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Book Review: Road of the Patriarch by R. A. Salvatore

I was fortunate enough to obtain a galley copy (that’s an advanced reading copy for you non-book nerds) of Road of the Patriarch by R.A. Salvatore. Set for a release date of October 24, 2006 this is the 3rd book in the Sellswords Series. I was much more impressed with this effort than the last one. Promise of the Witch-King was nothing if not disappointing. Road of the Patriarch redeemed Salvatore in my eyes after that previous lackluster effort.

A Forgotten Realms novel, Road of the Patriarch follows Jarlaxle and Artemis Entreri as they wrap up their sojourn in the Bloodstone lands. The Jarlaxle character is especially in fine form as he sows chaos in his wake, with what seems to be very little effort. Many of his actions throughout the book seem random (he is a drow after all) but when his schemes coalesce, one finds that his machinations are brilliant, and that what may have seemed a failure or lost opportunity is actually a success. Lolth would be proud, if Jarlaxle believed in such.

The characterization of Artemis Entreri is here developed to its fullest extent. His history and motivations are laid bare to the reader, and one finds oneself holding great sympathy for him. The book is really about Artemis, and his change in the reader’s perception from cold-blooded assassin, to broken man. His emotions are more volatile and less controlled and he begins to seem more human and less a villain of legend.

Salvatore continues to use the letters of Drizzt Do’Urden to great effect, both laying the stage for the story that follows, and delving deeply into the human psyche. Salvatore here shows why his Forgotten Realms novels are head and shoulders above the others of the series. Salvatore understands human psychology and their natures and confronts them head-on. Characters change, for better or worse, because of the situations around them, and the reader’s preconceptions are challenged by the letters of Drizzt Do’Urden.

Road of the Patriarch is a solid effort, better than the previous one, and all in all a rousing adventure story with excellent descriptions of swordplay, and characterization.

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