Friday, 27 June 2008

Jhegaala by Steven Brust

Steven Brust
TOR Books
ISBN 9780765301475

It really is amazing that this the eleventh novel; in the Vlad Taltos serirs is as captivating as the first. Steven Brust attempts to write each novel so that it can stand on it's own, and again in this one he has done so. When I recommend people read them books, it varies on my approach. Always start with Jhereg but to some friends I recommend reading in order of publication and some in order of chronology. This book steps back from the last few and tells of an earlier tale. A tale of a man in search of his past and his family. It is also a tale of murder, intrigue, confusion and misunderstanding that all leads to a high body count.

In each of the Vlad Taltos novels Brust approaches them differently. He has created such a believable world that side stories and books mentioned become something the read would like to possess. In this book each chapter begins with quotes from a play Six Parts Water by a playwright named Miersen. These snippets leave you wanting to read or see the play. It is hard not to like the witty and humorous Vlad Taltos, even if he is an assassin by profession, even if he betrayed his 'crime family' to save his estranged wife. Even is he got most of his distant family murdered because he did not understand a situation he blundered into. This is Vlad Taltos, the man we would like to meet and know and count among our friends. He has impeccable taste in food and drink and live by a motto akin to 'Life is to short for bad food or drink.'

In this book we see a very different side of Vlad, he is not an Easterner trying to fit in without fitting in; in the Dragaera Empire, he has returned to the land of his ancestors in the east. He is a human among humans and yet he fits in even less than we are used to. In part because he has live his whole life in the west. Because of that in this book we see for the first time Vlad take a major misstep and pay a personal price, he is injured worse that we have seen yet in any of the books.

This book will be a great summer read for any fan of the fantasy genre, or for people who are already fan's of Brust works. It fills in some of the story between early books, and answers some of the reader's ongoing questions about Vlad, unfortunately it also raised many new questions. But those must be answered in another tale. Hopefully soon.

(First Published in Imprint 2008-06-27.)

Books by Steven Brust:
Vlad Taltos Publishing Order:

Jhereg (1983)
Yendi (1984)
Teckla (1987)
Taltos (1988)
Phoenix (1990)
Athyra (1993)
Orca (1996)
Dragon (1998)
Issola (2001)
Dzur (2006)
Jhegaala (2008)
Iorich (2010)
Tiassa (2011)

Hawk (2014)
Vallista (TBD)

Vlad Taltos: Chronological Order:
Taltos (1988)
Dragon, main chapters (1998)
Yendi (1984)
Dragon, interludes (1998)
Tiassa, section 1 (2011)
Jhereg (1983)
Teckla (1987)
Phoenix (1990)
Jhegaala (2008)
Athyra (1993)
Orca (1996)
Issola (2001)
Dzur (2006)
Tiassa, section 2 (2011)
Iorich (2010)
Tiassa, section 3 (2011)
Hawk (2014)

The Khaavren Romances:
The Phoenix Guards (1991)
Five Hundred Years After (1994)
The Viscount of Adrilankha, published in three volumes:
The Paths of the Dead (2002)
The Lord of Castle Black (2003)
Sethra Lavode (2004)

Other Books:
Brokedown Palace (1986)
To Reign in Hell (1984)
The Sun, the Moon & the Stars (1987)
Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille (1990)
Agyar (1993)
My Own Kind of Freedom (2008)

Co Written:
The Gypsy (1992) with Megan Lindholm
Freedom & Necessity (1997) with Emma Bull

Incrementalist (with Skyler White):
The Incrementalists
The Skill of our Hands

Incrementalist Short Stories
Fireworks in the Rain - Steven Brust

Strongest Conjuration - Skyler White

Short Stories:
An Act of Contrition - Liavek (1985)
An Act of Trust - Liavek: The Players of Luck (1986)
A Dream of Passion - in the convention chapbook for Ad Astra (1986)
An Act of Mercy - Liavek: Wizard's Row (1987, with Megan Lindholm)
An Act of Love - Liavek: Spells of Binding (1988, with Gregory Frost and Megan Lindholm)
Csucskári - Excerpt from The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: First Annual Collection (1988)
A Hot Night at Cheeky's - Liavek: Festival Week (1990)
Looking Forward: Excerpt from Athyra in Amazing Stories, March (1993)
Attention Shoppers - Xanadu (1993)
Abduction from the Harem - in Timewalker Issue 14 (October 1996)
Drift - Space Opera (1996)
Valóság and Élet - in Sandman: Book of Dreams (1996)
Calling Pittsburgh - in Lord of the Fantastic: Stories in Honor of Roger Zelazny (1998)
When the Bow Breaks - The Essential Bordertown (1998)
The Man From Shemhaza - in Thieves' World: Enemies of Fortune (2004), reprinted in Year's Best Fantasy 5 (2005)
Klava with Honey - Eeriecon Convention Chapbook #4 (2005)
Chapter One - in Eeriecon Convention Chapbook #6 (2007)
The Desecrator - on tor.com (2011)
Fireworks in the Rain - on tor.com (2013)

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