Vlad Taltos, a feisty assassin on the run, risks his life and soul to save the business venture that he left to his wife, Cawti, in Adrilankha. The enterprise has been taken over by the Left Hand of the Jhereg, a band of wicked sorceresses who have targeted Vlad for assassination. Armed with Lady Teldra, Vlad's trusty weapon, and his two dragon-like familiars, Loiosh and Rocza, Vlad journeys to Adrilankha despite the price on his head. By calling in old favors and imposing on old friends, Vlad unravels the conspiracy behind the takeover and reestablishes his wife's business, without spilling more than the obligatory amount of blood. Tempting the reader's appetite, the plot mirrors Vlad's dinner at Valabar's with his new acquaintance, Telnan, a Dzurlord in training. The beginning of each chapter recounts the excellent wine and succulent food that they are served and their intimate conversation about their prospective professions. Ironically it is Telnan who saves Vlad's life in the climax, although he appears only in the culinary scenes up until that point. As with all exceptional meals, the best is saved until last, and in the epilogue, Vlad anticipates being introduced to his baby son. Primarily conversation, a dearth of dialogue tags makes some sequences a little difficult to follow, but this volume of the Vlad Taltos series will delight past fans of this clever, unconventional, little assassin. The plot follows immediately after Issola (Tor, 2001/VOYA December 2001), and the stage remains set for yet another installment.
“No mere plot summary can describe accurately the fun and adventure that naturally seem to follow Vlad Taltos.” VOYA
“As always, Brust invests Vlad with the panache of a Dumas musketeer and the colloquial voice of one of Zelazny's Amber heroes.” Publishers Weekly on Dragon
“Watch Steven Brust. He's good. He moves fast. He surprises you. Watching him untangle the diverse threads of intrigue, honor, character and mayhem from amid the gears of a world as intricately constructed as a Swiss watch is a rare pleasure.” Roger Zelazny
“Steven Brust might just be America's best fantasy writer!” Tad Williams