Forgotten Realms: Promise of the Witch-King (Sellswords #2) [NOOK Book]


The book was hidden well.

It’s pages promised the power of the Witch-King himself.

And now that it’s been found, even the fact that it kills anyone foolish enough to crack its cover won’t stop people from fighting over it.

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Forgotten Realms: Promise of the Witch-King (Sellswords #2)

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The book was hidden well.

It’s pages promised the power of the Witch-King himself.

And now that it’s been found, even the fact that it kills anyone foolish enough to crack its cover won’t stop people from fighting over it.

Welcome to the Bloodstone Lands!

Human assassin Artemis Entreri and his dark elf companion Jarlaxle have come to the demon-haunted wastelands of the frozen north at the request of their dragon patron. It doesn’t take long for them to find themselves caught in the middle of a struggle between powerful forces that would like nothing more than to see them both dead . . . or worse.

But Entreri and Jarlaxle aren’t just any wandering sellswords, and the ancient evils and bitter blood-feuds of the wild Bloodstone Lands may have finally met their match.

From the Paperback edition.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Jarlaxle Baenre is a conniving dark elf with more tricks up his sleeve than a roomful of magicians; Artemis Entreri, an ill-tempered human assassin wielding a vampiric sword, is his unlikely companion. In R. A. Salvatore's Promise of the Witch-King -- a stand-alone novel that is also part of the Sellswords saga -- the two mercenaries travel to the wild lands of Bloodstone in search of tomes of unspeakable power supposedly created by Zhengyi, a legendary witch-king whose knowledge of the arcane was unsurpassed. With the help of a small group of battle-hardened warriors and wizards, the dysfunctional duo find what they seek -- unfortunately, the artifacts are hidden away in massive dark towers and guarded by regenerating armies of golems, goblins, and gargoyles. But as Jarlaxle and Artemis fight their way into the evil construct -- side-by-side with a band of illustrious fighters who include a half-crazy dwarf, a beautiful paladin with royal ties, and a much-fêted knight -- they realize that they have overlooked other deadly foes: namely, betrayal and greed.

Fans of the Forgotten Realms novel line (set in a domain encompassing more than 120 titles, it's arguably the most extensive fantasy saga in the history of the genre) will devour this one, arguably Salvatore's most proficient offering to date. Featuring a misfit cast of characters that are as wildly entertaining as they are extraordinary, breakneck-paced and tightly woven story lines, and adrenaline-fueled sword-wielding action in literally every single paragraph, this novel proves again why Salvatore is the supreme master of adventure fantasy. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly
Jarlaxle Baenre, the drow elf, is once again on the trail to rollicking adventure in bestseller Salvatore's follow-up to Servant of the Shard (2000). At the behest of the dragon sisters Ilnezhara and Tazmikella, Jarlaxle and his assassin companion, Artemis Entreri, travel to far-off Vaasa in search of an unknown artifact belonging to the Witch-King Zhengyi. The intrepid pair infiltrate the Army of Bloodstone at the Vaasan Gate, becoming part of the elite group of seasoned fighters who defend the gate from goblins, ogres, bugbears and other monsters. Salvatore keeps the action hopping as the duo use every trick in their repertoire to achieve their goal-finding magical treasure hidden by the long-dead Witch-King. Lovers of all things elvish, especially those who like butt-kicking swordplay, dastardly intrigues and ingenious hocus-pocus, will relish this fantasy. 15-city author tour. (One-day laydown Oct. 25) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Dark elf Jarlaxle and human assassin Artemis Entreri are back with more inane banter and ostentatious swordplay in this sequel to Servant of the Shard (2000). Jarlaxle and Entreri are sent by their dragon masters to investigate a tower believed to be a construct of Zhengyi the Witch-King. In doing so, the duo destroy the tower and the magical tome that gave it birth. The dragons are not pleased, and send the pair to the wastelands of Vassa, where a new construct has been discovered, this one larger and more foreboding than the first. The two join with a diverse group of other adventurers-including the requisite turncoat-to storm the evil castle and destroy the source of its power. And if that sounds bland and bewildering . . . well, it is. The plot is a meandering mess strung together by numerous, lackluster battle sequences-plus clumsy prose and insufferable characters, all making for an adventure to miss. A formulaic, trite and derivative swords-and-sorcery fantasy that reads like a novelized Dungeons & Dragons adventure. First printing of 400,000; $500,000 ad/promo
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786952625
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
  • Publication date: 10/7/2008
  • Series: Forgotten Realms Sellswords Series, #2
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 60,766
  • File size: 3 MB

Table of Contents

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Interviews & Essays

Explorations Interview with R. A. Salvatore

Paul Goat Allen: Bob, correct me if I'm wrong but it seems to me that there's a huge resurgence of interest in Forgotten Realms. Wizards of the Coast is reissuing all your Drizzt Do'Urden novels in hardcover editions. Your last Forgotten Realms novel (The Two Swords) debuted at the top of every national bestseller list when it was released last year. Is it simply another generation of fantasy fans discovering Forgotten Realms, or is there something more to it? More people turning to adventure fantasy as a little escapism from cold harsh reality?

