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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Fans of R. A. Salvatore should thank the gods above -- or maybe just the editors at Warner Books -- for reissuing a largely underappreciated fantasy trilogy published in the mid-1990s. For the first time ever, the three novels that make up the Crimson Shadow trilogy (The Sword of Bedwyr, Luthien's Gamble, and The Dragon King) are included together in one massive omnibus edition.
The trilogy revolves around Luthien, a young, cinnamon-eyed man with a penchant for swordplay whose life on the isle of Bedwydrin (where his father is earl) is close to idyllic. But when traveling nobles and their cyclopean henchmen callously murder one of his close friends, Luthien receives a cold dose of reality. The land of Eriador is being systematically tyrannized by an evil wizard king named Greensparrow and his agents, and if nothing is done about it, thousands of innocents will become enslaved. With just a horse and his sword, Luthien sets out to enact some much-needed justice -- and in the process becomes a legendary outlaw known as the Crimson Shadow…
While Salvatore has gone on to pen much more thematically complex fantasy sagas with more intensely character-driven plotlines (the Hunters Blades trilogy, the Sellswords trilogy, et al.), his Crimson Shadow sequence is pure, straightforward adventure fantasy. Readers who particularly enjoyed his 2004 stand-alone novel The Highwayman should check out this swashbuckling trilogy, which explores similar Robin Hoodlike themes. Paul Goat Allen