Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Book of Athyra

The Book of Athyra

Steven Brust

Date: 2005-07-14 22:35:48   —   $10.50   —   Book

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Fiction, Fantasy

The further adventures of Vlad Taltos in his exile get a new twist; for the first time, they are not told from Vlad's perspective. We get told one book from the perspective of a Dragaeran Teckla, a young man who is nevertheless decades older than the human Vlad. However, development takes different times for different species; Vlad always seems older than Savn, even though he has fewer calendar years.

Not surprisingly, someone is out to kill Vlad, though it isn't the main group of people who are out for his blood. (He has a distinct knack for ticking people off.) In the course of trying to avoid being killed, he expands Savn's horizons in a rather drastic way, causing Savn to think about many things he has always taken for granted. Unfortunately, in this situation, Vlad is in over his head and it takes more than a bit of luck to get out of it.

It takes so much luck that he ends up, in the next book, in a hopeless snarl simply because to repay a debt, he has to do one person a favor... a favor that leads to a need for information, which leads to a burglary, which leads to legal documents, which leads to discovering a financial scandal that could ruin the Empire...

It amuses me greatly that in the course of an entertaining novel, Brust has done more toward explaining practical politics and the role of government than many political texts have managed, and he does so in terms that the non-political-science types can grasp. It also give the reader a feel for chaos theory: "For want of a nail, the shoe was lost..."

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