R. A. Salvatore: I don't know the numbers, other than my own products, but I believe that you're right. I'm not sure if there's a huge resurgence of interest, or if it just keeps plugging along. And after all these years…. Ed Greenwood must be very proud of his baby. I think the reason that Forgotten Realms is doing well right now is that it remains classic adventure fantasy. Our genre has expanded in wonderful ways over the last few years, with so many new dimensions, new voices, and new perspectives. But Forgotten Realms remains faithful to that core understanding of fantasy: with elves and dragons, orcs and demons, and magic aplenty. It's a great place to “play,” so to speak. It has grown richer over the years, as so many creative people have added their special touch; but through it all, the world remains true to the basic tenets of fantasy literature. And yes, escapism is the key word regarding fantasy, for me anyway. I know that some people like their speculative fiction rooted in gritty reality. Sure, I like a little of that; but more than anything else, when I'm reading or writing fantasy, I want to be able to forget CNN, or a bad day at work, or whatever else is stressing me out at the moment. I want to go away to another world, where magic rules and dragons terrorize -- and where, no matter how strong the bad guys are, I can make a positive difference. That's what entertains me.

PGA: Promise of the Witch-King seems to be one of your “tightest” works to date. Like a fighter at the peak of conditioning, there's no fat anywhere. Does constructing stories come easier now after penning so many?

RAS: Easier and more difficult all at once. Mechanically, I hope that I'm a much better writer now. But there was an innocence and an energy to the early works that -- I think -- more than made up for any structural problems. Also, it's easier to “grow” characters at the beginning than it is after 18-20 books; but still, they're always surprising me. I'm glad to hear your opinion on this one. I wanted Witch-King to be very tight and focused because it had an important job to do: moving forward the relationship between Artemis Entreri and Jarlaxle. These two guys play off each other so well that I don't have to surround them with massive and overwhelming storylines. But at the same time, Witch-King would only work if I introduced several new and interesting characters, and each with a purpose. And of course, with these two protagonists, the supporting cast always seems to be wearing red shirts. Don't get too attached to anyone.

PGA: How does Promise of the Witch-King differ from your previous works? After the dramatic success of recent works, is there more pressure for this one?

RAS: Strangely enough, I'm feeling no pressure at all. Maybe this goes back to the earlier question regarding perception. From the beginning, I've maintained that writing is the art of doing something the way you want it done. Then you cross your fingers and hope enough people like the way you did it so that you get to do it again. I'm on a journey with some friends in a wonderful and magical land. They're telling me their stories and I'm writing them down. I'm thrilled that other people want to share in this adventure, but that's not why I write. This book is a little different, but it wasn't a conscious decision. Or maybe it was. When I turned it in, my editor called and said, “Wow, this is a dungeon crawl. We publish Dungeons and Dragons, but I don't think we've really done any dungeon crawls.” By that he means that the conflict of the story essentially takes place in a single setting -- in this case, a magically constructed castle. I don't know that I can do that with many characters, but with Entreri and Jarlaxle, the interplay between them makes even a small room seem like a grand stage.

PGA: Has anyone ever commented about the uncanny physical similarity between Todd Lockwood's portrayal of Artemis Entreri on the cover of Promise of the Witch-King and, well, you?

RAS: Not until this moment! I'll have to go take another look at that cover. When The Woods Out Back, the first book of my Spearwielder's Tales, came out way back in the early '90s, I was surprised (and so were my friends!) to see that I was on the cover of a book. The character looked quite a bit like me. Since that series was very much autobiographical (except that I was kidnapped by a hobbit named Bilbo, not a leprechaun named Mickey), I just figured that I must have described Gary Leger, the main character, quite well. I'm a little scared, though, if people start seeing me as Artemis Entreri! Egads!

PGA: Of all the characters you've created, which one is closest to the real Bob Salvatore, and why?

