Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Vallista - Steven Brust - Vlad Taltos Book 15

Vlad Taltos Book 15
Steven Brust
ISBN 9780765324450


I have been reading the Vlad Taltos books by Steven Brust since they first started appearing. I started keeping track of what I read in the fall of 1995, since that time I have read or reread a book by Brust 36 times. With each new work I appreciate the series, the author and especially Vlad more. Whenever a Vlad Taltos book appears it is like a visit with an old friend. In Fact Brust is one of the few authors I read 30 plus years ago in high school that I still read now. That speaks to his staying power as a storyteller, and the charm and wit of Vlad. I gave up on Xanth by Piers Anthony by the 6th book and Wild Cards by George R.R. Martin by the 10th book. The only series I started reading in the mid 80’s that I finished was The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison and it ended a while ago. 

But this book is a different kettle of longfish all together. Our cast has been widowed down to basically Vlad, his familiars Loiosh and Rocza, and Devera. And every time Devera enters the picture things get interesting. This time she appears and asks Vlad to follow her, once they enter what appears to be an empty manor she disappears asking Vlad to help her. From there it sort of becomes a locked room mystery. Vlad needs to figure out the manor, and find a way to free himself and Devera. It this is no ordinary manor house, food and food smells appear but the kitchen has never been used. People seem to come and go but now they do it. Vlad narrows it down to some clues, necromancy, and just old fashioned problem solving. And as we know from the 15 previous books Vlad is an excellent problem solver, he uses his intuition, research, and occasionally a dagger and depending on his mood which end of the dagger varies. 

During this story Vlad’s thoughts and ruminations go back and forth in time, over different parts of his life and career. We get some interesting insights into him, and especially his relationship with his great weapon. We also see dome new developments in his relationship with Loiosh, as the manor effects them both but in different ways. So between the trips down past memories, a new visit to the Paths of The Dead, and a bit of travel in time there is a lot happening considering Vlad cannot leave the regions of a manor house. 

This book is a lot less action and adventure than some of the Vlad novels, but a series that has reached 15 volumes hopefully they are not all the same formula. We receive a lot of information that we can only assume will be pertinent in future volumes as the series progresses. If this were a TV series this would be a part flash back episode loaded with new information. And a number of tangents that information can lead in the next book.

Another great read from one of my all-time favorite authors. A great novel in an incredible series! Well done Brust, well done.   

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 (2017)

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)
Vallista (2017)

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)
Good Guys (2018)

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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