Everyone being overly critical of thsi book is wrong..
Read my review of the 2nd book of this series for some good info..
So many bad books out there (ex: BG Books novels, a lot of the harpers series etc..), but this one is great. Very Good characters, the evil ones are REALLY evil, not cartoonish (the Phaerimm are unbeliviably powerful Mages, alien like Mind Flayers who use humans and all others like cattle.)
The Shadovar are complex, very, very cool as the only survivors of ancient Netheril, and they're back to the FR.
Frankly, it was dumb to say that all of Netheril was destroyed, considering all the poweer rthey commanded as ArchWizards; now, with Shar the Goddess with her own source of magic, these Shadovars are NOT steretypical villains, but ruthless opportunists; they can do good, as well as evil.
One last thing, I still tingle when the elf mage DRAWS the City back to the Prime from the Plane of Shadow; very well done, very, very cool. BUY This one, they are rare when they are this good (Only early Drizz'zt and Ten-towns novels compare..)