BookHound
Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

Dzur, by Steven Brust

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I’ve been reading books about Vlad Taltos for the last 23 years.  I’d like to say I started very young.  But Vlad and I have grown older together, much like many of my fictional heroes (except for those who refuse to age).

Dzur is the tenth novel in the long-running series.

The first book was Jhereg, whose improbable title first caught my eye, then the picture of the dragon on the cover.  In those days Vlad was a street-smart tough guy who had risen to the position of a crime boss.  His life was ordered.

So were the murders that had to take place around him.  Graft was well paid, and paid on time.

It’s just that things kept happening around Vlad.  Even though he knew it wasn’t his business, sometimes it involved friends of his.  Or associates.  And sometimes he just admitted to a certain amount of curiosity to propelled him into his next adventure.  He killed people.  People tried to kill him.  He bribed people.  He made a fortune.  And he made and lost friends.  It’s been wonderful being able to accompany him on the trips.

But here we are, Vlad and I, and we’re a bit older.

Dzur was a good book, a book where old friends (readers and characters) could get together, talk about new adventures and remember old tales that don’t improve with being twice-told, but do kindle a fond feeling.

However, Dzur is not a novel for a reader new to the series to start out with.  There’s simply too much history on every page.  Too many allies and enemies to sort out for a beginning reader.  If you’re new to Vlad Taltos, begin with the first and work your way through at least the first three before you take this book in hand.

For those of you anxious for a return visit:  Vlad finds himself once more up to his eyebrows in trouble.  He’s wandered back home Adrilankha after being gone for years.  He’s killed foes and even talked to his patron goddess, who has betrayed him in ways he’s yet to figure out.

But when he learns his estranged wife, Cawti, is having trouble with the old crime zone he used to run, Vlad steps once more into the fray trying to sort things out and save the people he cares about.

The story is extremely simple, with few twists and turns along the way, but the constant bickering/dialogue between Vlad and Loiosh is as sharp as ever.  After all these years, Vlad just seems real.

The book takes its time developing, though, and even old friends might get a little anxious for the tale to be told.  The pacing seems different, and even the story is a little off.  It’s been five years since Brust has written about his signature character, and maybe he was just enjoying sinking back into that mindset.

I just hope it’s not another five years before Vlad invites us to dinner with him and tells us another tale.

 

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