Sunday, August 30, 2009

Five Hundred Years After-Steven Brust

Five Hundred Years After
Steven Brust
Orb (Tor), Aug 2009, $15.99
ISBN: 9780765319661

FIVE HUNDRED YEARS AFTER the events of THE PHOENIX GUARDS, in which Khaavren fulfilled his life dream to become an Imperial Guard, he remains the same rank with little hope for promotion and no further aspirations. As he goes about his duty, the Dragaeran Empire leadership is very concerned as assassinations are happening seemingly everywhere even in safe havens.

Emperor Tortaalik I directs Captain Khaavren and his three still wary buddies and fellow Imperial Guards (Aerich, Tazendra and Pel) as well as others to investigate who is behind the killings. They and their allies soon uncover a great conspiracy fostered by unlikely partners starting with Dragonlord Adron and street urchins of Underside. At the same time the eldritch Sethra Lavode and Adron’s daughter Aliera are in the crosshairs.

This is a reprint of an early 1990s sequel that once again pays obvious homage to Alexandre Dumas. The saga occurs about five hundred years before the time that Vlad Taltos roamed Dragaera. The adventures of the four musketeers are fun to follow though none come across as more than courageous, loyal, but somewhat superficially charming rogues who still lack depth though have matured since they first joined the Imperial Guards. FIVE HUNDRED YEARS AFTER is an engaging often amusing swashbuckling sword and sorcery fantasy that also introduces the reader to key characters in the Taltos era.

Harriet Klausner

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