RAS: All of them and none of them all at once. Well, the aforementioned Gary Leger, for obvious reasons, bears a resemblance to who I was in an earlier phase of my life. But all of my characters are bits and pieces of who I am and what I know and what I believe. They are also other people I've known, or read about, or seen in movies. It's like I take a thousand different people and cut them up into tiny pieces, then put them in a blender and spit out new and interesting (I hope) combinations. That said, I've always maintained that Drizzt Do'Urden was who I wish I had the courage to be. His journal entries really touch home with me.

PGA: What's on the agenda now?

RAS: I'm working on the sequel right now; I've taken Entreri and Jarlaxle this far and I need to see how their relationship winds up. Are they going to hug like brothers or kill each other? The fun part is that after all these books, I still don't know. I can announce now that I've signed on to do five more Forgotten Realms books with Wizards of the Coast. I love Ed's world so much -- I can't imagine not writing here. Also, I'm getting a lot of pressure from many people, including my wife, to follow up The Highwayman. I wrote that as a stand-alone novel, and it certainly is; but many people have expressed an interest in seeing more with those characters. Certainly I intend to go back to DemonWars at some point in the future. It's all good. It's all fun. If this fantastical ride I've been on ended tomorrow, I'd walk away with no regrets. I know how lucky I've been, and am truly grateful. I still believe that for every working author there are a hundred more who are just as good but, for one reason or another, just don't break through. Because of the books, I have friends all over the world now. I see familiar faces at conventions and at book signings. I get e-mails from soldiers in Baghdad and Afghanistan, from grandmothers in California, and from high school students in New Jersey and London. As long as it's fun, I'll keep doing it, and I honestly cannot imagine this being anything but fun.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 47 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2011

    Why is this and Road to the Patriarch not available for the NOOK yet?

    Why is this and Road to the Patriarch NOT available for the NOOK yet? Further books 4 and 5 of Cleric Quintet is on NOOK but not 1,2, or 3 ?????

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2007

    Dragons, Lichs,Magic Its all here!

    In a land of bloodshed, wars, and magic, a mythical world some call it, is where this book takes place. Artemis Entreri, a human assassin, and Jaraxle, a drow elf, embark on a quest that will take them closer to death than they have ever been before. They arrive in the bloodstone lands and are quickly hired by two dragon sisters to retrieve artifacts from a now dead Witch-King. After retrieving one such item they are sent to a fort to wait for work. While waiting they become bounty hunters and kill goblins and giants. They then receive word that a structure of the Witch-King has built itself and are sent to destroy it, but will they come out alive I guess you¿ll just have to read it. I liked how the book changed from character to character because you get to see everything from more than one point of view. I also liked how the book starts right off with action. I thought the book to be flawless. This novel is part of a series branched off of a 16 book series, so you are not able to just skip to this book. Anyone over the age of twelve could read this book. If you like this book it is similar to the books written by J.R. Tolkien.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2006

    Oh my...

    When Promise of the Witch-King was released I immediately thought it was going to be an awesome book: full of action and subtleties that R.A.Salvatore works are famous for. As well as the continuing progression of our favourite assassin Artemis Entreri. I was sorely mistaken. Admist the swirl of unfinished plot-lines and uncountable questions it was hard to find a grip on what the story was trying to tell us. Overall, it seemed like a few extremely good, yet unfinished ideas strapped together with packing tape and shipped off to Wizards of the Coast. Nothing like its amazing predecessor 'Servant of the Shard'. Excitement: yes Battle: yes Answers & plot: no

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    spellbinding work of high fantasy

    Adventurers Jarlaxle the drow dark elf and his human companion Artemis Entreri journey to the untamed land of Vassa on behest of the dragon sisters to find any books of the dead witch-king Zhengyi that surface. Although the lich (a sentimental zombie like creature) is dead, defeated by King Gareth, artifacts of his surface from tim to time and trouble always follows. --- A half-orc gives his niece Arrayna a book from Zhengyi¿s library and it works its magic on her, forcing her to travel many miles and utter a spell so that the book can create a fortified castle to house it. The castle and the book is evil and King Gareth¿s people are sent to destroy it, while the two adventures who are part of the fighting force hope to keep it for themselves. The keep is protected by gargoyles, golems, daemons, mummies and hosts of other evil supernatural entities and when they are not battling they argue with one another. Many have agendas of their own but even if Jarlaxle and Entreri emerge victorious they must fight an enemy wearing the mask of a friend and the true king of the castle. --- PROMISE OF THE WITCH KING is a spellbinding work of high fantasy where magic and supernatural entities are a part of the culture of the realm. The two protagonists make unlikely heroes though they perform acts of bravery. R.A. Salvatore is a fantastic world builder who creates characters that readers come to care about and puts them in storylines filled with action and intrigue. Just when readers think the book is coming to an end, an unexpected twist adds more intrigue, action and fun to the tale. --- Harriet Klausner Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Promise of the Witch-King, The Sellswords series, Book 1 (Book 2)

