I looked forward to it ending, whereas with the first two, I wanted them to go on and on. Hopefully with the next installment (which I'll pick up straightaway,) Brust will take us back to a happier time for Vlad.
  iayork | Aug 9, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steven Brustprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clark, Bernard SetaroNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hickman, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In "Teckla," Vlad discovers that his wife, Cawti, has joined a revolutionary organization, composed of Easterners and Teckla, and based in South Adrilankha. Vlad can't understand why Cawti cares about revolution and social justice; they argue throughout the book, and their marriage is under serious strain. W "Teckla" Vlad odkrywa, ??e jego ??ona, Cawti, do???czy?? do organizacji rewolucyjnej, w sk??adzie Wschodu i Teckla, z siedzib? w Po??udniowej Adrilankha. Vlad nie mo??e zrozumie?, dlaczego Cawti dba o rewolucji i sprawiedliwo??ci spo??ecznej; twierdz? one, w ca??ej ksi???ce, a ich ma????e??stwo jest w powa??nym obci???eniem.… (more)

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