by Steven Brust
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
255 pages; ISBN: 0312859279
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Castle Black’s Lady Teldra surprisingly finds Vlad Taltos, who buried himself in the wilderness more worried about survival than comfort. Teldra explains that she received help from Kiera the Thief who pointed in the general direction followed by the supreme sorceress Sethra Lavode who traced the specific spot via a link to Vlad’s dragon Loiosh. Vlad concludes that the Jhereg would not be able to follow Teldra’s path so he should remain safe.
Teldra wants Vlad to rescue Morrolan and Aliera who have vanished without leaving a psychic trace. For a decent cup of klava, Vlad would risk anything so he agrees to accompany Teldra to learn more from Sethra, whose servant knows how to make a mean klava. Vlad concludes that the creators of Dragaera, the ultra powerful Jenoine have captured his two friends. This explains the lack of a psychic trace. He knows any attempt to free his friends means visibility to his foes and a new set of dangerous enemies whose illusions make Vlad’s abilities look like child play.
Long term fans of the Lord Taltos series will have a field day with ISSOLA, one of the best entries in several years. The story line contains the usual humor, illusions, and duels yet Vlad seems fresh mainly due to his relationship with Teldra who humanizes him. Loiosh remains a funny sidekick comic lightening the tale. Though new readers will struggle with the tone and self deprecating amusing references to previous novels, Steven Brust has written a triumphant story that fantasy fans will appreciate.
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