    The novel starts great from page one when Entreri and Jarlaxle defeat the lich Herminicle and tower in Heliogabalus, remnants of the Witch-King's power. Then the novel dies and is very boring and dull until part two. So, stick with it! Arrayan, a half-human and half-orc releases the power of the tome of the Witch-King, Zhengyi, in Palishchuk, as a new tower is erected. Entreri and Jarlaxle get tangled up in the politics of the area between the King Gareth and the Citadel of Assassins. In addition to this, Jarlaxle is following the orders of the sister dragons, Ilnezhara and Tazmikella, to seek out the treasures of Zhengyi that are re-surfacing. Naturally, Jarlaxle holds all the secrets while Entreri is left guessing.

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  • Posted August 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Intense, riveting, and excellent!

    This one is amazing! R.A. has said in interviews that he doesn't understand why Jarlaxle and Entreri's books didn't get more sales. I am lost to that as well. 2 of the most intense, in-depth, and intriguing characters{Jarlaxle & Entreri} continue on their adventures in the Bloodstone Lands. They do battle better then any other pair in the lands. Their friendship gets deeper as they begin to realize that they have a friendship more then just a mutually beneficial partnership. I was quite sucked in and loved the development of the characters. Possibly R.A.'s best book!

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  • Posted November 28, 2008

    well, it ain't The Legacy...

    or seige of darkness for that matter. it seems salvatore is now just interested in thumping out novels to cash in on his charactors popularity than actually making good fantasy.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2007

    Salvatore rocks!

    Always intrigued by Artemis or Jarlaxle. Here they are again and together. Cunning and powerful, the duo certainly have a story to be told. Read Servant of the Shard, then read this. Can't wait for the next paperback.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2007


    Jayleesh-Shar if you have read any books on Entreri and Jarlaxle then you shound know better, all the plots questions were finished in an Entrei/Jarlaxle way, this mean you had to read slowly so you coud get all the double meanings for what the two characters did, what I'm realing trying to say is Jayleesh-Shar learn how to read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2006

    Non-stop Action

    This book is very good. It starts out in a flurry and ends in one. I had no trouble reading this book and enjoyed it a lot. I used to hate Artemis until I read this book. R.A. did a wonderful job of making him the character of interest after leaving off with Drizzt. I also like how Drizzt is used in this book to offer up his view of Artemis. Great Book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2006

    My God! Another good one!

    R.A.Salvatore returns with another daring adventure filled to the brim with intrigue, betrayal, and a humor that forges personality and realism. The Promise of the Witch King that focus¿s on Salvatore¿s most neglected characters: Jarlaxle Baenre, the drow elf mercenary leader with more trinkets then a nick-knack shop, and Artemis Entreri, a stone cold human with a quick mind and an even quicker blade. The Promise is a typical Sword and Sorcery novel, adapted to Wizards of the Coast own fantasylands of the Forgotten Realms. The story occurs in Salvatore¿s favorite plane, Feurun, where he¿s placed his setting for The Legend of Drizzt. The setting for this novel is new and fresh. Traveling far away from the shores of Calimport and Ten-Towns. The Bloodstone lands now become the duo¿s playground. Soon after the pair¿s arrival, trouble stirs with the uncovering of an ancient artifact, a book once owned by the once legendary lich, Witch-King Zhengyi. And this is where the plot unfolds into a web of lies. A young half Orc receives a gift, a tome of ancient and forgotten lore (quoth the raven?!) from her dear old uncle, an adventurer and carnival owner who scourers the world for new and precious things to sell. Salvatore sticks to what he does best, highly intense and graphic fight scenes and an ability to reach into the soul and draw forth the rawest of emotions from his characters. Entreri begins to unfold, secretly of course, showing ever so slight hints in reactions to those around him, admitting that they¿ve hit a nerve deep down inside him. Jarlaxle, never missing a beat, begins to catch on and, as always, probes Entreri. Maybe someday we¿ll know Artemis past his guise. Recommended to all fantasy buffs and those looking for a fresh novel with fresh ideas.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2006


    after i ahd read the first book in sellswords, i IMMEDIATELY went to buy this one. It was twice as good and apealling. I could not put it down! This book is amazing!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2006

    I Cast Magic Missile!

