Let me start this review by saying that I might be a little jaded…
- R. A. Salvatore is one of my favorite authors.
- Drizzt Do’Urden is one of my favorite characters.
- The Forgotten Realms is one of my favorite fantasy settings.
This story of Drizzt Do’Urden, the famed Drow elf ranger, and dwarf Bruenor Battlehammer, King of Mithril Hall, starts 24 years after the Spellplague, in which Catti-brie and Regis were lost to them. Wulfgar, too, has parted their company sometime over the years. Drizzt’s and Bruenor’s paths again intertwine with Jarlaxle’s, the Drow elf, and Athrogate’s, the dwarf, and even Thibbledorf Pwent, King Bruenor’s long time friend and dwarven battlerager, gets some face time. As Drizzt spends a bit of the story reflecting on and trying to convince himself that he’s done with the past, R. A. Salvatore introduces a new character: the incredibly beautiful and deadly elf Dahlia.
Initially serving the Thayan Lich lord Szass Tam, Dahlia leads Jarlaxle and Athrogate into the lost dwarven city of Gauntlgrym on a mission to create a Dread Ring by shutting down the magic that keeps a primordial trapped deep below a mountain. That mission is ultimately completed by another of Szass Tam’s agents, resulting not only in the creation of the Dread Ring, but also in the destruction of the city of Neverwinter. Dahlia eventually joins with Drizzt, Bruenor, Jarlaxle, and Athrogate on a quest back into Gauntlgrym to re-trap the primordial.
In typical R. A. Salvatore (writing Drizzt Do’Urden) fashion, well-written fight scenes abound and our pensive and very complex hero has believable inner turmoil and friends and acquaintances who help him work through some of it whether he wants to or not. Most of the characters are multi-dimensional, with the aspects of the personalities added seamlessly through the story and I’m most interested to see them fleshed out over the rest of this series and, hopefully, accompany Drizzt on other adventures yet to come.
I could hardly put the book down and spent too many nights with not enough sleep as a result. I highly recommend this book and fantasy readers who are familiar with Drizzt Do’Urden and Bruenor Battlehammer and their friends from previous adventures should consider this as a must read.
At this point, this is my favorite R. A. Salvatore book about Drizzt, long may he live to entertain us with stories of his journeys and exploits in the Forgotten Realms.
**This was originally posted on a different blog I am terminating/have terminated
[Almost three years later, I’m adding a link to this book on Amazon.com: Gauntlgrym: Neverwinter Saga, Book I]