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(Originally posted to The Library of Babel, and reposted here

Dragon by Steven Brust.

“Well, Vlad,” he said, “Are you prepared to strike another blow for freedom?”

“Is that what we’re doing?”

“No, but it sounds better than helping a wealthy and powerful aristocrat maintain his wealth and power.”

This was the first book I ever ordered from Amazon, in case anyone cares– I was in Japan when it came out, and it had been long enough since the last Vlad book that I wasn’t willing to wait until my return to the US to read it.

This book tells the long-awaited story of the Battle of Baritt’s Tomb. If you haven’t been awaiting this story, you shouldn’t read this book– start with Jhereg or Yendi, and work your way up to it. If you have been awaiting this story, well, you know pretty much what you’re getting. Sorcery, skullduggery, major-league ass-kicking, psionic wisecracks, and snappy dialogue galore. And clever games with the narrative– this is a Brust book after all.

There’s not much to be said about the plot without spoiling it, so I won’t say much. Instead, I’ll just quote the scene most appropriate to this setting, where Vlad is browsing in Morrolan’s library:

Loiosh informed me of his approach just before he said “You may borrow them, if you wish,” so I could avoid letting him startle me.

“I’d like that very much.”

“I should warn you, however, that I have several volumes devoted to curses for people who don’t return books.”

“I’d like to borrow those, too.”

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