    This was one of the books that was extremely hard to put down and continue with your normal life. Jarlaxle and Artemis Entreri are one of the best 'evil' hero duos I have ever read of and I can't wait until.. I think it was october, 2006 that the third book comes out? Read this or you are going to be losing out on a great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2006


    this book is the best book that salvatore has written so far. it keeps you guessing what the characters are going to do next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2006

    Adventurous and action packed!

    I read this book over the weekend and greatly enjoyed it. It was one of those page turners that you find rather difficult to put down. Naturally, it focuses on Jarlaxle and Entreri, so it explores a great deal of grey areas. There are many new characters introduced and you are left to wonder exactly what schemes they have up their sleeves. I was rather proud of myself for figuring out (for the most part) which of the characters would live and which would meet their end. It is definitely unpredictable, as any good adventure story should be. A reader must realize that just because you are the 'hero' doesn't mean you will necessarily defeat the evil monster. Evil monsters eat heroes for lunch! There was a lot of character development on Entreri's part and Jarlaxle! There was an introduction of a couple of half-orcs that I adored. You can't help but root for them! Read, read, read! You'll like it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2006


    This was the first book I read from R.A. Salvatore and after I finished it I emediatly looked for his other books. Sad to say I have not found any about Artemis Entrie when the whole thing is based on him. :( This is the best book I have ever read (I read the clerks quintet) because of all the action. I have to say that this is the best book he has ever written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2005


    With the introduction of Drzzt Do'Urden in the late 80's, I have been glued page for page on his story line. Buying book after book and searching for the miscellaneous short stories hidden in other Books of the Realms, Magic, Valor, and The Best of whatever else I haven't come across yet. Each page keeping me wanting more. Almost like a junkie crawling out of a dark slum alley looking for his next fix. Gotta have it. Just one of those things about being a human and a booklover. However, this book may be a branch off that once early sapling of Salvatore's planting that now is a full grown ancient oak of gargantuan porportions. I am still glued and intrigued by the unique and macabre possibilities of Drzzt's earliest deadly and twisted allies/foes Artemis and Jarlaxle. I foresee the road for these two making one of the best branches on that old oak. Thanks to Robert and his known and unknown story crew with there infinite imagination has kept the torch of Artemis and Jarlaxle burning even brighter. Drzzt maybe on the sidelines for a few, but I believe the road of Artemis and Jarlaxle will come to a crossroads with Drzzt and his pals once again. Anyone who has read about Drzzt and Artemis know that there is some unfinished business there, perhaps we shall see in time. Cattie Bree* (my apologies can't remember the exact spelling of her name, seems to be elusive at this moment.) I believe, she wants a shot with her bow at Artemis. What of ole Rumblebelly? How's his score with Artemis, eh? Bruenor will sure be there at Drzzt's side for some bone splitting action along with smelly and greasy Pwent and his gutbuster boys. Ah, yes and poor old Wulfgar and the demons in his head. What of the Barbarian wretch? (A particular character I despise for some reason or another. I haven't put a finger on that one just yet. Perhaps, it has to do with the long drawn out dry read of the Spine of the World.) Sounds to me like he should get some balls that clank and stop dwelling on the demons and pave a way right through the Abyss and up to Errtu sitting on his 'throne'. Settle that debt and be done with it. Damn barbarian needs to get his head screwed on the rest of the way. Enough of the Forgotten Realms Fantastic Five. What of the sinister and sideways relationship of a Drow elf from the once supreme ruling house of Baerne in Menzoberanzzen* (my bad, spelling is still elusive on this one too.)and a rogue street rat asassin from Calimport? What indeed? What are all the other magical gizmo's and gadgets we haven't read about that Jarlaxle may carry in his plethora of pockets? What of Artemis having a possible alignment shift again? Will he snap at news of Drzzt still being alive or will he attempt at letting the air out of Jarlaxle for doing what a Drow does best, lying to him about Drzzt still being alive? What are the Sellswords going to do next? Quite a few good chapters of late night reading in a cozy velvet chair next to the fireplace I foresee. No matter, time well spent for a book lover who likes a good story line. Don't worry it will be around for quite a few years. (Robert's pockets aren't over flowing just yet and his writing appetite about Drzzt and his buddies are not quite sated either. Keep kickin' but R.A. Sincerely, ~KANZANIAN~

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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